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The ninth annual University of Massachusetts Innovation Challenge final business plan competition was held on April 7. The event culminated in awards to five competing teams from a prize pool of $50,000 provided by private sector contributions as well as two special $5,000 named awards – The David Wolf Prize and The Glass Prize. Rescue Collar won the top prize of $25,000, followed by mDiagnostics which won a total of $15,000. Fiberessence and Nine Brain each won $7,500, while Acne Free, Naturally received $5,250 at the event.

Michael Zink of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has come up with a brilliant solution for a very expensive problem: The various applications for networks of electronic sensing devices such as radars or cameras cannot be shared. For example, radar networks are applied for either weather forecasting or tracking aircraft. Camera systems might be applied for border security or Coast Guard life-saving activities.

Aura Ganz of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department has been selected to receive the 2014 Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, and Shelly Peyton of the Chemical Engineering Department will receive the 2014 Barbara H. and Joseph I. Goldstein Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. “Their excellent contributions to scholarship and the profession bring distinction to our college,” said Dean Tim Anderson while announcing the annual awards.

Dean Tim Anderson is pleased to announce the appointment of three faculty members and one administrator as the new associate deans for the College of Engineering.

Alumnus Bob Cramer, a CEO coach and advisor, board member, and private investor with 29 years experience in high-growth, venture-backed businesses, gave an informal talk in M5 (Marcus Hall, room 5) on Tuesday, April 15, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mr. Cramer is a 1980 graduate of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. His topic was “Lessons Learned from 30 Years of Tech Start-up Companies.”

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Alumni Association has announced the recipients of its annual student scholarships and awards, and six high-achieving undergraduates from the College of Engineering were among them. The engineering recipients were: Industrial Engineering major Avery Stroman ’16, who won a $750 Alumni Merit-Based SAA Scholarship; Mechanical Engineering major Aaron Annan '15, Computer System Engineering major Michael Bjorge '15, Civil Engineering major Marissa Shea '15, and Chemical Engineering major Marianne Sleiman '15, who all received $750 William F.

On March 5, Professor Christopher Hollot, the head of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UMass Amherst, delivered a talk for the Boston University Electrical and Computer Engineering Department  Distinguished Lecture Series. The series is billed as “a forum for eminent individuals from the worlds of academia and industry to share their experience and vision in various areas of electrical and computer engineering.” Designed to cover a breadth of topics, the lectures target both undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty.

On Saturday, April 5, at 3:00 p.m. the UMass Amherst chapter of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) will hold its inaugural, 24-hour “HackUMass, the IEEE Embedded Systems Hackathon” in the M5 maker space (Marcus Hall, room 5) on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest, or codefest) is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development collaborate intensively on software projects, often with hardware components.

The March 16 edition of the Boston Sunday Globe included a long feature article on PERCEPT, the brainchild of Professor Aura Ganz (Electrical and Computer Engineering Department) that will be installed in Boston’s Arlington Metro Station to help the visually impaired navigate the complicated building and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) system. The new technology designed at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will make subway orienteering easier for blind people by offering step-by-step instructions on how to get to their destinations inside a T station.

A student from the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department, David Joy, has been invited to present a paper on his team’s senior capstone project at the eighth annual Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers International Conference on RFID, being held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, from April 8 to 10. The title of the paper is "RFID Solution to Fighting Handicap Parking Abuse," which describes a capstone project being developed by Joy, Redwan Alzain, Andrew Baraby, and Mark Page. Their faculty advisor is Professor David McLaughlin, and the team is named Team HP-ID (for Handicap Parking ID).

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