Shannon Roberts of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and Eric Gonzales of the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department were two of the campus experts who spoke about autonomous vehicles at a May 29 “listening session” convened by the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Transportation and held in the UMass Amherst Cape Cod Lounge at the Student Union. Roberts spoke about “Human Factor Needs in an Autonomous Vehicle World,” while Gonzales focused on “Autonomous Vehicles for Ride Sharing.”
Professors Matthew Lackner and Erin Baker of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department published a very illuminating essay in The Conversation on May 15 about why the offshore wind energy industry will soon vastly expand and why Massachusetts is one of the states that is leading the way. Lackner and Baker said that market forces are helping the development of offshore wind energy, while states on the East Coast are preparing long-range plans to develop wind energy to replace fossil-fuel and nuclear-power generation.
Michael C. Rossi, a doctoral industrial engineering student working in the lab of Professor Hari Balasubramanian of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, has received a $50,000 award to work at a private company for six months as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) INTERN program. Rossi’s internship is designed to supplement his current research assistantship in Balasubramanian’s lab with six months of non-academic research internship activities and training.
In early May the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department held its annual Senior Design Project competition, the climax and showcase event for the MIE capstone course, “MIE 415: Design of Mechanical Systems.” The Best Industry Sponsored category resulted in a three-way tie among Teams 3 and 4 (Pratt & Whitney) and Team 8 (Kinex Cappers). Team 22 (Electromagnetic Brake) was chosen as the Best Semester-long Project. The Best Student Concept went to Team 21 (Sand Mask). And, finally, the Most Popular category ended in a two-way tie between Team 15 (Self-Massage) and Team 28 (Dock Ladder), which was determined by public voting.
John Chuma, a senior in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department and an outstanding pole-vaulter on the UMass Amherst Men’s Track and Field Team, has been selected as the university’s 2018 Male Spring Scholar-Athlete Award winner. During a remarkably consistent career, Chuma has pole-vaulted between 15 feet and 16 feet at least 26 times and holds the UMass outdoor record in that event.
The latest innovative enterprise from Sustainability Projects Abroad (SPA), a brilliant and idealistic consortium of UMass students led by some of our engineering undergraduates, is called “PowerPass,” which, according to its creators, is a sort of “power bank” and “walk-in, solar-powered kiosk that dispenses portable batteries for students to charge their phones on the go.” SPA has set up a MinuteFund, lasting until May 23, in hopes of supporting the installation of PowerPass on campus.
Congratulations to eight exceptional engineering students who will be receiving alumni scholarships and awards. The students were recognized by the UMass Amherst Alumni Association at a reception on Sunday, April 22, in the Student Union Ballroom.
A feature story written by Michael Connors in the April 8 Daily Hampshire Gazette looked at a group of six students from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department who are developing a drone for their senior capstone project that can deploy agricultural chemicals safely and very precisely to control pests such as mosquitoes. The students are teaming up with the Hampshire County Radio Controllers Club, a local group of remote-controlled flying vehicle hobbyists, who will give the MIE seniors hands-on training on how to operate drones.
Two teams spearheaded by doctoral students in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department were among the three winners of the University of Massachusetts Innovation Challenge Final on April 5, when $65,000 in seed money was distributed to the prizewinners. eBiologics finished in first place, winning $30,000 and led by Alexander Smith, a doctoral student in MIE. The other prizewinning MIE team was Kinase, Inc., which finished in third place and won $15,000. Kinase is headed by Nariman Banaei, a doctoral student in MIE, and MBA student Amir Ali Jazayeri of Hofstra University.