Ohio State wins SecureAmerica grant funding to explore greater digital trust in manufacturing

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AIMS Lab
The Artificially Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (AIMS) Laboratory at CDME

The Ohio State University recently earned a $250,000 SecureAmerica Institute grant to help ensure greater digital trust within the national manufacturing industry.

According to the winning proposal, Ohio and Texas are two of the three states with the largest manufacturing output in the United States, trailing only California. In this realm, both The Ohio State University and Texas A&M have established research centers and institutes to advance manufacturing and robotics: Ohio State’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME), Texas A&M’s Institute for Manufacturing Systems and Center for Advanced Robotics. The two centers will share funding and divide the management of the grant.

The winning proposal is titled, “Methodology for Predicting and Validating the Trustworthiness of Robots,” and led by Ohio State Associate Professor Theodore Allen, from Integrated Systems Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering programs.

As the manufacturing industry moves toward automating processes with robots and deploying sensor networks to upgrade, direct, and maintain robots, having the ability to identify and predict uncharacteristic behavior is a critical need for both manufacturing and defense industries. If uncharacteristic behavior is present, the user can either take the machine offline or determine untrustworthiness.

“The goal of the proposed work is to develop a set of methods and associated technical tools to help industry determine if the behavior of the robotic system is due to normal/expected operation or if the system outputs are perturbed due to the system being compromised by external cyber intrusions,” the proposal states.

Buck
Vimal Buck

Allen serves as the project leader of analytics and related education efforts. Vimal Buck, a senior researcher and lead electrical engineer at CDME, will serve as the Ohio State team's general project manager. He will be the primary person tasked with integrating the robotic system into the cybersecurity testbed platform and sharing data.  

For this collaboration to work, numerous research and industry partners have pooled their resources and funding. As part of the Ohio Third Frontier program, the Institute for Cybersecurity and Digital Trust launched the Ohio Cybersecurity Initiative in Mobility and Manufacturing (OCIMM). This project will work in conjunction with OCIMM.

“For this project, we are outfitting the Artificially Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (AIMS) Laboratory at CDME with additional sensors and plan to leverage the infrastructure, faculty, and staff working with the OCIMM to solve cybersecurity-related problems in the area of robot trust validation,” said Buck.

CDME launched its AIMS Laboratory in September 2019 with multiple partners collaborating on funding and support, including the College of Engineering, Ohio’s Advanced Manufacturing Program (AMP), robot manufacturer Yaskawa, and welding equipment manufacturer Lincoln Electric.

The AIMS Lab is co-managed by Ohio State Professor Mike Groeber from the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering and Walter Hansen, a senior researcher and lead mechanical systems engineer at CDME. The laboratory is supported by numerous undergraduate and graduate research assistants with backgrounds in systems engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering. Developed with input from experts representing business, academia, and national defense and energy laboratories, the AIMS Lab is a test site for industry and university partners to study and develop manufacturing systems that work with and are controlled by different types of artificial intelligence.

CDME is building cybersecurity testbeds to enable research across the state; some of the funds to advance this effort will come from the Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills (RAPIDS) grant from the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

The AIMS Lab fits into CDME’s core mission of working with industry partners in applied research and supporting undergraduate student development during that research. The center allows industry partners to work with university labs and equipment while helping students become familiar with their products.

This story was adapted from an article by Ryan Horns, the communications specialist for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. 

Category: Research
Tag: AIMS Lab