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June 2017

From the Dean

The academic year is winding down, but you'd never know it based on the activity in the College of Engineering. In addition to celebrating the achievements of more than 1,800 graduates, we have numerous other accomplishments to be proud of in June.

Besides graduation, the trending topics this month, as you'll read below, are robotics and artificial intelligence. We recently announced the establishment of the Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute (CoRIS), capitalizing on existing top-tier programs. The institute will advance the design, development, and deployment of robots and intelligent systems and their interaction with humans, while exploring related public policy and ethical questions. In this issue, you'll read about our faculty's involvement with self-driving cars, robotic hands, and bipedal robots. You'll also learn about related student work in the field, from the Mars rover challenge and drones, to capturing the first glimpse of the solar eclipse in August.   

As a fantastic end to a great academic year, the College of Engineering is privileged to welcome distinguished alumnus Hüsnü M. Özyeğin back to campus to present the Commencement address on June 17. If you're in town, please join me in showing our pride and appreciation to Mr. Özyeğin on Saturday.

Go Beavs!

Scott A. Ashford, Ph.D.
('83 Oregon State, Civil Engineering)
Kearney Professor and Dean
College of Engineering
Oregon State University


Bipedal robot commercially available
Cassie, the bipedal robot designed by Oregon State University spin-off Agility Robotics, is now commercially available. "It's the first time any dynamically capable robot is for sale," said Jonathan Hurst, associate professor of robotics and chief technology officer of Agility Robotics. More… (see also Recode)

Bio-sensing contact lens could transform lives
Greg Herman, professor of chemical engineering, has fabricated a sensor that can be embedded in a contact lens and can monitor information such as glucose levels. This could help eliminate painful finger pricks to test glucose levels in those with type 1 diabetes. More…

Faculty & Staff

The challenge of robotic hands
While recent advances in robotics technology have been dramatic, machines still cannot replicate the dexterity and sensitivity of the human hand. Ravi Balasubramanian, assistant professor of robotics, discusses the challenges of creating a robot hand to rival that of a human in an interview with Engadget.

Assessing the Hanford incident
Kathy Higley, head of the school of nuclear science and engineering, discusses the Hanford incident in a CBC Radio interview (starting at the 11 minute, 45 second mark). More…

Self-driving cars on America's roads
Bill Smart, associate professor of robotics, joined a discussion with a panel at the City Club of Eugene addressing questions related to driverless cars on America's roads. More…

Tsunami evacuation drill prepares for the Big One
Dan Cox, professor of civil and construction engineering, participated in a tsunami evacuation drill at South Beach State Park Thursday, May 11. More…


Students head to the world engineering competition
Five electrical engineering and computer science students are heading to Germany this summer to compete in the 2017 Rohde & Schwarz Engineering Competition. The team, consisting of Aaron Schraner, Karen Harper, Braxton Cuneo, Erich Kramer, and Andy Tolvstad, earned a spot at the world league competition based on their performance in the U.S. preliminary round. More…

Portable deep core may improve studies of native mud shrimp
Three engineering student teams worked to design, develop, and build a device for extracting shrimp that burrow in the mud. Working under the guidance of John Parmigiani, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Sharon LeRoux, instructor, the student teams created devices that aim to bring the shrimp to the surface unharmed for testing to better understand why their existence is threatened. More...

The first glimpse of the solar eclipse
Computer science student Levi Willmeth is part of a team that aims to be the first to transmit live video of the solar eclipse in August. From an OSU research vessel approximately 30 miles offshore, they will launch a helium balloon equipped with a video camera to capture the first glimpse of the eclipse. More…   (see also Terra and Democrat-Herald)

Checkerless checkerboard
As part of their senior design project, electrical engineering and computer science students Michael Foster and Jared Wong have created a checkerless checkerboard to bring the game of checkers to those who are visually impaired. More…

Drones for research
In 2016, electrical engineering and computer science junior Ben Lester became one of the first drone pilots certified by the Federal Aviation Administration in Oregon. Since then, he has trained both students and faculty researchers to comply with federal regulations, and has provided advice on technology and flown drones to gather data on structures, forests, and farm fields. More…

Robotics Club participates in Mars rover challenge
The Robotics Club headed to Utah to compete in the Mars Society University Rover Challenge, finishing 14th out of 36 teams. The competition is based on the premise that humans are living on Mars and must send out rovers in lieu of humans to perform various tasks. More…

Engineering program transfer degree lays the ground for success
Cody Stone made the most out of his 2016 Engineering program transfer degree at Umpqua Community College, transferring to study civil engineering at Oregon State. More…


Nielsen discusses Daimler's future in Oregon
Alumni and CEO of Daimler Trucks North America Roger Nielsen '83 spoke with the Oregonian about the company's future in Portland and autonomous vehicles. More…


DARPA grant aims to make artificial intelligence explain itself
Eight computer science faculty have received a $6.5 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to conduct research in effort to better understand artificial intelligence decision-making in autonomous vehicles, with a goal of making them safer and more trustworthy. "Nobody is going to use these emerging technologies for critical applications until we are able to build some level of trust, and having an explanation capability is one important way of building trust," said Alan Fern, principal investigator for the grant and associate director for the College of Engineering's recently established Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute. More… (see also Mashable and KVAL)


Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems established
The College of Engineering has recently established the Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems (CoRIS) Institute. Capitalizing on the robotics and intelligent systems research strengths throughout the college, the research institute aims to advance theory, design, development, and deployment of robots and intelligent systems and their ability to interact with people. More… (see also Iran Daily and KPTV)

Energy systems engineering draws students from around the world
With a focus on saving energy, the energy systems engineering program offered at the OSU-Cascades campus is attracting a global student body. Robin Feuerbacher, assistant professor of energy systems engineering, said he knew the degree would attract students from other states, but didn't realize it would attract people from around the world. More…


Dean's forum with Mitzi Montoya and Scott Ashford
Earthquakes are a common occurrence in the Puget Sound. While residents are generally prepared for slow-slip earthquakes, it is the threat of the "Big One" that worries many. On Thursday, June 22, at the Seattle Yacht Club, Oregon State experts Scott Ashford, Kearney Professor and Dean of the College of Engineering, and Mitzi Montoya, Sara Hart Kimball Dean of the College of Business, will examine how to build community and business resilience using engineering, business, and innovation principles. Register now for this event.

Mark your calendar: 2017 OSBEELS Energy & Sustainability Symposium
The Oregon State Board of Examiners and Land Surveying (OSBEELS) is looking forward to hosting the seventh annual OSBEELS Symposium on Friday, Sept. 22, at the Salem Convention Center. This year's Symposium will feature industry innovators and the projects that are shaping the future of clean energy and sustainability in Oregon. Students and faculty from the College of Engineering will be participating at this year's event. More…

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