Dr. Samuel Cubero

Dr. Samuel Cubero

Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Address: P.O.Box: 127788, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Telephone: +971 (0)2 501 8511

Email: samuel.cubero@ku.ac.ae


Dr. Cubero is a specialist in the design and manufacture of machines, automation systems and robots controlled by electronics, computers and software (commonly known as Mechatronic Engineering).  He has over 2 decades of experience in teaching and doing practical research in the fields of robot manipulators (FK, IK and dynamics modeling), actuator design (including variable position, speed and force control), mobile robots (walking machines, UAVs), machine design and analysis, material failure analysis (modelling and FEA simulation), CAD (2D engineering graphics, drawing and 3D modeling), workshop manufacturing processes (including CAM and CNC machining), electronic circuit design, circuit and component analysis, PCB fabrication, embedded systems / microcontroller design and chip programming, high-level PC programming, sensors, machine vision hardware and software design (CCD camera selection or design and construction, feature detection and image recognition), 2D and 3D graphics programming (for machine animation and simulation), and 3D game engine software development (including VR and motion capture).  He is a member of the M2VIP (Mechatronics and Machine Vision In Practice) international steering committee, and helped with organizing various international conferences, technology exhibitions and competitions relating to practical mechatronics and robotics, working with organizations such as IEEE (RAS – Robotics Automation Society – when he was a member back in 2011), TDC (Abu Dhabi), ThinkScience, Innovator and M2VIP.  Dr Cubero had supervised over 140 final year engineering students in over 50 different practical projects that were successfully designed, built and demonstrated – several of which had won 1st place awards in prestigious UAE ‘Best design project’ competitions involving approximately 50 or more competing projects.  Dr. Cubero filed patents for 3 original inventions and was the co-inventor or co-designer of over a dozen mechatronic machine prototypes, several of which have been successfully commercialized.  He had also appeared on TV several times and in several newspaper reports and stories in Australia, e.g. self-driving autonomous vehicles that his students built, a combat robot competition he organized, and the SPI (Straying Prevention Indicator) – the world’s first Lane Departure Alarm (LDA) for motor vehicles – a machine vision system that warns a driver that his or her vehicle is drifting out of its painted road lane inadvertently.  This system can warn a driver of a dangerous lane change – often caused by careless driving (i.e. not watching the road ahead), driver fatigue (e.g. ‘driving while sleepy’) or driving while impaired (e.g. dangerous ‘drink driving’).  The LDA concept is now being implemented on many luxury cars.

  • PhD, Mechatronic Engineering, University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Australia (1998)
  • B.Eng, Mechanical (with Honours), University of Queensland (UQ), Australia (1993)
  • Machine design, CAD (engineering drawing, 2D & 3D modeling)
  • Electronics (circuit design), Microcontroller hardware and software
  • Stress analysis (or Mechanics of Solids), Statics (Load analysis)

Research Topics:

  • Design, modeling, analysis and control of walking machines
  • 3D simulation, VR (Virtual Reality) and “human in the loop” technologies


Recent Research Projects

  • TURTLE – Tele-operated Unmanned Robot for Telemetry and Legged Exploration”.  Sponsors:  ADNOC & The Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi, UAE.  Principal:  Samuel Cubero; Co-investigator: John Billingsley.  This is a concept design for a 6-legged swimming and walking amphibious robot, fitted with foils (or flat fins) which can be manipulated with several degrees of freedom to produce highly efficient underwater propulsion forces.  The legs will each have four degrees of freedom, of which the fourth is rotation of a foil that is fitted to the ‘shin’ to provide propulsion for swimming. By manipulating the movements and rotations of this foil, propulsion forces can be generated to implement a variety of different swimming modes, each with its own advantages and disadvantages (i.e. Oar-type rowing, wing-like flapping and fish-tail thrusting).

The foils attached to the fins allow the Turtle to be controlled in all six degrees of freedom.  The TURTLE amphibious robot design has the ability to transition between swimming mode and walking mode, for walking on an underwater surface or over dry land.  It was desgined to be very lightweight yet strong enough to support itself and light payloads while walking over the rough or undulating surfaces commonly found on a beach.  The mechanical design will allow the absolute position and orientation of the body to be accurately controlled relative to the ground surface, whether above or below water, for the purpose of precision control of onboard tools and sensors.  The space frame design allows the construction of large or small scale, strong, rigid structures (and manipulator limbs and links) to be built while keeping water drag, material costs, weight and actuator energy usage to very low levels.  Such lightweight and energy efficient robots will be useful in many practical applications, especially in areas such as oil and gas exploration, drilling, mining, construction, automated agriculture, military equipment and space exploration.

  • A Mobile Manipulator Arm for Assisting the Frail Elderly and Infirm“.  Sponsor: Scooters Australia, Principal: Samuel Cubero, Co-investigator: Nyan Naung.  Known as the ESRA, or “Electric Scooter Robot Arm”, this device can be attached to a mobile vehicle or electric scooter.  It is capable of being remotely or automatically controlled to pick up and retrieve items weighing up to 20 kg (such as books, large cans of cooking oil and most types of grocery products) from high shelves or difficult-to-reach locations.  Such simple tasks are often considered to be arduous or even impossible for elderly, infirm or physically handicapped people.


See demonstration videos at:  www.samcubero.com

Research Gate.net citations: (click to view many indexed PDF papers or abstracts)



More information about me can be found at:  www.linkedin.com  – Search for: Sam Cubero and at  www.samcubero.com

  1. N. Cubero, “A Review of State-of-the-Art Simulation and Motion Capture Technologies for Practical Training and Education”, Paper CF8016, in Proc. Int. Conf. on Advanced Technology Innovation ICATI 2018, June 27-30, Krabi, Thailand.
  2. N. Cubero, “Strategies for Self-Regulated Learning using VR”, in Proc. 5th International Conference on Sciences, Technology and Social Sciences (ICSTSS), Dubai, UAE, 2017
  3. N. Cubero, “Essential communication skills for engineers, scientists and multi-disciplinary teams”, in Proc. Int. Conf. on Society, Education and Psychology (ICSEP 2016), Paper No. PS10017, IEDRC.org, Dubai, UAE, 2016.
  4. N. Cubero, “Over-speeding Warning System using Wireless Communications for Road Signs and Vehicles,” in Proc. 13th Int. Conf. on Engineering & Technology, Computer, Basic & Applied Sciences, (ECBA 2016), 10-11 June, Dubai, UAE, 2016. (ISBN No. 978-969-670-549-9)
  5. N. Cubero, “A fun and effective self-learning approach to teaching microcontrollers and mobile robotics”, in IJEEE (International Journal of Electrical Engineering Education); vol. 52, 4: pp. 298-319, October, 2015 http://ije.sagepub.com/content/52/4/298.abstract
  6. Cubero, S. N. 2015. “A Mobile Manipulator Arm for Assisting the Frail Elderly and Infirm,” Machine Vision and Mechatronics in Practice, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, Print ISBN 978-3-662-45513-5, Online ISBN 978-3-662-45514-2 (eBook), pp 135-147, http://www.springer.com/engineering/robotics/book/978-3-662-45513-5
  7. N. Cubero, J. Billingsley, “Game Development Tools for Simulating Robots and Creating Interactive Learning Experiences,” Machine Vision and Mechatronics in Practice, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, Print ISBN 978-3-662-45513-5, Online ISBN 978-3-662-45514-2 (eBook), pp 113-134, 2015. http://www.springer.com/engineering/robotics/book/978-3-662-45513-5
  8. N. Cubero, J. Billingsley, “Design Concepts for an Energy-Efficient Amphibious Unmanned Underwater Vehicle,” Machine Vision and Mechatronics in Practice, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, Print ISBN 978-3-662-45513-5, Online ISBN 978-3-662-45514-2 (eBook), pp 209-223, 2015, http://www.springer.com/engineering/robotics/book/978-3-662-45513-5
  9. N. Cubero, “Developing the Creativity and Design Skills of Mechatronic Engineering Students with Labs and Robot Competitions,” Machine Vision and Mechatronics in Practice, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, Print ISBN 978-3-662-45513-5, Online ISBN 978-3-662-45514-2 (eBook), pp 287-307, 2015, http://www.springer.com/engineering/robotics/book/978-3-662-45513-5
  10. N. Cubero, “A Mechatronic Spotting System that mimics Human Weight-training Assistance Behavior,” In International Journal of Embedded Systems (IJES), IJNNGT, Journal ISSN Online: 2356-5942, Journal ISSN Print: 2382-2562, Vol. 1, July 30, 2014, http://www.ijnngt.org/upload/journal9/p7.pdf
  11. Sorby, S. N. Cubero, N. Pasha-Zaidi, H. Karki, “Spatial Skills of Students in the United Arab Emirates,” In Proceedings for the Engineering Leaders Conference on Engineering Education, Doha, Qatar, 2014.
  12. N. Cubero, J. Billingsley, “Simulating the kinematics and motions of robotic manipulators using 3D game development tools,” In Proc. 20th Int. Conf. on Mechatronics and Machine Vision in Practice (M2VIP 2013), Sep. 19, Ankara, Turkey, pp. 143-155, 2013.
  13. N. Cubero, “Simulation and Control of Robot Arms and Manipulators using Blind Adaptive Search Inverse Kinematics,” International Journal of Simulation, Systems, Science and Technology (IJSSST), vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 35-50, 2012. ISSN 1473-8031 print, 1473-804x online.  UK.
  14. N. Cubero, “Design concepts for a hybrid swimming and walking vehicle”, Journal Procedia Engineering, vol. 41, no. 39, pp. 271-280. ISSN 1877-7058, 10.1016/j.proeng.2012.07.303.  Also in Proc. International Symposium on Robotics and Intelligent Sensors (IRIS 2012), Paper No. 4, Session A42 (CD-ROM disc), Kuching, Malaysia, 2012.
  15. N. Cubero, “Robotic horse-training technologies for cutting and campdrafting competitions”, Journal Procedia Engineering, vol. 41, no. 169, pp. 1211-1220, 2012. ISSN 1877-7058, 10.1016/j.proeng.2012 .07.303.  Also in Proc. International Symposium on Robotics and Intelligent Sensors (IRIS 2012), Paper No. 5, Session D23 (CD-ROM disc), Kuching, Malaysia.
  16. N. Cubero, “Automatic shape recognition of hand gestures using an edge-tracing vision system”, International Journal of Image Processing and Visual Communication, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 1-6, 2012. ISSN (Online) 2319-1724.
  17. N. Cubero, “A robotic arm for electric scooters,” Intelligent Technologies for Bridging the Grey Digital Divide, J. Soar, R. Swindell, Rick, P. Tsang, (Eds.), Abu Dhabi, UAE, IGI Global, pp. 94-109, 2011.
  18. N. Cubero, J. Billingsley, and J. Mohammed, “Mechanical design of an amphibious walking and swimming robot,” Proc. 18th International Conference on Mechatronics & Machine Vision in Practice (M2VIP), Brisbane, Australia, 2011.
  19. N. Cubero, “Blind Search Inverse Kinematics for controlling all types of Serial-link robot arms,” Mechatronics and Machine Vision in Practice – Editors: Billingsley, J and Bradbeer, R. ISBN: 978-3-540-74026-1. pp 229-246, Australia, 2008.
  20. Portlock, S. N. Cubero, “Dynamics and Control of a VTOL Quad-Thrust Aerial Robot,” Mechatronics and Machine Vision in Practice – Editors: Billingsley, J and Bradbeer, R. ISBN: 978-3-540-74026-1.  pp 27-40, 2008.

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