Our Team

Paul Oh

Team Director

Dr. Paul Oh is the founder of the Drones and Autonomous Systems Laboratory (DASL) at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is also the Lincy Professor of Unmanned Aerial Systems for the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering. Oh has served as the director for robotics at the National Science Foundation (NSF) managing portfolios regarding research. Moreover, Oh has worked for Boeing, Naval Research Lab, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Oh has also led the team which placed 8th of the robotics team in the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Finals.

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Jean Chagas Vaz

Team Captain / Lead Engineer 

Dr. Jean Chagas Vaz is a research scientist with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas' (UNLV) Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL). He has previously served as a team member for Team DRC-HUBO@UNLV in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Finals in 2015. Additionally, Dr. Vaz lead DASL Lab to victory at Geekpwn Robot Agent Challenge in Shanghai -China back in 2018. Dr. Vaz’s current research interests include humanoid robot locomotion, humanoid robot manipulation, nuclear hardening of robotic devices, and vibration analysis & control. His past work includes creating a unique transformation framework for the miniature humanoid robot ROBOTIS-OP, lift-and-carry of dynamic objects for humanoid robots, and developing unique methods of control for humanoid robots in disaster relief and recovery scenarios. 

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Akshay Dave

Head of Robotics & Vision

Akshay Dave is a 1st-year Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and a graduate researcher with the Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL). Akshay previously received an IRES Fellowship to work at the KAIST HUBO Lab in South Korea in 2019, where he developed control methods for the RB5 robot arm. Akshay’s current research interests include AR/VR applications, dynamic projection mapping, machine learning, trajectory planning, and computer vision. Akshay’s past work includes developing the vision framework aboard Avatar-Hubo and developing Avatar-Darwin, a miniature Avatar System tailored for social robotics. 

Nathan Kassai

Head of Integration & Software 

Nathan Kassai is a 3rd-year undergraduate student majoring in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and an undergraduate researcher in the Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL). Throughout his time at DASL, Nathan has gained a wide variety of experience in manufacturing, drone building, ROS, and creating VR applications with Unity. Nathan’s current interests include VR, drones, and humanoids. 

Dongbin Kim

Head of Logistics

Dr. Dongbin Kim is a research scientist with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas' (UNLV) Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL). Dongbin also serves as Lab Manager for DASL, and previously served as a WEST Engineering Intern with DASL in 2016. Dongbin’s current research interests include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), haptic control, robotic manipulation, and robotic control. His past work includes developing methods for mobile manipulation of an unmanned aerial vehicle (MM-UAV), control of UAVs through haptic manipulators, and automated skywriting using a fixed-wing UAV.

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Nicolas Kosanovic

Holiday Nick!

Nicolas (Nick) Kosanovic is a 4th-year undergraduate student studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Honors College and is an undergraduate researcher at the Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL).  In his time at DASL, Nick has helped support Team AVATAR-HUBO by buttressing the instruction team, making promotional videos and graphics for Team AVATAR-HUBO, and designing (and 3D Printing) equipment aboard the robot. Now Nick works as a Haptics Engineer for Team AVATAR-HUBO.  When not in DASL, Nick can usually be found at rehearsals for the UNLV Marching Band or the world-renowned UNLV Wind Orchestra, or working on designing open-source 3D-printable clarinet parts.  Nick's current interests include automation, haptics, and robotic manipulation.   

Son Tran

Logistics Team Member

Son is a 4th-year Mechanical Engineering Student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and an undergraduate researcher in the Drone and Autonomous System Lab (DASL).  At the moment, Son's interests reside to rocketry and UAVs.  Son is also part of Team AVATAR-HUBO's Logistics Team and helped with the transportation and rebuilding of AVATAR-HUBO during the ANA Avatar XPRIZE Semifinals in Miami, FL. 

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Armaun Zargari

Logistics Team Member

Armaun Zargari is 4th-year undergraduate student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and an undergraduate researcher with the Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL). Armaun previously contributed to path planning for mobile robots, motion algorithms for robot manipulators, and ROS drivers for motor controllers. Armaun also has extensive experience studying trajectory generation for robot manipulators. Armaun’s past work includes building a drone platform equipped with RGB and IR cameras to detect harm on agriculture and plants and his current research interests include computer vision, locomotion, and navigation.

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Zahir Castrejon

Logistics Team Member

Zahir Castrejon is a 4th-year undergraduate student of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and an undergraduate researcher in the Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL). Zahir’s current research interests include computer vision, robotic manipulation, robotic control, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). He is currently building a drone platform to detect trash within marine environments using RGB and IR cameras.

Santiago Ricoy

Manufacturing Team Lead

Santiago Ricoy is a 6th-year undergraduate student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and is an undergraduate researcher in the Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL). Santiago previously served as a team member for Team DRC-HUBO@UNLV in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Finals in 2015. Santiago has experience and training with many different forms of manufacturing including: CNC machining, 3D printing, laser cutting, woodworking, and screenprinting.  Santiago is a vital member of Team AVATAR-HUBO, responsible for the rapid manufacturing and maintenance of equipment aboard AVATAR-HUBO.  

© 2019 Virtual Vegas.

Legacy Members

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Leonard Ruzga

Manufacturing Team Member

Leonard Ruzga is a 4th-year University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) undergraduate student, and an undergraduate researcher in the Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL).  Leonard has a great deal of experience in mechanical design; as such, he was tasked with designing and manufacturing the new head of AVATAR-HUBO.  

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Yu-Hang He

Head of Robotics & Integration

Yu Hang He was a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering and Robotics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was also a member of Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL) where he had experience working with humanoids, manipulators, motion capture systems, robotic grippers, computer vision, and system integration research. During his first year at DASL, Yu Hang was tasked with making Darwin-OP, a miniature humanoid robot, run. He was able to improve the locomotion gaits and running algorithm through research. Through a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant entitled International Research Experiences for Students (IRES), Yu Hang spent 3 summer months in Korea working with Humanoid Robots in the Hubo Lab of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Hubo Lab is a world-renowned laboratory and the winner of 2015 DARPA Robotic Challenge. There, Yu Hang demonstrated humanoid upper-body limb control with a motion capture system. Returning to DASL, Yu Hang participated in various research projects, such as humanoid robotic locomotion, exoskeletons, and robotic gripper design. More recently, Yu Hang was contracted by Tesla to research system integration for Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot in Tesla’s factory.  Yu Hang is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).

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Dylan Wallace

Dylan Wallace is a recent graduate in Electrical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Dylan was also an undergraduate researcher at the Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL) at UNLV where he had over 4 years of experience working on computer vision, humanoid robotics, communications, and machine learning research. Dylan worked with researchers from UNLV and the University of Tokyo to research the effects of latency delay on extreme-distance communications and robot control, as part of a project utilizing humanoid robots in space. In 2017, Dylan worked for KAIST Hubo Lab where he developed a novel algorithm for real-time footstep planning for a humanoid robot using dynamically segmented footstep planes. Dylan has also developed a low-cost, low-latency computer vision framework which can efficiently operate on a network, and is targeted toward K-12 educators and students. In 2018, Dylan worked for the Naval Research Lab (NRL) where he worked to integrate the walking algorithm of a humanoid robot into cloud-computing, and researched the effects of latency delays on robot control. Dylan is currently pursuing his PhD at the University of Michigan.

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Leonardo Georgescu

Leonardo Georgescu is a recent graduate in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in aerial robotics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Leonardo is responsible for the design, production, and supply chain for the development of drones. Leonardo has a background in drones, both fixed-wings and quadcopters, rovers, and force sensing. He has experience working with drones at the university’s research lab, the Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab; his task involved building drones for a variety of applications and ensuring their robustness in the field. Before joining Virtual Vegas, Leonardo was an international researcher at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology researching different methods for indoor positioning of multiple drones. He also held an internship at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he was tasked with improving the durability of the Axel Rover before field tests. Other relevant experience includes motion capture and flight controllers.  Leonardo is passionate about flying and spends his spare time on flight simulators, plane spotting, or tinkering with drones.

Dr. Giho Jang

Dr. Giho Jang is the Chief of Research and Development at Rainbow Robotics USA and a robotic research advisor for the Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL). Dr. Jang previously served as a lead researcher on the DRC-HUBO@UNLV team in the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Finals. Dr. Jang received his Ph.D. in Electronic, Electrical, Control, and Instrumentation Engineering from Hanyang University in 2015 under Dr. Youngjin Choi. He has 12 years of experience working with humanoid robots, and specializes in designing communication structures and graphical interfaces for robot control. Dr. Jang also had experience during his Ph.D. with using EEG & EMG signals to control a robotic wheelchair. Dr. Jang is currently overseeing the research and development of service robot applications for the RB5 robot from Rainbow Robotics, and advises DASL with robotics research.

Hyunhee Lee

Hyunhee Lee is the Head of Engineering at Rainbow Robotics USA and a robotic research advisor for the Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL). Hyunhee previously completed a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from UNLV in 2018, and worked as a Graduate Research Assistant with the DASL from 2016-2018. While at DASL he gained experience working with the DRC-HUBO platform, developing novel walking algorithms for life-and-carry of dynamic objects. Hyunhee is currently overseeing the engineering of service robot applications for the RB5 robot from Rainbow Robotics, and advises DASL with robotics research.

Diego Rodriguez Lopez

Diego Rodriguez Lopez is a 3rd-year undergraduate student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and an undergraduate researcher with the Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL). Diego has experience utilizing different forms of fabrication such as 3D printing, CAD modeling, and CNC machining. Diego’s past work includes electronic interfacing of smart servos for the robotic pruning vegetables, ROS drivers for Spot’s manipulator,  and development for Unity engines and VR headsets., Diego thoroughly enjoys working with his hands and often spends his free time in his family auto shop repairing and modifying cars.