ECE researchers recognized at Texas A&M Technology Commercialization Patent Awards event

Four researchers in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering were recognized for their research at the Texas A&M Technology Commercialization Patent Awards event. Gwan Choi, Jun Kameoka, B. Don Russell and TEES Sr. Research Engineer, Carl Benner, along with their collaborators, received Patent Awards at the event.

The Texas A&M Technology Commercialization presents these Patent Awards to individuals that are employed by the A&M System and whose inventions are granted patent protection form the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2013.

Choi, associate professor in the department and part of the Computer Engineering and Systems Group (CESG), had three patents. He has served as a program committee member on several international conferences and was a Vice-Chair for the IEE International Performance and Dependability Symposium.

Choi received his bachelor's degree, master's degree and Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has published more than 120 articles in international conference proceedings and journals. He also has received the Presidential Academic award in 1985, and he was awarded the prestigious NSF CAREER award in 1997. He has worked for Cray Research and interned at Tandem Computers Inc.

His current research topics include fault-tolerance, asynchronous circuits and communication, high-performance VLSI circuits, energy harvesting for sensors, design and testing of radiation detection sensors, and verification simulation.

Kameoka, associate professor in the department, had one patent during the year. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Cornell University in 2002. After working as a postdoctoral associate at Cornell, he joined the electrical engineering department at Texas A&M as an assistant professor in 2004.

Kameoka has been working on a number of projects including research on nano and microfluidics, nanosensors and Molecular Manipulation, bio-micromachining and BioMEMS. He is the author of numerous publications and has received several patents.

Russell, The Harry E. Bovay, Jr. Chair Professor in the department, and Benner received two patents. Russell is director of the Power System Automation Laboratory and has been a member of the faculty of Texas A&M for 37 years.

He is past president of the Power and Energy Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and was named recipient of the IEEE Halperin Award, the highest recognition for electric power engineering given by IEEE and is considered an expert on monitoring and protection of electric power systems.

Russell is internationally recognized for his development of automated techniques for detecting arcing faults and failures on electric power systems. His recent work has emphasized predictive diagnostic tools for detecting failing power system equipment before catastrophic failure. This will allow utilities to repair systems before an outage occurs. His work is currently being extended to detect power system failures that cause wildfires, an area of great importance given the increasing drought conditions in the United States.

Benner, who has worked for the department more than 25 years, is assistant director of the Power System Automation Laboratory. As a senior research engineer, he focuses on electric power system monitoring and diagnostics, primarily for electric utility companies.

Originally from El Campo, Texas, Benner came to Bryan in 1983 to study at Texas A&M and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1986 and a master’s degree in 1988, both in electrical engineering.

When he began his research, his main focus was computer-based monitoring technology to detect when power lines break, fall to the ground and remain energized, creating fire and safety hazards. This technology was patented and licensed by GE in the early 1990s and is now broadly used by PEPCO, the utility company that serves the nation’s capital. Benner and his co-researchers hold multiple patents for developing this technology. They also won an R&D 100 Award, dubbed the “Oscars of Invention,” in 1996 from R&D Magazine for developing this system.

Benner’s current focus has broadened to developing computer-based real-time monitoring systems to detect and indicate that line hardware is nearing a point of failure before it happens. This provides a utility company with the ability to proactively take steps to avoid or mitigate the consequences of outages. In addition to his role at Texas A&M, Benner is a frequent speaker at industry trade meetings and serves as a peer reviewer for multiple professional trade journals. Benner also is a registered professional engineer in Texas and an IEEE Fellow.