Wednesday, December 19, 2018

CETA Students Recognized at Fall 2018 Design Expo

Nearly four years ago, Dean Alnajjar asked Professor Patricia Mellodge, Professor Mary Arico and CETA Director of Collegiate Student Services Julie Spring to establish an exciting event at the end of each semester called the CETA Design Expo. Julie Spring recently shared how much the event has evolved over the past few years.

“We began with the May 2015 Expo in Konover and the event grew from there — now scheduled to take place the last Friday of classes each fall and spring semester,” said Julie. “Each year we [continue to] fine-tune the structure and happenings. During the spring CETA Design Expos, the seniors not only present during the poster sessions, but the top ten groups and/or individuals selected also participate in Shark Tank and have a three-minute presentation at the Expo to compete to win one of the top recognitions of the event!”

Our fall 2018 Expo was hosted on December 14, 2018, with a full room of talented students, enthusiastic faculty and staff, and visiting industry leaders — some of which participated as judges during the event. We are excited to recognize eight winning projects that truly set the bar this semester.

The First-Year student winners were:

Etch-a-Sketch” by Jacob Fett, Nathanael Gonzalez, Ryan Levin, and Peyton Meissner, under Professor Phil Faraci. Watch the project in action in this video.

“Our project’s objective was to design an etch a sketch mechanism that could write a series of letters by a computer using an Arduino interface.” – Ryan Levin ’21, Audio Engineering Technology/Electrical Engineering

Professor Phil Faraci, who led the students behind Etch-a-Sketch to success, commented on how impressed he was of the work accomplished by many of the first-year students who showcased their projects at the event.

“Many students at the Expo were given a design challenge in the first semester of their first year and met the challenge with enthusiasm, skill, and creativity. Hats off to all of the students, faculty, and staff who contributed to a great day.” — Phil Faraci, Applied Assistant Professor of Engineering

The Fire Bot” by Sky Cheng, Tyler Tan, Maisha Maliha, and Bernard Balko, under Professor Eric James

The objective of this project according to Maisha Maliha ’22, Electrical Engineering was “created to demonstrate a smart fire truck programmed through Arduino that imitates the work of a real fireman. The main target of this project is to introduce the model for the robot that can save the lives of people from numerous fire incidents.”

Maisha also shared her thoughts about the Expo event overall.

“The Expo has been a real big platform to showcase, learn, explore and probe through the innovative sides of engineering,” said Maisha. “It was a great honor to present our ideas and projects to many other smart minds (judges and peers). The event prepares students to be concentrated on their career, broadening their vision about engineering.”

Her teammate Bernard Balko was also proud to step away from the Expo with more insight into engineering after his first semester.

“This was also a great experience for young engineers, trying to figure out what engineering discipline to choose. Regardless of winning, the process of building our project was also the process of building a great friendship.” — Bernard Balko ’22, Mechanical Engineering

Multiple Outlet Box for Automatic Heat, Cooling, and Lighting” by Joshua Cocuzzo, Tessa Kopec, Liz Roach, and Richard Miller, under Professor Claudio Campana

“The objective of our project was to create a device in which the climate of a room could be changed automatically depending on what a person has it set for. It can be done automatically using a photoresistor and thermostat, or manually with a Bluetooth module which is connected to a phone app. The Expo was a great way to see what people come up with and how different people think. It was an amazing opportunity to see how people work together to create new ideas.” — Tessa Kopec ’22, Mechanical Engineering

Team 2” by Rayan Alsarran, Farah Jan, Shani Jonas, and Philip Melo, under Professor Todd Brown

“Our project’s objective was to use the sensors provided to make a garage that would open and close when sound was played. The Expo was extremely enjoyable and we had lots of fun!” — Shani Jonas ’22, Biomedical Engineering

Additional winners were:

ECT 110P Final Project” by Joseph Magnowski, Davi Wu, and Jaesung Yang, under Professor Johanna Raphael

“ECT 110P Final Project” by Andrius Satas and Robert Seecharran, under Professor Johanna Raphael

We also recognized two seniors who demonstrated their overall understanding of key engineering and design skills. These winners were:

Motion Controlled Animatronic Arm” by Jesse Pezza, with technical advising from Kiwon Sohn
The objective of this project was to design a motion-controlled animatronic arm, capable of accurately mimicking the motions of the person wearing the controls. The system mimics the human shoulder, the elbow, and the hand.

Structural Design of a Multistory Apartment Building” by Emina Hodzic

The objective of this project was to design and optimize the steel framing for a 20-story building in the Hartford area using structural analysis software, SAP2000, as Emina Hodzic shared.

“I thought the Expo was a nice event, with a lot of fascinating and creative projects. The judges were interested in the projects and had very good feedback.”— Emina Hodzic ’19 Civil Engineering

Congratulations to all the students who participated in the semi-annual Expo, and we look forward to seeing your future projects in the spring.

“Another wonderful CETA Design Expo this fall, where first-year students and seniors in senior design and project-based courses were able to display their efforts and talents and demonstrated how innovation lives in CETA,” said Julie. “Thank you to all who participated and assisted. This is the day each semester when CETA students get to shine.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Self-Driving Cars to Humanoids: CETA Faculty Tatoglu and Sohn Present Their Robotics Research at International Conference

CETA Robotics faculty Dr. Akin Tatoglu and Dr. Kiwon Sohn published and presented a total of six papers at the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME) International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exhibition (IMECE) in Pittsburg, PA on the week of Nov 9-15, 2018. ASME’s International Mechanical Engineering and Exposition is the largest interdisciplinary mechanical engineering conference in the world. Dr. Tatoglu and Dr. Sohn contributed to four and three papers respectively. Their work included four faculty, one research engineer, two graduate and seven undergraduate students.
Tatoglu’s “Autonomous Mobile Robotics Research Group” focuses on designing and developing alternate locomotion mechanisms with agile maneuver capabilities, implementation of their visual localization and motion control systems.
Sohn’s “Assistive Robot Team (ART)” focuses on development of the intelligent robot systems which can help and assist labors in various human-centered environments which include laborious task-spaces in industry and dangerous work-areas such as disasters.
Tatoglu’s published research includes an aerial vehicle visual navigation system titled “Performance Analysis of UAV Visual Landmark Tracking Under Rapid Motion” which was scripted with his graduate student Eric Jacobson. This paper studies localization techniques of an aggressively moving drone. His second paper was about miniaturizing robotic arms titled “Low Cost Robotic Arm Manipulator Controller with Single Stage Fluid Valves” which is co-authored with CETA research engineer Claudio Campana. Tatoglu’s work with Dr. Eoin King to improve safety of self-driving cars is also published: “On Self Driving Car Safety: Occupancy Map Modification with Rapid Emergency Vehicle Detection” which presents a solution for rapid emergency vehicle detection especially for self-driving cars or mobile robots.

Sohn’s published research includes a self-driving humanoid platform titled “Development of Lower Body for Vehicle Driving Robot, HART” which was researched and written together with ART’s lead students: Mark Markiewicz and Stefan Keilich. This paper presented the teams’ recent progress on development of full-sized humanoid, HART (Human Assistive RoboT). His second paper was about service robot with IoT connectivity titled “Service Robot Design for Uses in Human Centered Environments” which is co-authored with his advised design team students: Ethan Morris, Shaun Merrill, Thomas Currier and Obioma Ulebor.

Dr. Sohn and Dr. Patricia Mellodge co-authored with Dr. Tatoglu to publish their graduate student Sarah Lamb’s work titled “Control Analysis of a 3D Self Balancing Inverted Pendulum and Cart System for Stability in the Event of a Sensor Failure”.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Engineers Without Borders Student Chapter’s Experience at the 2018 Engineers Without Borders USA National Conference

Four CETA students who are members of the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Student Chapter here at the University of Hartford had the opportunity to travel to California earlier this month for the 2018 Engineers Without Borders (EWB) USA Conference.

All four students - (pictured left to right) Yasmin Albur, Kaleigh McGuirl, Matthew Garneau, and Griffin Shepherd - pictured in front of one of the EWB Conference banners during the networking corporate event that the conference hosted some of the companies there included ARUP, Pratt and Whitney, ASCE and a few others who are great supporters of Engineers Without Borders. 

These students included Computer Engineering major Kaleigh McGuirl ’19, Civil Engineering major Matthew Garneau ’19, Electrical Engineering major Griffin Shepherd ‘19, and Biomedical Engineering major Yasmin Albur ’21.

Matt, Kaleigh and Yasmin are on the eBoard for the EWB Student Chapter and have the positions of President, Secretary, and Public Relations, respectively. The students have also been on travel teams to India and Griffin, in particular, has also traveled to Kenya with Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering David Pines.

Kaleigh was kind enough to share more about their experience attending the conference.

How did you learn about the conference and what were you hoping to get out of attending?
A conversation between the eBoard and Professor Pines sparked the idea of attending the conference. The EWB Student Chapter found it would be a great opportunity for the students to attend because of the level of networking and resources available at the conference.

“We could potentially meet people to help with projects or provide us with ideas for potential new projects,” said Kaleigh.

The conference would also be a great opportunity for the students to grow their own chapter here at the university based on what other schools are doing. The goal with many student organizations is to continue to grow involvement as students’ move on and graduate. Kaleigh was thrilled to share they were able to bring home some takeaways from other schools to encourage more CETA students to get involved with their organization on campus.

“The conference allowed the students to see how other groups make their decisions for their chapters’ projects (student and professional),” said Kaleigh. “We also could attend many sessions to discuss retention with other student chapters and what their school club does on campus to help keep students interested in our chapter at the University of Hartford.”

How did this conference tie back to your major and what you’ve learned at the University of Hartford?
Being a Computer Engineering major, there were a few topics that Kaleigh thoroughly enjoyed, including the Energy Challenges in the Developing World and Monitoring and Evaluation Techniques for Energy Systems.

“While there were only a few topics that didn’t revolve around civil engineering concepts, it’s still important to understand that if you want to have a pump for a well, for example, you’re still going to need some type of power systems connected to it,” said Kaleigh. “This is where electrical and computer engineers can work together to calculate and develop a system that fits what you’re trying to use the system for.”

Kaleigh was also able to reflect on what else she took from the conference. “I was able to take a look and listen to some of the projects that professional and student chapters have done as well as hear speeches about what it was like when the NGO first began,” said Kaleigh. “It was interesting to hear how many years that some people have been members, giving me a sense of hope that Engineers Without Borders continues to grow as an organization year after year because of its impact on individual lives.”

Would you recommend other CETA students attend this conference and others?
Kaleigh shared she would definitely recommend students from CETA to attend future EWB USA Conferences. It was not only a great experience for the students who went this month, but also allowed their organization, CETA, and the University of Hartford to be represented at the conference. The students connected with many professionals from various industries as well as other students from other colleges and universities who “also shared the same dedication for the work that EWB is capable of accomplishing every year” as Kaleigh described.

“I would recommend students to attend especially if they have the initiative and desire to help on projects in developing worlds,” said Kaleigh. “Next year’s conference is much closer to the university in Pittsburgh, PA.”

Here are some pictures from the event sent in by Kaleigh:

Matthew Garneau, President of the EWB Student Chapter, and Kaleigh McGuirl, Secretary of the EWB Student Chapter, pictured in front of one of the EWB Conference banners. 

Three of the students (Griffin Shepherd, Matthew Garneau, and Kaleigh McGuirl) pictured with other students from various universities around the nation during the conference's corporate networking event (same as the one from Image 2). This conference provided a great networking opportunity to not only meet with professionals but to get to know fellow students from various universities across the nation. 

All four students - (pictured left to right) Kaleigh McGuirl, Matthew Garneau, Griffin Shepherd, and Yasmin Albur - pictured in front of Alcatraz on a boat tour as we were able to explore the city of San Francisco in some downtime from the conference. 

All four students - (pictured left to right) Yasmin Albur, Kaleigh McGuirl, Matthew Garneau, and Griffin Shepherd - pictured on a boat for an audio tour that took us from the Golden Gate bridge to the Bay Bridge and went around the island of Alcatraz as we were able to explore the city of San Francisco in some downtime from the conference. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Civil, Environmental, and Biomedical Engineering Professor Presents at Railways 2018 in Spain

This fall, Professor Ted Sussmann of the Civil, Environmental, and Biomedical Engineering department delivered four presentations, reviewed conference submissions, and co-organized a special session at Railways 2018: the Fourth International Conference on Railway Technology held in Barcelona, Spain.

Special session RW2018-6 titled “Track Structure and its Components: Advanced Materials, Design, Monitoring and Maintenance” was organized with colleagues at the University of Birmingham, UK, University of Wollongong, Australia and Nippon Koei Co. Japan. Professor Sussmann delivered presentations titled:
1.       Examples of Track Performance Effects Related to Excessive Track Deflection
2.       Long-Term Monitoring of Fouled Ballast Sites
3.       Applying Track Design Models to the Assessment of Track Performance and Remaining Life
4.       Ballast Behavior under Passenger and Freight Traffic

During the visit to Barcelona, Dr. Sussmann visited La Sagrada Familia.

Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia under construction 1882-present.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Featured Freshmen Project at CETA Design Expo Next Month: Robot Design Challenge

Robotics continues to grow in popularity with many CETA students, and we are excited to see some of the featured projects at this year's Design Expo for the Robot Design Challenge.

ES 143: Engineering and Design is described as the "Introduction to the fundamentals of engineering, the engineering profession and engineering design with emphasis on guided design and problem-solving methodologies. Students will undertake practice-oriented group design projects."

As part of the design challenge, each team must propose, build, and demonstrate a final robot project that shows new knowledge and skills pertaining to their robot kit. New knowledge and skills may be in for form of the following:

  • Implementation of two new sensors
  • Novel application of an existing sensor
  • Advanced programming techniques beyond the code given in the manual

The designs will be evaluated based on the following criteria, which will be used by judges to evaluate the final product and to choose the winning designs/products:

  1. Performance (Successful completion of the intended task.)
  2. Creativity (How creative is the final product?)
  3. Level of Difficulty (How complex is the new sensor/coding/ knowledge?)
  4. Presentation: Poster (Does the poster clearly illustrate the goal of the project?)
  5. Presentation: Oral (Are the students well-prepared and rehearsed?)
Our students truly have a hands-on experience inside and outside the classroom. Students are able to use the equipment provided within the classroom to master their skills. Below are two photos from the CETA robotics lab, including CETA's very own robotics mascot, Baxter.

Please join us for the CETA Design Expo — Fall 2018 event in the Sport Center, Instramural Gym at the University of Hartford. Come to see all the happenings and accomplishments of the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

CETA Winners Within the Fall 2018 Award Recipients by the CT Space Grant Consortium

Two faculty members in Mechanical Engineering, Paul Slaboch and Kamau Wright, were each awarded a Faculty Research Grant from the CT Space Grant Consortium. The grants are for $10k with a matching budget from the university of $10k for a total budget of $20k each.

Also, we had a student in our dept, Patrick Dubiel, who won an undergraduate student research fellowship. This is a $5k award for Patrick to complete his research project.

Congratulations Paul, Kamau, and Patrick!

Learn more about their awards here:

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

CETA Civil Engineering Seniors Visit Local Water Treatment Plant for Class

On Friday, November 9, our civil engineering seniors toured the Hartford MDC - The Metropolitan District's Reservoir 6 water treatment plant as part of their Water Quality Engineering class with Professor Todd Brown.

During the tour and during the next few weeks of lecture, students learn how to engineer systems that clean and disinfect water supplies for public drinking water systems.