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Two College of Engineering graduate students were among the 10 UMass recipients of the Spring 2014 Eugene M. Isenberg Scholarships. The engineering awardees were Michael Prokle, studying Industrial Engineering and Operations Research in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, and Akshaya Shanmugam of the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department. This gift was established by Eugene M. Isenberg, a 1950 graduate of UMass Amherst and the retired CEO of Nabors Industries, Inc., and his wife Ronnie Isenberg.

The scholarships are awarded to UMass Amherst graduate...

Imagine being blindfolded and then turned loose to navigate the complex Boston subway system. Your plight might recall The Man Who Never Returned, that classic Kingston Trio song about a guy named Charlie whose fate on the subway was to “ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston.” Now imagine you can never take off that blindfold. That’s the real-life predicament of any visually impaired person who enters a busy subway station, and University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor Aura Ganz has a brilliant solution.

Called PERCEPT, Ganz’ invention is a seeing-eye directory...

On January 6, the Colorado State University Coloradoan carried a feature article about the $2.8-million National Science Foundation project in the Dallas-Fort Worth area being run by the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA). Brenda Philips is the director of industry, government, and end-user partnerships for CASA and the principal investigator for the NSF...

Joseph Bardin of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has received a five-year grant of approximately $400,000 from the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. Bardin’s research will greatly improve the cryogenic electronics used in scientific instruments, thereby enabling new and more powerful experimental tools for scientific researchers.

The research focus of Bardin’s CAREER project is to design novel broadband silicon circuits, operating at ultra-low power...

On December 6 in the Campus Center Auditorium, 170 junior and senior students in the ECE 361 Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering course showed off some 40 model “smart cars” they had designed during the course as collision-avoiding vehicles. This course is intended to provide non-electrical engineering majors, in this case students from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, with the relevant electrical and electronic engineering concepts and device knowledge to work effectively in multi-disciplined design, development, and manufacturing teams. View You Tube video...

Jorge L. Salazar, a doctoral graduate from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was awarded a prestigious National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Advanced Study Program Postdoctoral Fellowship. The postdoctoral program provides an opportunity for recent Ph.D. scientists and engineers to continue to pursue their research interests in atmospheric and related sciences. Salazar is currently working at the Earth Observing Laboratory at NCAR in Boulder, Colorado, developing an emerging technology for two-dimensional,...

In M5 (short for Marcus Hall, room 5), the student hub for hands-on inventiveness in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, innovation is happening faster than an electrical signal jumping a human synapse gap. In M5, change is standard operating procedure. One symbol of the innovation in progress is the antique pump organ centrally located in M5 as it waits to be mechanically restored and electronically synthesized by a team of faculty and students. Another change is the installation of the campus chapter of IEEE, which has been relocated in a high-profile, windowed office...

On October 30, RailPod, a startup company founded by College of Engineering alumni Brendan English (B.S. 1999 in Computer Systems Engineering) and Blair Morad (B.S. 1998 in Mechanical Engineering), won $100,000 in the 2013 MassChallenge (masschallenge.org), the world’s largest startup accelerator. RailPod was one of five $100,000 first-prize winners out of 128 companies competing in the MassChallenge. RailPod is a railroad track inspection robot that provides a visual depiction of the track environment, supported by quantifiable measurements that quickly and...

On November 8 and 9, Marco Chiang, a senior BSCSE major, and his team from the Computer Science Department finished in the top six out of more than 500 “amazing hackers” and 200 teams that competed in the Yale Hackathon in New Haven, Connecticut. According to Chiang, the Hackathon is an event in which students compete to create the most innovative and complex computer software and hardware hacks to win a variety of cash and prizes. As Chiang explained, “Leaf, the name of our product and vision, is working hard to bring a piece of technology into our lives to revolutionize social and...

A team led by graduate student Akshaya Shanmugam of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department won the $1,000 first prize in the UMass Innovation Challenge MinutePitch competitionon Oct. 29. The competition was featured in a Springfield Republican article on November 11. Shanmugam’s team, mDiagnostic, is developing a low-cost, accurate test for hepatitis C., and the team’s faculty advisor is ECE Professor Christopher Salthouse. Shanmugam...

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