Category: News

Christopher Middlebrook Awarded Device from Gentec-EO Laser Lab

Device with laser beam and software display.

Chris Middlebook (ECE) was one of the winners of the Gentec-EO Laser Lab Awards. Middlebrook won a Beamage-4M laser beam profiler.

The Gentec-EO Laser Lab Awards contest aims to support optics laboratories in universities and colleges in the United States. Its goal is to ensure students have access to the same quality measurement instruments that are used today in the industry.


MTU Team Among Winners of TiM$10K Challenge

Group of five team members.
L-R: Brian Parvin, Paul Allen, David Brushaber, Alex Kirchner, and Kurtis Alessi

A Michigan Tech team is among the winners of the SICK Inc. TiM$10K Challenge. For the second year, students from universities around the country were invited to participate in the challenge, designed to support innovation and student achievement in automation and technology.

For the competition, teams were supplied with a 270-foot SICK LiDAR sensor and accessories, and challenged to solve a problem, create a solution or bring a new application to any industry that utilizes the SICK LiDAR.

The Tech team members — Brian Parvin, Kurtis Alessi, Alex Kirchner, David Brushaber and Paul Allen — earned Honorable Mention (fourth place overall) for their project, Evaluating Road Markings (the Road Stripe Evaluator). The innovative product aims to help resolve issues caused by poor road markings while reducing maintenance costs and improving motorist safety.

Each team was asked to submit a video and paper for judging upon completion of its project. A panel of judges decided the winning submissions based on creativity and innovation, ability to solve a customer problem, commercial potential, entrepreneurship of the team, and reporting.

“This was a unique project in that the team was required to identify a problem and develop a solution to it that is based on SICK’s TiM LiDAR — most teams are handed a problem and asked to create a solution,” said team advisor Tony Pinar, senior design coordinator in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “I think this format allowed the team to exercise even more innovation than a ‘typical’ project.”

Pinar said the team was well organized and demonstrated an excellent work ethic from day one. “It was exciting to watch them identify a salient problem and develop a functional proof-of-concept solution despite the setbacks that affected us all after spring break,” he said.

SICK is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of sensors, safety systems, machine vision, encoders and automatic identification products for industrial applications.


Soft Community Detection

Sakineh “Audrey” Yazdanparast (ECE), Timothy C. Havens (CC), and Mohsen Jamalabdollahi have authored “Soft Overlapping Community Detection in Large-Scale Networks via Fast Fuzzy Modularity Maximization,” which is available under the “Early Access” area on IEEE Xplore.

Extract

Soft overlapping clustering is one of the notable problems of community detection. Extensive research has been conducted to develop efficient methods for non-overlapping and crisp-overlapping community detection in large-scale networks. In this paper, Fast Fuzzy Modularity Maximization (FFMM) for soft overlapping community detection is proposed. FFMM exploits novel iterative equations to calculate the modularity gain associated with changing the fuzzy membership values of network vertices. The simplicity of the proposed scheme enables efficient modifications, reducing computational complexity to a linear function of the network size and the number of communities.

Citation

S. Yazdanparast, T. C. Havens and M. Jamalabdollahi, “Soft Overlapping Community Detection in Large-Scale Networks via Fast Fuzzy Modularity Maximization,” in IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems.

DOI: 10.1109/TFUZZ.2020.2980502


Jeremy Bos on the Wild West of Automotive Lidar

Photonics Focus cover with infrared photo of a car.

THE CITY OF HOUGHTON is in the far north of Michigan’s upper peninsula, along the southern shore of Lake Superior. It’s famous for two things: the notable engineering school, Michigan Technical[sic] University, and being two miles past the end of the Earth. It’s more than 200 miles away from the closest freeway, and averages 250 inches of snowfall per year.

Jeremy Bos, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Tech, finds this environment ideal for research on autonomous vehicles (AV).

Read more at SPIE Photonics Focus, by Gwen Weerts.


Elementary Students Build Circuits

Last Friday (Jan. 31, 2020), students from Michigan Tech, along with the Lake Linden-Hubbell eighth grade eCYBERMISSION team, visited the fifth-grade classes at Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw Elementary. Students in each fifth-grade class learned about electrical engineering by making circuits from Play-Doh, creating a paper circuit, and building a small wiggling “BouncyBOT.”

The fifth graders were very curious about Michigan Tech and what it means to be a college student in engineering. They asked the Tech representatives about projects they had worked on during their time on campus, as well as what they did in high school to get ready for college.

These students—coming together from the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Mind Trekkers—represent the great characteristics of the Tech community: they stepped up to give back through hands-on engagement with engineering and science.


The Nine Oh Six Podcast

Michigan Tech alumna Archita (Sivakumar) Fritz ’06, recently launched and co-founded the Nine Oh Six podcast. The Nine-Oh-Six is a global podcast co-hosted by lifelong friends Meha (Pandey) Chiraya (Houghton High School ’06) and Fritz.

The name of this podcast is the area code (906) of the Upper Peninsula, which is where Meha and Archita’s friendship began, and is an ode to the sense of community they both experienced as young adults in Houghton. This podcast originated from a desire to share the stories of the extraordinary women in their lives, within their networks and communities, who are forging a path forward.

Too often podcasts and interviews are focused on women at the top of the proverbial ‘success ladder’. Yet, they were constantly amazed by women in their lives who are doing extraordinary things as they define success on their own terms. The podcast provides a platform to share and inspire others with these stories.

On the most recent episode they interview a fellow Michigan Tech Alumna, Andrea (Taglione) Bouman ’11 and MBA ’12 who is an ER Physician at UP Health System – Portage in Hancock. She shares how her time at Michigan Tech helped shape her journey towards becoming a physician wanting to serve the community while building a family.

You can tune into the episode. For more inspiring stories about women who are defining success on their own terms, one can subscribe to The Nine Oh Six on any podcast platform such as iTunes, Spotify, Stitchr and others. or you can listen to the episodes at www.thenineohsix. You can follow us on Facebook at The Nine Oh Six Podcast or on instagram @thenineohsix.


Pearce Group on Solar Systems

Renewable EnergyECE student Trevor Peffley co-authored an article with Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) titled: “The Potential for Grid Defection of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Using Solar Photovoltaic, Battery and Generator Hybrid Systems“, which was published in Renewable Energy.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2019.12.039

Based on the results of this study it is clear that it is already technically and economically viable for all scales of commercial utility customers to install a solar, battery and natural gas hybrid electricity generation system.

In the News

Joshua Pearce’s (MSE/ECE) research on bifacial solar photovoltaic (PV) performance in the snow was covered by PV Magazine.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) is quoted in “2020 energy trends affecting consumers” published in Save.

In Print

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) coauthored a study “Performance of Bifacial Photovoltaic Modules on a Dual-Axis Tracker in a High-Latitude, High-Albedo Environment” published in the Conference Proceedings of the IEEE Photovoltiac Specialists Conference (PVSC). 

New Funding

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE/IMP) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $182,580 research and development cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy.

The project is entitled, “The Energizer Bunny: Dual-Use Photovoltaic and Pasture-Raised Rabbit Farms.”

Chelsea Schelly (SS/IMP )is the Co-PI on this potential 15-month project.


Synchrophasor Data Project Funding for Chee-Wooi Ten

Chee-Wooi Ten
Chee-Wooi Ten

Chee-Wooi Ten (ECE/AIM) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $99,732 research and development cooperative agreement with the University of California Riverside. The project is entitled, “Discovery of Signatures, Anomalies, and Precursors in Synchrophasor Data with Matrix Profile and Deep Recurrent Neural Networks.” This is a 17-month project.

By Sponsored Programs.


Tim Schulz Receives a 2019 CTL Instructional Award

Tim Schulz receives a 2019 Center for Teaching and Learning Instructional Award for his outstanding progress in online course curriculum and learning tool development. Tim is pictured (left) receiving the award from Mike Meyer, director of the Jackson CTL. On the right, Tim is pictured presenting on his curriculum development methods at the awards ceremony held Tuesday, October 22, 2019. Tim was chosen from a pool of Deans’ Teaching Showcase award recipients. Read more about the CTL awards.


New Optics and Photonics Scholarship Available

A new scholarship at Michigan Tech is expected to advance the study of optics and photonics. The Optics and Photonics Scholarship was set up this past year by Michigan Tech Electrical and Computer Engineering alumnus Eustace Dereniak (‘63). Dereniak is a retired Professor and Professor Emeritus of Optical Sciences and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. He is also a past President of the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).

Chris Middlebrook, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Tech, states that “The establishment of the Optics and Photonics Scholarship for undergraduate ECE students or other engineering students is a huge first step in the future direction of optical research and development at MTU.”

Photonics, the manipulation of light (photons), has revolutionized medical imaging, autonomous vehicles, solar power, optical computers, space optics and 3D printing. Photonics is poised to become the key technology of the future, surpassing electronics with new engineering challenges for the 21st Century.  A photon velocity is about 1000 times faster than electron velocity. Dereniak said, “My goal in establishing this scholarship is to motivate Michigan Tech’s engineering students to become hooked on optics as they investigate Michigan Tech’s optics/photonics curriculum and the unique career opportunities that exist within this rapidly growing field.”

SPIE has offered to match dollar-for-dollar any contributions to the scholarship fund, up to $60,000. Any person or organization that would like to contribute to the scholarship can do so by making a check payable to “Michigan Tech Fund #5392.” They may also contribute online at https://www.mtu.edu/givenow/?code=GIV0 (be sure to specify fund #5392).