Thursday, March 16, 2017

Robotic technology creates cost-effective method to study Missouri crops

To accurately create 3-D models of plants and collect data both on regions of crops and individual plants, the research team developed a combination approach of a mobile sensor tower (in background) and an autonomous robot vehicle equipped with three levels of sensors and an additional robotic arm. Photo courtesy of Gui DeSouza.
A two-pronged robotic system pioneered by University of Missouri researchers is changing the way scientists study crops and plant phenotyping.
Gui DeSouza, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and his Vision-Guided and Intelligent Robotics (ViGIR) Laboratory have partnered with researchers from the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources to study the effects of climate change on crops in Missouri. The effort is part of a larger study, funded by the National Science Foundation, to understand the overall effects of climate change in Missouri.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

True Dedication

Michael Seidel (father), Lindsay Bosworth (sister), Kate Eisel (sister), and Terri Seidel (mother) cut the ribbon to officially christen the Joshua M. Seidel Advanced Concrete Materials Laboratory in Lafferre Hall. Photo by Jennifer Hollis Photos by Jennifer Hollis.
Josh Seidel was an impeccable engineer and entrepreneur — a sterling example of the type of engineering leader that has called the University of Missouri College of Engineering home over the decades. The foundation set up in his memory wanted to continue that tradition in his honor, helping christen the Joshua M. Seidel Advanced Concrete Materials Laboratory in a ceremony held on Feb. 17 in Lafferre Hall.
The Josh Seidel Memorial Foundation provided the generous support, allowing for renovation of existing laboratory space and the purchase of equipment to provide the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department with a state-of-the-art experiential learning space. The foundation was formed to honor the memory of Seidel, a 2001 MU mechanical engineering alumnus who passed away in 2013. Its goal is to support students seeking to build skills in engineering, science and other technical realms, as well as encourage entrepreneurship.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

#TBT - MESSENGER mission member credits success to MU education, faculty mentor

Mechanical and aerospace engineering alumnus Dan O’Shaughnessy started off with a fellowship at NASA and now serves as the spacecraft MESSENGER’s system engineer. Photo courtesy of Dan O'Shaughnessy. Photo courtesy of Dan O’Shaughnessy
Very few people get to list “guided a spacecraft to Mercury” on their resumes. On the hierarchy of potential life experiences, it sits in the “rarest of the rare” category.
Yet, it’s prime accomplishment real estate Dan O’Shaughnessy can lay claim to. O’Shaughnessy — who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from MU in 1996 and 2000, respectively — is the mission systems engineer for the “MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging,” or MESSENGER, mission.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Symposium award seeds $150,000 each into up-and-coming Mizzou research

For the first time, Applied Optoelectronics Inc., and the University of Missouri College of Engineering teamed up in an attempt to uncover novel methods of chemical sensing. AOI and Mizzou paired to provide two winning proposals from MU College of Engineering research teams with $150,000 each in seed money as part of the first-ever AOI Sensing Symposium Award. The competition was held at the AOI Sensing Symposium on Feb. 10 at the Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri.
“This is a win for our students and faculty, recipients of a fantastic opportunity to produce state-of-the-art applications with a company on the cutting edge,” MU College of Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa said.
The victorious teams were:
Yangyang Chen, Jian Lin, Hussein Nassar and Guoliang Huang pose with Dean Elizabeth Loboa; AOI Founder, CEO and President Thompson Lin and AOI CFO Stephan Murry. Their winning project was titled “Bimodal Waveguide Interferometric Sensors by Periodic Power-Wavelength Modulations of Laser Diodes.”

Yangyang Chen, Jian Lin, Hussein Nassar and Guoliang Huang pose with Dean Elizabeth Loboa; AOI Founder, CEO and President Thompson Lin and AOI CFO Stephan Murry. Their winning project was titled “Bimodal Waveguide Interferometric Sensors by Periodic Power-Wavelength Modulations of Laser Diodes.” Photos courtesy of Jennifer Hollis/MU Engineering.

Edward Kinzel and Mahmoud Almasri pose with Dean Elizabeth Loboa; AOI Founder, CEO and President Thompson Lin and AOI CFO Stephan Murry. Their winning project was titled “Manufacturing Low Cost Plasmonic Sensors for Chemical and Biological Sensing.”

  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Associate Professor Guoliang Huang, Assistant Professor Jian Lin and postdoctoral researcher Hussein Nassar: “Bimodal Waveguide Interferometric Sensors by Periodic Power-Wavelength Modulations of Laser Diodes”

  • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Associate Professor Mahmoud Almasri and Missouri S&T Assistant Professor Edward Kinzel: “Manufacturing Low Cost Plasmonic Sensors for Chemical and Biological Sensing”
For this first-of-its-kind event, College of Engineering researchers submitted proposals, and the four finalists gave 20-minute oral presentations judged by MU Engineering alumnus and AOI Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer Thompson Lin; AOI Chief Financial Officer Stefan Murry; MU Interim Vice Chancellor for Research, Graduate Studies and Economic Development Mark McIntosh and Missouri Innovation Center President and CEO Bill Turpin. Potential research areas included biosensors for homeland security, lasers for remote area scanning, chemical detection for environmental purposes, in-situ sensing, medical bio-sensing, process control, agriculture and more.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

#TBT - Late MU Engineering alum Naka's life a rich tapestry

F. Robert Naka went from a Japanese internment camp in World War II to a pioneer in the field of stealth technology. Photo courtesy of Mizzou Engineering. 

Back in February of 2014, I had the distinct privilege of writing an obituary of the extraordinary F. Robert Naka for MU Engineering's website and magazine.

Naka, who earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri in 1945, died Dec. 21, 2013, in Concord, Mass. Between his birth July 18, 1923 in San Francisco and his last days in Massachusetts, he lived a highly eventful and interesting life, most notably known for his pioneering work on stealth technology, part of his longtime career developing high-altitude, minimally-observable aircraft for defense-related reconnaissance.

Naka came to MU by virtue of a handful of twists and turns in his younger years. He enrolled at UCLA at age 16 and studied there until 1942, when he was interred at Manzanar Relocation Center in California as part of the relocation and incarceration of Japanese Americans by the U.S. government during World War II. He remained there for nine months before the efforts of the Quakers helped secure his release and the chance to continue his studies — provided they were at a university away from the west coast.
That’s where MU came in, and Naka graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 1945 before moving on to earn his master’s from the University of Minnesota two years later and a doctorate in electron optics from Harvard in 1951.
Read more about his incredible journey here

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Cutting-edge lab could shape asphalt engineering's future

Investments from the Missouri Asphalt Pavement Association, the university, the Barton family and the state will allow Mizzou Engineering to provide a world-class asphalt materials education while performing research into the next generation of flexible, sustainable materials to solve critical transportation problems.
The first step in building a quality educational program in asphalt and pavement technology for the MU College of Engineering was to get a renowned expert in the field. The College, thanks to support from the late alumnus Glen Barton and the Missouri Asphalt Pavement Association, did just that when Bill Buttlar was hired as the Barton Chair of Flexible Pavement Technology. Step two for the partnership between the College and MAPA was to provide the infrastructure needed for students to get a world-class experiential education.
Check.
The MAPA-sponsored lab is now up and running and was installed as part of the recent Lafferre Hall renovation project. The lab, along with an existing on-campus lab and two additional labs at Discovery Park in Columbia, is the centerpiece of the Missouri Asphalt Pavement and Innovation Laboratory, or MAPIL.
The investment of MAPA, the Barton family, the university and the state in asphalt research resources has allowed MAPIL to become one of the most comprehensive asphalt programs in the world and will allow Mizzou Engineering to provide a world-class asphalt materials education while performing research into the next generation of flexible, sustainable materials to solve critical transportation problems.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

#TBT - The Coffee Mug Heard 'Round the World

ThermAvant’s 16-ounce traveling coffee mug keeps liquids at an optimal drinking temperature for up to eight hours.

Back in November, I put together a story about a University of Missouri College of Engineering professor named Bill Ma, who had patented a 16-ounce traveling coffee mug that keeps liquids at an optimal drinking temperature for up to eight hours thanks to the unique heat absorbing and releasing material lining the inside. Myself and a colleague from the MU News Bureau, Jeff Sossamon, interviewed Ma, and after I put this story together, he pushed out a press release about the mug, which is now available for purchase under the name LEXO. 

Lo and behold, that story has blown up not only within Missouri, but nationwide, with even more interview requests coming in daily. And the mug itself has been selling at an incredible rate after receiving all this attention. Here's a list of just some of the many places that have published pieces about Ma's new mug. Check them out!



Associated Press 
The Washington Times, Washington, D.C. 
The Roanoke Times, Roanoke, VA
Tulsa World, Tulsa, OK
The Fresno Bee, Fresno, CA 
The News and Observer, Raleigh, NC
The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, NC 
San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, TX
SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle) 
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Mo. 
Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Mo. 
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Mo.