Ting and TTU students honored with A.T. Yang Memorial Award in theoretical kinematics

A group of Tennessee Tech University faculty engineers and students, led by TTU mechanical engineering professor Kwun-Lon Ting, has received national recognition for work with theoretical kinematics.

Ting, along with graduate students Changyu Xue and Jun Wang and TTU’s Center for Manufacturing Director Ken Currie, received the 2009 A.T. Yang Memorial Award for their paper entitled “Unified Mobility Analysis of Spatial Group 2 Mechanisms.” They accepted the award at the 33rd Mechanisms and Robotics Conference in San Diego, Calif., earlier this month.

Ting, his students and Hong Zhou, a former student and professor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, also presented five other papers in complex linkage mobility and compliant mechanisms at the conference. Their papers represent a significant advancement in the linkage mobility identification.

“I attibute this success to the motivation and hard work of my quality students, the support from my wife, Rebecca, and the financial support of our Manufacturing Center and the National Science Foundation,” said Ting.

Ting discovered and published the rotatability laws in 1989, which were subsequently proved in 1991 through collaboration with TTU mathematics professor Yun-Way Liu. Tings rotatability laws are recognized as the foundation to systematically explain, understand, predict and identify the mobility of single-loop planar and spherical linkages and manipulators. His theorems have been adopted in the most popular undergraduate machinery textbook since 1999.

Their papers presented at the conference represent the first attempt to offer a mobility theory that extends from single loop to complex multiple loop planar and spherical linkages and even to spatial linkages. Mechanical linkages are a fundamental part of machinery including manipulators. Linkages are often the simplest, least expensive and most efficient mechanism to perform complicated motions or tasks. The mobility theory is to determine if a machine or manipulator may have the needed mobility to perform the desired task in the design of machines or programming of manipulators.

This peer-reviewed process rewarded the TTU team with a cash award and a plaque.

Ting, who is internationally known for his contribution to machines and mechanisms theory, was the recipient of TTU Caplenor Faculty Research Award (2007-2008). He was also the recipient of B. Roth Award (1993-1995) and the South-Pointing Chariot Award (1999-2000) of the Applied Mechanisms and Robotics Conference. The South-Pointing Chariot Award is the highest award conferred by the AMR Conference. Ting is an ASME Fellow and currently serves as Associate Editor of Journal of Mechanical Design, which is the most prestigious journal in machine theory and design.

In a visit to China, Ting was honored as the Seasky Chair Professor by Dalian University of Technology, China. He received his bachelor’s degree from National Taiwan University, his master’s degree from Clemson University and his doctorate from Oklahoma State University.