Mission and Direction
The Human Augmentation Technologies Lab (HATlab) group (formerly known as AMSaC lab) was formed at Michigan State University in 2001 by Dr. Andrew Mason. Since its founding, mission of this research group has been to develop innovative integrated circuit and microsystem approaches that enable a bridging between novel nano/micro-sensor technologies and high impact biomedical and environmental applications. While members of the HATlab group typically develop expertise in solid-state devices, microelectronics, microfabrication techniques and real-time machine learning algorithms, an inherent focus of the group is the convergence and system-level integration of principles from multiple disciplines (including engineering, physical sciences, neuroscience, medicine and psychology), across multiple design scales, from nano-technologies to software architectures, in order to address the challenges of autonomous wearable/implantable sensory microsystems.
Research in the HATlab has historically focused on applications of human health and safety. While we continue this focus, we also strive to contribute to the environmental monitoring and related technologies that will help the world manage the impacts of pollution and climate change through energy-efficient smart sensor assistive devices. In recent years, we have greatly expanded our work in human-computer interaction, machine-to-human communication, and especially in hardware efficient machine learning algorithms for embedded real-time signal processing of sensor data.
Application Areas of Contribution
Augmented Human Awareness (AHA):
The intersection of engineering with the sciences of human communication and behavioral psychology represents a modern research frontier where our goal is to improve capability for real-time augmented human interaction. Members of the HATlab work to converge these disciplines in order to develop innovative hardware and algorithm technologies permitting robust monitoring of the physical and physiological parameters that define human behaviors during social interactions. We have explored both in-person and virtual interactions while focused on teamwork performance and detection of unconscious bias. Our work in augmented human awareness centers around computationally-efficient real-time machine learning algorithms and the development of wearable sensor arrays, with an additional thrust in novel mechanisms for rapid, robust and unobtrusive machine-to-human communication.
One major thrust for the HATlab group is the design and fabrication of miniaturized sensors for environmental monitoring. Contributions in this area span from electrochemical gas sensor arrays featuring nanostructured interfaces to microfluidics for micro/nano particle capture, counting and size sorting. We have also developed a variety of electrochemical instrumentation circuits with a variety of high performance characteristics, and we have pioneered the concept of lab-on-CMOS platforms for integration of sensor arrays with high density microfluidics. We continue to explore innovative approaches to monitor the physical, chemical, and biological environments that impact human health and happiness.
Other areas of significant contribution include brain-machine-interface (BMI) and sensor technologies for biomedical research. Our work in the BMI field of has focused primarily on implantable neural recording and hardware-efficient spike sorting methods where we have pioneered approaches for massively high channel count recording arrays. Our work in biosensor technologies has focused on the development of portable biological sensors using electrochemical interfaces and on instrumentation circuits and sensing platforms suitable to record the behavior of membrane protein arrays with many applications to biomedical research and new laboratory and clinical platforms to study and treat antibiotic resistance.
Inherent to the multidisciplinary nature of work in the HAT lab is the close affiliation with many other researchers and research groups. Our research partners and collaborators include:
- Center for Avatar Research and Immersive Social Media Applications, Communication Arts and Sciences, Michigan State University
- Centre for Bio-Inspired Technology, Imperial College London, UK
- Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSensing and Systems, University of Michigan, USA
- Dr. Xiangqun Zeng, Department of Chemistry, Oakland University (Rochester, MI, USA)
- Dr. J. Tim Dvonch, Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI, USA)
- Dr. Andrew Ault, Department of Chemistry, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI, USA)
- Dr. Angel Hall, School of Human Resources & Labor Relations, Michigan State University (E. Lansing, MI, USA)
- Dr. Wen Li, Electrical Engineering, Michigan State University (E. Lansing, MI, USA)
- Dr. R. Mark Worden, Chemical Engineering, Michigan State University (E. Lansing, MI, USA)
The HAT lab currently occupies 1430 sq. ft. of laboratory space in MSU’s G. M. Trout Building, rooms 325 and 327 where human-subject trials, microelectronics testing and system integration activities as well as design efforts and algorithm/software integration activities are performed. We also share space in room 330 for microfabrication and chemical testing. Other microfabrication activities utilize the following cleanroom facilities:
- Keck Microfabrication Facility at MSU
- Electrical and Computer Engineering Research Cleanroom at MSU
- Lurie Nanofabrication Facility (LNF) at University of Michigan
For a complete list of equipment available in the HATlab, click here.