UMKC SCE professor, Daniel Leon-Salas, receives NSF CAREER Award

Daniel Leon-Salas, an assistant professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (CSEE) at the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering (SCE), recently received a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award to support his research on hybrid energy-harvesting image sensors.
Digital cameras use millions of pixels to capture images, but about 90 percent of those pixels are discarded when images are compressed and stored in memory. Through Leon-Salas’ image-sensing paradigm, 90 percent of a camera’s pixels could generate solar energy for the camera instead. Depending on the environmental conditions, the camera could reconfigure its pixels to generate solar energy or to act as light sensors that optimize the balance between image quality and energy consumption. “The pixels can harvest ambient energy and, thus, can operate unattended for extended periods of time,” Leon-Salas said. “This type of camera will be useful in scenarios where replacing the batteries is very costly or even impossible – for example, space exploration or surveillance.”

The NSF CAREER Award also will support outreach activities, including a design competition and a workshop for middle- and high-school students. In the workshop, students will learn about electronic circuits and renewable energy. NSF’s CAREER Program offers the NSF’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.

In addition to Leon-Salas, two other SCE professors have received NSF CAREER Awards in the past several years. Ganesh Thiagarajan, an associate professor and director of Graduate Studies for Civil Engineering, received an award (2008-2013) to investigate the response of reinforced concrete structures to blast and impact loadings. Cory Beard, an associate professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, received an award (2002-2007) to develop and investigate mechanisms for supporting emergency and high-revenue Internet users, differentiated services-capable networks and networks that use connection-oriented mechanisms. From http://www.umkc.edu/news/news-release.asp?id=990 (UMKC Public Relations)

UMKC IEEE Hosts Student Professional Awareness Conference (SPAC)

What started as a joint venture five months ago between the IEEE Student Branches at KU and UMKC will come to fruition next Saturday, February 5 when UMKC hosts the Student Professional Awareness Conference (SPAC) in the theater in our new UMKC Student Union. World class speakers are scheduled to talk about their experiences with Entrepreneurship, Relationship Building and Creating a World that Never Before Existed. The event is sponsored by the local IEEE-Kansas City Section.

Jim Lammers, President/CEO of Trinity Animation, Inc. built his company from the ground up. Today, Trinity Animation provides the backgrounds for the successful series, “Archer.”

John E. Nobles, President and General Manager of Burns & McDonnell’s Process & Industrial Group is also on the Board of Directors for Burns and McDonnell. A 2009 news release stated that he was instrumental in the development and rapid growth of his division’s success. Prior to joining Burns and McDonnell in 2000, he was the President and CEO of Black and Veatch Pritchard.

Gordon Day, President-elect of IEEE was recently elected to the position by IEEE members worldwide. Prior to this position, Gordon was President of IEEE-USA (the US only part of the organization) and President of the IEEE Photonics Society.

SCE ECE Students Teach Electricity and Circuits to 400 7th graders

Eta Kappa Nu and IEEE Robotics Team members travelled to Osage Trails Middle School in Independence, MO to teach Electricity and Circuits to over 400 seventh graders! They taught across all seven periods of school on Friday, January 14, 2011. Six circuit kits were set up at tables which allowed the students to build circuits and see if they worked or not. At the end of the presentation, IEEE Robotics team staff advisor, Debby Dilks, gave each of the teachers a kit to use when teaching this subject. Osage M.S. teachers reported that their students left the presentation all excited and saying it was fun. This has become an annual service event for these UMKC student organizations. The teaches thought it was the best presentation to date! Students from UMKC participating as teachers were: Ian Wolstenholme (Eta Kappa Nu, President); Victor Skulavik (Robotics Team Asst Project Manager & Eta Kappa Nu member); Josh Burdick (Eta Kappa Nu member); Andrew Gatrost (Robotics Team member) and Jordie Smith (Robotics Team member).