University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Undergrad Builds Robotic Fish

When a pike is attacked, the fish escapes by performing a lightning-fast jackknife, which generates a remarkable 25 Gs of acceleration for a tenth of a second – more than three times the acceleration of an Apollo launch and faster than any manmade vehicle. In order to study this amazing reflex action, senior mechanical engineering student Chengcheng “Charlie” Feng used his summer research in the Research Experience for Undergraduates program to build a robotic fish, which can accurately mimic the escape mechanism of a pike.

New Technology Designed to Boost Health and Cut Deaths in Diabetics

They call it the “White Coat Syndrome.” Many people get stressed out when they visit their doctors, which makes their blood pressure readings go sky-high. The White Coat Syndrome is only one factor contributing to why the care for diabetics with high blood pressure is described as “woefully inadequate” – especially since two-thirds of diabetics suffer from high blood pressure, and their medication is based on intermittent office visits. To address this dangerous problem, industrial engineer Jenna Marquard is a key researcher in an almost $2-million project.

Lackner Rides Wave of the Future on Floating Wind Turbines

Mechanical engineer Matthew Lackner is working on the cutting edge of floating wind turbines, a technology that, according to MIT’s prestigious Technology Review, “could hold the key to exploiting” the powerful offshore winds blowing steadily off the Northeastern coast. In order to turn that “key,” Lackner has been working on clever, innovative devices such as “smart rotors” and “tuned vibration absorbers,” which reduce the severe stress placed on working parts of floating turbines and could go a long way toward making them economically feasible.

In Search of an Optimal Climate Change Policy

A crucial step for establishing a national climate change policy, one of the biggest policy decisions facing this country and the world, is deciding which developing energy technologies will best maintain that policy once it’s in place. The next step is calculating exactly how much money to invest in R&D for each of those chosen technologies. These critical steps, in fact, describe the ongoing research of Dr. Erin Baker of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department.

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