Some Featured Projects

Precision Ping Pong Ball Robot Thrower Ping Pong Ball Hitter

Precision Ping Pong ball Robot Thrower

Real Time Physical Computing for a 3dof robot leg

Variable pitch water screw designed and built by Frank and his M.Eng student Andre Willy

Design model of robot Eagle bird tail

Latest Hexapod

Great care has been taken with this latest design. For example, (i) 60 ball bearing races are used for the leg and tendon joints to give low friction, long life, extremely low maintenance and high repeatability, (ii) legs have low weight, high stiffness and low polar moment of inertia brought about by careful design, CNC precision machining, and use of aluminium alloy, Delrin plastic and carbon fibre materials.
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Featured Research Project Artificial muscle

New artificial muscle prototype New artificial muscle oscillating at 1.5Hz

Physical Computing

3dof leg in realtime demonstration Robot Eagle Bird Tail demonstration flight control motions

About Frank

This is Frank programming a CNC milling machine A CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machine, is a high precision machine that you program to cut material, e.g. plastic, aluminium, into almost any shape you can imagine. The machine is a "subtractive" machine, i.e. it removes unwanted material from a block, as compared to an "additive machine", e.g. a 3-d printer, that starts by building up a shape from nothing by adding tiny amounts of material to itself like bees when they build their hive. Both machines have their own advantages and disadvantages. Dr. Francis Frank Nickols is an Associate Professor of Mechatronics and Control Engineering at University of Nottingham Ningbo China, UNNC. This is a British University in China, Zhejiang Province, city of Ningbo which is south of Shanghai on the eastern seaboard of China. Ningbo is a pleasant city with parks and canals everywhere and many people, including Frank, whizzing around on electric bikes. He was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge University U.K. where he received a Bachelor degree in Engineering Science in 1978. Later he received a Masters degree in Electronic Systems Design from Cranfield University, U.K. and a Ph.D. degree in Mechatronics from University of Wales, College of Cardiff, U.K.

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Some Published papers

1. "Sliding Friction Mechanism (SFM) ...." published October 2013 in

2. "A Tabular Format for Computing Inverse Kinematic Equations for a 3DOF Robot Leg". Click the image below to open link: