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College Hosts Inaugural Innovation Day

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A UTA engineering graduate student explains his poster to an Innovation Day visitor
A UTA engineering graduate student explains his poster to an Innovation Day visitor

The College of Engineering’s inaugural Innovation Day brought together students, faculty, alumni and industry representatives to showcase and celebrate the transformative research being performed in UTA’s engineering laboratories.

View project abstract and participants booklet

More than 160 graduate and undergraduate students presented more than 90 projects throughout the day, including 42 research experience for undergraduates projects funded by the College, 15 senior design projects, and dozens of projects by graduate students.

"Our inaugural College of Engineering Innovation Day was a tremendously successful showcase of our students’ work. It was wonderful to see so many students exhibiting skills in design, innovation and research. It was gratifying to see the excitement with which they presented their research to guests and judges and I, along with our guests. was very impressed by the quality of the student work,” said Peter Crouch, dean of the College of Engineering.

Romy Salloum discusses her Innovation Day poster with a visitor
Romy Salloum discusses her Innovation Day poster with a visitor

The support of our many sponsors, both monetarily and in their presence at the event, was very much appreciated. I hope that these interactions will further strengthen our ties to industry and lead to a continuous growth in the scale of the event.”

Judges – industry representatives, faculty, graduate students and alumni – rated each poster and project throughout the day and chose prize winners in each category, plus L3/Link Innovation Awards for one undergraduate and one graduate project, chosen by L3 employees in attendance. The awards for the inaugural Dean’s Freshman Challenge were also presented. 

The awards were:

Undergraduate

""2018 UTA College of Engineering Innovation Day undergraduate award winners
2018 UTA College of Engineering Innovation Day undergraduate award winners

First Place:

Maxwell Aransen
"Rapid, Resilient and Sustainable Repair Methods for Embankment Slope Failures"
Abstract

Second Place:

Cooper Green
"Investigations of Detonation Wave Propagation Control Mechanisms in Rotating Detonation Engines”
Abstract 

2018 UTA College of Engineering Innovation Day L3/Link Innovation Award winner
2018 UTA College of Engineering Innovation Day L3/Link Innovation Award winner

Third Place:

Taylor Elkins
"Prediction of Residential Solar Rooftop Adoption Through Agent-Based Modeling"
Abstract

Honorable Mention:

Cole Billingsley, Shawn McCullough, Michael Perrino, Sudarshan Chettiar, Ryan Carrion, Tyler Farron and Lorenzo Novoa
"Liquid-fueled, Bi-Propellant Rocket Engine”
Abstract

Honorable Mention:

Saul Gutierrez, Luis Mendoza, Timothy Deckert, Dylan Brown and Jesse McColm
"Geometric Object Identification Using PointCloud”
Abstract 

L3/Link Innnovation Award:

Daniel Meelhuysen, Jimmy Tu, Taylor Graf, JonDaniel Ortman, Cristian Almendariz, Christopher Biggins and Andres Olmedo
"Computer Cursor Control Using a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI)"
Abstract

Graduate

2018 UTA College of Engineering Innovation Day graduate award winners
2018 UTA College of Engineering Innovation Day graduate award winners

First Place:

HM Ashfiqul Hamid
"Highly Sensitive Li-doped ZnO Nanowire Carpet as a Piezoelectric Force Nano-Sensor and Nano-Energy Harvester”
Abstract

Second Place:

Amirhossein Hakamivala and Yihui Huang
"Characterization of Metastatic Lymph Node Microenvironment and its Application for Investigation of Cancer Metastasis”
Abstract

2018 UTA College of Engineering Innovation Day L3/Link Innovation Award winner
2018 UTA College of Engineering Innovation Day L3/Link Innovation Award winner

Third Place:

Afshin Shamsshooli, Chen Zhang, Yonghao Liu and Prithviraj Palit
"Adaptive-optical-comb-enabled Integrated Micro-Species Gas Analysis Platform”
Abstract

Honorable Mention:

Ashley Dacy
"Design and Development of a Cancer-Trapping Device for Detection of Esophageal Cancer Metastasis”
Abstract

Honorable Mention:

Surya Sarat Chandra Congress
"Application of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Monitoring the Infrastructure Assets in Texas”
Abstract

L3/Link Innnovation Award:

HM Ashfiqul Hamid
"Highly Sensitive Li-doped ZnO Nanowire Carpet as a Piezoelectric Force Nano-Sensor and Nano-Energy Harvester”

2018 UTA College of Engineering Senior Design award winners, presented by Keysight
2018 UTA College of Engineering Senior Design award winners, presented by Keysight

Senior Design Awards, presented by Keysight

First Place:

James Smith, Jesse Peine, Santiago Teran, Abdullah Bdeir and Nicholas Greer
"Design and Testing of a Small-Scale Microgrid”
Abstract

Second Place (tie):

Aaron Moore, Fahad Karim and Enrique Carranza
"Design of an Electric Stompbox”
Abstract

Paavani Dua, Huy Nguyen and Jimmy Nguyen
"Bark-Activated Dog Door"
Abstract

2018 UTA College of Engineering Dean's Challenge winners
2018 UTA College of Engineering Dean's Challenge Winners

Dean’s Freshman Challenge

Best Overall and Best Idea:

NSBE & Jazz Engine – Joshua Abuto, Diego Antonio Guerrero Vester, Joshua Jackson, Utibeabasi Obot and Thomas Tran

Best Mentor Organization:

NSBE – Zac Ruggles and Anna Llamas

Abstracts

Rapid, Resilient and Sustainable Repair Methods for Embankment Slope Failures

Maxwell Aransen
Advisor: Mohsen Shahandashti
Civil Engineering Department 

In the United States, transportation by highways and roadways is vital to commerce and the economy. However, when the means of transportation fail, specifically to slope failures along embankments, it can be challenging for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to determine a proper repair method. To evaluate these issues, TxDOT has granted UT Arlington with funding to help them evaluate various rapid repair methods for slope failures based on long-term performance, resiliency, constructability, sustainability, cost-efficiency, and rapidity. The objective of this research is to use the results of the TxDOT project to create a (Geographic Information System) GIS-based decision support system to help the TxDOT engineers select the proper methods of repair by considering a number of methods at their disposal. Several characteristics that are considered when comparing the available repair methods include long-term durability, resilience, constructability, timeliness, and economic cost. These factors will be taken into consideration when determining the best repair methods. The particular repair methods include options such as mechanical stabilization (tire males, geosynthetics, anchors, retaining walls, recycled plastic pins) or earthwork techniques (removing, treating, roughening, backfilling, and compacting).

Investigations of Detonation Wave Propagation Control Mechanisms in Rotating Detonation Engines

Cooper Green
Advisor: Frank Lu
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department

Rotational detonation engines operate by means of a continually rotating detonation wave, which propagates circumferentially within an annular combustion chamber. The wave is sustained by continuous axial injection of fresh propellant, whose detonation products are exhausted through the combustion chamber, producing thrust. Due to the circumferential propagation of the wave, a non-zero circumferential velocity (“swirl”) will exist on the inlet plane and it has been suggested that if this continues to the exit plane, the engine will experience a resultant circumferential torque. This exit swirl represents a potentially significant performance loss, but there may exist situations in which it is desirable (for example, potentially eliminating the need for turbine inlet guide vanes in gas turbine engines). The propagation direction of the detonation wave directly influences the swirl and is unstudied in the RDE literature. A set of injection plates have been designed to directly control the direction of propellant injection, with the intent of influencing the propagation direction of the detonation wave within the combustion chamber. In addition, two ignition methods, a spark igniter and a tangential pre-detonator, will be investigated. A series of tests will be conducted using these tools to study the factors governing the direction of detonation wave propagation, leading to a deeper understanding of the behavior and performance of rotating detonation engines.

Prediction of Residential Solar Rooftop Adoption through Agent-Based Modeling

Taylor Elkins
Advisor: Caroline Krejci
Industrial, Manufacturing and Systems Engineering Department

Given the rising trend of solar rooftop adoption throughout the country, the power generation and distribution industry is facing issues in strategic planning. As fewer households purchase electricity in traditional ways, the cost burden of maintaining electrical infrastructure will be shifted to fewer consumers. By utilizing agent-based modeling to predict when specific households in an area will transition to using solar rooftop panels, planners can make educated decisions about future centralized power construction, grid maintenance, and the rates charged to consumers.

Liquid-Fueled, Bi-propellant Rocket Engine

Cole Billingsley, Shawn McCullough, Michael Perrino, Sudarshan Chettiar, Lorenzo Novoa, Ryan Carrion and Tyler Ferron
Advisor: Bernd Chudoba
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department

The Aero Mavericks, an aerospace student organization at UTA, has recently created a division focused on developing a liquid-fueled rocket engine. This project involves developing a design methodology based on reliable resources and historical results of rocket propulsion systems, as well as developing a process for engaging and instilling design-build-test-fly proficiency in new student members. The team  needs to design and test multiple iterations of the injector to further develop the engine design and acquire data pertaining to the characteristics of the injector.

Geometric Object Identification using PointCloud 

Saul Gutierrez, Luis Mendoza, Timothy Deckert, Dylan Brown, and Jesse McColm
Advisor: Christopher McMurrough
Computer Science and Engineering Department

Replacement limbs should feel natural to the user and work in many situations. However, it is hard to replace such a construct of  nature. Current methods of controlling prosthetic limbs  are unnatural and very restrictive. This is not  a stage of prosthetic technology that society should stop at or be content with.  Our project will provide the basis for a computer vision system that will detect and identify objects, extract geometric features, develop a grasping strategy, and send this processed information to an arm. To obtain information about the environment we will use a 3D camera. For the identification process, we plan to use Point Cloud Library to down-sample the image data for faster processing, locate different geometric models in the image, and find clusters of points that we can conclude are separate objects. Based on the data obtained from this processing, we will develop a method for a robotic arm to grab and move different kinds of objects.

At the moment, we are in the process of understanding the pcl libraries and attempting to convert image data to point cloud data types. Also, we are working on implementing the voxel filter that will do the actual downsizing of the point cloud data. We are also working on a server to transfer data between the different components. The final item that we are currently working on is getting the correct drivers and libraries that we need installed on the Nvidia TX2 that we will use for image processing.

Computer Cursor Control Using a Brain-computer Interface (BCI)

Daniel Meelhuysen, Jimmy Tu, Taylor Graf, JonDaniel Ortman, Cristian Almendariz, Christopher Biggins and Andres Olmedo
Advisor: George Alexandrakis
Bioengineering Department

The objective of this project is to control or enhance the control of a cursor using electroencephalography (EEG). The device used to record EEG data may either be built from scratch or purchased pre-built, as long as it is cost-effective and portable. The students must obtain the EEG data, filter any noise, and then amplify. Next, they must build an interface in LabVIEW to process the data, visualize it, and then use it to enhance or control a cursor. The parameters used to move the cursor must be related to clear, reproducible EEG spikes via thought or muscle contractions. The end product should be useful to people who are disabled and unable to interface with a computer using other means.

Highly Sensitive Li-doped ZnO Nanowire Carpet as a Piezoelectric Force Nano-Sensor and Nano-Energy Harvester

HM Ashfiqul Hamid
Advisor: Zeynep Çelik-Butler
Electrical Engineering Department

ZnO nanowires (NWs) possess high sensitivity which is an essential property for piezoelectric nano-sensors and nano-energy harvesters. However, there is more room for the sensitivity improvement of the NWs by incorporation of impurities to boost their performance. In this work, the effect of p-type Li doping on ZnO NWs has been investigated. The NWs are then used as the fundamental material to fabricate force nano-sensors that can detect micro-Newton range force with nanometer scale resolution. The same devices can also be used as nano-energy harvesters which can harvest green energy from the ambient vibrations. The novelty of this work is the incorporation of Li dopants into the ZnO NWs which modifies their physical, material and piezoelectric properties and improves their performance as a force nano-sensor and nano-energy harvester. Characterization techniques illustrate the physics and corresponding effect of the Li doping on the ZnO NWs. Complete characterization reveals that the sensitivity of the ZnO NWs can be improved by 13 times when controlled amount of Li dopants are incorporated into them. Due to the high sensitivity and bio-compatibility, the fabricated devices can have applications in micro robotics as well as in biotechnology. Therefore, this work can provide a fundamental guideline for the fabrication of high performance nano-sensors and nano-energy harvesters based on ZnO NWs.

Characterization of Metastatic Lymph Node Microenvironment and its Application for Investigation of Cancer Metastasis

Amirhossein Hakamivala and Yihui Huang
Advisor: Liping Tang
Bioengineering Department

Prostate cancer (PCa) is the third-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. A major cause for the high mortality is the metastasis of PCa to the lymph nodes, which often are the first organs in which the initial metastases take place. Metastasis to the LN is used as a prognostic factor because it represents the onset of distant metastases. However, the mechanism of metastasis to the LNs is not yet clear. The overall objective of this work was to develop a metastatic LN (m-LN) mimetic device that can be used for diagnostic purposes and improving our understanding of PCa metastasis.

Namely, metastatic and non-m-LNs were generated to uncover the critical genes, chemokines, and cells responsible for their over expression and production.  Furthermore, we were looking for the LN component that behaved differently against metastatic and non-metastatic PCa, which can then be developed into a LN like construct that can be simulated in vitro.  We have found that m-LN exhibited a higher induction of cancer cell migration compared to non-m-LNs in vitro. In addition, our results show an overexpression of pro-metastatic gene and increased chemokine production in m-LN. Subsequent studies have revealed that T cells, but not macrophages, are the major provider of the pro-metastatic chemokines. 

Our work led to the creation of the first prototype of a m-LN device that can mimic the LN microenvironment and serve as an excellent tool to investigate the processes governing LN metastasis of PCa.

Adaptive-optical-comb-enabled Integrated Multi-species Gas Analysis Platform

Afshin Shamsshooli, Chen Zhang, Yonghao Liu and Prithviraj Palit
Advisor: Michael Vasilyev
Electrical Engineering Department

In this project, we have been working to develop a highly-selective miniaturized chemical sensor by combining adaptive comb spectroscopy, real-time signal processing, and micro-gas-chromatography (micro gas chromatography).

We have already demonstrated on-chip implementation of an optically accessible gas expansion chamber for a gas sensing system combining micro-gas-chromatography with optical spectroscopy. Acetylene traces are reliably detected down to 0.3%, or ~3000 ppm with direct absorption measurements in a 1-cm-long chamber. Using differential spectroscopy, we improve the sensitivity to less than 1000 ppm and by combining comb spectroscopy with micro-gas chromatography, we increase selectivity to detect multiple gases at the same time.

Design and Development of a Cancer-Trapping Device for Detection of Esophageal Cancer Metastasis

Ashley Dacy
Advisor: Liping Tang
Bioengineering Department

Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common form of cancer globally, accounting for approximately 450,000 deaths each year. Survival rates are relatively low compared to most other common cancers, largely due to the difficulty of detecting this disease during its early and most treatable stage before it becomes metastatic and spreads to nearby organs, including the stomach and liver. Survivability decreases from 40% when the cancer is caught at the earliest stage to 4% when the cancer spreads to distant organs. There is a strong need for new methods of early clinical recognition and characterization of esophageal cancer. 

The work in this study was aimed at the creation and characterization a lymph-node-mimicking cancer trap device for use in the early detection and evaluation of esophageal cancer. The device was designed to be implanted into subcutaneous tissue and attract cancer cells similarly to native lymph nodes. Several iterations of the design were prototyped with varying pore sizes, pore distributions, and materials. The mechanical properties and suitability for implantation were then tested in both tissue phantoms and in animal studies. Next, a chemical cocktail proven to attract cancer cells was interspersed within a thermally reversible gelling hydrogel that exists as a gel at body temperature and a liquid below body temperature. This gel was injected into the cancer trap, and its ability to attract cancer cells into the structure was tested. Implantation was accomplished via a trocar, or commercially available subdermal implantation system. Results were quantified by removing the liquid hydrogel from the cancer trap and counting the labeled cancer cells contained within.

Application of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Monitoring the
Infrastructure Assets in Texas

Surya Sarat Chandra Congress
Advisor: Anand Puppala
Civil Engineering Department

We are exploring Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology with photogrammetry in several application areas including civil infrastructure works. Various sensors, including visible light cameras and infrared (IR) cameras are being used on the UAV platform for photogrammetry studies. Prior to any project work, we perform comprehensive calibration studies to ensure high standards in our data collection. We are capable of performing Real Time Kinematic (RTK) and Post Processing Kinematic (PPK) of high precision Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) data for accurate geo-referencing of the collected imagery. As part of various research projects funded by different government agencies, we have been utilizing UAVs to monitor the condition of infrastructure assets including highway pavements, bridges, embankments, dams, levees, railways and transmission towers; to estimate material stockpile volumes; and perform reconnaissance surveys as a part of post-disaster emergency response surveys. Our ongoing data collection and analyses show that we achieve excellent results explaining infrastructure conditions with near survey grade accuracy. Our UAV platform is also equipped with a top gimbal that facilitates monitoring of hard-to-access areas such as tall transmission towers and the underside of bridge decks. This presentation covers some of the areas including UAV photogrammetry studies, data collection procedures and data mining as well as data analysis that provide infrastructure condition assessments to quantification of distress.

Design and Testing of a Small-Scale Microgrid

James Smith, Jesse Peine, Santiago Teran, Abdullah Bdeir and Nicholas Greer
Advisor: David Wetz
Electrical Engineering Department

A concern with any homeowner or building manager is when the electricity goes out and not knowing when the power will come back on. This project is of a self-sustainable microgrid that has the ability to operate when the legacy electric grid is online or offline. The general purpose of this project is to design, build, and test a microgrid that can draw power from multiple sources, including renewable recourses and the legacy grid, while also making decisions of how to power the system based on the measurement values across the microgrid. The system will prioritize renewable resourses, such as solar and wind power, while the legacy grid will be utilized only when needed. The microgrid will also have the capability of prioritizing loads of the system. This project will have two individual microgrids that join together so that power can be transferred between the two. Therefore, even if one of the two systems fail the other system will power the whole microgrid.

Design of an Electric Stompbox

Aaron Moore, Fahad Karim and Enrique Carranza
Advisor: David Wetz
Electrical Engineering Department

In this project, a guitar pre-amplifier stomp box will be designed, built, tested, and documented. The purpose of the stomp box is to modulate the sound of the guitar to produce different sounding effects such as “Phasor” or “Tremolo”. The stomp box should have four different analog effects that can be added and altered including: frequency modulation, amplitude modulation, delay, and reverb. Each of these effects should have knobs to adjust their intensity and switches that would be “stomped” on while a musician is playing a guitar. The input of the stomp box will come from an electric guitar and the output will be fed to an amplifier/speaker.

Bark-Activated Dog Door 

Paavani Dua, Huy Nguyen and Jimmy Nguyen
Advisor: David Wetz
Electrical Engineering Department

The project is to unlock a dog door using bark recognition software. The dog door will first check by infrared proximity sensors to see if there is a dog within 1.5 ft. Next the device will listen to the dog bark and unlocked when a certain “correct” bark is heard, otherwise the dog door will remain unlocked. If the door was unlocked, the device will wait until the dog is no longer within 1.5 ft to lock the door.

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