School of Engineering & Technology
NICE SHADE OF LAKER BLUE! Josh Nelson, works with a robotics cell during a summer internship with Advenovation, Inc.. "Josh has been a joy to work with and he has exceeded all my high expectations.
He is smart, personable, fun, attentive, responsive, a good self starter and a good team player." Regards, Adil
Did you know?
- Six of our 7 FE Exam students passed the spring 2012 exam, giving us pass rate higher than the national average
- All of our Spring 2012 BS graduates had jobs or graduate school positions lined-up anywhere from one-year prior to within a month of graduation
News & Archives
||Congratulations to the Engineering House! Row Houses competed in the Student Life Snow Sculpture Contest for a 42-inch HDTV. Engineering House West took first place honors with its LEGO Castle. Castle builders included TJ, Jon, Aaron, Casey and Dr. Joe Moening. Way to go!
LSSU Entrepreneur Lecture Series Featured Robotics Expert Adil Shafi of Advenovation
| February 7, 2013
|Adil Shafi (above far left and in photo at right), the first speaker for the BE Inspired (Entrepreneur-in-Residence) Lecture Series, met with Engineering House residents following two evenings of lectures focusing on getting started as an entrepreneur.
Lake Superior State University launched a new Entrepreneur-in-Residence lecture program Feb. 4-5 that featured Adil Shafi. A member of the LSSU Industrial Advisory Board, Shafi is the president of Advenovation Inc. of Rochester Hills. Videos of the different topics will be posted on LSSU's School of Engineering & Technology YouTube channel. Watch for further details.
Shafi, a leader in the field of robotics technology for more than 20 years, shared what he has learned about business and entrepreneurship during a series of presentations that were free and open to the public in LSSU’s Walker Cisler Center. He followed up Tuesday presentations with a discussion at the Engineering House with more than 20 students on hand.
Topics for his LSSU program included: What it takes to become an entrepreneur, making a business plan, legal matters, financial management, working with people and teams, business relationships and what it takes to win.
"We were very pleased to host accomplished entrepreneur and friend of LSSU who shared his many insights into launching a successful venture,” said David R. Finley Ph.D., dean of the LSSU College of Business and Engineering, which sponsored the lecture series. “Mr. Shafi has been on the leading edge of robotics technology for more than two decades, and his companies have introduced novel assembly solutions to industry by using 3D vision-guided robotics. We’re sure his insights were of interest to our students and faculty, as well as entrepreneurs and others in the twin Sault community.”
In his many years of involvement with the manufacturing automation industry, Shafi worked with Chrysler’s Stow-n-Go mini-van program and the US Air Force F-35 fighter jet program, and he wrote specifications for some of the robotic processes of the heat shield for NASA’s Orion spaceship, which is scheduled to replace the Space Shuttle. His company has working relationships with numerous businesses and institutions throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Japan.
Shafi has made presentations at the International Conference for Vision-Guided Robotics, International Robotics and Vision Show, AUTOMATE, and the Robotics Forum, in addition to agencies and universities. A number of his free educational webinars have been archived by the Robotic Industries Association (www.robotics.org). He has served on the Industrial Advisory Board of LSSU’s School of Engineering and Technology since April 2011.
"I started my first robotics software company with $1,000 in savings in graduate school and ran it for about 17 years,” Shafi said. “We did about $7 million in sales and the amount of equipment that was sold due to our innovations was $300 million. We helped make a lot of partners and colleagues successful and rich.
“However, without a business background, I also made a lot of mistakes in the early years and I learned from them,” he continued. “My new company, Advenovation, is doing very well and it is largely because of the lessons I learned and the relationships I formed in industry.”
During his LSSU programs, Shafi wanted to cater to new students, graduates and also those who have been working in various professions who may want to start their own business on a part-time basis or work with others to join forces in a new endeavor. The perspectives were geared towards any of these situations and opportunities.
"I hoped to have passed on some of these lessons and key perspectives in this lecture series,” he said. “I didn't have a lot of time to get into depth, but I recommended many suggestions on further reading.”
More information about Shafi and Advenovation may be found at www.advenovation.com.
back to top
Kudos from the Field | November 26, 2012
Josh Laplander, computer engineering student from Minn., has come a long way from late-night IEEE LAN parties and technical direction of FIRST LEGO League tournaments. The December 2012 graduate has spent countless hours in the LSSU robotics lab on Stäubli and Fanuc robots and made his way to the robots of a 3D vision project with Advenovation at the Chrysler Kokomo Castings plant.
"Josh Laplander did an EXCELLENT job," said Adil Shafi, president of Advenovation, Inc. in Brighton, Mich. "We received the FANUC robot on a Tuesday morning, prepped it and did a demo on the same day, shipped it to the plant the next day, took a day off for Thanksgiving, and then Josh and I got the system to work over the weekend," Shafi continued. "We'll be running production today as Josh returns to LSSU to his final weeks as an undergraduate. Great job Josh !!! We are proud of you." And so are we!
Photo courtesy of Advenovation, Inc. back to top
||News from 2011-12
Circuitry from Scratch | July 7, 2012
Lake Superior State University engineering student Brian Parkham checks up on Chelsea Chai as she puts the finishing touches on a circuit board she created from scratch. Chai, who hails from East Lansing, Mich., joined 15 other campers ranging from 8th-12th grades from all over the US for the first week LSSU's 22nd-annual Women in Technology camp. The intensive weeklong session offered projects in electronics, computer engineering, CAD design, and robotics. Two sessions a summer are underwritten by federal, state, and private-sector grants in an attempt to bring more women into technology careers. Parkham, a sophomore in electrical engineering from Spruce, Mich., works with several LSSU engineering students as a camp instructor. (LSSU photo by Emily Jones)
back to top
LSSU engineering student among 19 spring sport athletes earning GLIAC All-Academic awards | June 18, 2012
Mechanical engineering student Taylor Heath was among the 19 Lake Superior State student-athletes who received Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference academic recognition during the 2012 spring season. Eight Lakers earned GLIAC Academic Excellence Awards.
Student-athletes achieveing GPAs of 3.50 to 4.0 earned GLIAC Academic Excellence Awards. Sophomore distance runner Taylor Heath (Hanover, Mich./mechanical engineering) joined Haleigh Edgar (softball, Tecumseh, Mich./biology), Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick (thrower, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont./integrated sciences elementary teaching), Travis Toth (men's tennis, St. Johns, Mich./criminal justice), Mike Caputo (men's golf, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont./biology) in earning the GLIAC honors.
back to top
School of Engineering & Technology wins Department of the Year Award | April 16, 2012
Congratulations to all in the school for a job well done! The award for Department of the Year was announced at the annual Student Government Leadership Awards Banquet on April 16th.
According to the award criterion, "This award is not solely for academic departments, but for all units that make up the university. The members of this department are willing to help all Lakers with questions or concerns, and they do an excellent job at whatever they are intended to do."
One comment that gave away the winner was, "...they can be found in the building at all hours - even 2 or 3 am, sometimes sleeping there." [senior project memories, anyone?]
The School received a certificate, which was accepted by Dr. Finley, and will be framed and hung in the office along with a photo of the group.
back to top
SWE hosts 4th Annual Girl Scout Day | April 14, 2012
LSSU's SWE Chapter held its 4th Annual Girl Scout Day with scouts ranging in ages from 5 (Daisy scouts) through 14 (Cadettes). The 44 participants came from as far as DePere, Wisc. and and near as local troops from the EUP. Engineering activities included paper towers, popsicle stick bridges, creating bouncing balls and structures from marshmallows and pretzels, and an introduction to robotics through a Mindstorm robot exercise and demonstration in the LSSU Robotics and Automation lab by the new Staubli lline.
Textbooks (and we all know how heavy engineering texts can be!) were stacked on the popsicle bridges with quite a few withstanding the 7-book load. The finale was a Daisy Scout stepping on a SWE bridge and flattening it underfoot. The day ended with sticky smiles, colorful fingers, and a good time had by all. SWE is looking forward to doing it all over again in April 2013. For more photos, visit our Facebook page at LSSU Engineering & Technology.
back to top
Order of the Engineer Inducts 10 into Class of 2012 | April 11, 2012
This year's Order of the Engineer ceremony inducted 10 graduating seniors from computer, electical and mechanical engineering, with Dr. David Finley at the podium. Our guest readers were Matt Gibbs, '04 EE, Automation Resources Manager with Beta Fluid Power, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. and Paul Coccimiglio, '05 ME, Strategic Sourcing Manager with Essar Steel Algoma, Ont. Our thanks to these alumni for their assistance with this year's ceremony. Congratulations to our new members: Wear your rings proudly! back to top
And the winner is...Five vie for Mr. Engineer honors | February 15, 2012
Kudos to Society of Women Engineers (SWE) for its inaugural Mr. Engineer competition. The fundraiser for SWE secured five brave souls who competed for the dubious distinction of being Mr. Engineer showing off such talents as playing card tricks, bowling for pop cans, guitar playing, singing and solving a rubic's cube. Nerd wear included thong sandals with socks, a fine pair of safety glasses with a touch of duct tape, zig zags and lanyards. The Q&A was the final determinant for the evening. When asked what one thing each would change in the world, the unanimous answer was "world peace." Other more original answers were The Notebook for favorite chick flick, and "I'll tell you when I have it," regarding the moment when one changed from a boy to a man.
The contestants are joined by a representative of SWE, Stephanie Peck, at left, Mr. Engineer 2012 Nick Letts, Riley Lytwyneck, Brian Parkham, John Orttenburger, Jon Reath, and a judge, Kirsi Heikkinen. Other judges included new mechanical engineering faculty member, Dr. Jaskirat Sodhi, and the new dean of the College of Business, Engineering & Economic Development, Dr. David Finley.
back to top
Alumnus passes through the "other" locks | February 15, 2012
Alumnus David O'Gorman '04 flashes his Laker Pride on board Oregon State University's Research Vessel Oceanus as it passes through the lock system of the Panama Canal on Feb. 4. The ship is exiting the Miraflores locks on the Pacific side. The cover of the Laker Log on the right (David's left hand) features LSSU's SAE Baja vehicle. The electrical engineering alumnus works as a marine tech on several research vessels including the R/V Wecoma of the Center for Coastal Margin Observation & Prediction (CMOP), a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center.
back to top
Unique milling project entered in Roland DG Creative Awards competition | January 31, 2012
Jon Spencer, a junior in mechanical engineering at Lake Superior State University, holds up his entry to the Roland DG Creative Awards competition. Spencer, who hails from West Branch, Mich. is in his third year of working for the university’s Product Development Center (PDC). The yo-yo showcases the capabilities of a Roland MDX-540, a computer numerical controlled (CNC) mill.
The unit owned by the PDC is a miniature mill used for creating small parts to build prototypes for its clients. Bits as small as .0130-inch were used to inscribe designs into the yo-yo. The side seen in the photo at left spells out “LSSU” in binary (start at the underlined zero) along with an integrated circuit pattern to represent the computer and electrical aspects of the PDC. On the flip side, seen below, the gear and markings that radiate along the edge indicating divisions of degrees represent the mechanical bent of the PDC.
Entries are judged on creativity including originality and imagination, innovative use of Roland equipment (e.g. an application not typically associated with the Roland product utilized), and excellence in the execution or rendering of the exhibit. Spencer’s yo-yo is built to specifications based on a Duncan model right down to the Egyptian cotton string.
The yo-yo was developed as an experiment with alternative materials for manufacturing client prototypes.“We’re always looking for ways to keep costs down for our clients,” said David Leach, one of two project managers with the PDC. “Jon worked with a liquid urethane and mineral composite. The major benefit of the composite is the cost. It is less expensive than solid plastic. It starts out as a liquid which is poured into a mold and formed a more efficient shape. Jon was able to make a block for machining that was less than a third the cost.”
Read more at www.lssu.edu news. back to top
College of Business, Engineering and Economic Development welcomes Dr. Finley, P.E. | January 15, 2012
Dr. David Roland Finley, P.E. comes to Lake Superior State University from Trine University, Angola, Ind. where he was dean of the Allen School of Engineering and Technology and subsequently Vice President for Academic Affairs for a total of 11 yearsw, serving also as interim dean for the Ketner School of Business and the Jannen School of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Finley brings his unique background in business and engineering, which includes research interests in improved educational/learning methodologies and entrepreneurship, to our newly-incorporated college. He has also been a speaker on topics of assessment and retention. Trine experienced an increase in enrollment and freshman retention, program growth and partnerships during Finley's tenure. His career has taken him from environmental science through chemical engineering, receiving a Trine Excellence in Teaching Award and Tau Beta Pi Eminent Engineer Recognition, to his newest leadership post. back to top
Meeting of the Mindstorms - the results are in! | December 15, 2011
The head-to-head double elimination came down to a less than 8-point spread between the top two teams: Team One and the Flying Aces with the Aces taking first place.
Congratulations to the Flying Aces (pictured at right): Justin Jemison, Adam Bodenmiller, Jon Reath, and Nathan Fishel as well as Team One: Alex Reno, Niki Toth, Pat Davis and Phil Recker.
Check out this brief video from the 2009 competition.
back to top
The IAB welcomes new members | November 4, 2011
The Industrial Advisory Board received three new members at its Fall 2011 meeting in November: John Tillotson, Technical Fellow at Honeywell International in Boyne City, Mich.; Tim Bennett, Senior Process Engineer with Nexteer Automotive in Saginaw, Mich.; and Trevor Swenson, Senior Infrastructure Engineering with Research In Motion in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
Promotion Congratulations! | Fall 2011
The School of Engineering & Technology announced the promotions of Dr. Andrew Jones (electrical and computer engineering) and Dr. Robert Hildebrand (mechanical engineering) to the rank of Associate Professor this fall.
Dr. Janjua puts ink to paper with new textbook | Fall 2011
Congratulations to Dr. M. Mansoor Janjua, who recently published a textbook entitled "Learning Pro/Manufacturing Using Pro/Creo Elements: A Step-by-Step Guide to Learn Computer-Aided Manufacturing," ISBN 978-1462039258. The book teaches students how to create different machining operations for a part, and then obtain G-codes for CNC machines. The content covers 3-, 4-, and 5-axis milling along with 2-axis turning.
Dr. Janjua, a mechanical engineering professor with LSSU's School of Engineering & Technology since 2009, teaches courses in mechanical design, solid modeling and heat transfer in addition to CNC manufacturing processes.
back to top
Drive-by Smiles: Proud Grad Stats Noted on Billboard | July 11, 2011
The faces Tom MacMillan, ME '07 and Caroline Demary-Elliott, Math-Chemistry '11, smile down on travelers along US 10 promoting this year's graduating class' job hunting success.
back to top
Smiling faces of LSSU graduates announce this year's job offer successes for the School of Engineering & Technology graduates. The billboard along the eastbound lane of US 10 just outside of Coleman, Mich. proclaims that this year's 25 graduates had a total of 70 offers among them for jobs. Ninety-eight percent of our April 2011 graduates were employed within a month of graduation. The majority had multiple offers and signed contracts by the time they crossed the platform at commencement.
PDC Receives grant from Michigan Initiative for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (MIIE) | June 20, 2011
Eric Becks, one of two Engineering Project Managers for Lake Superior State University's Product Development Center (PDC), has received a $30,000 grant from the MIIE Industry & Engagement Fund. The grant is to establish a Micro-Loan fund to aid inventors and entrepreneurs in paying for prototyping and product development services through the LSSU Product Development Center.
Becks said, "As borrowers successfully complete their projects and repay the loan, those funds become available for another client's project." Micro-loans are small loans tailored to help start-up businesses.
To be eligible for this program, the borrower must have been provided a project proposal for work to be done by the PDC. The Micro-Loan can not generally be used to cover the entire proposal cost and a matching amount is typically required. LSSU PDC clients can contact their Engineering Projects Manager for additional information and requirements.
For more information about LSSU's PDC, visit www.lssu.edu/pdc or call 906-635-2207.
back to top
||News from 2010-11
LSSU Engineering crew cleans up Algonguin Trail after storm | May 18, 2011
|CUTTING CREW -- A team of Lake Superior State University students, faculty and staff recently took time out from their studies and work to clear trees from the Algonquin Ski Trail in Sault Ste. Marie. The trail was blocked by dozens of trees after a storm brought them down on May 11. The storm, with winds gusting to 60 mph, brought down trees throughout the area, knocked out electrical power and damaged buildings and other property. In the photo above left, LSSU Engineering Professor Paul Duesing is putting a chainsaw to work. Above right, the crew that accompanied Duesing included LSSU mechanical engineering students, from left: Jon Spencer of West Branch, Ted Dilworth of Charlevoix, LSSU Mechanical Laboratory Engineer Jon Coullared, and ME student Tim Verstrate of Greenville. The students are all in town this summer working in the LSSU Product Development Center. (Photos courtesy Jon Coullard/LSSU)
Honors Course turned ASEE paper | Spring 2011
Energy Students' Perceptions on Global Issues and Engineering drew Best Paper-2nd Place for Dr. Paul Weber and the regional ASEE NCS Spring conference held at Central Michigan University. The impetus behind the presentation was the result of surveys from Dr. Weber's freshman-level honors course, Humans and Energy, which he taught during fall 2010.
According to Dr. Weber, the class was developed to address the need to engage students in the broad context of energy issues. The course focused on understanding resources and conversions of energy, exploring the impact on human life and vice versa. Topics included energy recourses, energy consumption and conservation; social, political, financial and technical aspects of energy systems. The students participated in hands-on energy audits using Kill-A-Watt meters and toured the Cloverland Electric Cooperative's hydroelectric plant in Sault Ste. Marie.
The ASEE paper discussed the key methods and iddeas for engaging students in energy as part of the honors class at a background-appropriate level. It also presented the results of the optional survey students completed at the end of the course regarding their perceptions of energy and engineering. The key overall class results indicated an increased respect for the work done by engineers and a greater confidence in addressing problems through research, reasoning, and mathematical analysis. The class members did not necessarily indicate that as a result of the heightened awareness an increase in the likelihood of pursing a degree in engineering. Dr. Weber points out that the nature of the results were not generalizable, but instead should be used as a starting point for future research.
back to top
Class of 2010-2011 Senior Projects | April 29, 2011
The public is invited to attend the project presentations and demonstrations on Friday, April 29th. All of the presentations will take place in CASET 212. Team demonstrations are at various locations throughout CASET's first floor. Look for postings. Click here for this year's brochure. For more information, contact the School office at 906-635-2207.
|Team (alpha order)
|Demonstrations: Time - Room
|Innovative Solar Solutions (ISS)
||2:30 p.m. - CASET 119
|Pioneering Race Systems (PRS) - Directed project
||4:00 p.m. - CASET 122
||3:30 p.m. - CASET 106C
|Robotic Simulation Services (RSS)
||1:30 p.m.- CASET 125
|Steering Innovations (SI)
||2:00 p.m. - CASET 124
|Vermilion Innovation Providers of Energy Research Solutions (VIPERS)
||3:00 p.m. - CASET 122
Inaugural Alumni Bash April 28-29!
Keep these URLs for next year: http://www.lssu.edu/alumni/events/eng.php and http://alumni.lssu.edu/events/engineeringalumnibash2011.php The inaugural Annual Alumni Bash was a great success! The group was treated to live music by the Wild Turkeys, including our own Vaughn Alexander playing the junk drawer! The senior group, Blue Turtle Shells, won this year's spontaneous design "Mouse Launcher" competition. Team members included: John Preczewski, Jon Mitchell, Mike Gearing, Phil Nicholson, and Ben Kurth.
||Tour our updated engineering labs with our Seniors/demos by Faculty & Staff
||Meet in the CASET lobby (2nd floor)
||Student (underclassmen) & Alumni Meet and Greet
||Robotics Lab & Annex / CASET 125
||Impromptu Design Competition: Alumni vs Senior vs Faculty
||Robotics Lab & Annex / CASET 123 & 125
||Alumni & Senior Mingle
||Cisler Galley & Patio
||Engineering BBQ, Pig Roast & Live Music: Alumni, Faculty & Staff and Seniors - families welcome!
||Cisler Galley & Patio
||Industrial Advisory Board Meeting - RSVP required
||Cisler-Great Lakes Rooms
||IAB Luncheon - RSVP required, $10 luncheon fee for non-IAB members
||Cisler-Great Lakes Rooms
|1 pm-5 pm
||Engineering Senior Projects Presentations & Demonstrations
||CAS 212 & first floor (look for postings)
Solar Servers: Senior project develops "cool" solution | April 19, 2011
Lake Superior State University School of Engineering's Team Innovative Solar Solutions (ISS) adjusts a prototype Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) array on top of LSSU's Center for Applied Science and Technology (CASET) building in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Team ISS designed, constructed, and tested the array based on a patent held by 3M. The prototype uses mirror panels with a new 3M brand Cool Mirror Film to increase the concentration of sunlight on the solar cells. The system generates concentrates 2 to 3 times as much sunlight onto the photo-voltaic arrays, thus increasing the power output without adding more solar panels, commonly the most expensive part of any solar array. The team's solar power conversion solution is more cost-efficient than current technology and demonstrates the new 3M-brand Cool Mirror Film that enables the concentration of light without heating the photovoltaic cells as much as conventional mirrors.
Left to right are faculty advisor Paul Weber, Chris Fill (computer engineering; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), Kenneth Casperson (electrical engineering; Traverse City, Mich.), and Ray Greensky (mechanical engineering; Boyne City, Mich.).
SWE: Scouting for Engineers | April 9, 2011
|MIXING ENGINEERING WITH FUN - Above left, Heidi Petzold, of SWE works with Daisy Scouts and the aerodynamics of paper airplanes, while Tara Bioty, above right, helps a group of Brownies prepare their containers for an egg drop competition.
|Members of Society of Women Engineers hosted a Girl Scout Day for troops from throughout the Eastern Upper Peninsula on April 13th. More than 60 Girls Scouts ranging from Daisy through Juniors participated in the day's events which included an egg drop, flubber, paper towers and airplanes, and experiments with static electricity and the "physics" of Mentos. Plans are already underway for the third annual Girl Scout Day next spring.
Order of the Engineer Ring Ceremony, Link #190 | April 6, 2011
Congratulations to our new members: Christopher Fill, CE; Benjamin Kurth, ME; Philip Nicholson, ME; and Jamie Randolph, ME. Thank you to all of our guests from Teneris Algoma Tubes who took the time to come to Michigan to participate as readers for our ceremony: Chris Parlowe '08, Kris Decker '09, and Tracy McColl, P.Eng.
Spring 2011 Engineering & Technology Banquet Re-cap | March 28, 2011
Our banquet continued a great tradition of fun and recognition, and a great time by all! This year was a first, with Dr. Sai Nudurupati winning BOTH the Little Screw and the Big Nut & Tool!
This year's outstanding students were:
||Freshman: Jacob Clark / Sophomore: Heidi Petzold / Junior: Travis Pendall
|Computer & Electrical Engineeing
||Senior: Michael Gearing / Notables: Seniors Kyle Finlan & Bradley Ekin
||Freshman: David Vikken / Sophomore: Erik Miller
|Electrical Engineeing Technology
|Manfacturing Engineering Technology
||Sophomore: Josh Bodell / Junior: Gerald Lockhart / Senior: Mark Rodriguez
||Freshman: Logan Cowley / Sophomore: Jon Spencer / Junior: Nicholas Fitzpatrick / Seniors: Raymond Greensky & Philip Nicholson / Notables: Seniors Kevin Lidback & Ben Kurth
|Outstanding Graduating Male Engineering Athlete
||John Preczewski, Track & Field: who holds the indoor school record
in the 60-meter hurdles and heptathalon, in addition to top-10 placements
in both GLIAC Indoor and Outdoor Championships
|Modern-day pirate, "Mad Dog" Duesing takes birthday-boy Morrie Walworth hostage during the 2011 Engineeing & Technology Banquet.
On the wrong end of the racquet...
A group of senior engineering students took a racquetball course and decided to hit the court with faculty members.
They picked their best four to contend against four court-savvy faculty. It was a weary group as the seniors were treated to a pizza lunch by the victors to help "ease their pain." Perhaps a turn on the soccer field or squash court would reverse the score of 15-1 where the students would be on more familiar turf.
Standing, from left: Dr. Janjua Mansoor, Prof. Jim Devaprasad, Dr. Sai Nudurupati, Sean DeCarlo, EE of Alpena, Mich.; and Kevin Lidbeck, ME of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Front row from left: Dr. Paul Weber, Phil Nicholson, ME, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.; and Ben Kurth, ME, of Cheboygan, Mich.
On Track... LSSU engineering students kick into high gear with track and field | January 2011
John Preczewsi, a junior in EE from Roscommon, competes in the high jump (above), hurdles, and long jump (right).
Lauryn LaFoille, an EE student, hefts the women's weight throw. The junior from Colorado Springs, Colo. also throws hammer, javelin, discus and shot put.
Riley Lytwynec, of Wawa, Ont. keeps the pace in the 400 meter dash. The freshman CE student also competes in hurdles, and the long and triple jumps.
Dion Tchokreff (left and above) runs in the 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 meter events. The junior from Iron Mountain is in general engineering. Love those shoes!
Congratulations Niels-Erik! | January 6, 2011
||Our congratulations to freshman mechanical engineering student, Niels-Erik Ravn. The 6-1 Laker goalie from Boucherville, Que. made his debut as a Laker during the Winter Classic Exhibition in North Bay, Ont. on Jan. 1 making 10 saves during the third period against Nipissing. The Lakers defeating Nipissing the next day 7-1 with Ravn stopping 14 shots on goal. The Lakers added a third win 11-1 against the University of Ottawa in Rockland, Ont. Ravn had starting honors in goal and tallied xx saves. The Lakers' 5-stop exhibition tour of Canada finished with a shutout against Ryerson 3-0 on Jan. 4 and a win against York 3-1 on Jan. 5.
LSSU Product Development Center hits center ice with Skate Fenders | January 12, 2011
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – A unique piece of protective skate gear is raising eyebrows in the hockey world and especially in the National Hockey League. Lake Superior State University’s Product Development Center worked with inventor Frank McClelland of Gaylord to develop "Skate Fenders," tough, clear guards that fit over ice skate boots and fend off injuries to the foot and ankle from hockey pucks. McClelland's patented idea has caught on with hockey players everywhere.
|CLEARLY PROTECTED – Skate Fenders, hockey gear designed to protect a player's ankles, was created through a partnership with inventor Frank McClelland of Gaylord and Lake Superior State University's Product Development Center (LSSU/John Shibley)
McClelland's product was given a boost by LSSU's relatively new PDC, which offers its engineering resources and expertise to any small-to-mid-sized manufacturer that wants to develop and bring new products to market. It puts manufacturing methods, mechanical services, materials testing, electronics, computers and robotics at a company's disposal so it may create functional prototypes of any product.
Before McClelland's project came to the PDC, several prototype sets were made and distributed for testing. The original design was prototyped using a thermal molding process that heated sheet plastic until it melted and formed around a mold. Unfortunately, the process gave inconsistent results and lacked the aesthetic quality required of a commercial product.
Enter the LSSU PDC. McClelland said his neighbor heard about the PDC after attending a local entrepreneurs’ event. He contacted the PDC and began working with David Leach, one of the center's engineering project managers whose specialties are in mechanical engineering and plastics.
Leach and a team of LSSU engineering students determined that an injection-molded design might be the solution. The team went to the virtual drawing board using 3D computer-aided drafting (CAD) to design a guard that matched McClelland’s concept sketches.
The PDC used a 3D laser scanner to model a variety of hockey skates, allowing a ‘virtual fit’ to be tested before making sample prototypes. A number of prototypes were "printed" on the PDC’s rapid prototyper. Instead of a two-dimensional image on a piece of paper, the prototyper prints out three-dimensional images made of a plastic that allows pieces to be assembled and checked for fit and function. These samples were matched to a variety of skates, both amateur and professional, and an improved design was developed that could be manufactured using the injection mold method.
Leach worked with Michigan companies to machine the mold and set up the tooling and manufacturing arrangements to produce the guards. The Skate Fenders are currently manufactured in Gaylord. McClelland graciously placed LSSU’s logo and references to the PDC on the packaging. The guards have a patent in the U.S. and a patent pending in Canada.
Eric Becks, Leach’s counterpart who specializes in electrical engineering, said, “It was our great pleasure to be able to work on this project from conception through mold-making and pre-production.”
|BUSINESS MEETING – Skate Fenders inventor Frank McClelland (l) and partner Don McClelland discuss marketing during a planning session with Maryellen Becks of the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center and Ralf Wilhelms Ph.D. of LSSU's School of Business - seated opposite McClelland. (LSSU/John Shibley)
The new design was manufactured with a clear polycarbonate which is barely noticeable when being worn and does not cover skate branding. A limited run of the newly christened “Skate Fenders” was distributed during the winter of 2010 to various teams for testing. The outcome resulted in added upgrades for the model released for this season.
The guards were initially developed with the local amateur hockey player in mind, but the biggest surprise was the demand from NHL teams. According to McClelland, the force of a slap shot in professional hockey is the equivalent of being hit by a .22 caliber bullet and teams were eager for something to protect players.
LSSU alumnus Paul Boyer, equipment manager for the Red Wings, convinced the Wings to try them out. Praise from Red Wings commentator Mickey Redmond during a TV broadcast caught the attention of other NHL teams. Since then, Skate Fenders has fielded requests for exclusive sales rights and overseas interest.
Skate Fenders are currently being sold in the USA and Canada by 16 retailers and two distribution companies, as well as direct on the Skate Fender website, skatefenders.com. Distribution in Europe is currently in the works.
Fourteen NHL teams, plus nine NHL farm teams and 12 NCAA Division 1 teams, including LSSU, are using Skate Fenders. The Philadelphia Flyers wore them during the Stanley Cup Finals this year.
Although most of the Skate Fenders produced are clear, McClelland and his partner Don McClelland recently manufactured and donated 25 purple pairs of Skate Fenders to a cancer awareness project conducted by the Alaska Aces, an East Coast Hockey League team. The Aces players wore the equipment, autographed them and used them in an auction, where they raised $33,600 for the American Cancer Society.
|FLYING PURPLE SKATE FENDER – An ECHL Alaska Aces player warms up before a recent game while wearing a pair of purple Skate Fenders that the McClellands donated to the team for an American Cancer Society fundraiser that brought in more than $33,000. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Aces)
Recently, McClelland presented Laker equipment manager Scott McLay with 16 additional pairs of Skate Fenders when he and Leach were guests of President Tony McLain during the LSSU-Bowling Green series at LSSU's Taffy Abel Arena in the James Norris Center.
"Seeing the product being worn by our team, as well as pro teams like the Red Wings, is a real point of pride for the engineering students who developed it while working for the PDC," Leach said.
"This project is one of many success stories coming from our Product Development Center," said Ronald DeLap Ph.D., LSSU’s dean of the College of Engineering, Technology and Economic Development. "The PDC plays a key role in our engineering program, enabling our students to gain hands-on experience by working on leading edge projects which are being brought to production."
The PDC continues to assist McClelland and the project has now included LSSU's School of Business, which is assisting with marketing, along with the Sault Ste. Marie SmartZone, and the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center, which is providing guidance on business management and financial issues.
Meanwhile, back on the PDC's virtual drawing board -- an additional adult-sized Skate Fender which fits (depending on boot width) sizes 8 down to 5 was released this fall. A third size that would fit larger feet – sizes 12-15 – is being considered.
For more information, visit skatefenders.com or lssu.edu
LSSU Product Development Center makes business easier for Marble Arms, Gladstone | December 16, 2010
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – An Upper Peninsula gun sight-maker that has been in business for more than 100 years has been able to dramatically improve production and hire more employees since working with Lake Superior State University's Product Development Center.
The LSSU PDC has completed a major automation project for Marble Arms, which has been manufacturing gun sights and other wares in Gladstone since 1892. The PDC took Marble's time-tested method of making sights by hand and automated the process.
READY TO SHIP -- LSSU PDC workers and manufacturing engineering technology seniors Steve Solack (left), from Marine City, and Mark Rodriguez of Vermontville, secure a new piece of automated assembly equipment for Gladstone's Marble Arms in a delivery trailer. Solack and fellow students and PDC staff designed and built the equipment for the gun sight manufacturer that has been doing business in the Upper Peninsula for more than 100 years. (LSSU/John Shibley)
Watch the TV 9&10 video report
"Automating the assembly of gun sights was a complicated task requiring the handling of several small parts and automatically assembling them into a flip-up rear gun sight," said Eric Becks, one of the PDC's engineering project managers.
LSSU engineering students, under the direction of PDC engineering project managers David Leach and Becks, started the project by developing an animated functional design on computers using 3-D CAD software. Next, the various parts were made using CNC equipment and a rapid prototyper that "prints" plastic parts directly from the computer without first needing to make an expensive mold.
The LSSU PDC was able to assemble the prototype using an industrial programmable logic controller that receives information from various sensors to detect that the gun sight parts are where they should be in the assembly process. The program then drives motors, actuators and a rotary table. A touch screen display allows the operator to control the action.
"This machine is awesome," said Marble Arms plant manager John Thomas. "It is really helping us out."
The new piece of equipment is allowing the manufacturer to pursue other contracts that were not previously possible.
"All of our parts are very small and tedious to work with," said Marble Arms President Craig Lauerman. "Being able to automate our process has saved us labor costs but also has prevented potential carpal tunnel issues and fatigue."
While some may cringe at the thought of losing jobs due to automation, this project had the opposite effect.
"Since this was a new project, we did not replace anyone in our assembly area," Lauerman said. "As a matter of fact, the assembly machine that our employees call SASA (Semi-Auto Sight Assembler) has allowed us to price the part competitively so that when we received the order we were able to hire four other machine operators to machine the component parts. Some people state that automation eliminates jobs, but in our case it has given us the opportunity to expand our business and hire new employees in other supporting areas."
Becks said Joel Schultz of the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center brought Marble Arms and the LSSU PDC together. Schultz worked with Marble Arms to develop a business plan to present to Northern Initiatives for funding. Northern Initiatives is a private, nonprofit community development corporation that provides rural entrepreneurs – from start-ups to established businesses -- with access to capital, information and markets. Its goal is to keep rural Michigan a viable and valuable participant in the economy.
The PDC use of facilities and equipment through LSSU's College of Engineering, Technology and Economic Development, along with a portion of the Product Commercialization and Manufacturing Center grant awarded to the PDC by the Michigan Initiative for Innovation and Entrepreneurism, and combined with funding from Northern Initiatives, made the project possible.
"This is a success story that shows how organizations like SBDTC connect manufacturing businesses with the educational community to bring more business to the UP and employ more people," Lauerman said. "We now are working with the LSSU PDC to automate another high-volume part that mates two small components together. We assemble 250,000 of these parts every year."
"This sort of project, that engages our engineering students in real-world development while making an economic impact, is exactly what the LSSU PDC is all about," said Becks. "Our PDC student workers can graduate and point to a list of the real engineering experiences that they’ve gained while completing their studies at LSSU."
Gun sights have been the most enduring of Marble Arms' products. The company has produced knives, axes, compasses, matchboxes, scopes and more, but gun sights have been its backbone for more than a century. Today it has an impressive line-up of traditional and modern sights for most American gun makers.
Computer Donation benefits Sault Area High School Career Center | October 2010
COMPUTER DONATION -- Sault Area High School students and staff pose with Lake Superior State University Mechanical Laboratory Engineer Jon Coullard (center, blue jacket) and a trailer full of computers, many of which LSSU is donating to Sault High. The computers, which were replaced in LSSU engineering and technology labs, still have a lot of life in them and will provide an upgrade to those used in some of Sault High Career Center's Computer Aided Drafting laboratory.
With the donation, more students in the classroom will be able to work on CAD projects simultaneously, as opposed to having to wait for an available computer work station or having to schedule time on it. Anything that Sault High can't use will be forwarded to the local Goodwill organization.
Pictured from left to right with computer equipment are students Aaron Lasecki, Nate Fitzpatrick and Gavin Burbach. Behind them are Sault Area High School Career Center Director Joanne Lussier, and SAHS District PC Specialist Mike Furr. (LSSU/Tom Pink)
Welcome Dr. Moening!| August 2010
LSSU's School of Engineering & Technology welcomes Dr. Joseph Moening to the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
He recently received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toledo, Ohio where he served as both an instructor and research assistant. He also earned his BS and MS in EE from Toledo.
Dr. Moening looks forward to spending time in the UP outdoors duck hunting, fishing, camping and hiking.
Camp longevity celebrated | August 2010
LONGEVITY RECOGNIZED - Ben Miller of Quincy, Mich., left, receives a plaque recognizing 10 years of service as a summer robotics camp counselor from LSSU Provost Morrie Walworth. Miller, who teaches computers at Bronson Schools, returns to LSSU to spend his summers as a counselor for the robotics camps. The program was established 18 years ago by Walworth and Prof. Jim Devaprasad.
Kudos and thanks went to LSSU alum Ben Miller upon completing his tenth summer as a counselor for the summer robotics camps.
The summer of 2001 found Miller at a loss for seasonal employment. Kahler Schuemann, then director of student and residential life, asked if Miller would be interested in being a camp counselor. The secondary education major leapt at the chance. Since then, Miller has continued his summer pilgrimage to the EUP.
"I love Lake State and I love the area - I can't get enough of it. I also love seeing the kids and hearing their stories."
At first, he thought maybe he'd continue assisting as a counselor for just a couple of years. The Quincy, Mich., native graduated in May 2003 with his teacher certification in computer science-secondary teaching, a minor in geography teaching, and an associate's in internet/network specialist. He accepted a teaching position outside of Michigan, but found himself back at LSSU's robotics camps come the summertime. Eventually, he returned to Michigan. Two years became four and so on, until he hit his landmark tenth anniversary this summer.
"We really appreciate Ben for all he has done, there really aren't the words to express it," said Prof. Jim Devaprasad at a presentation on the last day of the last camp session for 2010.
The robotics camps were established by Devaprasad of manufacturing engineering technology and the Provost, Morrie Walworth, then professor of electrical engineering. Both had a strong interest in LSSU's robotics program and developed the university's first academic summer camp.
According to Walworth, at the conclusion of their first summer institute and robotics camps, it had become obvious that good counselors were a key factor for success. Having someone of Miller's caliber approach them about working as a counselor was a gift.
One of the camp activities includes a series of networked computers where participants can compete in games. Once the computers are shut down, Miller gets the campers outside.
"I like to show them that there is more to life than computers and games: the woods and St. Mary's River, the Soo Locks, and the beaches." Weather permitting, the participants have a farewell fire and festivities during their last evening of camp at a park and picnic area along Lake Superior's shoreline.
The former cross country/track and field athlete is proud to be from Laker Country. Two other LSSU alums work in the Intermediate School District office where he teaches at Bronson Schools. He is always taking the opportunity to spread the word about LSSU.
Miller beefed up his technology background by picking up a master's in educational technology this past winter. Asked if he'll return as a counselor next summer, he replied, "Maybe for another couple of years." But then, that's what he said the last time.
LSSU gets new Provost, School of Engineering & Technology a new Dean | June 2010
Doorplates are shuffling in the College of Engineering, Technology and Economic Development. Morrie Walworth, the college dean, has been appointed by university president Dr. Tony McLain as provost and executive vice president to replace Tony Blose, Ph.D., who is resigning July 1 to take a position at Angelo State University in Texas.
Walworth will serve as associate provost effective immediately, working with Blose to make the transition to provost in July.
"Our thanks go to Dr. Blose for his service to the university as dean and interim provost during his time here, and we wish him well in his new endeavor," McLain said. "Meanwhile, I am pleased that Morrie Walworth has accepted the position of associate provost right now, so the two may start work toward a seamless transition in July."
Walworth accepted an assistant professor position in the Robotics and Automation program at LSSU in 1991, coming from Purdue University's Statewide Technology Program. He later led the development of the electrical and computer engineering degree programs and chaired those programs for several years before becoming dean. He has been instrumental in the establishment of the Product Development Center and in working with the city of Sault Ste. Marie to bring in its "SmartZone" designation. In addition, he held the title of director of Intellectual Property and Economic Development.
Mr. Eric Becks
In the wake of Walworth's move to the administration building, the mantle of dean has been passed on to Dr. Ron DeLap, a recent addition to the electrical engineering faculty. DeLap brings a background of military, industrial and university classroom experience to the position. A search for DeLap's replacement is underway.
Mr. Eric Becks is now the new director of Intellectual Property and Economic Development which includes the Product Development Center of which he was a project manager. Becks is also the president and CEO of the Sault Ste. Marie SmartZone.
||News from 2009-10
Congratulations Dr. Jones! | May 1, 2010
|PARTING OF THE MINDS – Lake Superior State University Engineering Professor Dr. Andrew Jones makes his way through the faculty section after being announced as recipient of this year's Distinguished Teaching Award during commencement exercises. The recipient, chosen by LSSU employees and students, is kept secret each year until announced during the ceremony. The reception included surprise visits from his parents and daughter, and a video feed from an alumnus and former colleague. (LSSU Photo)
Andrew Jones Ph.D., an electrical engineering professor who has the knack of turning digital electronics into an exciting topic was chosen as this year's recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award at Lake Superior State University. The recipient, chosen by LSSU employees and students, is kept secret each year until announced during the ceremony.
"I'm speechless," Jones said after being asked to come up to the stage to accept his award. Greeting his students, he said, "It has been a great privilege, no, an honor, to serve you…I enjoy interacting with you."
Jones came to LSSU in 2005 from Purdue University, where he was teaching after earning his doctorate in electrical and computer engineering there in 2002. He received his master's degree in electrical engineering from Purdue in 1993 and his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from University of Texas at Austin in 1991.
"The Distinguished Teacher is a member of the LSSU community who exemplifies the best of our university," said LSSU Provost Tony Blose. "This year's recipient has been described as not just a professor, but also a mentor and role model. He has been a breath of fresh air since his arrival and has impressed students with his superior knowledge of subject matter, demonstrated great love of teaching, and boundless enthusiasm."
Jones lists artificial intelligence and data mining, environmental sensors and renewable energies, computer vision and image processing as some of his academic interests. He teaches senior design classes, microcontroller fundamentals, intro to engineering, robotics engineering, honor thesis, digital systems design and many other classes. He serves on several LSSU committees, has been faculty advisor for the student IEEE chapter and the LSSU Pep Band, and a mentor for the Sault Schools FIRST Robotics Team.
Blose said Jones' teaching style "has been described as 'one of a kind' and he has been appreciated for his motivation and constant support to assist students in reaching their potential in a very challenging discipline."
Jones showed some of that boundless enthusiasm on stage, telling the audience, "Teaching is not just what you do in lecture; it's the energy you bring…Digital electronics can be boring, but we can make it exciting!"
He advised his students, "Find that passion and regardless of what your pay is, you'll enjoy your life from here on out…It's been a privilege to serve you and this community."
The LSSU Distinguished Teaching Award has been presented to faculty since 1971.
New Scholarship Opportunities
Precision Edge has given LSSU engineering an endowed scholarship for students of at least sophomore status majoring in an LSSU School of Engineering & Technology program. The Floyd and Joyce Starks Memorial Scholarship has been revised to benefit both an incoming freshman and a returning student who are pursuing either an electrical or computer engineering degree at LSSU. Check out the SET scholarship page for more details.
SAE prepares for 2010 Baja Season | Winter 2010
||ENGINEERS, CLASSICAL GAS – Lake Superior State University's student chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) hosted a Toga party on Friday, Jan. 29, at Zim's Restaurant in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The benefit featured toga contests, music with DJ Seismic, and fun until closing. Proceeds went toward the group's trips to February’s Winter Baja Invitational in the Keweenaw Peninsula and to Greenville, S.C. for the Baja SAE Carolina in April. Left to right, in planning mode, are chapter president Brandon Roy (mechanical engineering senior; Mancelona, Mich.), secretary Tiffany Radka (fisheries and wildlife management junior; Turner, Mich.), and treasurer Stephen Wilson (manufacturing engineering technology senior; Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)
The LSSU chapter of SAE is rolling into its third year of participation in the SAE Baja series as a bonafide Baja team. The chapter has continued to grow, and now includes students from majors across campus, including fisheries and wildlife management, fire science and computer science.
LSSU’s first entry into a Baja SAE competition was in 2007 when two senior project teams came together as Laker Racing at the Baja SAE Midwest Regional in Rochester, NY. The following year, a senior project team entered a new vehicle in the 2008 Baja SAE Illinois competition in addition to the revamped version of the 2007 vehicle by the SAE chapter members.
The chapter developed a new vehicle of its own design during the 2008-09 competition season. The vehicle's first test was in February at the Winter Baja Invitational in the Keweenaw Peninsula's Lake Linden. Then the training wheels came off and the crew got down to some serious business in the shop. A caravan made its way to Baja SAE Alabama in April, where they finished 42nd overall, with top-20 places in all the racing events.
The chapter launched into the third version of its vehicle on the heels of its first full season. Plans include participating in the 2010 Winter Baja Invitational and traveling to April’s Baja SAE Carolina in Greenville, SC. The Carolina competition field has 100 entries. Teams will be coming from throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada and Brazil.
To fund this season’s participation, the chapter is hosting three major events. The first was a Halloween Party hosted at Zim’s Restaurant in Sault Ste. Marie. A toga party took place in late January, also at Zim’s. The group hopes to raise enough to satisfy its budget of more than $3,000 with its third fundraiser on March 26, a Las Vegas night that will be held in the Cisler Center Superior Room, featuring dinner followed by casino-style games.
Looking toward the future, there have been rumblings about developing a test-drive area on campus to simulate various conditions at competition, from mud and rocks to hills and flats.
For more information about the LSSU chapter of SAE, contact the group’s advisor, Dr. Robert Hildebrand at email@example.com.
SIFE Entrepreneurial Lecture provides valuable insight | January 2009
David Ollila, founder and Chief Product Developer of the V.I.O., point-of-view (POV) camera systems, came to the LSSU Entrepreneurial lecture sponsored by SIFE. Ollila provided insight to the workings of the entrepreneurial world and its pros and cons.
The presentation led to a showcase of the prototype for his newest product, a combination snowshoe-back country cross country ski. The combination shoe/ski is intended for use when the wearer wants to "float" on the snow like a snowshoer, yet be able to tackle inclines and ski downhill like an alpine skier. Watch for its introduction into the market later this summer (remember - our summer is the southern hemisphere's winter!).
Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour a successful ride | November 2009
The Extreme Entrepreneur Tour, held on campus November 17 drew more than 200 participants from LSSU and surrounding communities. Students from the School of Engineering & Technology, and the School of Business attended as part of their courses in addition to the faculty and staff. Many also served as volunteers for the evening's events.
The event provided inspiration and practical advice. Emerging entrepreneurs and students of all disciplines learned how they might apply the entrepreneurial mindset to their lives regardless of career choice. As a follow-up to the tour, the Product Development Center encourages entrepreneurs to contact them to learn more about the next steps: developing business plans, what it takes to turn your idea into reality or create a prototpye, manufacturing methods and more at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour, the first national collegiate entrepreneurship tour, is presented by VenturePort.org and sponsored by Inc. magazine. Founded by award-winning 25-year-olds Michael Simmons and Sheena Lindahl of Extreme Entrepreneurship Education, the tour includes many of America’s top young entrepreneurs who've made, earned, or sold a company for millions and/or made a huge impact before the age of 30. The vision of the tour is for all of America’s college students to graduate with an entrepreneurial mindset.
The programming was sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation; the Sault Sainte Marie SmartZone; the LSSU College of Engineering, Technology, and Economic Development; and the LSSU Product Development Center.
||News from 2008-09
Longtime friend of LSSU Engineering establishes new scholarship | Spring 2009
Introducing the Andersen Family Engineering Scholarship
The purpose of this $1200 non-renewable annual scholarship is to benefit a student(s) in any engineering-related course of study at Lake Superior State University. The named endowment is established by Mr. Robert G. Andersen. Bob, like his father and grandfather before him, continued the family engineering tradition. He recently retired from his engineering supervisor position with Continental (Teves) Automation Systems.
A long-time supporter of LSSU's engineering and engineering technology programs, Bob served as a senior project sponsor for more than seven years, and provided cooperative and employment opportunities for our students and graduates. He has received honorary "alumni status" with the department along with several recognitions by the university and the department.
Faculty receive 1st place at ASEE Spring Conference | Spring 2009
Congratuations are in order to Prof. Paul Duesing and Dr. Wael Mokhtar for receiving the Best Paper Award at the ASEE North Central Section Spring Conference held at Grand Valley State University on April 3-4. The co-authored paper is entitled "Active Discovery and Engineering Problem Solving (EPS) Techniques - An Effective Approach to Teach a Freshman Level CAD Course."
The new teaching methodology was approved by LSSU Provost Dr. Scott Amos and implemented in EGME141 Solid Modeling. Emphasis is placed on providing students a focused task that requires learning the tools to render it as opposed to lecturing about the tools and then applying them. In this way, students use problem solving techniques to learn the applications of tools with a goal in mind.
Click here to download the paper
LSSU Teams place at ASME Conference | Spring 2009
|Team members: Dale Burnham, MfgET, Plainwell, Mich.; Joe Betcher, ME, Trout Lake, Mich.; Bob Hemeleski, EE, Iron River, Mich.; Mark Stumpo, CE, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.; (not pictured) Jonathan Lane, ME, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Members from senior projects Team Innovative Medical Training Devices (IMTD) and Team Rock Rover Design and Development (R2D2), as well as the LSSU Chapter of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (AMSE) traveled to Dayton, Ohio for the 2009 Student Professional Development Conference for District B. They were the largest contingent (18 participants) traveling the greatest distance to attend.
2nd Place: Student Design Competition - Senior Project Team R2D2
Team R2D2 designed, developed, fabricated, assembled and tested an omni-directional rover which took second place. They will advance to the International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition’s student design competition on November 18, 2009 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Congratulations R2D2!
2nd Place: Old Guard Technical Poster Competition
"Simulated Arterial Blockages for Ultrasound Training"
Natasha Flynn, ME, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. represented the senior project Team IMTD, presented the team's poster at the conference, taking second place.
Team members: Ray Bergeron, ME, Grand Ledge, Mich.; Robert Camp, ME, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; Natasha Flynn, ME, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont; Lance Rood, EE, Shelby, Mich.; Mike Zavislak, EE, Washington, Mich.
The team designed and built a prototype of an ultrasound scan-able device, known as a dynamic flow phantom. The phantom will be used to aid in the training of future ultrasound technologists. It accurately simulates a variety of arterial blockages along with a range of flow characteristics. The system involves several different settings which closely imitate human blood flow and tissue characteristics. Team IMTD’s prototype will be used to substantiate Dr. George Chandran’s intellectual patent.
4th Place ASME Old Guard Oral Presentation
"Pick-up Trucks and Aerodynamic Drag CFD Analysis"
Robert Camp, ME, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
His presentation was based on research work performed with Dr. Mokhtar during the summer of 2008.
Engineering banquet serves up its usual fare of awards and surprises | Winter 2009
Our emcees were Mike Zavislak and Jason Fall who did a fine job of running the evening's festivities. This was Mike's 4th and last year serving as an emcee.
The following outstanding graduates were announced, receiving clocks created on our CNC:
- Outstanding Computer Engineer: Jordan Meyer
- Outstanding Electrical Engineer: Michael Zavislak and Dave Stiles
- Outstanding Mechanical Engineers: Joe Betcher and Joel Diemer
- Outstanding Manufacturing Engineering Technologist: William Carolan
- Outstanding Engineering Management: Jeremy Hotlen
- Outstanding Engineering Athlete: Adam Smith
Congratulations to these graduates for their hard work, and exemplifying what it means to be a graduate of the Department of Engineering & Technology at LSSU.
Following the faculty and staff recognitions by the students of the Dean's Student Presidents Council (comprised by the presidents of each of the engineering organizations and members at large), the Big Resistor was passed on to Andrew Jones, leaving an empty spot on Prof. Paul Duesing's wall.
A rendition of Sonny & Cher's "I got you babe" contemplating the little screw by Dr. David Baumann (Sonny) and Morrie Walworth (Cher) primed the audience for the presentation of this year's Little Screw. Dr. Robert Hildebrand passed on the new Little Screw to Dr. David Baumann.
Dr. Andrew Jones kept the Big Nut & Tool under wraps as he explained the renovations, frequently peeking under the cloth. After the unveiling, the remotely-operated award, now consisting of the original Big Nut and Tool, a model train with a sound system proclaiming the award's name, and flashing lantern, automatically ran through it's steps. Now residing in Dr. Ron DeLap's office, should one walk a bit too close, the sequence will be set off.
The council members did an excellent job of organizing the banquet, soliciting door prizes and putting togher another memorable program.
Scholarship meets face-to-face | Winter 2009
|Mike, pictured at center wearing a ball cap, is flanked by members of Precision Edge Surgical Intruments, Inc. From left they are: Doug Pascoe, controller; Stephanie Pins, quality control manager; Katie Pepin, accounting manager; and Duke Pepin, engineering manager. At right is then-LSSU president, Rodney Lowman.
Laker hockey was the background for a meeting of Precision Edge scholarship donors and recipient, Mike Zavislak, an electrical engineering senior from Washington Twp. The group enjoyed getting to know each other and watched the game from the president's box.
Update January 2010: Mike is pleased to announce his engagement to Helena, an LSSU nursing student. He has accepted a position in Chattanooga, beginning early winter 2010. A wedding is planned for summer 2011.
Engineering students join the ranks of Alpha Chi | Fall 2008
This year's class of LSSU juniors granted membership to Alpha Chi National College Honor Scholarship Society included three engineering students: Tom McGrail, CE, of West Branch; Brian Reid, EE, of Ray; and Jonathan Valley, CE, of Standish. Only the top 10% of the junior and senior classes of LSSU is eligible for invitation to Alpha Chi.
The purpose of the society is to promote academic excellence and exemplary character among college and university students and to honor those who achieve such distinction.
Madl Manufacturing Engineering Technology Award debuts | Summer 2008
|Jan and John Madl are thanked by Dean Morrie Walworth for their award contribution. The slide rule is one of many items rescued by John and now hangs in the school office.
Professor Emeritus John Madl, and his wife, Jan, donated a $500 award for a full-time manufacturing engineering technology student who has earned at least 26 credits. The impetus behind the award was to help a struggling student.
"I struggled as a student and want to help someone in a similar situation. Perhaps part of the struggle is trying to do well as a result of having to work outside of school to be able to afford living and educational expenses," said John regarding the type of student he would like to see as a recipient. He's thinking of the person who works hard, studies hard, and contributes to LSSU but doesn't necessarily get top grades. That said, the requisite minimum GPA is 2.0.
Candidates should indicate a need for the award in their submission letter. Although the award is not automatically-renewable, recipients are eligible to reapply for it each year. Selection is made the faculty of the School of Engineering and Technology.
John Madl started teaching in the Engineering Department at the Soo Branch of MTU in 1967 after finishing his MSME at Michigan Technological University. He accepted early retirement in 2002 after 34 years of service to Lake Superior State University.
Jan (Osterhout) Madl was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. She received her RN from LSSU in 1982 and has since retired from War Memorial Hospital. They have three children: Janel Wallis, Dawn Cole, and Bryan Madl. John and Jan also have three grandsons.
||News from 2007-08
LSSU Seniors Realize Their Vision Via Portable Robotic Workcell | April 2008
Applied Manufacturing Technologies (AMT), a leading supplier of factory automation design, engineering and process consulting services sponsored the development of a vision-based robotic workcell as a senior project at Lake Superior State University. Designed by the senior project students of team Superior Vision Systems, with support and guidance from AMT’s Jean-Pierre Rasaiah, the cell identifies and robotically packages consumer products from a moving conveyor.
The workcell is based on a multi-axis workcell donated by Bosch Rexroth, including a conveyor system and a motion logic controller. To help complete the project, AMT was also able to arrange the use of a Stäubli RX60 robot & controller, a Cognex DVT Legend 520 SmartImage camera, and a Siemens HMI panel.
“We’ve worked closely with Lake Superior State University for years, and we’re excited to support another strong class of graduating seniors,” commented Joe Campbell, AMT’s COO. “LSSU has developed a world class automation program, and we’re proud to be a small part of their success.”
Kevin Gingerich, director of marketing services at Bosch Rexroth in Buchanan, MI said of their donation to the project, “By providing the LSSU team with Rexroth technology, we knew they'd get a chance to work under real-world conditions with world-class automation components.” Gingerich added, “We were also confident AMT would provide the seniors with good supervision and support. We're pleased that the timing was right and that we had the opportunity and the means to contribute.”
“Our senior projects provide our students with a simulation of the real-life engineering,” said Dr. Taskin Padir, assistant professor at LSSU, and faculty advisor for this project. “This experience makes sure that they are ready to take the challenge as they graduate and join the engineering work force. That's why AMT's support is valued greatly by the students and faculty at LSSU.”
The LSSU robotic workcell is built on Rexroth’s aluminum extrusion framework, employing a Bosch Rexroth VarioFlow conveyor system, IndraMotion MLC motion logic controller, IndraDrive Servos and IndraDyn Motors to circulate the products through the cycle.
A Cognex SmartImage camera scans each product as it passes, while the program notifies the Stäubli robot to retrieve a specific selection and drop it off the line to be packaged. Parameters for the project define a successful running cycle to continue for ten hours with no more than one hour of recovery time. The completed workcell will be used as a training device for future students and AMT personnel alike.
Founded in 1989 by Michael Jacobs, AMT is a leading supplier of complete consulting and engineering services, offering single-source engineering solutions to the automation and manufacturing industries. The company’s service offerings range from design and simulation to programming, installation and support of industrial automation solutions. The company’s technical and industry expertise in process automation for the automotive, aerospace, building materials, consumer products, food, heavy equipment, machinery, medical, and truck industries offers its customers the highest quality professional service available in the industrial arena. For more information contact Applied Manufacturing Technologies at 248-409-2000, or online at www.appliedmfg.com.
EAC Accreditations Announced | August 2007
Bachelor's degree programs in engineering at Lake Superior State University have been accredited through 2013 after a recent visit by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, an accrediting body that has examined LSSU programs for many years.
The LSSU School of Engineering and Technology was visited by a review team from the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET during September 2006 for the reaccreditation of its electrical and mechanical engineering programs, and the initial accreditation of the computer engineering program. All three received word that accreditation has been granted through September 30, 2013. These programs join the LSSU manufacturing engineering technology program, which is accredited by the Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET until fall 2011.
Morrie Walworth, dean of the LSSU School of Engineering and Technology, said the full six-year accreditation time frame for all programs is outstanding. Typically, interim reports and/or visits are required to provide revised and updated information related to specific ABET committee concerns.
“It was obvious that there was a dedicated and cooperative effort from all of the faculty and staff in the School of Engineering and Technology in order to receive such an incredible affirmation by ABET,” said Walworth. “The school also acknowledges the extra efforts of time, preparation and leadership by Profs. Paul Duesing, Jim Devaprasad and David Baumann. They, along with the faculty and accreditation committee members, provided the guidance and encouragement for such a successful accreditation visit.”
To prepare for the visit, the School of Engineering and Technology collected materials from departments throughout campus. The materials were from those courses required for engineering students outside of their major areas, including English, humanities, mathematics, computer science, and physical, chemical, natural and social sciences.
Walworth specifically praised faculty in mathematics and computer science for their efforts with the accreditation visit.
"The courses they offer and the assessment performed in their areas provide an excellent foundation for our engineering students," he said.
The ABET team also met with alumni from the engineering programs and members of the school's Industrial Advisory Board.
"The involvement and influence of these constituencies upon the engineering curriculum has continually impressed ABET visitors for over a decade," Walworth said.
In addition to holding face-to-face meetings with students, alumni, campus administrators and support services, the ABET team spoke with six-month and three-year graduates of the programs as part of the school's continuous improvement plan. The team noted excellent support for engineering across campus.
Walworth said the LSSU student body, which benefits the most from the accreditation efforts, has provided the best evidence for accreditation. The students provide samples of classroom and lab work for ABET team review.
"The students' performance is a direct result of the curriculum, the faculty and the LSSU environment," Walworth said.
ABET is the recognized U.S. accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology. It has accredited nearly 3,000 programs at more than 550 institutions. The organization has been recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation since 1997.
Sven V. Heikkinen Engineering Scholarship established in memory of son's love for LSSU | Summer 2007
This scholarship was established by Ken and Kate Heikkinen in memory of their son, Sven. He was a 1982 graduate from Pickford High School. He graduated from Lake Superior State University in 1993 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was an Engineering Specialist in Vehicle Development working for the Continental-Brimley Development Center. He was also an Adjunct professor with LSSU vehicle test dynamics, a driving instructor, a Junior Achievement mentor, and a Dale Carnegie trainer. His unexpected death on June 3, 2007 at the age of 43 has left an indelible void on his wife, Jodie, his daughters Kirsi and Kinzie, and all who knew Sven. He had a genuine love for LSSU and, in particular, the school of engineering. It is his parents’ wishes to honor his memory with a scholarship to benefit future LSSU engineering students. This merit scholarship is awarded to an engineering student majoring in any engineering field with a GPA of 3.0 or higher based on a recommendation by the LSSU Engineering faculty.
Floyd Starks Memorial Scholarship remembers father's belief in higher education | Summer 2007
A scholarship was established by Stan Starks, a 1976 LSSU Engineering graduate in memory of his father, Floyd Starks. Despite Floyd's limited education, he was a strong believer in higher education and was insistent that his two sons, Stan and Larry, complete a college education. They went on to retire from successful engineering careers. The scholarship will benefit a sophomore enrolled in electrical or computer engineering.
Stan recently visited LSSU to catch up with his mentor, Prof. David McDonald, and meet the student who will be receiving the first scholarship in fall 2007. The Starks campus legacy will be continued when Stan's nephew enrolls this fall.
Floyd will always be remembers for personal sacrifice and quiet mentoring that made his sons' educational accomplishments possible.
Precision Edge Surgical Products provides funds to underwrite tution and fees for one year | Summer 2007
|PRECISION SCHOLARSHIP -- Lake Superior State University President Betty Youngblood and David Pelizzon, managing director of Precision Edge Holdings, sign documents to create the Precision Edge Surgical Products Company Engineering Scholarship. The fund underwrites an engineering student’s tuition and fees for one academic year. Looking on from left are Morrie Walworth, Dean of the LSSU’s School of Engineering and Technology; and LSSU alums Larry Hagen (’96), engineer; Chris Swailes (’99), engineer; Katie Pepin (’88), accounting manager; Brian Knowles (’86), engineer; and Duke Pepin (’87), engineering manager, all of Precision Edge.
Lake Superior State University has entered into a major scholarship agreement with a Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.-based medical instrument manufacturer. The Precision Edge Surgical Products Company Engineering Scholarship will cover a full year’s tuition and fees at LSSU for one engineering student beginning this fall.
Precision Edge, a subsidiary of Colson Associates, makes orthopedic surgical tools and medical instruments for clients all over the world. The company started 17 years ago in a 1,100-square-foot building. It subsequently expanded into a 14,000 sq. ft. facility in Barbeau, Mich., south of Sault Ste. Marie.
Today Precision Edge’s manufacturing base is back in the Sault, housed in a 37,000 sq. ft. facility adjacent to the city’s municipal airport. The company employs more than 130 skilled workers engaged in the design and development of burs, blades, drills, and other surgical accessories.
Precision Edge has evolved a close relationship with Lake Superior State over the past ten years. The company employs dozens of LSSU students and graduates, mainly from the mechanical engineering and manufacturing engineering technology fields.
Precision Edge also offers LSSU students internship opportunities through co-ops, where a student gets course credit while working on assorted design and manufacturing projects. The company secures LSSU engineering expertise by commissioning student project teams who concentrate on producing a prototype product or service for credit during their senior year.
“There are two reasons why Robert Pritzker, President and CEO of Colson Associates, and I think the scholarship is important,” says David Pelizzon, managing director of the Precision Edge operation. “First, it shows our support to the University, which is a vital institution to the local community. Secondly, we are concerned about the decreasing number of engineering students in the US. The scholarship supports reversing that trend.”
Scholarship candidates must be of at least sophomore standing in any engineering and technology degree program, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The fund is for Michigan residents, with preference given to students from Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula. Financial need is a consideration, but not an overriding requirement. Even though this is a non-renewable award, past recipients can reapply if they continue to meet eligibility requirements. Candidates are solicited through LSSU's engineering department for this award.
The scholarship’s selection committee has a rotating membership of two faculty from the School of Engineering and Technology and two employees of Precision Edge Surgical Products Company. Each spring it will recommend a recipient and one alternate to LSSU’s Financial Aid office for final approval. The committee hopes to recommend the Fall 2007 recipient by the end of May.
“This scholarship is a great opportunity for students in the School of Engineering and Technology,” says Morrie Walworth, Dean of the School. “It also shows the great commitment Precision Edge has to higher education, especially to EUP students.”
Point your Web browser at www.precisionedge.com for more information about the Precision Edge Surgical Products Company.
Mini Baja team completes run at 2007 competition | June 2007
Laker Racing recently completed its first entry in the SAE Mini Baja competition held in Rochester, NY from June 7-10. The team ranked 76th overall out of a field of 138 entries at the RIT (Midwest) location. Click here for the full story.
School of Engineering and Technology loses a friend, mentor and avid supporter | June 2007
The School recently learned of the unexpected death of alumnus Sven V. Heikkinen on Sunday, June 3, 2007. A 1991 graduate of the Mechanical Engineering Technology program, Sven had become an integral part of the Sault area community. He has worked for the Brimley location of Continental Automotive, providing opportunities for LSSU engineering and technology students, graduates, faculty and staff.
During the 2006-2007 academic year, Sven assisted the senior projects teams involved with the development and fabrication of a mini baja vehicle as an adjunct for special topics courses. The combined project group, Laker Racing, has dedicated its vehicle in memory of Sven. The team competed at the 2007 SAE racing event in Rochester, N.Y.
Members of VDM Racing, Dan Goodrich, left; Sven Heikkinen, seated; Ryan Greene, right; prepare for Snocross races held at Kewadin Casino in December 2002.
He was heavily involved outside the classroom participating in Snocross events with LSSU alums Ryan Greene, also of Continental Automotive in Brimley, and Dan Goodrich of Bosch Corporation in Farmington Hills. Their snowmobile sported the number "906" in honor of the Upper Peninsula and had LSSU's URL emblazoned on the side. Sven's daughters, Kirsi and Kinzie, have become a snowmobile racers in their own right as "Suomi GIrls Racing," following in their Dad's footsteps.
Sven was a soft-spoken gentleman who was full of energy, enthusiasm and support - both on campus and within the community. He leaves behind his wife, Jodie, and daughters Kirsi and Kinzie. Sven touched a great many lives who will feel his loss for a long time to come.
Funeral arrangements were handled by C.S. Mulder Funeral Home of Sault Ste. Marie. To offer online condolences to the family, visit www.csmulder.com. Visitation was on June 7 and the funeral on June 8. Memorials may be made to a scholarship for Kirsi and Kinzie that has been set up at the Soo Co-op Bank.
||News from 2006-07
Engineer's education straddles globe, cultures | May 2007
When Manar Wadi walked across Lake Superior State University’s Commencement stage last May, she almost thought she could hear the cheers of friends and family in New Jersey, Germany, and Tunisia. A few minutes later, she literally heard cheers when her parents called by cell phone from her hometown of East Jerusalem to say that they saw the whole ceremony on LSSU’s Internet telecast.
“That’s when it dawned on me how hard I worked to get to this point,” says Manar. She ceased to be the young high school student who had never been outside of Europe and the Middle East. She was now a full-fledged computer engineer who had mastered a new language (American idiom) and evolved a stronger sense of self-identity, both as a young Palestinian professional and a devout Muslim.
“I could have gone to a larger US school, or one in Europe closer to home, but I chose Lake State for reasons of strength and a challenge,” says Manar.
Strengths included the types of programs LSSU offered for a school its size and the caliber of faculty. Another plus was family: Manar’s sister, a trained biologist who has just finished a Master’s in health management, lives in the Sault as the wife of a local oncologist. Relatively close metro Detroit also offered a rich Arab-American community that included some friends and an extended family in nearby Ann Arbor.
The challenge of coming to LSSU was more personal.
|AN ENGINEER’S TOUCH - Newly-minted computer engineer Manar Wadi poses with the controller she adapted to run a plasma cutter in one of Lake Superior State University’s manufacturing technology labs. Her senior project capped four years of hard work at Lake Superior State for Wadi, who plans to start this fall with a telecommunications company in her home town of East Jerusalem. (LSSU photo by John Shibley)
“I really wanted to see if I could successfully bridge two cultures while keeping my own solid identity,” says Manar. “I wanted to help myself, as well as others around me, overcome barriers of culture and prejudgment that separate us. This was one major goal of my college experience, and LSSU offered a perfect environment to do this.”
Manar constantly wears the hijab, a traditional Muslim head covering that represents a devotion to her values. In Islamic scholarship, the hijab holds meanings of modesty, privacy, and morality . . . concepts that Manar feels define her character.
“Deep down there’s something beautiful and dignified about the hijab,” she says. “In Islam, modesty in dress, complemented by internalized modesty, adds a beautiful aspect to one’s life and personality. For women in particular, the hijab secures personal liberty in a world that objectifies women.”
Wearing the hijab also provided Manar with a not-so-modest means to stand out at LSSU and be recognized as a Muslim.
“It granted me an opportunity, and the responsibility, to strive to portray Islam in its true form, especially during a time when misinformation and stereotypes about Islam and Muslims abound,” she says.
Manar never shied away from explaining to her fellow students what it means to be a Muslim.
This past spring, she organized a forum that brought to campus the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. His evening lecture included an extensive follow-on discussion session that involved not only the university community, but people from Sault Michigan and Ontario as well.
One misconception that typically falls after discussion is the notion that women in most Islamic societies are discouraged from entering professions dominated by men, such as engineering, the vocation that Manar has selected. This paucity is still quite common in the U.S., even in contrast to what Manar sees in contemporary Arab countries.
“One thing that surprised me when I came to school here in the States was that there are still very few female students in engineering programs. Back home in the Palestinian universities, you can find a decent number of women engineers,” she notes.
Manar recalls her internship last summer with the United Arab Emirates-based telecommunications company PALTEL as another example. Five out of seven engineers she worked with on a project team were women.
“So, being a woman engineer doesn’t create any obstacles or awkwardness whatsoever to me pursuing a career in Palestine or any of the Arab countries in the Middle East,” she says. “In fact, I just received a job offer by Etisalat in Dubai. This shows that women professionals do have job opportunities in the Middle East.”
PALTEL is where Manar plans to start her career this coming September. Her first task will probably be to design cellular telephone and wireless data networks in her congested hometown of East Jerusalem.
Manar acknowledges that not all countries offer women a fair shot at pursuing a career. Still, she chalks that up to societal, rather than religious, preferences.
“In Islam, women are encouraged and obliged to learn and seek knowledge, and their education is considered to be as important and valuable as that of men,” she says.
Even in the West, it is still a driving and pertinent goal to encourage women to go into typically male-dominated vocations. Lake Superior State still offers a popular engineering science camp dedicated to girls, funded by state and federal grants.
Manar credits her family for steering her towards an engineering career.
“My parents have always valued education and encouraged us to travel and earn high educational levels, whatever that takes,” says Manar. “My interests in mathematics and electronics, as well as in traveling and exploring cultures, led me to major in computer engineering in the States.”
So, what is the biggest hurdle in clearing the barriers between cultures?
“The key is mutual understanding, and rejecting this theory of ‘clash of civilizations’,” says Manar. “Islam is great, it’s just that sometimes Muslims, being human, are not always great. As with any other faith or culture, Muslims and non-Muslims need to build the foundations for understanding each other.”
In her own personal way, over the past three years, Manar Wadi has engineered a foundation that spans the globe and bridges beliefs, right here at Lake Superior State. Who knows what bridges she will continue to raise in the coming years.
Electrical engineering alumnus lives robonauts and rovers | Spring 2007
|FINAL MILESTONE CLEARED – The Space Shuttle Discovery clears smoke and steam as it heads into orbit on a Space Station assembly mission last December. A satellite-deployment tool on board that LSSU alum Tom Waligora helped build will later work flawlessly during the mission. Waligora graduated from LSSU four years ago with a degree in electrical engineering. (NASA)
Tom Waligora’s creativity has launched satellites into Earth orbit and may someday help humans explore the Moon and Mars. If that is not cool enough, the 2003 Lake Superior State University electrical engineering graduate has even mingled with the likes of Steven W. Hawking, the famous physicist. However, Waligora knows when it’s time to wipe the stars from his eyes and return to a world that runs on deadlines.
“Right now I am working on a next-generation 5,800-pound rover through NASA’s R&D robotics group,” says Waligora. “The plan is to build three vehicles, the last of which must be ready for desert tests this November at Meteor Crater, Arizona.”
The prototype rover shakes out the technology required for remotely controlled or completely autonomous rovers that will follow astronauts around on walks around other words, like loyal pack animals carrying gear and essential supplies.
“The first rover is approximately 90% complete and is a simplified version that will be used as a test bed for subsystems such as motor drivers and active suspension,” says Waligora. “The second rover is a more complete vehicle for verifying that the systems can work together.”
It’s the latest in a series of projects that Waligora has thrown himself into since being hired two years ago by the space systems division (OSS) of Oceaneering Advanced Technologies. The Houston-based company designs everything from hardware for Shuttle and Space Station astronauts to use on EVAs, to intricate mechanisms that eject satellites into orbit from the Space Shuttle or other rockets.
Other OSS specialties include thermal protection systems for rockets, and robotic systems for military, space, and biological research The company supports astronaut training in NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory and Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at NASA’s Johnson Spaceflight Center in Clear Lake, Texas.
His first company project was a microsatellite deployment system for the Department of Defense’s Space Test Program, designed to fly in the Space Shuttle’s cargo bay. It use was successfully tested during a flight that Shuttle Discovery made to the Space Station last December.
“In a stunning display of grace, fluidity and agility, the system deployed two satellites simultaneously,” says Waligora. “My project responsibilities ranged from proposal development and schematic/circuit design, to final testing and product delivery. It’s very exciting to have something that I helped design get launched into space aboard the Shuttle.”
|AN ENGINEER’S STUDIO – Tom Waligora works on “Terabot” at his workbench. The robotic arm clips onto a variety of stationary or mobile platforms for investigating and manipulating explosives without endangering an operator. Waligora graduated from LSSU four years ago with a degree in electrical engineering. (Oceaneering Advanced Technologies.)
Waligora was also recently involved in a more down-to-Earth endeavor: the company’s “Terabot” creation, a robotic arm that clips onto a variety of stationary or mobile platforms, depending on how it is going to be used. Its dexterity is ideal for investigating and manipulating explosives without endangering an operator.
“The system has five degrees of freedom, a 25-pound lift capacity with a dust and water seal,” says Waligora. “It’s been used by law enforcement and military inspection vehicles, as well by astronauts as a training tool during NASA Mars exploration exercises in Arizona.”
However, these days Waligora’s pride and joy is his current assignment, the big rover and its milestone test this fall.
“Most of the people I am working with have advanced degrees from Purdue, MIT, and Carnegie,” Waligora says. “I feel very fortunate that I was asked to join the team on this build.”
Waligora’s new teammates formed the core group that developed Robonaut, a humanoid robot that functions as a virtual EVA astronaut. A human operator’s hands and eyes, even his sense of touch, networks through Robonaut via a telepresence control system.
Waligora had a famous visitor to the Robonaut lab not long after he joined the crew. “Steven W. Hawking came to check out Robonaut, and I helped set up his demo,” he beams.
Visiting relativistic physicists, plug-and-play robots, giant robomules . . . all the stuff of dreams. “I have the ultimate job for an engineer,” says Waligora. “On top of all this my wife and I just welcomed Ally, the world’s cutest baby, into our lives.” Call it proof-positive that dream jobs aren’t the only source of all fun and joy, at least in Tom Waligora’s case. He has a wonderful personal life as well.
Senior Project Team Meets Success at International Competitions | Summer 2007
Mobile Robotic Workcell
The 2005-06 Senior Project
team Automated Promotional Engineering Systems (APES)
recently took honors in two international design competitions.
A paper and poster were prepared for the design presentations.
The team developed a mobile robotic workcell capable
of solving a Rubik's cube and assembling an automotive
distributor as it showcases various automation technologies
including the use of vision sensors. Team members included
John Benjamin, Brad Bertels, Greg Johnson, Kate Kuuskman,
Ben Mitchell and Leith Nader. Through the encouragement
of the team's faculty advisor, Jim Devaprasad, Kuuskman
and Bertels did the preparations and represented LSSU
at the competitions.
Kate Kuuskman, a senior in mechanical engineering
with a robotics and automation option from Sault
Ste. Marie, Ont., attended the UPADI Pan American
Convention for Engineers, which was held September
19-22 in Atlanta, Ga. LSSU was one of five universities
invited to attend. Other participating schools
were Cornell University, Michigan Tech, Air Force
Academy and University of Puerto Rico. The LSSU
paper entitled "Mobile Robotics Workcell
- Using Robotics to Lure Young Minds to Manufacturing
Engineering," received an honorable mention
Brad Bertels of Ironwood, a spring 2007 graduate
in manufacturing engineering technology, participated
in the Student Design Competition at the International
Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference
sponsored by ASME. The event was held October 9 in Ypsilanti, Mich. The
LSSU entry was one of five finalists to present at the
conference. LSSU received second place, which included
a $750 prize. Other competitors were: University of
Florida-Gainesville (first) University of Michigan (third),
Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute and the University
of New Hampshire.
LSSU Engineering and Technology Receives 21st Century
A 21st Century Jobs Fund Grant proposal submitted by
Jim Devaprasad and Morrie Walworth was recently approved.
The grant will provide funding for the establishment
of a prototype development center. The grant, valued
at $580,000 was reviewed by the Michigan Economic Development
Corporation (MEDC), American Association for the Advancement
of Science (AAAS) and the Strategic Economic Investment
and Commercialization (SEIC) Board. It will be a collaboration
between LSSU and the Michigan Small Business and Technology
Development Center (MI-SBTDC).
Engineering Day 2007 | Winter 2007
This year's challenge was to take a whole orange, juice it, and pour the juice from a pitcher into a cup.
Once again, the creativity, teamwork and problem solving put forth by the competition participants was amazing.
Senior team winners:
1st Place: Petoskey's "007"
2nd Place: Petoskey's "Under the Sea"
3rd Place: East Jordan's "Monster Mash"
4th Place: Mackinaw City's "7-11"
Junior team winner:
Newberry's "Lumberjack Breakfast"
MOUSE TRAP CAR RACES
1st Place: Miracle at 63 ft 3 in.
2nd Place: Redwings at 60 ft. 11 in.
Trapstar 1 at 51 ft. 3 in.
Speed Category (at a distance of 25 feet)
1st Place: Hoffman in 2.3 seconds
2nd Place: Trapstar 2 in 3.08 seconds
3rd Place: Trapstar 1 in 8.07 seconds
Overall Winner: Trapstar (combined)
For more information and downloadable registration forms,
click here to visit the 2007
Engineering Day site.
Please note: The Rube Goldberg organization
has introduced a $300 per team fee, of which we are able
to waive $200. We held our 2007 event as an "independent" at no cost to our participants.
However, we will did use the challenge and rules devised by
Rube Goldberg, Inc. in order to continue the consistency
of past competitions. We welcome your comments concerning the importance of being part of the national competition and the associated fees to help us determine the future nature of our machine competition. Please pass on your opinion regarding national participation to Jeanne Shibley.
Goldberg is the ® and © of Rube Goldberg Inc.
The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest is the (SM) of Rube
Engineering Banquet 2007 | Spring 2007
This year's banquet held both moments of fun and solemnity. In between bouts of flying silly string, the Big Resistor was passed from Dr. Taskin Padir back to Prof. Paul Duesing. Dean Morrie Walworth passed the little screw (a whopping screw weighing at least 10 pounds) to Dr. Robert Hildebrand, while Jon Coullard received the most votes for the Big Nut & Tool. Squirtgun tactics were used during the presentation of cartoon-themed certificates to the faculty and staff by the Dean's Student Presidents Council members.
Honored outstanding seniors were:
- Christopher Winkler, Manufacturing Engineering Technology and Engineering Student Athlete
- Tyler Skowronek and Price McAllister, Mechanical Engineering
- Victor Grzeda and Gregory Robertson, Computer Engineering
- Natalie Buffone, Electrical Engineering
A number of students who provided their time and talents as volunteers, mentors and assistants this past year were presented with Service Awards.
Order of the Engineer Ring Ceremony | Spring 2007
The class of 2007 installed 13 new members on Thursday, April 19. Our thanks to ringwearers David Strickland, P.E. of the City of Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan; Bob Ackert, P.Eng. formerly of Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.; and Jeremy Wilhelm of Caughill Consulting, also of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. for officiating.
If you are interested in receiving a ring, please
contact Jeanne Shibley for information. Candidacy is open to those graduating
from an accredited engineering program in Fall 2007,
Spring 2008 or Summer 2008. We are awaiting a decision by EAC of ABET regarding our computer engineering program's accreditation visit. We hope to recieve ABET's decision by the end of August 2007.
To view a complete list of available engineering and engineering technology scholarships, click here.