Engineering professor begins summer fellowship at Naval Research Laboratory

Deb Chatterjee’s research may reduce cost and time associated with analyzing phased array radars

Naval ships have used it to detect missile threats, meteorologists have used it to detect tornados and air traffic controllers have used it to ensure airplane safety. Now, University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Computing and Engineering Associate Professor Deb Chatterjee is researching this technology – phased array radars – as part of a 10-week Summer Faculty Fellowship at the Naval Research Laboratory, Radar Division and the Computational Electromagnetics Section in Washington, D.C.

Phased array radars are of great importance to modern military systems, as they provide for rapid surveillance and the simultaneous tracking of multiple targets. Chatterjee is modeling and manipulating electromagnetic objects to simulate radiofrequency circuits, antennas, antenna arrays and large electromagnetic interference/electromagnetic compatibility-sensitive systems.

UMKC Press Release UMKC engineering professor begins summer fellowship at Naval Research Laboratory

Genetic imaging

Genetic imaging, in the context of genomic signal processing, is an emerging and exciting cross-disciplinary research area focusing on the interaction and cross-fertilization of imaging technologies with genetic research. The past few decades have seen significant progress in this area. Genetic imaging technologies such as the chromosome banding, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), spectral karyotyping (SKY), multiplex fluorescence in situ hybridization (M-FISH) and comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) have been developed for cancer and genetic disease diagnosis and prognosis.

The advent of human genome sequencing and microarray (biochip) techniques open new avenues for this research area; high resolution genetic probes are developed based on the genome sequencing data, which can detect subtle and cryptic genetic aberrations unattainable with conventional techniques. In the meantime, however, they also bring about computational challenges for image data analysis, demanding high throughput and reliable image processing. Thereby, signal/image processing techniques can find significant roles.

The development of this technique falls in line with the NIH Roadmap and the trend of medical imaging from macroscopic level to molecular/cellular level, in order to diagnose cancers and diseases at earlier stages. Unlike anatomical imaging, molecular imaging displays biochemical and physiological abnormalities underlying disease, rather than the structural consequences of these abnormalities.

Baja Buggy competition prepares students for real world

Baja Small

As leader of a mechanical engineering project, Ryan Moore ensured that his team completed designs, ordered the correct parts from vendors, maintained a budget and built machinery to meet strict safety standards.

With several responsibilities on their plates, it might seem that Moore and his teammates were working for an engineering firm. However, Moore – a senior mechanical engineering major – and his nine teammates were competing on the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Computing and Engineering’s (SCE) Baja Buggy team. Students from any discipline can join the team, which charges students with designing and building an off-road vehicle from scratch.

“The goal of the project is to replicate introducing a new product to the consumer industrial market,” said Mike Carlson, adjunct instructor in civil and mechanical engineering, professional engineer and advisor to UMKC’s Baja Buggy team. “Students who successfully complete these projects have been tested and passed in areas of time management, teamwork, ethics and budgeting – all the same things they will encounter in the engineering field. These are the skills employers are looking for.”

Throughout the six-month project, students spent an average of 20 hours a week designing, constructing and testing the vehicle in UMKC’s Old Maintenance Building. Shortly before the regional 2009 Baja Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Collegiate Design Competition in April, some students worked more than 40 hours a week on the project. The competition included static events (written reports and oral presentations regarding engineering design and project costs) and dynamic events (racing factors, such as acceleration, towing, traction, maneuverability and endurance). Four students drove the vehicle, which could accelerate to 30 miles per hour.

“This hands-on experience is so important to our curriculum at UMKC, and it will help us to be more valuable in the real world,” said Noah Boydston, a senior mechanical engineering student.

Baja Buggy 3Because the team has helped students build professional management skills, the team hopes to recruit more students and build two Baja Buggies rather than one. Construction has begun on a student machine shop, and classes on safely and effectively using machinery will begin in the summer of 2009.

SCE offers courses related to the Baja Buggy team, as well. Vehicle Dynamics, for example, focuses on the analysis and prediction of vehicle dynamics through computer simulation. Another course – the Human-Powered Vehicle Design Lab – provides the background necessary for the design of such vehicles.

Kansas City Girl Scouts learn engineering principles at UMKC

On July 19, a group of Kansas City-area Girl Scouts will set out for summer camp. But instead of practicing archery or soaking up the sun, these campers will be learning about technology, design, scientific proof and engineering principles at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Computing and Engineering.
Led by UMKC School of Computing and Engineering faculty and students and funded by NASA through the Missouri Space Grant Consortium, Inventure University’s goal is to bring more minority middle school and high school girls into the realm of science. For seven days, the Girl Scouts will take up residence on the UMKC campus and learn engineering principles and analytical thinking skills. Activities include building robots, Popsicle stick bridges, Web sites and cars propelled by balloons. The Girl Scouts will visit the School of Computing and Engineering’s Gait Laboratory, which measures people’s movements with electromyography (EMG) sensors and metal plates. They will learn about GPS systems. And they will compete in an egg drop competition that begins one story above ground level.

“The UMKC School of Computing and Engineering is dedicated to increasing minority and women enrollment in the science, technology, engineering and math fields,” said School of Computing and Engineering Dean Kevin Truman. “Programs like Inventure University are helping to pique their interest through scientific modules and experiments.”

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.