Category Archives: Electrical Engineering

SWE Conference 2014

Natasha Norris

Natasha Norris,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 26 October 2014

October 22nd through 25th, Ohio University Society of Women Engineers traveled to Los Angeles for our annual national conference.

We left around 3 a.m. Wednesday to catch our 7 a.m. flight from Columbus.

OU SWE at Columbus Airport

After we arrived in Los Angeles, we spent a portion of the day on Santa Monica Beach. We carried our luggage around the beach and caught received many stares.

OU SWE at Santa Monica Beach

Then we traveled to Pasadena. We were all exhausted by the end of the day…

Exhausted

By the second day, we were fresh and awake for our conference. The Society of Women Engineers annual national conference offers the largest career fair for engineers available in the United States. We spent the day at seminars prepping for the career fair on Friday. The seminars ranged from helping young girls learn about engineering to how to start a job in a new work place. At the conference, I was able to make connections with many other SWE chapters such as Ohio State and Cincinnati.

SWE Conference 2014

On Friday, we were ready to win over an interview at the career fair. OU SWE members interviewed with Northrop Grumman, Rockwell Automation, Turner Construction, Toyota, GM, Eaton, 3M and Halliburton to name a few. Some of us were even able to land an internship on the spot. I received internship offers from Northrop Grumman and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Friday night left some sightseeing time. We all traveled to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and had our group dinner at a nearby pub.

OU SWE at Hollywood Walk of Fame

Saturday morning we left Los Angeles with our souvenirs and exhaustion, but great memories we shared with our OU SWE members. But, let me leave you with an unknown fact in Ohio that only Californians know…

Water in a Box

Friends and Fun at the Climbing Wall

Patrick Hanlon

Patrick Hanlon,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 27 September 2014

The rock climbing wall here at Ohio University may seem like the climbing wall at any other school, but it really isn’t. See, people who aren’t regulars at this second home of mine may miss out on the close community we have developed in the Ping Center. Friends of all ages and years of school come together and have a great time together and work out and rock climb.

Sometimes school gets stressful, and when it does there is always a cushiony place to fall into, and it’s not the rubber padding at the bottom of the wall. In fact, it’s the people who are there for you the entire way up that plastic, hold-covered wall. I have to say that most of my friends outside of my engineering courses have been made here, and they are all wonderful.

Here at Outdoor Pursuits, there is not just a climbing wall. There are plenty of hidden adventures any student can go on if they’d like. There’s anything from back-country backpacking trips to canoeing adventures to even rock climbing expeditions. For anyone who would like to get their fix of outdoor adventures while still managing to be successful in school, Outdoor Pursuits is the place to go.

ALT

A Scary Experience in Junior Composition

Natasha Norris

Natasha Norris,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 21 September 2014

When I signed up for junior composition for this fall semester, I had no idea I was in for such a “terrifying” experience. Of course, to any engineer, an English course doesn’t sound as appetizing as our math and science based curriculum, but in any case, it is a refreshing change.

A week before my classes started, I got an email from my soon-to-be English professor informing me of the required literature. To my shock, I found the movie “Carrie” by Stephen King, “Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris, and “Rosemary’s Baby” by Ira Levin just to name a few. I had signed up for a section of the class that was focused on “Women in Horror”. I have always avoided anything with terror, blood, etc. so I didn’t think I would be able to survive the course. My first reaction was to drop it, but after a few classes, I decided to give it a shot.

Recently, I’ve just completed one of my more interesting projects for the course: I live-tweeted my experiences while watching the movie “Carrie” (1976). Hopefully, nightmares won’t come and my followers on Twitter won’t think I have the most random tweets in the world, but this was a great change from the usual calculations my engineering courses require. So far, I’m very happy with my decision to try something bizarre and completely different from my engineering courses.

Back from My Co-op

Ali McCormick

Ali McCormick,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 29 August 2014

Last year, I had the opportunity to co-op with L-3 Communications in Cincinnati, OH for two semesters. L-3 is known for its expertise in the areas of infrared detection and space & missile electronics. Due to a confidentiality agreement, I can’t tell you exactly what I did during my time at L-3, but the projects I worked on involved infrared detection.

The best part about having a co-op (aside from the money), is that you have the chance to apply the knowledge you gain from courses to the projects at hand. I felt like I had a better understanding of the material once I applied it to a real world problem. Another great thing about having a co-op is that you have the opportunity to learn new skills along the way. I was able to learn how to code in the programming language python, which will help me tremendously in the future.

The transition from the working world to back school life was strange at first, because I felt like my brain wanted to take an extended vacation–it wasn’t prepared for homework and exams again. But I moved back to Athens at the beginning of summer, once my co-op ended, and the only thing I can say is that it’s good to be back home.

EE Senior Design: Designing a Remote Water Quality Monitoring Device

Daron DiSabato

Daron DiSabato,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 24 February 2014 – With spring semester in full swing, our senior design group has been hard at work with our project. Our project was inspired by the increased use of hydraulic fracturing to obtain natural gas and fossil fuels in the Appalachian region of the United States. Opponents of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” believe that the process can and will lead to the contamination of groundwater.

My team was assigned with the task of designing a Remote Water Quality Monitoring Device (RWQMD). The purpose of the device is to be placed in a remote ground water well near a fracking site where it will measure a number of water quality metrics including pH, temperature and conductivity of the source. The constraints of the system are that it must generate its own self-sustaining power, collect water quality measurements and transmit that data to an offsite location. To achieve this, my team is developing a solar powered unit controlled by a central micro-controller. The device will take measurements using three connected sensors and will transmit the data using a GSM cellular communications network.

So far we have acquired our sensors, central controller unit and communications module and are currently in the software development and bench-testing phase of the project. Following spring break, we will begin working on our power system and will start assembling the device in its final packaging. The included photos show the current bench model and CAD drawings of what the final device will look like.

RWQMD

RWQMD

RWQMD

RWQMD

Internship at Electro Science Lab

Daron DiSabato

Daron DiSabato,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 17 December 2013 – Over the past summer I completed an internship at the Ohio State University Electro Science Laboratory where I worked on a graduate level research project for the U.S. Navy. The project dealt with designing and building a code division multiple access (CDMA) cellular communication transceiver which was more power efficient, more cost effective, and had a smaller package size than current models in production.

The project was still in the early stages of design when I joined the team, and we began working on the analog front-end of the receiver. The first job I had was to run simulations of the circuitry in PSpice and AWR Microwave office to verify that the proposed designs would work before we purchased components and built the device. Over several weeks I was able to gain some great experience working with the software. We ran simulations using various different chips and circuit components. The ones that performed the best in simulation were the ones that we selected to be implemented in the design.

The second job I had during this project was to order the selected circuit components and build prototype breadboard circuits in the lab. I spent the next several weeks running various tests and fine-tuning the circuits to make sure they were performed to the expectations observed in the software simulations. After settling on the most optimum circuit design, my final job was to design the printed circuit boards that would be used in the actual device. This was the most difficult part of my interesting but also the most exciting. I used the industry standard PCB layout software, Cadence Allegro, and it had a very steep learning curve. Despite the challenge of learning the software, I was able to design two printed circuit boards for the device, which I have shown in the attached pictures.

PCB Design
PCB Design

Finally after four months since I completed the internship, they are finally printing the circuit boards I designed. I can’t wait to go back and see them in action spring semester!

EE Senior Design Project: Water Quality Monitoring

Daron DiSabato

Daron DiSabato,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 3 December 2013 – Along with many other senior electrical engineering students across the country, fall semester marked the beginning of our senior design projects. The goal of our particular project is to design a remote monitoring device that can be deployed in a ground water well and transmit water quality data to an offsite location. We intend for the device to be deployed in locations where this information is highly sensitive, such as a hydraulic fracking site or in any place where industrial byproducts could potentially contaminate drinking water.

Due to our limited budget, our preliminary design will only be capable of measuring pH, temperature and salinity of the water source it is deployed in. The device will then take the measured data and transmit it via a cellular communications network to a cell phone. This product will be deployed in a remote outdoor location for an extended period of time (months or years), so it must be able to withstand environmental and weather factors as well as generate self-sustaining power from the environment.

Where the difficult engineering work will come is with system integration. Many of our subsystem components have been sourced from different manufacturers, and it will be challenging to integrate each part to serve the function of our device. We have just ordered our sensors, microcontroller board and communications module and are looking forward to spring semester when we will begin building and testing the device.