Monthly Archives: June 2011

Welcome aboard Ken!

METECS would like to welcome our newest team member, Dr. Ken Huffman.

Ken received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Chico, class of 1984. Ken also holds Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis, class of 1991 and 1995 respectively.

Dr. Huffman has over 20 years of experience in the fields of simulation, dynamics, controls, robotics, systems integration, 3D graphics, avionics, and virtual training systems. For the last 5 years Ken has been with Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) where he served in multiple capacities including proposal manager, project manager, developer, and consultant on numerous government and commercial projects related to simulation and training. Specifically, Dr. Huffman was the lead developer and project manager on a line of construction equipment training simulators (www.deere.com/simulators) developed in cooperation with John Deere Construction and Forestry. Additionally, Ken served as project manager and developer on training simulators for aircraft engine maintenance, telecommunication equipment maintenance, and other applications. Due to the disparate requirements associated with these projects, Dr. Huffman evaluated and utilized numerous proprietary and commercial-off-the-shelf solutions to dynamics, 3D graphics, contact dynamics, and simulation architecture.

Prior to his engagement at SwRI (1995-2006), Dr. Huffman supported the Automation Robotics and Simulation Division (AR&SD) at Johnson Space Center (JSC). Dr. Huffman was instrumental in the development of many tools and training/analysis simulations used throughout JSC. Specifically, Ken designed and developed the “moving object model” which simulated dynamics, contact dynamics, and payload management in TRICK based robotic and EVA training simulations. Additionally, Dr. Huffman re-engineered Charlotte, the Virtual Reality Lab (VR Lab) mass-handling robot and simulation to include contact dynamics, robotic hand offs, and have a more robust hardware design. Other VR Lab activities included augmenting the Dynamic Onboard Ubiquitous Graphics (DOUG) package with a flight software based Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (SRMS) plugin, integrating the TRICK dynamic SRMS simulation with VR Lab training, and designing and operating numerous specialized training simulations driven by unplanned and off-nominal flight operations. Dr. Huffman was also the Principal Investigator on a Phase II SBIR which developed a prototype cable driven linear actuator for use in full-flight simulator motion platforms.

While performing graduate studies at the University of California, Davis (1989-1995), Ken designed and developed a virtual reality bobsled simulator for the United State Bobsled Team. This simulator utilized parameterized dynamics to accurately simulate the bobsled trajectory in response to driver inputs. This response drove an immersive 3D graphics scene enclosed in a motion based cockpit. The simulator was used for training at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France and in preparation for the 1994 Winter Olympic Games at Lillehammer, Norway.