Category Archives: Electrical Engineering

EE Senior Design: Body Area Network Design

Patrick Hanlon

Patrick Hanlon,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 7 December 2014

Every Electrical Engineering Senior is required to complete a senior design project of some sort before they are able to graduate. In our case, we were able to pick our team mates – a group of 5 friends since freshman year. Senior design projects are not limited to any particular project path, but our senior design project is unique in a special way.

The IEEE Antenna Propagation Society is hosting a contest where undergraduate students have the chance to assemble a team to design and create a Body Area Network (BAN) system. The contest requires that the team be no larger than 5 people and accomplish the following:


  • Create a BAN that monitors a user’s heart rate or has fall detection
  • Fabricate an antenna that communicates data to a smartphone via Bluetooth (2.4GHz) with a class 3 power rating (<1mW)
  • Display the received signal strength (RSSI) on the smartphone
  • Have a replicable product for less than $1500 USD.

In order to even qualify for the contest, the teams must complete all of these requirements. The selection rounds are as follows: first round is select the top six teams, the next round is the top 3 teams, and finally the winner.

We, the Ohio University BAN team, have submitted our proposal and have been selected of the top six teams in the world. In the previous year not a single US team was chosen, so this is an honor and an accomplishment for our team.

Currently we are working with many different types of vitals-monitoring sensors and integrating them into a small microcontroller circuit board. This is the first leap into the darkness for the project. With many more tasks to handle, we should be able to gain the knowledge to conquer and overcome obstacles. The goal is to win the contest and present our product to the world at the IEEE Antenna Propagation Symposium in Vancouver, so keep your eye out in the e-News Newsletter for our team in mid-April.

Research with the Avionics Engineering Research Center

Natasha Norris

Natasha Norris,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 3 December 2014

One of the many opportunities available to students at the Russ College is undergraduate research. I participate in research in the Avionics Engineering Research Center here at Ohio University. The Avionics Engineering Research Center is well known for its contribution to GPS navigation technology over the years.

My first project identified the effects of jammers on airplane GPS receivers. Jammers are also known as personal privacy devices; they emit RFI, or radio frequency interference to block a GPS signal and prevent the individual from being tracked. My current research uses a high-gain dish to look at a variety of effects on the GPS signal as it travels to the receiver.

I am utilizing MATLAB to create the code for data processing and satellite tracking from the high-gain dish. The program tracks one satellite for a specified time period. The narrow beam-width allows the dish to focus on one satellite at a time. The dish will track the satellite’s location from two line elements. Two line elements are orbital elements that describe the orbit of the GPS satellite. They will be used to compute the location of the satellite at a specific time and adjust the dish.

During tracking, the signal’s C/No (carrier-to-noise) ratio will be monitored to make sure the signal strength is accurate and the satellite number being monitored will be reported. After the raw signal is collected, the second MATLAB program will compute the distortions on the signal.

Co-ops are also a great opportunity to gain hands-on engineering experience. I have not participated in a co-op so far; I am debating whether I want to take one this summer or stick with research. Working with research in your undergraduate career can be as productive of an experience as participating in a co-op, you just have to figure out which one suits your career plan.

EE Advising Parties

Patrick Hanlon

Patrick Hanlon,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 4 November 2014

Come one come all. Engineering advising parties are a great way to get in touch with your fellow colleagues and get your advising holds removed ASAP! Though the advising party is not one of your wild college parties, there is still plenty of free pizza and lots of friendly undergrads to associate with.

Organized by Dr. Vassiliadis and held once every semester, Electrical Engineering students, such as I, get the chance to interact with other Electrical Engineering undergrads. This allows us to develop a class schedule where we are able to work together in the same classes.

Dr. V has been looking over schedules for quite some time now, so he knows what he is doing when it comes to pointing students in the right direction. Being set on the right track right from the get-go will prevent class confusion and involuntary semesters from accidentally occurring toward the end of graduation. Since team work and camaraderie is a vital part in college life, the advising party allows a convenient way of developing connections, friendships, and keeping on track.

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

Fishing at Stroud’s Run

Ali McCormick

Ali McCormick,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 14 October 2014

While Ohio University has an abundance of places to spend your free time, my favorite is Strouds Run State Park. Strouds is located approximately 5 miles away from campus. You have the ability to go camping for the weekend, hiking on nature trails, mountain biking through the woods, canoeing on Dow Lake, or my preferred choice, fishing.

Strouds run

If you knew me a few months ago, your jaw would have dropped in disbelief after hearing that. I’m generally not the outdoorsy type, but once I started fishing this summer, I haven’t been able to stop. At first I was borrowing a pole from my friend, but I made the step to purchase my first fishing pole.

Strouds run

Although it’s small in size, I swear it’s an adult pole (at one point I did consider purchasing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pole for children, though). This pole is meant for dock fishing, which is mainly what I do at Strouds. I have been successful with using no bait, just a lure.

My one confession, though, is that I won’t take the fish off the hook myself. I’m starting with baby steps first, then maybe I’ll graduate to actually touching the fish. After all my work is done for the day, my friends and I will head over to Strouds to fish and grill out until sundown. It’s a great way to relieve my stress and enjoy the company of my close friends.

Strouds run

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.