Tag Archives: research

Research in the Motor Control Lab

Alexa Hoynacke

Alexa Hoynacke,
Junior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 11 October 2015

Fall semester is almost halfway done and I cannot believe how fast my junior year is flying by! This past summer I worked as a research assistant with the Motor Control Lab, which is a part of the College of Health Sciences and Professions. As a research assistant I was placed with the FLAG Study. Most of my summer was dedicated to writing and adjusting code, pilot testing, data collection, and analyzing pilot data.

A large part of the Motor Control Lab is working with virtual reality gaming to help find solutions for back pain. Here is a picture of me suited up in our motion capturing sensors and using an Oculus Rift.

Suited Up for Motion Capture

This past week has been very exciting because The FLAG study which has been my main focus for the past few months finally opened for enrollment. I cannot wait to see how the data collection process goes during these next few months.

Coming in as a freshman I would have never expected my college career to lead me towards research in biomechanics and motor control, but I very glad it did. I hope to continue with my research and pursue my Masters and possibly a Ph.D focused around biomechanics and ergonomics.

Summer Research Work at Ohio University

Alyson Meister

Alyson Meister,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 2 October 2015

I spent my second summer in Athens this year. Last summer I stayed to take a class and I had a lot of fun, but this year I wanted to get more out of my time here and I did!
Not only did I take a class to get ahead and make my senior year a little easier, I also spent time doing research for a few professors. I worked on two projects over the summer with very different focuses, since I’m not exactly sure where I want to direct my career after graduation.

For one project, I worked with a team of students to design and build a test rig to collect data on an innovative particle capture system. Our system was specifically designed to capture coal fly ash which is typically done by Electrostatic Precipitators (ESPs) which are large, expensive, and require high voltages. This project required a lot of hands-on work in the machining labs, troubleshooting, and collaboration with students and professors.

I also did an independent study project dealing with the material properties of bones. This project was mostly computer-based work and involved writing MATLAB codes and running statistical tests on acquired data. I also completed an abstract for the Biomedical Engineering Society and will be presenting my work at their conference in Tampa, FL next week. This will be my first time presenting individual research work and I am really excited and nervous!

Overall I’d say my second summer in Athens was a success and I gained a broad range of skills and experiences that will benefit me in the future!

Designing a Drone

Ali McCormick

Ali McCormick,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 15 September 2015

As an Electrical Engineering Senior, you are required to complete a yearlong (two semester) senior design course in order to graduate. In this course we are divided into teams and given a project to work on. For my project, my team has been assigned the hedgehog indoor-search-and-rescue drone.

The objectives of this particular project are to design and implement a design on a hedgehog-style drone that will enable it to do multiple required tasks. The drone must navigate through indoor hallways of Stocker basement without crashing. The drone must achieve autonomous flight, meaning that it will fly on its own for the most part, but have the ability to be taken over by an operator at any point.

The drone must also collect and store data that is taken by an infrared camera that will be attached to the drone. The data will later be used to create a 2-D map of the environment. Finally, the drone must use the infrared camera to locate heat signatures and analyze if the specific signature is a person or not.

This summer I had the opportunity to get a head start on the project by working as an undergraduate researcher for Ohio University’s Avionics department. I took a look at the specific lasers that will be used for our project to help the drone avoid collisions. I created code that enabled the lasers to have basic functionality with a Raspberry Pi, and we will be furthering this code as we begin moving forward with the project. I’m excited to see how the project progresses.

A CE in a ChemE Lab

Mira Cooper

Mira Cooper,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 13 September 2015

As a civil engineer, I don’t have to take very many chemistry classes. Which is sad, because I LOVE chemistry. So, when I found an opportunity to work in an environmental lab that combined my interests in chemistry and water quality engineering, I was so excited. I sent some emails, talked to a few professors, and wound up with the job!

During the semester I work 10 hours a week at the
Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment
(ISEE), which is part of the Ohio Coal Research Center. I started out working on a project with a goal of finding a chemical method of treating the wastewater from hydraulic fracturing natural gas extraction. I was in the lab, working directly with the chemicals, calculations, and analytical machinery needed to make progress on this project. I worked on that project for about a year, including winter break and over summer, where I would work 30-35 hours a week. It was awesome! I was involved every step of the way, from the writing of the standard operating procedure documents all the way to the analytical testing of the final product.

But, frankly, the best part of working at ISEE is the support that I get from everyone else who works there. There’s an amazing sense of teamwork and camaraderie–everyone is willing to help out in any way they can. We’re constantly learning from each other, and we’re learning things that typically aren’t taught to engineers in our respective specialties. I’m a CE essentially doing ChemE work, with a sprinkling of ME tasks here and there. I’ve learned to use power tools, which was a VERY big step for me because I’ve always been afraid of big, scary machines that could rip your hand off without a second’s delay.

I’m really glad that I ended up working at ISEE. In about a year and a half, I went from Undergraduate Research Assistant to Analytical Lab Lead. Now I have much more responsibility relating to the lab itself, rather than the individual projects that come through. It’s really uplifting to see so much growth in myself from when I started to now. It reminds me about how fluid education is, and how you’re always learning and always growing.

COUNT Seminar to Benefit my Research Work

Natasha Norris

Natasha Norris,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 1 June 2015

I recently traveled to Dayton, Ohio for a 3 day COUNT short courses seminar. I attended to learn more GPS-related topics to put towards my research. COUNT stands for Consortium of Ohio Universities on Navigation and Timekeeping. Professors and researchers from Ohio State University, the Air Force Research Laboratory, Miami University, and Ohio University discussed and presented on several key components needed to understand timing and navigation.

The seminar I found particularly interesting was the lecture on how a GPS receiver actually computes your current position. The lecturer walked through each step from receiving the GPS signal from your antenna to actually seeing your GPS signal above the noise floor. (The power level of the GPS signal is much lower than that of noise.) From there, your receiver can pull the GPS data because it is visible.

After the seminars, we found time to explore Dayton. We visited Press Coffee shop near the Oregon District of downtown Dayton. Delicious! Then we headed to Yaffa Grill. It had the best Mediterranean food I’ve ever tasted in the United States. I would definitely stop to eat there if you’re in the area. I even made a friend from downtown Dayton.

I’m fortunate to have these opportunities for travel through the Russ College and my research position. I wouldn’t have obtained these opportunities without being active in the Russ College community. Some advice from one college student to all future/current college students, make sure you become active in your college community. You never know what opportunities you’ll find through the connections you make.

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.

Preparing for the International Space University

Josh D'Urso

Josh D’Urso,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 22 November 2014

This week at Ohio University, some distinguished professors from the International Space University (ISU) visited to get their curriculum finalized for next summer. That’s when Ohio University will be hosting the ISU Space Studies Program.

I didn’t realize how big of a deal this was until I did a little research and saw that last year’s ISU was held in Montreal, Canada. Countries from around the world bid on this program and try and have it held in their country, state, or university and Ohio University won the 2015 bid. The program will be held on campus from June 8th to August 7th. Students from around the world apply to this program. Last year’s program attracted 122 participants representing 32 countries.

When I met some of the professors this week they were from all over the world including Germany, France, Canada, India and more. One of the members from the ISU team that I met was named John Connolly. John was a great individual with an even better background. He has 28 years of experience with NASA and he has been a member of ISU for 22 years leading the ISU’s Space Studies Program. John’s specialties include human and robotic space mission design, human spacecraft design, and space systems engineering.

I did not find out about the Space Studies Program being held at OU until this week and it has been in the works for two years now. I am so proud of my University and of the all the people who put in so much time and dedication into bringing such a big program to my school. This is great publicity for the University and I think its going to be a great experience for our school and faculty to work side by side with distinguished individuals from around the world.