The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Imagine being blindfolded and then turned loose, on your own, to navigate a large, strange building that you’ve never entered before. It would be like one of those sadistic, mean-spirited reality TV shows. Yet that’s precisely the predicament encountered by many of the 161 million people worldwide who suffer from vision impairment. Now an electronic system called PERCEPT, being developed by Professor Aura Ganz of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, will allow visually impaired individuals, each equipped only with a three-ounce electronic device and Bluetooth headphone, to navigate unfamiliar buildings with ease.

Electrical and Computer Engineering Department doctoral candidate Pritish Narayanan, a student of ECE Professor C. Andras Moritz (pictured), has received the Best Student Paper Award at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) International Symposium on Defect and Fault Tolerance in VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) Systems, held in Kyoto, Japan, from October 6 to 8.

Raytheon recently signed an agreement with the University of Massachusetts Amherst to make Raytheon’s Principles of Systems Engineering (PoSE) course part of the College of Engineering curriculum. More than 5,200 Raytheon employees have completed PoSE, but this exciting partnership between two respected Massachusetts organizations marks the first time that PoSE has been taught for college credit to non-Raytheon graduate students and undergraduate seniors.

The College of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst held its first annual Outstanding Alumni Awards Luncheon during Homecoming Weekend, on Saturday, October 16, 2010. The luncheon included the presentation of College of Engineering Outstanding Junior/Senior Alumni Awards to individuals who, through exemplary accomplishments, epitomize the potential of an education at the UMass Amherst College of Engineering. The event happened from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. in the 10th floor Amherst Room of the UMass Amherst Campus Center.

On October 1, the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) was featured on the influential LiveScience website, which covered CASA’s Puerto Rican testbed. As the LiveScience article noted, “A team of CASA graduate and undergraduate students from several CASA partner institutions designed, assembled, and installed the "off-the-grid," solar-powered, and wireless radar system in a region of western Puerto Rico that the Doppler radar located south of San Juan cannot sense.

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Ph.D. student Xunyi Yu and adviser, ECE Professor Aura Ganz (pictured), won a Best Paper Contender prize at the 7th International Conference on Advanced Video and Signal-Based Surveillance, held from August 29 to September 1 in Boston. Their paper, "Global Identification of Tracklets in Video Using Long Range Identity Sensors," developed a new system, using RFID sensors, to identify people captured in outdoor surveillance videos.

Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Ph.D. student Steve Holland won first place in the student paper competition at The Antenna Applications Symposium, which was held from September 21 to 23 at the Allerton Park and Retreat Center in Monticello, Illinois. Holland’s paper is titled, "A Fully Planar Ultrawideband Array," with ECE Professor Marinos Vouvakis as a co-author. Each student paper was rated by the audience members based upon technical merit and presentation quality.

On October 1, Lixin Gao of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Jeffrey Davis of the Chemical Engineering Department were two of the eight “nationally acclaimed faculty members” presented with the Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity at the Sixth Annual Faculty Convocation. The convocation took place at 11:00 a.m. in Bowker Auditorium of Stockbridge Hall.

In 2005, USA Today published a series of articles about “the 10 hardest things to do in sports.” Number three on that list, ahead of such feats as running a marathon and completing the Tour de France, was pole vaulting. In any ranking of the most difficult academic subjects, electrical engineering must surely finish high on the list. In that regard, Sean Busch is not only an accomplished pole vaulter, but a gifted electrical engineering major. What does that make Sean Busch?

A team of chalk artists led by Paul Siqueira of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department nabbed a third place in the Northampton Chalk Art competition on September 10, after completing a 5'X5' cement "canvas" based on Marc Chagall's "The Fiddler," adapted to incorporate the surrounding Northampton architecture. "Hence, we were very topical," said Dr. Siqueira. The members of his team were three of his students: Razi Ahmed, Tony Swochak, and Benjamin St. Peter.

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