Research in mechanisms and design has been pursued in the Department for a few decades and is still active. It is worth noting that the Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing (CPDM) in IISc took shape primarily from the Department faculty who work in this area. Several faculty members hold secondary appointments in CPDM and undertake product design projects. Even after this ‘spinoff’ centre was initiated, research in engineering design aspects continues in mechanical engineering. Geometric modeling and Computer-Aided Design (CAD), kinematics from the viewpoint of geometry, compliant mechanisms, and topology optimization are currently active topics in the Department.
Research in the area of CAD has delved on representation of and reasoning with 3D models by Prof. B. Gurumoorthy’s group. While his earlier work focused on feature-based modelling and construction of 3D geometry from measured point data, the focus has shifted in the last five years towards the problems of capturing non-geometric product information in representation and reasoning with mesh-based representation. Prof. Dibakar Sen’s group studies multi-body contacts from the geometric perspective rather than that of algebra and considers both theoretical kinematics aspects and practical applications. On the theoretical side, for example, automatic generation of kinematic constraints is studied using modular kinematics approach. One of the practical applications his group had recently invested efforts in is the design of circuit breakers for a company. Prof. G.K. Ananthasuresh’s group works extensively on compliant mechanisms. Design methods, non-dimensional analysis, unconventional actuation, and a variety of multidisciplinary applications of compliant mechanisms at macro, meso, and micro scales are investigated. Topology optimization has been used to design compliant mechanisms, tensegrity structures, and de novo proteins. Lately, topology derivative-based method combined with level-set approach is being investigated for devising computationally efficient methods for additive manufacturing of structures in collaboration with industrial partners.