Category Archives: News

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ECE News Briefs

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Christopher Middlebrook (ECE), has received a $348,268 research and development contract for the project, Highly Linear Electro-optic Modulator for Microwave Photonic Links Department/Center/Institute: Electrical & Computer from the US Department of Defense, Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Joshua Pearce’s (MSE/ECE) article on Michigan Tech’s course to build your own 3D printer, which was supported by a William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning grant, was the editor’s pick and most read story on OpenSource.com last week.

Alumnus/Winn Fellow Joseph Rozario (ECE) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) published “Optimization of annealing cycles for electric output in outdoor conditions for amorphous silicon photovoltaic–thermal systems,” in Applied Energy. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.03.073.

Joshua Pearce’s MSE/ECE cross-listed course was covered by OpenSource, 3D Print (Unchained with Open Source: Michigan Tech 3D Printing Course Teaches Students to Build 3D Printers) and 3D Printing Industry (Michigan Tech’s Open Source Course – The Future of 3D Printing Education). Pearce was quoted in the Examiner story What ever you need, chances are a 3D printer can print it and in a Science News story about a new method to 3D print.
The research of Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) and his group was highlighted in the article “Can We 3D Print Our Way to Sustainability,” in the Earth Island Journal.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) coauthored “Effect of ambient combinations of argon, oxygen, and hydrogen on the properties of DC magnetron sputtered indium tin oxide films” in AIP Advances.

R&D, an online magazine, published a story about Associate Professor Shiyan Hu’s (ECE) work on smart home cybersecurity.

The work of Associate Professor Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) and his group was featured in “How 3D Printers Are Boosting Off-the-Grid, Underdeveloped Communities” in Motherboard.

PhD students Chenlong Zhang and Jephias Gwamuri (MSE) coauthored an article with Associate Professor Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) titled “Design of Multijunction Photovoltaic Cells Optimized for Varied Atmospheric Conditions” published in the International Journal of Photoenergy.

Technology Century, an online and print publication of the Engineering Society of Detroit, featured editor Matt Roush’s interviews with faculty and graduate students from the College of Engineering at Michigan Tech, the first stop on his annual Tech Tour of university campuses in Michigan.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) coauthored an article, “Innovation Through Collaboration: Scaling up Technological Solutions for Sustainable Development,” published in the journal Environment, Development and Sustainability.

Elena Semouchkina (ECE) has received $83,837 of $257,412 from the National Science Foundation for the first year of a three-year research and development project titled “Collaborative Research: IDBR: Type A: Unconventional Antenna Probes for Ultra-High-Resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging.”

Zhaohui Wang (ECE) received $100,000 from the University of Connecticut for a research project titled “Collaborative Research: Underwater Distributed Antenna Systems: Fundamental Limits and Practical Designs.”

PhD students Ankit Vora (ECE) and Jephias Gwamuri (MSE) co-authored a paper with Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE), Paul Bergstrom (ECE) and Durdu Guney (ECE) titled “Multi-resonant Silver Nano-disk Patterned Thin Film Amorphous Silicon Solar Cells For Staebler-Wronski Effect Compensation,” in the “Journal of Applied Physics.”

PluggedIn, an internal newsletter published by American Transmission Company (ATC), featured an article about a Michigan Tech Senior Design team that worked with ATC to create a tool that can be used to determine whether it is safe to use ATC transmission lines to start a motor, something that the company’s customers often want to know if they can do. The student team won the Michigan Tech Electrical and Computer Engineering External Advisory Committee’s Industry Innovation Award for their work. See their work.

Graduate School Announces Award Recipients for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014; The Graduate School is pleased to announce that the following students have earned: Fang Chen, PhD candidate in electrical engineering; Xiaohui Wang, PhD candidate in electrical engineering

Outstanding Alumni and Friends Recognized: Please join us in congratulating the following recipients of the 2014 Alumni Association awards:Honorary Alumna: Martha Sloan, professor emerita, electrical and computer engineering. Sloan’s profile is available online.

Assistant Professor Zhaohui Wang (ECE) was honored at 2013 Connecticut Women of Innovation Awards ceremonies, receiving the Collegian Innovation and Leadership Award for exceptional achievements in the area of underwater acoustic communications and networking. The awards are sponsored by the Connecticut Technology Council, Boehringer Ingelheim USA, Covidien, Day Pitney and United Technologies. She was honored for her work on underwater acoustic communications. Wang has also received a 2014 Outstanding Senior Women Academic Achievement Award from the Graduate School of the University of Connecticut.
The awards honor outstanding graduating women from each of the university’s schools and colleges and are sponsored by the The Provost’s Office, the Alumni Association and the Women’s Center at the University of Connecticut. With her advisor, Wang has also coauthored the book, “OFDM for Underwater Acoustic Communications,” published by John Wiley & Sons and available here and on Amazon.

A story on Associate Professor Shiyan Hu’s (ECE) research, “A Lab in
Your Pocket
,” was published on the eHealthserver website. It can be viewed online.

ECE Senior Design Team Wins Expo Award

The 2nd Place Award for the 2015 Michigan Tech Design Expo was won by the ECE team: Front End Protection for Data Aquisition
Team Members: Sylvia Ferragut, Caleb Wright, and Ben Veltman, Electrical Engineering; Matthew Zawisza, Computer Engineering
Advisor: Duane Bucheger, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Project Overview: Often devices under test can behave in erratic ways, resulting in catastrophic damage to expensive test equipment. By designing specifications based on National Instruments’ limitations and typical automotive testing requirements, the team created a buffer box to protect from over-voltage and add layers of isolation. The buffer box, used in conjunction with the $50k–$500k tools being regularly used by the automotive industry, is a simple tool, which can be used by a wide range of people with varying levels of expertise to keep expenses down.

Team Members Sylvia Ferragut, Caleb Wright, and Ben Veltman, Electrical Engineering; Matthew Zawisza, Computer Engineering Advisor Duane Bucheger, Electrical and Computer Engineering Sponsor Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Team Members: Sylvia Ferragut, Caleb Wright, and Ben Veltman, Electrical Engineering; Matthew Zawisza, Computer Engineering
Advisor: Duane Bucheger, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

View a Video about Michigan Tech: Front End Protection for Data Acquisition on Michigan Tech Expo Channel on Youtube

View a Video about the award winning ECE team on Michigan Tech Expo Channel on Youtube
View a Video about the award winning ECE team on Michigan Tech Expo Channel on Youtube

When the Design Expo 2015 Image Contest winners were announced, Robotics Systems Enterprise 216 team won second place for its image of ECE student Kealy Smith working on an Afraid-of-the-Dark bot. The team is sponsored by ArcelorMittal and 205 (Blue Marble Enterprise) team entry won 3rd Place.

See the Design Expo Summary Report with links to more articles and pictures

Design Expo 2015 Success: Winners, Senior Design and Enterprise Projects

IMG_2518One such team has worked on an automated parts counting system for MacLean-Fogg. The team’s machine uses fins, bars and bays to sift and sort metal parts. The bolts, pins, screws and other fastener parts fall down the chute, bounce off the fins and bars, which reorients them, and then they are separated out into bays equipped with sensors. The project required both electrical and mechanical engineering.

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Hackers Could Make Smart Homes Stupid–or Worse

image25903-persImagine the smart home of the future. Thanks to a central controller and wi-fi, not only does the thermostat power up and warm or cool the house as you are heading home. Smart light bulbs come on low at dusk and brighten up as the sky gets darker; your washing machine starts a load of clothes when the electricity is cheapest; your smart refrigerator thaws the roast in one section, while another keeps your cheese ready to slice and yet another chills your beer. The doors lock automatically behind you and unlock as you—but no one else—approach. A 2-way nannycam lets you keep an eye on the kids while a sprinkler waters your lawn when water demand is lowest.
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Michigan Tech Adds New Peace Corps Master’s International Programs in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, GIS

Michigan Technological University’s award-winning Peace Corps Master’s International (PCMI) program is offering new degree options for students in two departments: computer science and electrical and computer engineering (ECE). The School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science is also expanding its PCMI programs to include a Master of Geographic Information Science.
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Dr. Dennis Wiitanen Honored with Legacy Marker

IMG_2575denniswiitanenThe unveiling of the first Legacy Marker for Alumni Way was held in front of the EERC. The Legacy Marker serves to honor someone associated with Michigan Tech, and it was unveiled and presented as a surprise to the Dennis O. Wiitanen, Professor Emeritus, Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dennis O. Wiitanen received the B.S. and M.S. degrees from Michigan Tech in 1963 and 1967 respectively, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Missouri-Rolla in 1970, all in electrical engineering.

In 1970, he joined the electrical and computer engineering department at Michigan Tech, where his major research interests were in the areas of insulating materials and power systems. Dr. Wiitanen taught courses in both electric machines and power systems for over forty years. He is currently a Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Wiitanen is a member of the IEEE’s Power Engineering Society, Education Society, Industry Applications Society, and Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society, serving on several committees and subcommittees, and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan.

See the Photo Gallery

See the Video from UpperMichiganSource

Dennis Wiitanen Legacy Monument
Dennis Wiitanen Legacy Monument

Nucor Industrial Control and Automation Lab Opens

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A ceremony was held Monday to celebrate completion of the new Nucor Industrial Control and Automation Laboratory in the Electrical Energy Resources Center. The state-of-the-art facility was made possible by a $255,000 gift from Nucor Corporation, the largest manufacturer of steel products in North America.

The laboratory is a collaborative effort of Electrical Engineering Technology in the School of Technology and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering. It is an example of cooperation within Michigan Tech’s new Alliance for Computing, Information and Automation (ACIA), which combines common interests among established academic units to better equip future graduates and to align research activities with contemporary technological challenges.

The laboratory consists of eight portable Amatrol Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) Learning Systems, equipped with Allen-Bradley CompactLogix 5300 PLCs and Human Machine Interface (HMI). These trainers enhance the teaching of PLC concepts and HMI programming using the latest generation of PLCs. The new technology also includes a fluid flow Process Control Learning System equipped with a Honeywell PID controller and four mechatronic stations fully integrated with a Fanuc Robotics System, enabling teaching of advanced concepts of PLC programming and overall system troubleshooting skills.

PLCs are an integral part of nearly all industrial processes today. A PLC is a digital computer used for the automation of a variety of electromechanical processes, including temperature ranges, immunity to electrical noise and resistance to vibration and impact. PLCs are often integrated with robotic technology.

“Graduates who will be employed in industries utilizing these systems must not only have basic knowledge of PLCs and robotics, but also the skills to integrate these systems,” said Jim Frendewey, dean of the School of Technology. “The knowledge and experience students receive will produce well-educated graduates with practical, hands-on experience designing, configuring and troubleshooting industrial control systems.”

Dan Fuhrmann, chair of electrical and computer engineering, said, “Knowledge and experience in control systems has been the single most sought-after skill set from our corporate recruiters looking to hire electrical engineering graduates, for the past several years. With the Nucor Laboratory we will take a major step forward in meeting the demands of industry and open up opportunities for our students.”

President Glenn Mroz emphasized the importance of the new lab as he spoke to those in attendance at the ceremony. “Michigan’s economy has gone from one of the worst to 16th for growth among the states in a very short time,” he said. ”We’re now in a renaissance in manufacturing, and the people graduating today have the knowledge and skills because of companies like Nucor who have made substantial investments in the education of Michigan Tech students. We realize that this represents a commitment both by Nucor and our faculty and staff that only comes about when people have a clear bead on priorities. We’re thankful to Nucor for helping our students have the best.”

Kurt Kalenauskas, an electrical engineering technology senior, said he is “jealous of the new students who get to learn and work with the equipment and technology the Nucor laboratory has to offer.”

Nucor has an established relationship with Michigan Tech that began in 2008, when the company sent two representatives to a Career Fair. They were so impressed that they asked Career Services how Nucor could help Michigan Tech help its students.  Since then, the company has become a Career Services Gold Partner, providing financial support and sending several representatives to campus before each Career Fair to work directly with students on interview and resume preparation.

“Nucor recruits technical talent and future leaders at Michigan Tech because Tech graduates have proven to be successful Nucor teammates,” said Dave Davolt, electrical supervisor at the company. “Nucor’s relationship and involvement with Michigan Tech has grown stronger over the years. This is evident with Nucor’s investment in technology relevant to today’s manufacturing industry. With these investments and partnerships, Nucor hopes to better equip students for postgraduation opportunities, which we hope they seek with Nucor. “

Aleksandr Sergeyev, an associate professor in the School of Technology with a special interest in robotics, will head the new laboratory, with faculty from both Electrical Engineering Technology and Electrical and Computer Engineering teaching there. Hundreds of students each year will participate in laboratory activities, and those numbers are expected to grow with future development of new advanced courses made possible by the capabilities of the lab.

Shiyan Hu to Attend NAE Frontiers of Engineering Symposium

Shiyan Hu to Attend NAE Frontiers of Engineering Symposium

Associate Professor Shiyan Hu (ECE) has been invited to attend the National Academy of Engineering’s EU-US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium.

He is among only 62 researchers from the European Union and the United States to receive an invitation to the symposium, to be held Nov. 10-12 in Seattle.

The symposium brings together outstanding, early-career engineers from industry, universities and other research institutions to introduce their research and work toward forming partnerships and collaborations.

The attendees are under age 45 and may only be nominated by NAE members or senior executives from leading industrial companies.

The symposium will feature presentations on Energy Storage Across Scales, Protein Design for Therapeutic Applications, Smart Homes, and Atoms to Airplanes: Designer/Engineered Aerospace Materials. Hu’s research addresses cybersecurity in smart homes, and he recently received a CAREER award for his efforts to design faster computer chips.

The event is hosted in partnership with the European Council of Academies of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering and the National Academy of Technologies of France.

ECE Academy, Class of 2014 Induction

ECE Academy, Class of 2014 inductees H. Paul Gay '70, Barry Van Veen '83, Michael Whitens '85, Lyman Morikawa '71
ECE Academy, Class of 2014 inductees H. Paul Gay ’70, Barry Van Veen ’83, Michael Whitens ’85, Lyman Morikawa ’71

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering welcomed five of its outstanding alumni to the ECE Academy, Class of 2014, at an induction ceremony held on Wednesday evening, August 6, in the Memorial Union Building Ballroom on the Michigan Tech campus. Inductees for the Class of 2014 are H. Paul Gay ’70, Lawrence Laurich ’65, Lyman Morikawa ’71, Barry Van Veen ’83, and Michael Whitens ’85. Mr. Laurich was unable to attend the ceremony due to illness and will be presented his induction plaque next week during a visit from Department Chair Dan Fuhrmann.

The inductees and guests also enjoyed a special message from guest speaker George Swenson, Jr. ’44. Dr. Swenson’s father was the founding chairman of the EE Department in 1928.

The purpose of the Academy is to honor outstanding graduates of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Technological University. Election to the Academy is made by the Executive Committee of the faculty, and recognizes excellence and leadership in the engineering profession and civic affairs. This induction honors some of the most successful of the over 8,800 ECE alumni of Michigan Tech. Portraits of the new Academy members will be added to the prominent display in the lobby of the EERC building, to inspire and motivate future generations of students in electrical and computer engineering.

For more information see ECE Academy.