Graduate School / School of Engineering and Computer Science

OU graduate students shine at robotics, automation show in Chicago

icon of a calendarJune 5, 2024

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OU graduate students shine at robotics, automation show in Chicago
OU graduate students shine at robotics, automation show in Chicago
Two graduate assistants in the Augmented Reality Center at Oakland University were invited to participate Automate 2024, where they showcased an Augmented Reality HUD they helped develop.

Mila Havens and Connor Homayouni, graduate assistants in the Augmented Reality Center (ARC) at Oakland University, recently participated in Automate 2024, North America’s largest robotics and automation event, which took place from May 6 – 9 in Chicago.

“KUKA Robotics, brought us along to their booth to showcase an Augmented Reality HUD that we have been developing that is able to control one of their KR-10 Series robots,” said Homayouni, who is pursuing a master’s degree in embedded systems engineering at OU.

The KUKA Augmented Reality HUD was originally developed by Mohammed Shatit, a former ARC assistant who interned with KUKA Robotics and now works there full-time as a sales application engineer. Havens and Homayouni have been working to upgrade and stress test the system and were invited to Automate 2024 to demonstrate it to companies as proof of concept of how robots could potentially be controlled in the future.

“The main thing that we really had to master very quickly was explaining why we were there and what we were doing,” Homayouni said. “It was almost like an elevator pitch. These industry executives don’t have a lot of time at the show and are seeing some of the most amazing creations that the industry and automation has to offer, so you have to learn how to be quick and informative without overloading them with too much technical jargon.”

OU graduate students shine at robotics, automation show in Chicago
Automate 2024

According to Havens, the demonstration at Automate 2024 linked a Microsoft HoloLens 2 with a KUKA robot named “EVA.” Using a headset, users were able to interact with “EVA” in a virtual environment as the robot completed a variety of tasks, including stacking projected cubes. Users were also able to access a projected model of “EVA” in “Full Mode” that could be moved with hand tracking, which would then cause the real-world “EVA” to mimic the movements.

“This offers a whole new avenue of human-machine interaction, ensuring safety, training, diagnostic information, and a new way to control robots,” said Havens, who is studying software engineering. “The dream KUKA and ARC are working toward is walking into a room full of robots, putting on the headset, and moving from machine to machine, getting fast information and easy adjustments.”

Havens and Homayouni said they were grateful for the opportunity to attend and participate in Automate 2024.

“Getting an opportunity to not only meet and hear from industry professionals at KUKA, but to also work with them to showcase such quickly growing technology has been more than eye-opening,” Havens said. “As a student, it can be hard to really break into industry or speak with people In your field outside of professors and family. For me, it always felt daunting but going with KUKA to Automate 2024 changed my entire outlook.

“Everyone at KUKA was exceptionally welcoming and excited to have students who would put themselves out there and show other industries and students what we do,” she added, “I feel so much more confident in myself as an engineer and computer scientist and came back from Automate ready to throw myself into my work and studies.”

Homayouni agreed.

“At the end of the day, it was fun to see people excited for initiatives here at the ARC and the projects that we have been working on for months, he said. “Oftentimes you work in a vacuum and I feel very lucky to see that other people are interested in the work that we are doing here at OU.”

To learn more about the Augmented Reality Center at OU, visit

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