Category Archives: Enterprise

Blue Marble Security Tours Georgia-Pacific

L-R: Matt Hargas, Victoria Fueri, Andrew Tallman, Johnathan Presti, Sandra Cvetanovic, Kyle Domas
L-R: Matt Hargas, Victoria Fueri, Andrew Tallman, Johnathan Presti, Sandra Cvetanovic, Kyle Domas

Members of Blue Marble Security Enterprise went right to the source this week to gain knowledge of their project sponsor’s operations and products.

Georgia-Pacific engineers, and Michigan Tech alumni, Mitch Edbauer (ECE) and John Cretens (MEEM) hosted the site visit and provided a tour of GP’s Green Bay-Broadway Paper Mill. The students were impressed by the company’s process automation, where they saw entire sections of the plant controlled by a single person. They were equally impressed by Georgia-Pacific’s environmental commitment including the use of 100% recycled fiber in their product production.

This year the BMS team has been researching ways to replace disposable batteries in automated soap and paper towel dispensers. The project includes finding alternative energy and methods to more efficiently disperse the products.

Blue Marble Security is a virtual company of undergraduate students focused on securing the future through thoughtful use of technology. The Enterprise is advised by Dr. Glen Archer.


Olivia Burek awarded Carnahan Enterprise Scholarship

burek-oliviaThe Enterprise Governing Board and the School of Business Scholarship Committee has recently selected Olivia Burek to receive the Spring 2017 Carnahan Enterprise Scholarship. Burek is a double major in management and marketing. The selection was based on her strong application and essay communicating her role in Blue Marble Security Enterprise.

Burek will receive a $500 scholarship for the fall 2017 semester.


Hancock Middle School Students Get a Taste for the World of Programming

RSEoutreach-hancock_20170209Members of the Robotic Systems Enterprise (RSE) at Michigan Technological University recently visited Jen Davis’ eighth grade science class at Hancock Middle School to share their excitement in the rapidly growing field of robotics.

During the activities, students were shown how to use Scratch, a drag-and-drop programming platform which enables beginners to learn programming techniques without having to use complex syntax. From the Scratch platform, students were then shown how to create simple programs such as Hello World, which is the induction into a myriad of programming languages.

The visit was a huge success as the students enjoyed interacting, editing, and playing the Scratch programs that they helped the RSE Outreach members to create. Through events like this, RSE hopes to inspire future generations to the area of robotics and STEM education.

The Robotic Systems Enterprise is housed within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and is advised by Dr. Glen Archer. RSE is an industry-driven enterprise that focuses on seamlessly integrating exceptional knowledge in electronics, robotics, and programming to solve real world engineering problems.


Robotic Systems Enterprise hosts first annual Ford Controlathon

RSE-controlathonECE’s Robotic Systems Enterprise (RSE) was host to the first annual Controlathon sponsored by Ford Motor Company on Saturday, November 12. Ten teams competed in the inaugural one-day event held on the Michigan Tech campus, Memorial Union Building.

Ford’s purpose of the event was to raise the interest of controls engineers in the automotive industry. The students competed against each other as individuals or teams to see who could program an Arduino-based robot to complete pre-assigned tasks, such as solving a maze and following an object. The goal of the Controlathon was to create a unique solution to the presented problems in a limited amount of time. The teams were tasked to complete three separate events, scores were assigned for each event.

At the end of the day, Sirius Cybernetics came away with first place; 2nd Desert, 3rd 2CS & an EE, 4th C Dogs, and 5th place was Team Mine.

Ford representatives Jeffrey DuClos and Matt Alessi look on with team Sig-Cont-Rho-lers team members Libby Held, Dan Hannah, and Alex Miltenberger
Ford representatives Jeffrey DuClos and Matt Alessi look on with team Sig-Cont-Rho-lers team members Libby Held, Dan Hannah, and Alex Miltenberger

RSE is advised by Dr. Glen Archer.

Check out @mtuECE for more highlights from the event.


CAT/SWE team takes 1st place at WE16

CAT/SWE (ECE) team members Derek Chopp, Ester Buhl, and Anna Marchesano
CAT/SWE (ECE) team members Derek Chopp, Ester Buhl, and Anna Marchesano
ECE’s Blue Marble Security (BMS) Enterprise team CAT/SWE took 1st place in the WE16 Team Tech Competition (sponsored by Boeing) this weekend.

The team’s project “Wheel Tractor Scraper Bowl Optimization System”, a joint venture between BMS (ECE) and Consumer Products Enterprise (Chemical Engineering), was sponsored by Caterpillar, Inc.

WE16 is the world’s largest conference and career fair for women in engineering and technology. Hosted by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a number of corporate sponsors, WE16 provides inspiring and invaluable ways to connect, discover career opportunities and pursue professional development. This year the global gathering took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 27-29 with more than 9,000 attendees at all stages of their engineering careers.

The ECE Department congratulations the CAT/SWE team!


Presentation Day for ECE Senior Design and Enterprise teams

SD2015This Thursday, April 14, 2016, will be a huge day for students in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s Senior Design and Enterprise programs. Not only will they participate in Michigan Tech’s Design Expo, but they will also make their final presentations for the year to ECE faculty, staff, students, and the department’s External Advisory Committee.  To see a complete list of teams, including a description of the projects, see: presentation schedule.

Please feel free to attend any or all presentations and good luck to our teams!

 

 


Fridays with Fuhrmann – ECE Undergraduate Programs

ECE Undergraduate Teaching Labs
Winter break is over and the spring semester is underway at Michigan Tech – “spring” being a euphemism in Houghton for snow up to our eyeballs.  I thought it might be a good time to write a few words about our undergraduate educational programs.
In the ECE Department we are all about teamwork and team projects.  Our Senior Design program is a well-oiled machine with about 10 projects going each year, real industrial projects with real industrial financial support.  Our Enterprise program, an alternative path to completion of the capstone design requirement, is unique to Michigan Tech; it gives students the opportunity to form their own virtual companies and work on projects that have longevity across semesters and across multiple personnel.  Of course, we are not alone in this approach.  All ECE Departments across the country recognize the importance the team-based design projects, as do the employers that hire new graduates every year. It is also a critical piece of everyone’s  ABET accreditation.
What distinguishes Michigan Tech from many other institutions is our philosophy in the early part of the curriculum.  We believe very strongly that the best path to becoming a valuable team member is to develop individual skills.  I don’t think this is particularly controversial, and is unquestioned in other fields of human endeavor.  Think of an orchestra, for example – every player has to know the technical aspects of playing his or her instrument, and enough music theory to understand what is going on.  Or, think of a baseball team, where everyone has honed their skills in throwing, catching, and batting, and they know all the rules of the game.  In both analogies, people bring their individual and diverse skills to the table, which makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts.
So it is in electrical and computer engineering.  This is a wonderful and exciting field, with teams of people in major corporations and in small start-up companies changing the world every day through their ingenuity and innovation.  The engineers who are going to make the biggest contributions are the ones who put in the effort early on to get really good at what they are doing.  This needs to happen when students are young enough, and their brains are malleable enough, to learn new material with some degree of permanence – like playing the violin or learning to water ski.  Author and social observer Malcolm Gladwell has pointed out that it takes about 10,000 hours to become an expert at something, and the 10,000 hours is about what you get by working 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, for 5 years – in other words, a college education.  In the ECE Department we emphasize individual skills in both the mathematical and scientific fundamentals of electricity and electronics, and in the laboratory.
Our required sophomore electronics laboratory is a prime example. Each lab bench has exactly one chair in front of it. When I was interviewing for this position and getting a tour of the facilities, it was one of the first things I noticed, without anyone telling me.  I was blown away by the elegance and simplicity of this approach to laboratory education.  Each student is required to learn how to use the equipment and how to carry out the experiments, on their own, human against the machine.  Not everyone is happy with this approach at first – not everyone is happy with two-a-day football drills either – but in the end I would be very surprised if any of our graduating seniors ever told me it was a bad idea.
We take a similar approach on the mathematical side of things.  I teach a one-credit course to freshman called Essential Mathematics for Electrical Engineering.  The scope is quite limited but I cover a few things that I think are critical in electrical engineering that don’t show up as much in other engineering disciplines – sinusoids, exponentials, complex numbers, complex exponentials, phasors, that sort of thing.  Basically I want them to know Euler’s formula and what it means. (In fact, every semester I tell students that if they see me around town and can produce Euler’s formula from memory I will buy them whatever beverage they are old enough to drink.  This has actually happened.)  The course is pass-fail, and to complete the course the students have to pass an old-fashioned paper-and-pencil exam with no books, no notes, no nothing.  The pass threshold is 70%, which is pretty draconian, but I give them up to three chances to pass it, kind of like a driver’s test.  Again, this is consistent with our philosophy that there are few things that all EEs simply need to know cold, and there’s no getting around it.
Our goal is to set every student on a path where they can realize their greatest potential, whatever that looks like to them.  We think that by instilling individual skills in younger students, and then putting students together as they mature so they can learn how contribute those skills in a team environment, is the best way to do that.  So far it seems to be working.
– Dan Fuhrmann, Chair, ECE

Follow ECE on Social Media

MTU_ECE_smphotoThe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) is now on Facebook and Twitter. Like and follow us for faculty spotlights, student accomplishments, outreach and events, industry and alumni news, and more; including a weekly post from the chair in “Fridays with Fuhrmann”. We hope you’ll add us to your social media picks.


ECE Annual Report 2015

ECE Annul Report 2015
ECE Annul Report 2015

We are happy to share with you our newly released ECE Annual Report 2015. A look back at our past year highlights research activities by Profs. Zhaohui Wang, Wayne Weaver, Bruce Mork, and Mike Roggemann, along with ECE’s involvement in Michigan Tech’s new research agreement with Google ATAP. Once again the year included a wide variety of hands-on student projects in our Senior Design and Enterprise programs and we thank our sponsors for making it all possible! Our undergraduate programs added two new concentrations starting Fall 2015 – Biomedical Applications and Environmental Applications within the Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. We invite you to read about these stories and more. From all of us at ECE, best wishes for 2016!


The Circuit – Newsletter 2011-2012

ECE 2011-2012 newsletter The Circuit is now available. The publication highlights recent activities in the department including: 

  • ECE Education in Tune with Industry – electrical and computer engineers in demand at Fall 2011 Career Fair 
  • The Changing Face of Engineering – Women in ECE
  • Establishment of the Dennis Wiitanen Professorship in Electric Energy Systems – “Doc” Wiitanen to be honored at May 4 retirement celebration
  • Paul and Susan Williams Center for Computer Systems Research Dedicated
  • Student’s Winning Satellite to be Launched into Orbit
  • Senior Design: A Renaissance Approach