Fall 2014 - Spring 2015

1. Miniature Autonomous Pipeline and Subsea Inspection Robots
Dr. James G. Boyd & Dr. Raktim Bhattacharya (AERO)

Team photo - Miniature Autonomous Robots for Pipeline Inspection

An autonomous pipeline robot capable of performing inspection or light maintenance would be desirable in several industries. Many water utility pipelines are aging, and their condition is often unknown. Natural gas pipelines require routine pigging for cleaning and inspection of corrosion. In recent years there has been a growing effort to develop robots for performing tasks such as visual inspection, corrosion/leak detection, and debris removal. While there is a well-developed state of the art, many designs are limited by their size, level of autonomy, or power source. Students will develop miniature robots capable of full autonomy (navigation/control, energy harvesting, and communication) with emphasis on use in the oil and gas industry.

Spring 2015 Poster

2. Fire Flight
Dr. James Boyd and Dr. Johnny Hurtado (AERO)

Team photo - Fire Flight

Though efforts are being made to convert to sustainable energy sources, nuclear and petroleum based energy will continue to play a significant role into the foreseeable future. Harvesting energy from these sources can pose significant risks, creating a need for systems capable of mitigating hazards without introducing threats to human safety. The purpose of the current work is to design an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) capable of operating in high radiation and high temperature environments. The design of such a vehicle would enable inspection of potentially damaged infrastructure in areas that may pose a threat to human health and safety. Accidents may render these areas inaccessible to ground-based vehicles, making air-based vehicles a necessity.

Spring 2015 Poster - Battery Design
Spring 2015 Poster - Motor Design

3. Harnessing molecular motors as "Maxwell's demons" to detect biological weapons
Dr. Wonmuk Hwang (BMEN & MSEN) and Dr. Winfried Teizer (MSEN & PHYS)

Team photo - Cellular Machinery With A Bottom Up Strategy

Our bodies are complicated and breaking the system down to look at their essential components will lead to a better understanding of how the pieces fit together. This research helps answer one of the 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering proposed by the National Academy of engineering (NAE), “Engineering the Tools for Scientific Discovery”, that includes "How will engineering impact biological research?" We have tackled this question by developing research projects based on the building blocks of the intracellular and extracellular structures. We call it "Systems Hardware Biology". The 11 students were split up into 2 experimental groups and 1 simulation group: the intracellular microtubule filament, the extracellular collagen, and a group for the computational study of molecular mechanics and dynamics of both. Although each group works independently, their paths are interconnected. Our goal is to develop new methods to understand complex systems using a combination of experimental and computational approaches taught in the Hwang lab.

Spring 2015 Poster - Strategy 1
Spring 2015 Poster - Strategy 2

4. Biosensors for personalized medicine
Dr. Jun Kameoka (ECEN) & Dr. Kung-Hui Chu (CVEN)

Team photo - Biosensors For Pathogen Detection

The goal of this project is to combat the problem of microbial resistance. Pathogens and harmful bacteria can become resistant to the antibiotics and drugs used to fight them. There is a need for a personalized medicine system to combat this resistance by ensuring that excessive amounts of antibiotics are not being implemented. This project will help to draw connection of drugs and antibiotics to fight pathogens and bacteria. Over the course of this project, we hope to develop a platform and method to identify pathogens and determine the effectiveness of multiple antibiotic drugs. The end product must be low-cost, user-friendly, and highly sensitive. The team designed a biosensor and a detection platform to achieve the objective of the project. The detection platform being used is a smart phone application.

Spring 2015 Poster

5. Multi Parameter Tester
Dr. Kristen Maitland (BMEN)

Team photo - Inexpensive Multiparameter Tester

Rwanda is a developing country in the heart of the African continent. The lack of technology and useful resources present some unique challenges for the hospital workers in the District Hospitals in Rwanda. One such challenge that they encounter in the ubavu District Hospital is a way to calibrate their equipment. Even though the hospital departments have sufficient equipment, broken and functional, most of it needs to be calibrated. Without proper calibration, one does not know if the devices are working properly, yet they continue to be used. More importantly, failure in calibration of medical devices or hospital equipment can lead to potential harm to any patient or hospital worker. For example, an incubator without correct temperature calibration could lead to extreme heat exposure to an infant in an incubator. Therefore, after speaking with the hospital workers, the laboratory personnel in particular, our goals are to outline the design, manufacture, and test an inexpensive universal calibration unit for hospital equipment as well as to develop a simple pictorial manual. Last semester, a functional prototype was developed by a group of electrical engineers. However, this academic year, we are working to make some modifications to the existing prototype in order to make it more robust, compact, and costefficient. With these changes, we believe that our calibration unit will be able to serve its purpose of calibrating medical equipment in underdeveloped countries, specifically Rwanda.

Spring 2015 Poster

6. Multi-Disciplinary Project on Ground & Marine Robotics to facilitate Rapid Arms Control Verification
Dr. Robin Murphy(CSE), Dr. Craig Marianno(CSE), and Dr. Dylan Shell (NUEN)

Team photo - Autonomous Packbot For Radiation Survery

The US State Department is interested in the idea of using robotics for verification in arms control for several reasons. The team has worked on developing a search module using heatmap overlay on geospatial domain which is used by iRobot Packbot 510 to follow a path while collecting readings from the radiation zone. They also modified an aquatic robot to follow the search path while collecting readings.         

Spring 2015 Final Report
Spring 2015 Poster - Interpolation Module
Spring 2015 Poster - Ground Robot Module
Spring 2015 Poster - Aquatic Robot Module
Spring 2015 Poster - Search Algorithms

7. Automated Building Energy Efficiency Analysis
Dr. Bryan Rasmussen (MEEN)

Team photo - Autonomous UAV

Robotic HVAC Duct Leak Detection

HVAC systems are a commonplace in commercial buildings. The process of conditioning the air in a building is very expensive. These expenses are increased if leaks or other inefficiencies are present in duct systems. In order to reduce energy waste in the air-conditioning systems of commercial buildings, energy audits are performed. However, this can be a expensive
and lengthy process. Our team’s objective is “to construct a robotic device capable of detecting common duct faults.” By minimizing the need for human controlled operation and reducing the size of the operator (making hard-to-access areas easier to reach) we intend to decrease time and monetary cost associated with an energy audit. The duct networks to be analyzed consist of a complex system of changing duct sizes, turns, splits, and multiple air directing devices. Restrictions like these not only necessitated careful analysis of the system but also required a multi-faceted approach to designing the robot. To surmount the multitude of obstacles present, many different ideas were proposed that worked in different sections of the duct network.
The device that was chosen to satisfy the objective is a remote-control drone that will fly along the exterior of the duct network and search for leaks and pinch points using both an optical and infrared camera. Data from the optical camera can be streamed instantaneously, while the infrared data will be observed after the test.

Autonomous UAV

The objective of this project is to design and build an unmanned aerial vehicle that is capable of autonomously navigating the interior of a commercial building and collecting accurate occupancy information. To solve this problem, the group will use multiple quad copters working at two stages. The first stage will use one UAV to navigate the building and generate a 2 dimensional map of the layout. The second stage will use the remaining UAVs to follow the map and count the number of occupants. The group was split into three teams to focus on the three main aspects of the project: navigation for discovering and mapping the building layout, enumeration for getting occupancy counts and information, and hardware for developing the UAV with appropriate flight control and obstacle avoidance features.

Spring 2015 Poster 

8. Point of Care (POC) Health Informatics for Proactive Epilepsy Seizure Alert
Dr. Satish Bukkapatnam (BMEN), Dr. Samba Reddy (NUEN), Dr. Trung Le, Tran,Wang (ISEN)

Team photo - Point Of Care Health Informatics For Epileptic Seiszure Alert

Epilepsy is the second most common neurological disorder that affects more than 2 million people in the United States. Our research investigates the development of a non-invasion POC device to provide a reliable epileptic seizure warning system that can be used discretely on a daily basis comfortably. An interdisciplinary group of undergraduate students under the mentorship of professors and research scientist from Industrial System Engineering, Neurological Science and Center for Remote Healthcare Technology has develop advanced technologies to predict the epileptic seizures. The project has included the developing low cost point of care devices for EEG data collection, advanced data analytics model for the high-specificity disorder detection, and forecasting method for early warning system development. The accomplishments of the group can be summarized in three specific categories: (1) studied different degradation features significant for the detection and prediction of epileptic seizure, (2) developed electronic hardware and embodiment design with the integrated with the algorithm, (3) scheduled protocol for testing and validating the system.

Spring 2015 Poster

9. Scalable Clean Water
Drs. Mark Holtzapple,Mahmoud El-Halwagi (CHEN),Pavel V. Tsvetkov (NUEN)

Many cities around the world are facing issues supplying people with water. An attractive solution to this problem is desalination: producing fresh water by removing the salt from ocean water. While the basic principles of desalination have been used for several decades, an innovative method of desalination has been proposed. The new design we analyzed is capable of
producing fresh water at a cost of $.93/1000 gallons. This cost is much lower than other methods (Tampa Bay produces water with a reverse osmosis plant at a cost of $2.50/1000 gallons). The design uses nuclear desalination to solve water crisis of the world. It has many advantages over conventional desalination techniques. The jet ejector requires much less energy than other options, such as reverse osmosis or multi-stage flash evaporators. This reduced energy requirement drives cost down dramatically. In addition, the lack of moving parts in the jet ejector also drops the price of maintenance of the plant.

10. Developing a MOOCS Platform for Online Personalized Learning Allowing Sketch Input
Dr. Tracy Hammond (CSCE)

Team photo - Course Sketch

Technology is increasingly being used for educational purposes. It gives us a chance to offer more interactive learning experience. This projects aims to develop a MOOCS platform that allows for personalized learning using sketch input. The project is developing a learning platform, entitled CourseSketch, where teachers can post assignments online and students can complete those assignments, including handdrawn solutions, and have those solutions corrected by a human, and eventually also have many of the assignments automatically corrected by a computer. The objective of the team projects will be to develop a platform that can be used across several courses, enabling instructors to draw their solutions, and have their students solutions compared to theirs, and be able to provide both highand lowlevel feedback to the students based on their drawings. To ensure that the platform is flexible across domains, it will be initially tested and made to work with statics diagrams, Japanese language learning, chemistry diagrams, Venn diagrams at a minimum, and possibly a few others.

Spring 2015 Poster 1
Spring 2015 Poster 2

11. A Bio-Inspired AUV for Infrastructure Monitoring and Sub-sea Exploration, and Search and Rescue Operations
Drs. Gregory H. Huff,J.F.Chamberland (ECEN)

The students have continued their efforts from the 2013-2014 academic year which focused on the design and development of subsystems for a bio-inspired autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) based on the structure and overarching hydrodynamic principles of a squid. The overarching goal of the project for this year was to develop an autonomous underwater vehicle that modeled its propulsion system, sensors, and structural design after a quid/cuttlefish. The team developed, designed and implemented a prototype of a sensor network embedded in spherical antenna buoys to collect environmental data in waterways and monitor border traffic. 

Spring 2015 Poster

12. On-Demand Manufacturing of Rapidly Deployable Super absorbents for Oil Spill Cleanup
Dr. Victor Ugaz (CHEN)

Team photo - on demand manufacturing

Oil spills in Galveston Bay are a routine occurrence. Since the late 90s, Galveston Bay has averaged 285 spills a year averaging 103 gallons per incident. Most were less than one gallon. Oil spills are expensive to clean up (equipment, manpower, time) because most existing approaches are designed for large-scale spills. Small-scale oil spills occur frequently, but are ignored because existing technologies are inefficient to deploy. The team has designed a unique way to embed a 3D printed oil absorbing polymer “sponge” in an autonomous robotic skimmer to enable inexpensive routine cleanup of small-scale spills. 

Spring 2015 Poster

13. EMG Based Control a Robotic Arm through Hand Gestures
Dr. R. Langari (ETID)

The underlying task of this project was to produce a robotic arm interface that was capable of interpreting EMG signals (processed with Matlab) of a human forearm and enable control of the robot to perform the same types of motion. Continuing where the previous AggiE challenge team left off from last semester, the main goal of this semester was to understand, analyze and interpret the signals being processed within a forearm and look for improvements to the Matlab code that was previously created. With a goal of increasing the accuracy and efficiency of the EMG processing, it was the responsibility of this semester’s team to explore different methods of classification in the Matlab code, by comparing the effectiveness (both processing time and accuracy) for 20 individuals whose data was already recorded. 

Spring 2015 Poster