Venugopal K Varma

Group Leader, Remote Systems Group

Dr. Venu Varma joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1993 as a robotics engineer in the Remote Process and Systems Division. He received his PhD from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Dr. Varma has published in 50 journals, conference proceedings, and technical reports covering robotics, computer vision, automation, and design for remote environments. He is a member of ASME and IEEE. He holds two patents related to shape memory alloy actuators and sensors.

Since 2016, Dr. Varma has served ORNL as a group leader for the Remote Systems Group. He leads a staff of engineers, technicians, and designers in developing mechanisms for high radiation environments, among other projects.

Projects in which he has had a major role include:

  • Mobile Uranium Facility
  • Octocopter for eco-sampling of the terrestrial biosphere
  • Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment–Target Station
  • Advanced High Temperature Reactor design
  • Stress corrosion cracks detection in natural gas pipelines using Electro Magnetic Acoustic Transducer
  • Design of shape memory alloy and piezo-electric actuators
  • Remote tools for nuclear remediation and reactor dismantlement and Spallation Neutron Source diagnostics
  • Vision-based identification of components, and computer-assisted autodocking of vehicles
  • Control algorithm development for robot manipulators using kinematics, dynamics, and control systems (military automation)

Areas of Research Interest:

  • Mechanical design and instrumentation for hazardous/high-radiation environments
  • Robotics, actuator, and other mechanical systems design
  • Remote sensing technologies
  • Nuclear remediation and decommissioning
  • Remote ecological and environmental sampling
  • Remote design and instrumentation for molten salt reactor
  • Ultrasonic sensing of natural gas pipelines
  • Army munitions automation