Since this is the last issue of the DSC magazine in its current form, this article is a chance to look back over the years and reflect on what the magazine offered over that time.
Back in 2012, several members of the Dynamic Systems and Control division suggested that a magazine should be offered to its members. This would provide a different venue to publish articles that are in between highly-technical journal papers and general-interest magazine articles. A. Galip Ulsoy, who volunteered to serve as the first Editor of the new magazine, said it best in his editorial for the first issue:
DSC Magazine is not just a new publication, but a new type of ASME publication—a hybrid magazine that combines some of the features of a high-quality journal with aspects of a general-interest technology magazine. DSC Magazine will include the highest quality articles from top experts on topics of current and emerging interest. These articles will be written for a general technical audience with an engineering background, and not just for specialists in a specific research area. We envision that these will be excellent gateway articles for those engineers in industry and academia who would like to start working in this area. You will also see articles, typically shorter, that report on exciting new control systems developments in various industries; again written by top engineering experts who are actually engaged in carrying them out.
Since that first issue came out in March 2013, the DSC Magazine has been published every 3 months as an insert in Mechanical Engineering magazine, with a total of 26 issues having come out since then. A total of 85 feature articles have been published since then (including the article featured in this issue).
Some Common Themes
A wide variety of topics have been covered over the years. Generating suitable categories to classify these diverse articles can be challenging, since many articles fit a number of different categories. Nonetheless, it is useful to at least make an attempt to do a rough classification. Here are some suitable categories:
Automotive systems (6)
Energy and power systems (5)
Robotics and automation (5)
Human-centered design (4)
Control education and competitions (2)
Theory-based articles (4)
Spreading the Word: Embedded Control Shapes Our Lives
The first DSC Magazine Editorial was entitled: Mechanical Systems Should Come With the “Controls Inside” Logo, and went on to say:“Control engineering is the ofteninvisible enabler that has found its way into almost every engineered system to make them “smart”: buildings, vehicles, factories and appliances are but a few everyday examples.” The members of the ASME Dynamic Systems and Control community, engaged in truly exciting and cutting-edge research, are not always visible to the public in terms of the impact their work has on our engineered world; sometimes even our families don’t fully appreciate why we feel compelled to spend long hours in the office and the lab! The DSC Magazine as a supplement to Mechanical Engineering magazine was an attempt to bring to a broader engineering audience (to the over 100,000 members of the ASME, and beyond) the rigorous work that we do in terms that can be readily understood, appreciated, and utilized. While this is the final issue of DSC Magazine, I hope that the DSC community will continue to communicate their important work to the broadest possible audience. As recent fatal aircraft and autonomous car accidents dramatically illustrate, our society is always better off when decisions by non-experts are based on a sound understanding of engineering principles and facts.
A. Galip Ulsoy
Founding Editor, DSC Magazine
The number next to each category represents the number of issues wholly or mostly devoted to that topic area.
Clearly, automotive systems have been featured most often. This is perhaps not surprising since automobiles are such an integral part of our lives. In fact, the very first issue was devoted to “The Future of the Automobile.” Even more than 6 years ago, there was already much discussion about electrified vehicles and the benefits that would accrue from enabling vehicles to communicate with each other and with traffic infrastructure. In this way, routes could be selected to minimize congestion and maximize energy efficiency. With further refinement of engine and powertrain models and controls, vehicle efficiency and emissions can be optimized, as described in the Dec. 2015 issue. Since that time, many vehicles have been outfitted with driver assistance systems, including blind spot detection, emergency braking, and even lane keeping. Truly “connecting” vehicles to one another and to traffic infrastructure has been slower in coming, but technologies and standards are being developed to hasten that day. And several testing grounds are now available to assess these new technologies, including M-city in Ann Arbor, MI, the topic of one of the articles in the Dec. 2016 issue. Smart cities, incorporating autonomous and connected vehicles into the urban infrastructure, was the theme of the Dec. 2017 issue of the magazine. With knowledge of where all neighboring vehicles are located, connected vehicles could avoid collisions at “blind” intersections. And most recently, in the March 2019 issue, the focus was on combining knowledge of route information to optimize fuel consumption.
Energy and power systems represent another important category for featured articles. This is not surprising, given the role that energy plays in supporting our modern economy and the importance of efficient generation and utilization of power. The September 2013 issue was all about wind power, looking at not only land-based wind turbines, but also installations like balloons that could harness the energy contained at high altitudes. The first article described how to actively control the power output of wind turbines to assist in integrating them into the power grid and support grid reliability. With so much emphasis on electrified vehicles, better batteries were the subject of the June 2014 issue, focusing on strategies for modeling batteries to better predict and manage state of charge. A particularly interesting issue was devoted to undersea oil production, the subject of the March 2015 issue. Articles in this issue emphasized the importance of modeling and control techniques in assisting with oil drilling, to ensure reliable performance under adverse conditions. The March 2014 issue was devoted to control strategies as applied to a variety of energy systems, including solar, wind, and thermal systems. And the June 2013 issue featured research being done at the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power, emphasizing clever pump designs and control strategies to reduce losses.
Another popular topic has been robotics and automation. Over the years, this has taken on a variety of forms, ranging from rehabilitation robots (Sept. 2014) to surgical robots (Sept. 2015) to precision agriculture (June 2018). Rehabilitation robots can be used as robotic physical therapists that can strengthen upper and lower extremities, especially after strokes or other impairments. Surgical robots have been typically used in tele-operation mode, but the articles in the Sept. 2015 issue emphasize sensing and control strategies that would permit autonomous surgery, of course with monitoring from a human surgeon. In precision agriculture, one of the key drivers of performance is gathering comprehensive data from the field. In the June 2018 issue, a team of unmanned ground vehicles is described that can cooperate for optimal data collection. Other articles in that issue describe a modular agricultural robot that can be used to assist with collecting and transporting soft vegetables so that human workers can focus on actually picking them. One particular class of robots, humanoid robots, was the focus of the June 2015 issue. Humanoid robots are particularly well-suited for fire-fighting, search and rescue, and service robots, but there are still challenges to overcome, especially generating the actuators and control systems to achieve truly compliant robotic limbs that can respond to human touch. Finally, the Dec. 2014 issue looked at advanced manufacturing systems, with a focus on automation and data-centric approaches to achieve production efficiencies.
Messages from Past News Editors
Dearest DSC Community,
As past News Editors of the DSC Magazine, we have reviewed news submissions from our ASME DSCD community members for many years. We have celebrated your triumphs, publications, awards, book releases, workshops, retirements and life reflections. This news section has been more than a compilation of activities or collection of academic pursuits. Rather, it has served as written moments of pause to reflect on the work we do and congratulate our colleagues’ successes. We have honored our ‘up and coming’ students through best paper award notifications, celebrated the launch of start-up companies and even paused to reflect on the achievements of members who have passed away leaving a mark on our academic field and on us personally. As our work transitions into yet another form and framework, we continue to encourage you to “celebrate the lives of colleagues, and selflessly promote your ventures.”
All the best to you and your work,
Denise McKahn and Rifat Sipahi
Past News Editors, DSC Magazine
Human-centered design encompasses an emerging topic of interest. Included in this category are bio-inspired design (March 2016), human-machine interaction (June 2017), and humanitarian engineering (Sept. 2018). Bio-inspired actuators to mimic muscles, and artificial skin that emulates the touch and pressure sensing of biological tissue, are described in the March 2016 issue. The June 2017 issue turns to the complex interactions that arise between humans and machines, and how intent can be effectively communicated to both humans and machines. It also documents an interesting control design scheme for achieving humanin-the-loop robot training. The most innova-tive topic is humanitarian engineering. In the Sept. 2018 issue, several different humanitarian efforts are discussed, including developing ordnance-retrieval robots to rid former war zones of buried landmines, and teaching undergraduate courses on robotics and control in prison as part of the Education Justice Project. In a related vein, several articles in the Sept. 2016 issue describe other strategies for making life better, including electrical stimulation and motor-assist to maintain physical condition in individuals experiencing leg muscle dysfunction caused by neurological impairment, and robots that can prolong the ability of the elderly to remain independent in their own homes.
A Message from the Current News Editor
The last three issues of the DSC Magazine News received tremendous support from the community. In addition to the Division’s activities at the 2018 American Control Conference (ACC) and the 2018 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference (DSCC), the News contained a rich span of contributed, invited, and special features from conversations with pioneers and leaders of the Division to disseminations of stellar achievements of division members. It has been an unforgettable experience working with Editor Peter Meckl, who devoted selfless energy and time to the Magazine and to the News. His genuine leadership is accompanied with the capability to pinpoint the smallest typos at any stage of the typesetting process. Jingang Yi and the DSCD Executive Committee provided pivotal suggestions on content creation, especially during the recent upgrade of the Division’s email list. Last but not least, the contents would not have been possible without you, the readers and authors that supported the News. Thank you very much!
News Editor, DSC Magazine
Students are the focus of several issues that feature control education (June 2016) and student competitions (March 2018). Control education topics include the use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to reach students unable to come to campus, along with innovative mechatronic testbeds that can be used by the students wherever they are to bring home the control concepts. Student competitions covered in the March 2018 issue include AutoDrive, FIRST robotics, and the DARPA humanoid robot competition.
Although most of the magazine issues discussed so far have focused on application areas, several issues were devoted to specific theoretical tools or techniques. In particular, fault diagnostic strategies were covered in the Dec. 2013 issue and cyber-security strategies were described in the March 2017 issue. Additional theoretical topics covered included information theory in the Dec. 2018 issue and multi-agent systems in this issue.
What Lies Ahead
Although the DSC Magazine inserts published as part of Mechanical Engineeringmagazine will end after this issue, efforts are underway to look for alternatives. A new vehicle has been suggested by ASME and is seriously being explored:ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Letters (DSC-L). This new publication would be aimed at brief peer-reviewed articles (6 pages maximum) that provide rapid dissemination of original theoretical and applied contributions in all areas of interest to the dynamics and control community. This effort would be handled just like the current ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems Measurement and Control (J-DSMC) and therefore would be published at no cost to the Division.
As is common in many of the letters from peer societies (e.g., IEEE Control Systems Letters and the IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters), the DSC-L would offer a venue for joint submission and rapid publication of articles from our annual Dynamic Systems and Control Conference (DSCC). Thus, with a focus on rapid publication of brief articles, the DSC-L would be a complementary publication to the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems Measurement and Control (J-DSMC).
The new DSC-L would include concise reviews of the state-of-the-art efforts in research and education in our field (also peer reviewed). As in the DSC Magazine,the new DSC-L would also include editorial comments, discussion, book reviews, member profiles and awards, and short announcements of events (up to about 10% of each issue). In this sense, it would represent the next phase of our DSC Magazine to take it into the future.