Category Archives: News

Kunle Oluwatomilayo Leads Outreach on True African Story

Kunle Oluwatomilayo
Kunle Oluwatomilayo

On May 15, 2019, eight students from the African Students Organization (ASO) chapter of Michigan Tech went to Dollar Bay High School to share a perspective of African history and culture that is often misrepresented or ignored by Western media.

Meeting a class of middle and high school students, Kunle Oluwatomilayo (PhD student, ECE), president of ASO, opened the floor with introductory remarks. Highlighting the historical significance of Africa to human existence. ASO’s interaction with the Dollar Bay School involved an exposition of West African naming practices, a telling of Asante folklore, a video showing different places in all 54 African countries, and a lesson on some facts about the African continent that are rarely pointed out.

Tolu Odebunmi (PhD student, Humanities) explained how the pronunciation of names worked in Yoruba, one of several languages in Nigeria. By referring to the tonal nature of Yoruba pronunciation, Tolu explained how names were significant in most African cultures. Of particular interest was the meanings attached to names and how the circumstances surrounding the birth of a child could dictate the name that was given to a child. For example, some ethnic groups in Ghana name their children based on the day of the week that a child is born.

While the video served as a means to retell the African story, the lesson led by Alfred Owusu-Ansah (PhD student, Humanities) highlighted rarely mentioned issues; Alfred pointed out how the world’s oldest university was established in 859 C.E. in Morocco by a woman. He also pointed out other firsts, like the first successful heart transplant was achieved in South Africa. In encouraging the students to explore the rich diversity of Africa, he suggested that they could read Nobel Laureates like Wole Soyinka of Nigeria or Nadine Gordimer of South Africa; or follow great scientists like Sameera Moussa (a renowned nuclear scientist) of Egypt, and Philip Emeagwali of Nigeria, who built the fastest computer of the time in 1989.

After the lesson students were invited to ask questions. This led to what was perhaps the climax of the day when a very bright student asked: “We hear that Africans are corrupt, how true is that?” Alfred pointed out that corruption does exist at different levels in the different countries in Africa; the same way that corruption exists at different levels in all countries in the world. Alfred highlighted the importance of checks and balances in any system of governance that seeks to minimize corrupt practices, which is as true for Africa as it is for North America. This led to a conversation on the cultural differences between African countries and the United States of America. It was clear that both Africans and Americans had a lot of respect for each other and were eager to learn new things. Ending the interaction with a song, the president of ASO sees this interaction as one of many that can help both Africans and the people of the great Upper Peninsula understand each other better.

by Bello Adesoji | African Student Organization.


Havens and Pinar Publish on Fusion in Neural Networks

Timothy Havens (ECE/ICC) and Anthony Pinar (ECE) coauthored the article, “Enabling Explainable Fusion in Deep Learning with Fuzzy Integral Neural Networks,” which was accepted this month for publication in the journal IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems.

DOI: 10.1109/TFUZZ.2019.2917124

Extract

Information fusion is an essential part of numerous engineering systems and biological functions, e.g., human cognition.

Fusion occurs at many levels, ranging from the low-level combination of signals to the high-level aggregation of heterogeneous decision-making processes.

While the last decade has witnessed an explosion of research in deep learning, fusion in neural networks has not observed the same revolution.

Herein, we prove that the fuzzy Choquet integral (ChI), a powerful nonlinear aggregation function, can be represented as a multi-layer network, referred to hereafter as ChIMP. An additional benefit of ChIMP/iChIMP is that it enables eXplainable AI (XAI).

Timothy Havens
Timothy Havens
Tony Pinar
Tony Pinar

Better to Light a Candle: Chapter Two

EE4800 Poster
Figure 1: EE4800 course poster.

Michigan Tech’s new course in printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing is the topic of a series of columns in I-Connect 007. The second column “Better to Light a Candle” Chapter Two—Introduction to PCB Fabrication,” by Marc Carter, features an interview between Marc Carter, Christopher Middlebrook (ECE), and the students in the PCB manufacturing class.

Better to Light a Candle: Chapter Two—Introduction to PCB Fabrication

Editor’s Note: This column is part of a series 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. The interview with students was also edited for clarity.

In my first column, I reported on a grassroots effort being started to prepare the next generation of printed circuit board (PCB) “experts.” A fortunate alignment of academia, the industry, resources, and concerned, well-seasoned board geeks came together to pass on PCB experience to the next generation through a very practical design, build, assemble, and test opportunity at Michigan Technological University (MTU). I also shared the thoughts of a few of the many people that were key players in getting this effort started.

As a reminder, “EE4800: Printed Circuit Board Fabrication” is a hands-on class intended to give engineering undergraduate students an introduction to the basics of printed circuit design, fabrication, and assembly, which started on January 14 of this year. A high-level overview of the course, it’s approach, and goals can be seen in the poster shared at several events at IPC APEX EXPO 2019 in San Diego, California (Figure 1).

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

Related:

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


Cameron Philo Wins Best Technology Venture at 2019 CMU Competition

Cameron Philo
Cameron Philo

Five student teams from Michigan Technological University traveled to Central Michigan University (CMU) in Mount Pleasant, MI to compete in the ninth annual New Venture Competition held Friday, April 12, 2019.

Cameron Philo won Best Technology Venture for Life Pro Jackets and was awarded $10,000. Philo participated in Michigan Tech’s I-Corps Site Program last Fall. I-Corps is a team-based program structure that was developed through a partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.

Read more at the Pavlis Honors College Blog.

Related:

Cameron Philo receives Best Green Innovation – Bob Mark Elevator Pitch Competition


Christopher Middlebrook Presents for SPIE

Christopher T. Middlebrook
Christopher T. Middlebrook

Chris Middlebrook (ECE) was recently hosted by the ECE SPIE Chapter at Georgia Tech. On March 12, Middlebrook provided a presentation entitled “Embedded and Integrated Passive Waveguides and Active Integrated Optical Devices.”

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics. Details of Middlebrook’s presentation are available online.


ECE Texting Campaign a Success

Students at computers
Photo by Glen Archer.

The first Electrical and Computer Engineering department texting campaign was held on March 26, 2019. The texting campaign is similar to the calling campaign the department put on earlier in the semester; however, students were able to send in questions via text.

Five current Tech students held conversations with approximately thirty students who had been accepted to Michigan Tech, answering questions all across the board.

The event was a success, and our students had a great time answering questions and discussing their experiences as a Husky—which can clearly be seen by the smiles.

By Kelsey Robinson, EE senior.


Funding for On-Ice and Underwater Noise Sources

Timothy Havens
Timothy Havens

Timothy Havens (ECE) is the principal investigator on a research and development project that has received $96,643 from the Naval Surface Warfare Center.

Andrew Barnard (ME-EM) is the Co-PI on the project “Localization, Tracking, and Classification of On-Ice and Underwater Noise Sources Using Machine Learning.”

This is the first year of a potential three-year project totaling $299,533.

By Sponsored Programs.


Heart Rate Monitor for Engineers Week 2019

Heart Rate Monitor group
Students working on soldering, with Blue Marble Security members assisting with questions.

Engineers’ Week this year took place February 17 – 23, 2019. Michigan Technological University’s nationally recognized engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi (TBP), partnered with Blue Marble Security Enterprise to participate in a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) Event. The event was held on Friday, February 22, where approximately 15 TBP members learned the basics of soldering.

The TBP members had various levels of soldering knowledge, some being beginners and others having plenty of experience. They represented various majors while participating. The Blue Marble Security outreach team supervised for those with little experience and answered questions.

The HRM is a basic circuit used to teach students how to read color bands on resistors. The colors correspond to the resistor ohm value and polarity regarding the device LEDs. Besides basic component knowledge, the students learned the correct and safe process of through hole soldering. Upon the completion of populating and soldering the components in place, students were given an integrated circuit and nine volt battery to check the operation of the board. The TBP members took their completed heart rate monitor boards home as souvenirs of their soldering experiences and of Engineers’ Week 2019.

Related:

Boy Scouts Learn to Solder Heart Rate Monitors

Society of Women Engineers Learn to Solder Heart Rate Monitors



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.

Related:

Better to Light a Candle: Chapter Two—Introduction to PCB Fabrication

Altium Sponsors Use of Software for PCB Design Class

Michigan Tech has entered into an agreement with Altium for the use of software in a classroom setting. The 12-month arrangement allows the University the use of Altium Designer software used to design printed circuit boards (PCBs).

The software will be primarily used in EE4800, Printed Circuit Board Fabrication, taught by Christopher Middlebrook (ECE). The agreement includes 20 licenses to the latest version of the Altium Designer software, as well as free updates and upgrades.

Middlebrook says he is pleased with the agreement, valued at $116,850. “Using Altium will allow students to have first-hand experience and exposure with a globally recognized software design package,” he said.

EE4800 is a hands-on undergraduate engineering class that teaches students the basics of printed circuit design, fabrication and assembly. This is a new course with its first offering in Spring of 2019. The class is the subject of what is expected to be a series of columns in I-Connect007.

Altium is a multinational software corporation headquartered in San Diego that focuses on electronics design systems for 3D PCB design and embedded system development.

By Electrical and Computer Engineering.