Category Archives: News

Better to Light a Candle: Chapter One

Christopher T. Middlebrook
Christopher T. Middlebrook

Michigan Tech’s new course in printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing is the topic of a series of columns in I-Connect 007. The first column “Better to Light a Candle” Chapter One—Prepping the Next Generation,” by Marc Carter, features an interview with Christopher Middlebrook (ECE).

Better to Light a Candle: Chapter One—Prepping the Next Generation

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of columns on a new university course in PCB manufacturing at Michigan Technological University. Marc will chronicle the progress of this class, interview the guest lecturers, introduce the students, etc.

There has been a considerable amount of (electronic) ink and words shared in our industry bemoaning the graying-out of our industry and the growing shortage of skilled people at all levels. (See the May 2017 PCB007 Magazine column “Help Wanted—and How!” for just one example). As is usually the case, though, when all is said and done, more has been said than done.

That is why it was so refreshing to learn of someone who has decided to do something about it. Enter Dr. Christopher Middlebrook, a professor at Michigan Technological University (MTU) in Houghton, Michigan. On January 14, 2019, he will open the first session of “EE4800: Printed Circuit Board Fabrication”—a hands-on engineering class intended to give undergraduate students an introduction to the basics of printed circuit design, fabrication, and assembly.

Read more at I-Connect 007, by Marc Carter.

In subsequent columns, Carter will chronicle the progress of the class, interview guest lecturers and talk to students. In addition to photos of Michigan Tech’s equipment suite for the new course, Carter interviewed instructor Chris Middlebrook (ECE). In the interview section of the column, Middlebrook tells Carter he is amazed by the response and guidance from industry in launching the new course.

I-Connect007 is a extensive global source for news and original content serving the printed circuit design, fabrication and assembly/EMS market.


Boy Scouts Learn to Solder Heart Rate Monitors

BMS Tyler Arthur
Blue Marble Security member Tyler Arthur is showing the Boy Scouts a soldering demonstration

Blue Marble Security Enterprise assisted the local Boy Scouts on Tuesday November 27th, 2018,  as they participated in a heart rate monitor soldering event. The event is used to teach the basics of electrical engineering components in an interactive and effective manner. The heart rate monitor, once soldered with correct connections, will cause the LEDs to light and with the use of the sensor the LEDs will blink with the operator’s heart rate. Around seventeen boy scouts ranging in the middle school age participated in the event with seven Blue Marble Security members as well as their advisor who monitored and assisted in the lab.

The focus of the heart rate monitor lab is to introduce the basic concepts of electric engineering to those with little experience. Some of the concepts learned are how the color bands on resistors correspond to the resistor’s value, the polarity of diodes, and why it is important to place them correctly. However, the focus of the lab was to make effective through hole soldering connections. Scouts who were unsure about the process got a quick demo from an Outreach team member. All the members got portions of their boards populated with components within the time limit, with a few getting the boards completed and tested. All the boy scouts will get to take a heart rate monitor board home after the Outreach members troubleshoot and finish up some of the boards. The boy scouts had a wonderful time, and learned a new valuable skill.

BMS with Boy Scouts
Michael, John, and Shawn BMS members answering various questions the scouts have.
BMS Soldering Lab
Overview of the lab with the scouts working on their heart rate monitor soldering boards.

Society of Women Engineers Learn to Solder Heart Rate Monitors

Heart Monitor Device
The completed heart rate monitor board SWE members took as a souvenir.

On Friday November 9th, 2018 Blue Marble Security hosted a heart rate monitor soldering lab for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). The heart rate monitor, once fully soldered with correct connections, would allow the LEDs around the edge to blink with the operator’s heart rate. Sixteen SWE members were present along with six Blue Marble Security members to monitor and assist in the lab.

SWE Students Lab
Students working on the heart rate monitor boards with BMS members supervising.

The focus of the heart rate monitor lab is to introduce basic concepts of electrical engineering to those with little or no knowledge. The SWE members specifically learned how the color bands on resistors correspond to the resistor’s value, as well as the polarity of a diode and why it is present. The main focus of the lab was to teach the SWE members to through hole solder appropriately so that there would be strong connections on the board for current to flow. All of the SWE members completed the lab within the time allowed. Each took a heart rate monitor board as a souvenir to remember their new skill.


ITC Supports Renovation of ECE Learning Center

Jon E. Jipping
Jon E. Jipping
ITC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Michigan Tech has received a $75,000 gift from ITC Holdings Corp. to support the renovation of the ECE Learning Center in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The renovated space will provide a clean, well-equipped place for undergraduate students in electrical engineering and computer engineering to study together and participate in peer mentoring with learning center coaches.

The ECE Learning Center is housed in 123 EERC, a room of 560 sq. ft. adjacent to the ECE department office and near two large lecture halls. It is used for student collaboration, peer mentoring and as a place for students to work on homework and socialize between classes and in the evenings.

The proposed renovation will bring the room up to modern technological standards as a collaborative and mentoring workspace. There will be an overall facelift with new carpeting, painting and glass whiteboards, and the space will be redesigned around sets of tables and chairs with pods that allow students to connect laptop computers to one of three 65’’ wall-mounted monitors. It is anticipated that the enhanced functionality and attractiveness of the space will lead to increased utilization and a greater sense of community among ECE students.

ECE Department Chair Dan Fuhrmann says, “I am delighted and grateful to ITC for their generosity. The Department has needed to upgrade this resource for our students for quite some time. It’s nice that students have a place to hang out and work, so close to their classrooms, but now they will have a brighter, cleaner space that is more inviting and more conducive to collaborative learning. I’m sure more students will take advantage of it once they learn what we have done.”

ITC, an electrical power transmission utility headquartered in Novi, Michigan, has had a long and positive relationship with the ECE department and the Michigan Tech College of Engineering. ITC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Jon Jipping, who was instrumental in arranging the gift, was chair of the ECE External Advisory Committee and is currently chair of the CoE External Advisory Board. In announcing the gift, Jipping remarked, “At ITC, we recognize the importance of inspiring today’s students to pursue careers in engineering, which is critical to the future of our industry. The renovated ECE Learning Center will offer an environment where students can be inspired, collaborate and advance their educational pursuits.”

In recognition of ITC’s support for the ECE Department over many years, and for this gift specifically, the ECE Learning Center will be renamed the ITC Learning Center for at least the next five years, and will be recognized as such with appropriate signage and displays.

By the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.




Tim Havens Named ICC Director

Timothy Havens
Timothy Havens

Timothy C. Havens (ECE), the William and Gloria Jackson Associate Professor of Computer Systems, has been named director of the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC), effective immediately.

The ICC is the research arm of the Alliance for Computing, Information and Automation, and one of several research centers at Michigan Tech organized under the authority of the Office of the Vice President for Research. It brings together some 50 Michigan Tech faculty members from 12 different academic units on campus, collaborating in the areas of cyber-physical systems, cybersecurity, data sciences, human-centered computing and scalable architectures and systems. Since its inception in 2015, it has hosted 28 funded projects, and was responsible for approximately $1.8M in external research expenditures in FY18.

As the Jackson Associate Professor, Havens holds a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Computer Science. He is also director of the interdisciplinary master of science program in data science. His technical areas of expertise are machine learning, computational intelligence, data science, and signal and image processing.

Havens was selected to lead the ICC by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jacqueline Huntoon and Vice President for Research David Reed, following an internal nomination and recommendation process organized by ICC Co-Director and ECE Department Chair Daniel R. Fuhrmann. Havens’ term as ICC director extends through Dec. 31, 2021.

Says Havens, “I am thrilled to be named the next director of the ICC and very much look forward to working with the entirety of the ICC membership and our connected communities to promote research and learning experiences in the areas of computing and cybersystems at Michigan Tech. I am enthused by the prospects of our ICC vision.”

By Daniel R. Fuhrmann.


Ankitaa Gohain Dalmia ’04 is Making a Difference

Ankitaa Gohain Dalmia
Ankitaa Gohain Dalmia ’04

Michigan Tech Alumna Ankitaa Gohain Dalmia was among the women featured in the story “Women That Make a Difference,” in Recycling Times. She is the founder of the digital marketing firm Anksimage in Rudrapur, India.

Women That Make a Difference

Long gone are the days when many believed that women belonged in the private sphere of family while men belonged in the public sphere of business.

With the advances of society, more and more educated women join the workforce, demonstrating they can make a difference not only in their lives but also to the industry they are serving.

Great Passion

Ankitaa Gohain Dalmia is a passionate digital marketing specialist with more than ten years’ experience. She writes regularly for Recycling Times magazine, helping the printing consumables industry readers enhance digital marketing skills with her knowledge and expertise.

When she graduated as a computer engineer from Michigan Technological University in 2004, she had no idea she would end up in marketing the way she is today.

Starting this year, Aniktaa has been raising her voice in online discussions pertaining to digital marketing and content marketing.

Read more at Recycling Times, by Maggie Wang.


Joshua Pearce Interviewed on Recyclebot 3D Printer

RepRapable Recyclebot assembly
RepRapable RecycleBot

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was interviewed for the article “Michigan Tech Researchers Publish Paper on New Recyclebot 3D Printer,” published in 3D Print PulseIchiban Electronic Blog and 3DPrint.com among other sites.

Michigan Tech Researchers Publish Paper on New Recyclebot 3D Printer

Dr. Pearce is a major proponent for sustainability, and has also studied filament recycling in the past. In the 2017 study, Dr. Pearce and the rest of his team discussed the development of a solar-powered version of the open source “recyclebot,” an extruder for waste plastic that he designed back in 2013.

In a new paper, titled “RepRapable Recyclebot: Open source 3-D printable extruder for converting plastic to 3-D printing filament,” Dr. Pearce and his team relay their continued development of the innovative recyclebot, including the full plans, list of parts, and assembly instructions for the device, which was designed for FFF 3D printer-based filament research.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ohx.2018.e00026

Co-authors of the paper include Michigan Tech’s Aubrey L. Woern, Joseph R. McCaslin, Adam M. Pringle, and Dr. Pearce.

Read more at 3D Print Pulse, by Sarah Saunders.

In the News

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was featured in the article “Recyclebot an Open-Source 3D Printable Extruder for Converting Plastic to 3D Printing Filament.” in Inside 3D Printing.

Research by undergraduate Aubrey Woern (MEEM) and Joseph McCaslin (ECE), in collaboration with graduate student Adam Pringle (MSE) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was featured in the article, “RepRapable Recyclebot: Open-Source-Extruder recycelt Filament,” in the German Make Magazine.

In Print

Undergraduate students Aubrey Woern (MEEM) and Joseph McCaslin (ECE) in collaboration with graduate student Adam Pringle (MSE) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) published “RepRapable Recyclebot: Open Source 3D Printable Extruder for Converting Plastic to 3-D Printing Filament” in  HardwareX.

PhD student Khalid Khan (ECE) and Lucia Gauchia (ECE/ME) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) published  Self-sufficiency of 3-D printers: utilizing stand-alone solar photovoltaic power systems, in Renewables: Wind, Water, and Solar.


Bruce Mork is One of Top Ten Professors to Know in Power Systems Engineering

Bruce Mork
Bruce Mork

Online Engineering Programs recognizes Professor Bruce A. Mork as one of the most highly skilled educators in the area of power systems engineering. Mork teaches electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Tech, where he was named the Dennis Wiitanen Professor of Electric Power Systems. Currently, his areas of interest include smart grids, power system protection, computer simulation, transients in electrical power systems, nonlinear dynamics and chaos theory, magnetic materials and saturation of transformers, power quality, photovoltaics, and renewable energy, including wind energy and solar energy.

Read more at Online Engineering Programs.

Michigan Tech offers an online Master’s in Electrical Engineering with a focus on power systems.