Texas A&M Engineering News The Look College is one of the largest engineering schools in the country, ranking third in undergraduate enrollment and sixth in graduate enrollment by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) in its 2011 survey. The Look College also ranked seventh in the number bachelor's degrees awarded, 13th in master's degrees awarded and 10th in doctoral degrees awarded. And our college consistently ranks among the nation's top public undergraduate and graduate engineering programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. http://engineering.tamu.edu Wed, 27 Jul 2016 00:00:00 CST Wed, 27 Jul 2016 00:00:00 CST Dehghanian accepted for participation at PHM Symposium Deana Totzke <deana@ece.tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/27/dehghanian-accepted-for-participation-at-phm-symposium <p><img width="226" height="225" src="/media/3105636/payman-dehghanian_226x225.jpg" alt="payman" class="leftalign"/>Payman Dehghanian, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, was accepted for participation in the Prognostic and Health Management (PHM) Society’s Symposium.</p> <p>Dehghanian was among 10 awardees nationwide whose application was approved for the PHM symposium scheduled for Oct. 2 in Denver. The doctoral symposium provides an excellent opportunity for graduate students to present their research interests and plans. The students will receive structured guidance from a panel of distinguished researchers, as well as comments from conference participants and fellow students in a collegial setting. The PHM Society will cover all his expenses.</p> <p>Dehghanian, who is advised by Dr. Mladen Kezunovic, the Eugene E. Webb Professor in the department, is the current leader of the Texas A&amp;M student branch joint chapter of the IEEE PELS-PES-IAS. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Tehran in 2009 and his master's degree from Sharif University of Technology in 2011, both in electrical engineering. His research interests include power system protection and control, power system reliability, asset management, maintenance scheduling, renewable integration and smart-grid applications.</p> <p>His recent honors include being selected as a potential future leader by IEEE, receiving the Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid-of-Research, receiving a 2nd Place Prize for Best Poster Award at the 2016 IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) Transmission and Distribution (T&amp;D) Conference and Exposition, a research grant scholarship from the American Public Power Association under the Demonstration of Energy and Efficiency Development (DEED) Program, being awarded the Roland and Margaret Prove Southerland Aggie Leader Scholarship for the 2016-2017 academic year and being selected as the IEEE Industry Application Society Electric Safety Workshop 2017 student program chair.</p> <p>The PHM Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of PHM as an engineering discipline. The PHM Society has three basic principles, to provide free and unrestricted access to PHM knowledge, to promote interdisciplinary and international collaboration in PHM and to lead the advancement of PHM as an engineering discipline.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/27/dehghanian-accepted-for-participation-at-phm-symposium http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/27/dehghanian-accepted-for-participation-at-phm-symposium Wed, 27 Jul 2016 00:00:00 CST Texas A&M University’s human-powered sub shines at world championship Shraddha Sankhe <shraddha@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/27/texas-am-universitys-human-powered-sub-shines-at-world-championship <hr /> <p><em>The 12th Mantaray team (from left to right): Jake Taylor, McKenzie Griffith, Martina Garcia, Aaron Rambo, Jose Lacal, Ben Torrison and Kevin Ariyanonthaka</em></p> <p>The 12th Mantaray, Texas A&amp;M University’s human-powered submarine, completed eight out of 15 attempts with a top speed of 4.4 knots at the 2016 European International Submarine Races (EISR) at the QinetiQ Ocean Basin in Gosport, England. Based on speed, it was the fourth fastest submarine out of the 11 subs in the competition.</p> <p>The 12th Mantaray also received the QinetiQ Prize for the most dramatic event when the submarine went from being horizontal to vertical, but the student piloting the sub was able to recover and complete the race.</p> <p>The races involved teams of university students who design, build, test and race human-powered submarines around a slalom course. The basic design and build process of the submarine consisted of five components: hull, propulsion, transmission, pilot safety and ergonomics, and control. This year teams from the United States, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Denmark, Canada and the United Kingdom competed in the races.</p> <p>Texas A&amp;M’s team was made up of Kevin Ariyanonthaka (pilot), Martina Garcia (co-team leader), Ben Torsion (co-team leader), Jake Taylor, McKenzie Griffith, Aaron Rambo and Jose Lacal. Earlier this year, it was the first team to officially qualify for the races.</p> <p>Ariyanonthaka was the sole source of propulsion for the submarine as he pedaled the fully submerged submarine wearing scuba gear.</p> <p>“The turns and slalom gates at the races presented a new challenge for the team, especially the pilot,” said <a href="https://engineering.tamu.edu/ocean/people/randall-robert">Dr. Robert Randall</a>, W. H. Bauer Professor in Dredging Engineering in the Department of Ocean Engineering. “Kevin did an outstanding job and that is not possible without the support from everyone on the team.”</p> <p>Since 1991, ocean engineering students have participated in the <a href="https://engineering.tamu.edu/ocean/academics/student-organizations/human-powered-submarine">human-powered submarine races</a>. The students have built both two-person and one-person submarines, powered by SCUBA certified student drivers.</p> <p>The Texas A&amp;M team was sponsored by the Houston Chapter of the Marine Technology Society, Texas Section of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, Baumann Propellers, Oceaneering, Baxter and Knoll, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, McClure and Associates, InterMoor, Deep Down, Classic Collision and Restoration, TASCO Auto Color, Machine Works, DIAB, DUNA, Department of Ocean Engineering, the Texas A&amp;M Engineering Experiment Station Offshore Technology Research Center, and the Haynes Coastal Engineering Laboratory.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/27/texas-am-universitys-human-powered-sub-shines-at-world-championship http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/27/texas-am-universitys-human-powered-sub-shines-at-world-championship Wed, 27 Jul 2016 00:00:00 CST Systematically changing the world Lorian Hopcus <lorian.hopcus@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/26/systematically-changing-the-world <p>From the healthcare industry, to wind energy, the oil and gas industry and manufacturing, researchers from the system informatics group in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University are developing data-driven methods to improve the systems and processes involved with each area.</p> <p>“We take in data and solve engineering systems by developing sophisticated data analytics methods while considering engineering domain knowledge and models,” said Dr. Yu Ding, professor and senior member of the group. “System informatics fuses system knowledge into data modeling and analysis. It is a key area in addressing the challenges of big data.”</p> <h4>Serving Efficiently</h4> <p><img width="188" height="242" src="/media/581403/image-of-amarnath-banerjee_188x242.jpg" alt="Image of Amarnath Banerjee" class="rightalign"/>As a result of the Affordable Care Act, the call for improved access to primary care for all Americans has reached an all-time high. Additionally, there has been a nationwide trend amongst healthcare providers to transform their practices to become Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH), with the primary emphasis on improving quality of care. A key function of PCMH is accessible service that requires improving accessibility of primary care for patients.</p> <p>With 90 percent of patient care delivered through out patient services, appointment schedules must be improved to ensure the success of all patients. Dr. Amarnath Banerjee, associate professor, is working with his Ph.D. student, Yu Fu, to develop models that will enable a clinic to serve the right mix of traditional patients and same day request patients, which will improve timely access to primary care.</p> <p>“The objective is to develop a balanced schedule that tends to minimize both the waiting time for patients as well as idle time for physicians,” Banerjee said. “The waiting time increases if there are too many patients that are scheduled while the idle time increases if there are not enough patients.”</p> <p>This problem becomes difficult to solve in a one size fits all manner. Banerjee and his team use stochastic factors, estimated using advanced statistical techniques, to account for each clinic’s individual characteristics. These factors include patients arriving late or early for their appointments, patients not showing up for their appointments, the variability associated with the encounter time between a patient and the physician, and not completely knowing how many same day requests to expect on a given day.</p> <p>“The model uses existing clinic-specific information available for the previously scheduled traditional patients and the stochastic factors to develop a daily schedule for the clinic,” Banerjee said. “In the process, the model also determines the value of the available information and the extent it helps in developing the appropriate schedule for the clinic.”</p> <p>This research will help practice managers develop better appointment schedules for their clinic using the clinic’s own data, and will improve accessibility and quality of care for its patients.</p> <h4>Understanding wind speed</h4> <p>According to a report from the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21<sup>st</sup> Century, countries worldwide invested $286 billion in renewable energy and about 7.7 million jobs around the world were associated with the industry in 2015.</p> <p>Wind energy is a type of variable renewable energy, which means the primary energy source, the wind, and other influencing environmental factors — air density, humidity and atmospheric stability — cannot be controlled by people. Therefore, the wind power output of a turbine is constantly changing. </p> <p><img width="179" height="230" src="/media/582921/image-of-yu-ding_179x230.jpg" alt="Image of Yu Ding" class="leftalign"/>As a result of this variable nature, the Big Data-driven predictive analytics is needed by wind energy producers and wind farm operators for decision making. These analytics allow the producers and operators to understand how the wind field is changing or if the turbines are performing to the design standards. Dr. Yu Ding and his research group are improving the reliability of wind power production to enhance the market’s competitiveness. </p> <p>“Our group has been working closely with practitioners in the wind industry and received over 100 gigabytes of wind farm operational data,” Ding said. “The large amount of data provides an unprecedented opportunity for us to address some critical technical challenges in wind energy predictive analytics.”</p> <p>Ding’s team is developing statistical and machine learning models to understand the local wind field and its dynamics to help farm operators forecast wind speed more accurately in the future.</p> <p>“We also use the in-field measurements of both power outputs and environmental inputs, wind speed included, to understand how a turbine performs,” Ding said. “Answering these predictive analytics questions helps the operators plan maintenance actions to counter turbine degradation, justify costly retrofitting turbine upgrades, or optimize turbine control for better production capability or a longer service life.”</p> <p>The group has received grants from the Texas A&amp;M Energy Institute and the National Science Foundation to perform research in this field.</p> <h4>Developing Success</h4> <p>Almost 20 million barrels of oil are used each day in the United States. Therefore, extracting oil from the earth is a process that must occur in a timely manner.  </p> <p>Dr. Andrew Johnson, associate professor, is working to develop a manufacturing system for National Oilwell Varco (NOV). This system will allow it to be the world’s leader in the manufacturing of complex, highly engineered oil extraction equipment. This project is in collaboration with researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Pennsylvania State University.</p> <p><img width="193" height="192" src="/media/581433/mypic_140x139.jpg" alt="Image of Andrew Johnson" class="leftalign rightalign"/></p> <p>Constructing land or subsea drilling systems is a very lengthy and expensive process. Additionally, the industry is ever changing. A year and a half ago, the demand for drilling was very high, but today, there is very little demand.</p> <p>“NOV’s manufacturing processes are making significant improvements,” Johnson said. “The goal of this project is to develop an integrated manufacturing system for NOV to build complex highly customized products that will allow them to be as successful as Toyota was with the mass production of cars.”</p> <p>To accomplish this goal, the researchers have identified three critical areas for development.</p> <p>“These areas are manufacturing organization, measuring manufacturing performance and manufacturing processes,” Johnson said. “Texas A&amp;M is leading the research in measuring manufacturing performance.”</p> <p>The Texas A&amp;M team is comprised of Johnson and four graduate students. Over the past five years, 11 students have worked with six different plants and saved the company millions of dollars through improved communications and efficiency in operations.</p> <p>“We have focused on improving the integration of shop floor metrics with the overall objectives of the plants and company,” Johnson said. </p> <p>While the oil industry is currently in a downturn, this is the right time to apply improved measurement and operational practices to continue to allow NOV to be the world’s leading provider of equipment and components used in oil and gas industry.</p> <h4>Building Quality Control</h4> <p>Dr. Li Zeng, assistant professor, analyzes and monitors manufacturing and healthcare delivery systems for improvement and quality control.</p> <p>“The concerns on energy and environment during the past two decades have led to improvements in house and building design,” Zeng said. “This is made possible through the use of energy efficient windows made of low-emittance glass.”</p> <p><img width="174" height="229" src="/media/3674830/li-zeng_184x242_174x229.jpg" alt="Image of Li Zeng" class="leftalign"/></p> <p>Low-emittance glass can reduce unwanted heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter by reflecting up to 90 percent of infrared radiation.</p> <p>“One study suggests that if all windows are made of such glass, the collective annual energy bill of our nation could be reduced by 25 percent per year,” Zeng said. “This has made low-emittance glass manufacturing an important sector of the glass industry.”</p> <p>The current quality control methods are unreliable because of the simple use of quality measurements such as the measurement of optical properties at different locations of the glass surface. Essentially, the low emittance glass industry is a data-rich environment due to the application of advanced information and sensing technologies in recent years. Unfortunately, the traditional quality control system is not able to integrate the data collected with the process monitoring and root cause diagnosis efforts.</p> <p>“I am developing a method that will make full use of the information in the measurements, thus being able to provide more reliable results,” Zeng said. “For example, when quality problems occur, current methods may still report false information that the manufacturing process is running normally. My method will generate a signal of process change.”</p> <p>Zeng’s work on process control in glass manufacturing was awarded the Best Applications Paper award by the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. The paper, titled “Bayesian Hierarchical Modeling for Monitoring Optical Profiles in Low-E Glass Manufacturing Processes,” was featured in the <i>Industrial Engineering (IE) Magazine</i>.</p> <h4>Changing the world</h4> <p>Drs. Banerjee, Ding, Johnson and Zeng are conquering processes in their respective industries to improve the life we know today.</p> <p>As a result of their work, patients will get care when they need it and avoid costly emergency room visits and hospital admissions. Wind energy will become more available, resulting in cheaper energy rates with decreased effects on the environment. The oil and gas industry will be capable of producing highly customized equipment at a lower cost and in a timely manner, making them more accessible to consumers quicker. By creating a higher quality low emittance glass, the home or business owner will benefit from big savings in energy use.</p> <p>Whether directly or indirectly, every project will impact our daily lives for the better.</p> <p> </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/26/systematically-changing-the-world http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/26/systematically-changing-the-world Tue, 26 Jul 2016 00:00:00 CST Kuo elected Fellow of the American Vacuum Society Drew Thompson <d.thompson@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/25/kuo-elected-fellow-of-the-american-vacuum-society <hr /> <p><img width="150" height="193" src="/media/2353228/kuo_web_2015_150x193.jpg" alt="Dr. Yue Kuo" style="float: left; padding-right: 10px; padding-bottom: 3px;"/>Dr. Yue Kuo, professor and holder of the Dow Chemical Professorship in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, has been elected a Fellow of the American Vacuum Society (AVS). The Fellow designation is the highest level of membership in AVS, and recognizes members who have made sustained and outstanding scientific and technical contributions in research, engineering, technical advancement, academic education or managerial leadership.</p> <p>Founded in 1953, AVS is an interdisciplinary professional society that supports networking and collaboration between academic, industrial and governmental sectors. AVS members come from a wide variety of disciplines including chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, engineering and business.</p> <p>This is just the latest in a long line of achievements for Kuo. In February of 2015, Kuo was <a href="http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2015/05/06/kuo-receives-gordon-e-moore-medal-elected-vice-president-in-electrochemical-society">awarded the Gordon E. Moore Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Solid State Science and Technology</a> by the Electrochemical Society (ECS). Also in 2015, Kuo was elected vice president of ECS. In addition to these honors, Kuo has authored or co-authored two separate <a href="http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/08/29/kuos-research-among-most-cited-in-ecs-transactions-journal">articles that are among the top 5 most-cited</a> solid state articles in the journal <i>ECS Transactions.</i></p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/25/kuo-elected-fellow-of-the-american-vacuum-society http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/25/kuo-elected-fellow-of-the-american-vacuum-society Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:00:00 CST Texas A&M and TEES to take part in XXXII Association of Space Explorers Planetary Congress in fall 2019 Donald St. Martin <dstmartin@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/25/texas-am-and-tees-to-take-part-in-xxxii-association-of-space-explorers-planetary-congress-in-fall-2019 <p>Texas A&amp;M University and the Texas A&amp;M Engineering Experiment Station’s Institute for Engineering Education and Innovation (IEEI) will lead the educational outreach component for the XXXII Association of Space Explorers (ASE) Planetary Congress to be held in Houston, Texas, in October 2019. The 2019 Congress, the largest international gathering of space explorers in the world, will honor the 50<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the first lunar landing.</p> <p>During the weeklong event, the ASE Planetary Congress will engage local educators, students and leaders in business, science and research in critical discussion on issues of broad interest to the international space community, government agencies around the world and the public. The only professional association for astronauts and cosmonauts in the world, ASE’s event will also celebrate the 50<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon, as well as to help inspire the future of space exploration.</p> <p>Since its founding in 1985, the ASE has held its Planetary Congress in the United States only three times.</p> <p>Texas A&amp;M and TEES will organize a statewide “Community Day” during the Congress. Other participants include Space Center Houston, the Lone Star Flight Museum, Rice University, and the University of Houston. ASE members will make visits to schools, universities—including Texas A&amp;M University System member campuses—and communities throughout Texas to generate public awareness for the importance of human space flight and its past and future technological contributions to mankind, including the development of computers, health technologies; navigation, communication, agricultural, environmental and weather satellites; new materials; solar energy; and much more. K-12 and university students/teachers throughout the state will also be invited to participate in various Congress activities as part of its ongoing STEM education outreach.</p> <p><img width="200" height="267" src="/media/3847604/dunbar-for-web_200x267.jpg" alt="Dunbar -for -web _200x 267" class="rightalign"/>“We are thrilled to be part of such an important milestone event,” said Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, director of IEEI and TEES Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&amp;M. “The Planetary Congress gives us a wonderful opportunity to reach out to students and the public, and to share with them the science and engineering behind space exploration. We hope to generate excitement and interest not only in space, but also about all other STEM related careers.”</p> <p>This prestigious global event gets underway this fall with a three-year STEM education outreach initiative designed to engage local students and educators in discovering the challenges, opportunities and benefits of space exploration leading up to the Congress. Information will be available through IEEI.</p> <p>For more information on the ASE and its Planetary Congress, visit <a href="http://www.space-explorers.org/" target="_blank">http://www.space-explorers.org/</a>.  </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/25/texas-am-and-tees-to-take-part-in-xxxii-association-of-space-explorers-planetary-congress-in-fall-2019 http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/25/texas-am-and-tees-to-take-part-in-xxxii-association-of-space-explorers-planetary-congress-in-fall-2019 Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:00:00 CST Amato, computer science faculty chair 2016 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference Rachel Rose <rdaggie@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/22/amato-computer-science-faculty-chair-2016-robotics-science-and-systems-conference <p><img width="394" height="263" src="/media/3830632/rss2016-faculty__394x263.jpg" alt="RSS 2016 Faculty" class="rightalign"/>Dr. Nancy M. Amato, director of engineering honors and co-director of the computer science and engineering track of engineering honors at Texas A&amp;M University, was selected program chair of the 2016 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference (RSS) held in June at the University of Michigan.</p> <p>As program chair, Amato was responsible for the technical program of the conference as well as appointing the area chairs and the other members of the conference organizing committee. She administered the review process of the papers that are in the area of robotics.</p> <p>Researchers from around the world working on algorithmic and mathematical foundations of robotics, robotics applications and analysis of robotic systems gather at RSS annually. The conference features invited talks, oral and poster presentations of refereed papers, and workshops.</p> <p>“RSS 2016 was very successful,” said Amato, Regents Professor and Unocal Professor. “We accepted 47 papers from 228 submissions, which was the second largest number of submissions and the second lowest acceptance rate in RSS history. We also had a near record number of attendees at 640.”</p> <p>Several former students and faculty members from computer science and engineering at Texas A&amp;M were also involved with RSS 2016 in various capacities. Former student Dr. Jyh-Ming Lien and Associate Professor Dr. Dezhen Song served as area chairs. Lien, who was advised by Amato during his time at Texas A&amp;M, is currently an associate professor at George Mason University.</p> <p>Workshop co-chair Lydia Tapia, publications co-chair Sam Jacobs, short talk co-chair Marco Morales, and review process co-chairs Sam Rodriguez and Shawna Thomas each worked under Amato during their tenures as Ph.D. students in the computer science and engineering department at Texas A&amp;M.</p> <p>Tapia is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico and was recently awarded the <a href="/news/2016/02/23/former-computer-science-and-engineering-student-awarded-denise-denton-emerging-leader-abie-award">Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award</a>; Jacobs is currently a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Morales is now an assistant professor at the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM); Rodriguez and Thomas are currently postdoctoral students with Amato, however Rodriguez will be starting as an assistant professor at Texas Wesleyan University in August.</p> <p>Associate Professor Dr. Dylan Shell’s paper titled, “Set-labelled filters and sensor transformations,” was accepted at RSS. The paper was co-authored by Fatemeh Zahra Saberifar, Shervin Ghasemlou, and Jason M. O'Kane. In addition, Shell served on a panel at RSS on "Surprises in Robotics in the next 3-5 Years," with three other high profile robotics researchers.</p> <p>In April 2016, the area chair meeting was held on campus at Texas A&amp;M to select the papers that would be presented at the upcoming conference. In conjunction with the area chair meeting, the department hosted a <a href="/news/2016/04/08/scholars-discuss-cutting-edge-research-at-2016-robotics-workshop">workshop</a> during which the area chairs gave talks.</p> <p>Along with her title as program chair, Amato is also co-director of the RSS Foundation Board.</p> <p>RSS was started in 2005 by a group of robotics researchers who believed a high-quality, selective, single-track conference was needed. The conference is managed by the RSS Foundation, which is governed by the Foundation Board and the Advisory Board. </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/22/amato-computer-science-faculty-chair-2016-robotics-science-and-systems-conference http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/22/amato-computer-science-faculty-chair-2016-robotics-science-and-systems-conference Fri, 22 Jul 2016 00:00:00 CST ECE students among the top finalists in TI Innovation Challenge Deana Totzke <deana@ece.tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/26/ece-students-among-the-top-finalists-in-ti-innovation-challenge <p><img width="300" height="200" src="/media/3847617/elbow-orthosis-team_300x200.jpg" alt="Elbow -orthosis -team" class="leftalign"/>A team of undergraduate students in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University was among the top finalists in the 2016 Texas Instruments (TI) Innovation Challenge.</p> <p>The TI Innovation Challenge contest is designed to encourage engineering students to submit design projects that utilize TI technology. It is an open challenge to any area of innovation that an educational institution wants to target. One hundred seventy-nine universities participated.</p> <p>The electrical and computer engineering team consisting of Nathaniel Glaser, Joe Loredo, Rafael Salas and David Cuevas submitted its Elbow Orthosis capstone project, which was awarded second place.</p> <p>Their project was developed over a period of two semesters. It consisted of electromyography (EMG) sensors that are placed on the upper and lower arm in order to detect muscle contractions. In response to the muscle contractions, which are detected, filtered and analyzed using DSP IC’s, it powers a motor that assists the upward or downward movement of the elbow, which enables individuals with muscular dystrophy to accomplish everyday tasks like picking up a glass of water and lifting a plate. The entire system, including 3-D printed arm attachments, is powered by a small, portable battery pack that makes it portable and enables it to be applied to other joints like the knee.</p> <p>Their design also earned the Best Overall Capstone Award in the department’s Capstone Invitational Demo Day.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/26/ece-students-among-the-top-finalists-in-ti-innovation-challenge http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/26/ece-students-among-the-top-finalists-in-ti-innovation-challenge Thu, 21 Jul 2016 00:00:00 CST Texas A&M Engineering teams take top two spots at 2016 Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge Design Contest Donald St. Martin <dstmartin@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/21/texas-am-engineering-teams-take-top-two-spots-at-2016-texas-instruments-innovation-challenge-design-contest <p>A pair of teams from Texas A&amp;M University’s College of Engineering took the top two spots at the 2016 Texas Instruments (TI) Innovation Challenge Design Contest in North America. </p> <p>DVDT, a team comprised of Dakotah Karrer, Vince Rodriguez, David Smith and Trent Tate from the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution’s Electronic Systems Engineering Technology (ESET) program, took first place with its project<a href="/news/2016/07/20/eset-capstone-team-wins-2016-texas-instruments-innovation-challenge">, TSat RF Satellite Communication</a>.</p> <p>The team of David Cuevas, Nathan Glaser, Joe Loredo and Rafael Salas from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, won second place for its project, <a href="/news/2016/07/21/ece-students-among-the-top-finalists-in-ti-innovation-challenge">Powered, Programmable Elbow Orthosis</a>.</p> <p>DVDT worked with Texas Space, Technology, Applications and Research (T-STAR) to create a prototype of a space communication system, which will be used to conduct low-Earth orbit research, a crucial need for growing space exploration efforts.</p> <p>The critical long-range wireless communication for the satellite is provided by TI’s Sub-1 GHz <a href="http://www.ti.com/product/CC1120?HQS=corp-uni-null-tic2016-pr-pf-cc1120-wwe">CC1120 RF transceiver</a> with the <a href="http://www.ti.com/product/CC1190?HQS=corp-uni-null-tiic2016-pr-pf-cc1190-wwe">CC1190 RF front-end amplifier</a> that provides reliable communication and data from the T-STAR satellite to an Earth station.</p> <p>Cuevas, Glaser, Loredo and Salas created a brace-like device that uses a TI ultra-low-power <a href="http://www.ti.com/product/msp432p401r?HQS=corp-uni-null-tiic2016-pr-pf-msp432-wwe">MSP432™ microcontroller</a> (MCU) to stabilize, limit and assist elbow movements to restore upper arm functionality to users suffering from a range of injuries or disorders which weaken muscles and muscular activity.</p> <p>With a growing demand for problem-solving technology, the pressure is on for engineering students to be industry-ready upon graduation. To aid in student readiness, TI hosted the contest where future engineers were tasked with using TI technology to create solutions tackling challenges faced by our world today.</p> <p>“TI continually seeks ways to bring theoretical science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects to life for students,” said Peter Balyta, Ph.D., president of TI Education Technology. “One of the many ways we do this is by hosting the TI Innovation Challenge to give students practical engineering design experience. When students marry engineering education with hands-on creativity, they have the potential to turn their innovative prototypes into the next big technology that will change the world.”</p> <p>Of the nearly 180 teams entering technology solutions, three final teams were recognized at the annual award ceremony on July 19 in the TI Engineering and Innovation Hall at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas. Their inventions addressed problems in the medical, space and health and wellness industries. After a day of touring a TI manufacturing facility and innovation center, the students presented their projects to TI business leaders and contest judges, with the winning project being out-of-this world—literally.</p> <p> </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/21/texas-am-engineering-teams-take-top-two-spots-at-2016-texas-instruments-innovation-challenge-design-contest http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/21/texas-am-engineering-teams-take-top-two-spots-at-2016-texas-instruments-innovation-challenge-design-contest Thu, 21 Jul 2016 00:00:00 CST Vierow conducts ongoing research to evaluate performance of reactor cooling system Robert (Chris) Scoggins <rcscoggins@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/20/vierow-conducts-ongoing-research-to-evaluate-performance-of-reactor-cooling-system <p><iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uXULuYDWdTM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p> On March 11, 2011, Japan was rocked by an earthquake and tsunami that caused the shutdown of the Fukushima Daiichi plant’s active nuclear reactors, disabled all sources powering core cooling systems and caused three of the reactor cores to overheat. The resulting meltdowns caused the release of radioactive material into the surrounding area, a disaster that has spurred investigations and research into the performance of the safety systems installed in these reactors.</p> <p>Despite the effects of the disaster, the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling (RCIC) system performed much better than expected within reactor units two and three, operating in unit three up to eight times longer than intended in those conditions. Understanding the cause behind the RCIC system’s performance and applying it to U.S. reactors is where Sandia National Laboratories and the Department of Nuclear Engineering’s Dr. Karen Vierow come in.</p> <p>“I'm looking at the system from a couple of viewpoints,” Vierow said. “One being, how did it run for so long without power and two, can we take credit for the system in our U.S. reactors to operate for extended times without power? The two times the safety system was called upon, it operated far beyond what we currently take credit for.”</p> <p>The RCIC system in the Fukushima Daiichi unit two and three reactors use a steam-driven turbine to power a pump that returns water to the reactor core and cools it. The system needs power to regulate the turbine to cool the reactor but can run on battery power for four to eight hours during what are called “isolation conditions”, conditions present during the Fukashima incident where the reactor was isolated from its primary power source. However, during the incident, two of the reactors continued to be cooled on the RCIC system for 20 hours and 70 hours, respectively, despite exceeding the four to eight hour window to battery power the system. Understanding why the system performed as well as it did can benefit the 25 boiling water reactors in the United States that also operate the RCIC system.</p> <p>“We do not completely understand why the RCIC System operated for this long even though it is a good thing,” Vierow said. “We'd like to know how it performed under these conditions and how we can assure that the same system in our national reactors would operate as well.”</p> <p><img width="697" height="392" src="/media/3820722/screen-shot-2016-07-05-at-44006-pm-copy_697x392.jpg" alt="Vierow"/></p> <p>Vierow is collaborating with researchers at Sandia National Laboratories on this project, which was initially funded by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission until Vierow later received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Vierow’s particular research application to discovering the secret of the RCIC System’s performance lies in studying the cooling of the system in relation to thermal mixing in the containment.  Vierow began to look at the thermal mixing and the condensation of steam in the reactor’s suppression chamber to see where the thermal energy is distributed and how it effects the RCIC System.</p> <p>Vierow and her team are also gathering new scientific data on the reactor’s turbomachinery and are convinced that steam and water enter the turbine during its operation, despite the fact that turbines are designed for gas-phase intake only.</p> <p>“If we can understand the system better and how the turbine behaves when it ingests the steam and water two phase flow, we can use that information to predict how the system would operate in our U.S. BWRs,” Vierow said. “This will help provide guidance to whether the RCIC System in our BWRs can be used for longer than the duration that we currently allow them to be used for.”</p> <p>Vierow and her team will use this data to develop detailed numerical models of the steam-water two-phase flow behavior in the turbine, which will give them the knowledge to suggest changes to the RCIC System design or other improvements to ensure that the system can be counted on for extended periods of time. The data Vierow has gathered on thermal mixing in this RCIC System could also be used in other reactor applications.</p> <p>“It's a system designed for isolation events, but we saw that it has a large potential for a loss of power situation which we call station blackout,” Vierow said. “The Fukushima reactors were under station blackout for several days and if this RCIC System is already in place for 25 of our reactors for isolation events [then] it could also have a very important role in station blackout events. It then gives this system a whole new role and needs to be evaluated for how long it can be used.”</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/20/vierow-conducts-ongoing-research-to-evaluate-performance-of-reactor-cooling-system http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/20/vierow-conducts-ongoing-research-to-evaluate-performance-of-reactor-cooling-system Wed, 20 Jul 2016 00:00:00 CST ESET capstone team wins 2016 Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge Taylor Phillips-Rodriguez <tphillipsrodriguez@exchange.tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/20/eset-capstone-team-wins-2016-texas-instruments-innovation-challenge <p>Acceleration is defined as an increase in the rate or speed of an object, specifically the rate of change of velocity per unit of time. For four students in the Electronic Systems Engineering Technology (ESET) program at Texas A&amp;M University, DVDT is not only the formula for acceleration, but also a capstone project moniker created from each of their names: <strong>D</strong>akotah Karrer, <strong>V</strong>ince Rodriguez, <strong>D</strong>avid Smith and <strong>T</strong>rent Tate.</p> <p>On Tuesday evening, DVDT accelerated past nearly 180 teams from around the nation to win the 2016 Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge.</p> <p>"They are the gold standard," said Dr. Joseph Morgan, professor in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution and capstone course director. “In [ESET], what we're trying to do is create an experiential education, so our undergraduate students learn by doing."</p> <p>By working in a team environment with every member having a leadership role, students are able to gain tangible industry experience. For its ESET senior capstone project, which must find a solution to a real industry problem, DVDT successfully created and launched a communications platform for cube satellite technology (TSAT) in low-earth orbit.</p> <p>Not only did the team solve the problem, it was able to create a system that can transmit communications over 10 times the largest distances tested by other manufacturers. </p> <p>Matt Leonard, T STAR president and DVDT's industry client, says that the project will go well beyond an experimental demonstration.</p> <p>"We're going to be able to take this capability, move it into the commercial sector and launch TSATs into low-earth orbit that I think are going to be amazing based on what [DVDT] has done. </p> <p>ESET's home department, Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution (ETID), prides itself in both fostering a hands-on environment and helping students find successful careers with its variety of industry connections.</p> <p>Part-time ESET professor and Chief Technology Officer of Paragon Innovations H. Michael Wiley, who also serves as DVDT’s technical adviser, shared his thoughts shortly after DVDT was presented with the winning $10,000 check from Texas Instruments. </p> <p>"[ETID] doesn't take it (education) just as an academic exercise,” Wiley said. “This department really is serious about making sure that the students we graduate have an understanding of what the real world is like for engineers, giving them a great background in it."</p> <p>Since the project began in summer 2015, DVDT has been selected as the highest placing capstone team at the 2016 Engineering Project Showcase, the winner of Mays Business School’s 2016 Raymond Ideas Challenge and now the best design project in the national Texas Instruments 2016 Innovation Challenge.</p> <p>For each of the members on the team, this win highlights a successful transition from Texas A&amp;M to the beginning of their respective careers.</p> <p>Tate, project manager for DVDT, graduated in May and is now a part of the technical sales rotation program for Texas Instruments and may join the group permanently in early 2017.  Smith, the project test engineer, also graduated in the spring and is currently pursuing a commission with the United States Air Force, hoping to work in satellite communications.</p> <p>Rodriguez, the software engineer and a May graduate, accepted and started a position with Texas Instruments' application rotation program in June. Karrer, the hardware engineer and currently a senior planning to graduate in December, is now an intern with Texas Instruments and hopes to join full time once he finishes school.</p> <p>Each team member expressed gratitude not only for the advisers and sponsors who helped along the way, but also for the opportunity ETID and ESET were able to provide.</p> <p>Tate encouraged future students to look at all of the materials provided throughout the capstone experience, and "pursue working with your advisers and [sponsors]."</p> <p>Smith stressed the importance of ETID's industry relationships, saying, "The connection between ETID and TI was a very strong one; we knew that we could contact TI and get immediate help."</p> <p>For Rodriguez, being able to bring ESET into the spotlight brings him great satisfaction.</p> <p>"Not a lot of things are known about our major, and I feel like this has brought to light the sort of things that our students are capable of," he said. </p> <p>Karrer had similar feelings about the program.</p> <p>"The opportunities that there are in ESET are just phenomenal,” he said. “They set the bar high, and you have to shoot above that."</p> <p>Read more about the team’s <a href="/news/2016/04/27/final-exam-in-outer-space?_ga=1.206876624.2106786382.1399039159">journey</a> and witness the entire saga via their <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXGrI9e5ftw&amp;feature=youtu.be&amp;t=2s">online documentary</a>.</p> <p> </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/20/eset-capstone-team-wins-2016-texas-instruments-innovation-challenge http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2016/07/20/eset-capstone-team-wins-2016-texas-instruments-innovation-challenge Wed, 20 Jul 2016 00:00:00 CST