Michalek quoted in MIT Technology Review
MIT Technology Review
EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek spoke with MIT Technology Review on batteries for electric vehicles. Startups such as Ample have demonstrated a new battery-swapping system for EVs where users can exchange a depleted battery for a fresh one without spending time charging up. However, Michalek says battery swapping isn’t likely to be the primary technique for powering EVs.
Barati Farimani to work on self-charging power sources
MechE’s Amir Barati Farimani was mentioned in Tech Explorist as a contributor for new research on self-charging power sources for space applications. The research, funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, will focus on developing self-charging power sources for low-Earth orbit missions, such as satellites, using hydrogel or soft polymer-based materials. Barati Farimani will focus on simulation and material synthesis.
Presto quoted on Allegheny County air pollution
Pittsburgh City Paper
MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted in the Pittsburgh City Paper on the impact of industrial pollution in Allegheny County in the context of regional topography. Presto said his research doesn’t always yield expected results, but the bigger picture is still clear. “Air pollution is a huge environmental injustice, right, systematically at like the national level and a local level,” Presto said.
Majidi talks soft robotics research and findings
MechE’s Carmel Majidi spoke with NextPittsburgh about CMU’s Soft Machines Lab and its research in soft robotics, including the invention of a thermally conductive rubber material called Thubber and a small robot that can change between a solid and a liquid. Majidi said that the lab takes inspirations from physical characteristics observed in animals. “That’s a lot of what soft robotics is about—not to compete with or replace more advanced systems that already exist, but to broaden the scope of what we think of as robotics and what we think of as materials and building blocks of robotic systems,” Majidi said.
Michalek quoted on electric vehicle tax credit
EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek was quoted in PolitiFact about a recently announced tax credit for electric vehicle purchases. Certain stipulations have to be met to receive the $7,500, including that the cars must be assembled in North America. Michalek said these conditions are a means of encouraging greater EV production in the US and its trading partners.
Majidi comments on new material for “soft robotics” in Scientific American
MechE’s Carmel Majidi talks about a new low-density gel material that is able to conduct electricity to power a motor in Scientific American. In his recent study published in Nature Electronics, he used this material to power two basic machines, a toy car and a snail-like soft robot. “There are so many possibilities that arise when you take machines and robots out of the hard case and engineer them out of materials that are soft and squishy,” Majidi says.
Viswanathan speaks on Zero podcast about electric aviation
MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan spoke on Zero podcast about electric aviation. During the episode, he and host Akshat Rathi talk about the batteries required to power these aircrafts, as well as the environmental impact they will have. “We need hundreds and thousands of people working on this problem. That’s the scale of the transformation that happened in electric cars. If we can enable a similar transformation in electric aviation, I think there is actually a straight shot, from a technology perspective, to get to the future that The Jetsons imagined,” Viswanathan says.
Michalek quoted on electric vehicle charging needs
EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek was quoted in PolitiFact about potential charging accommodations for when more electric vehicles are on the road. Currently, charging stations in the United States are relatively few and far between. “We’re going to need a lot more high-speed chargers on highway corridors that are underutilized most of the year if we want to avoid long queues as people wait to charge on peak travel days,” Michalek said.
Majidi, Yao quoted on softbotics
World Economic Forum
MechE’s Carmel Majidi spoke to the World Economic Forum about the potential of softbotics, which includes designing them to move adaptably in response to their environment as animals do. “There are many interesting and exciting scenarios where energy-efficient and versatile robots like this could be useful,” Yao said. Their recent design allows the robot to transition from walking to swimming.
Jayan talks about representation and her unconventional career path
Utah Public Radio
MechE’s Reeja Jayan talks to Utah Public Radio about her nonlinear path toward becoming a professor in engineering. She is the author of a chapter in the recently published book Women in Mechanical Engineering.
Majidi speaks on Science Friday about self-healing softbotics material
MechE’s Carmel Majidi talks with Science Friday about his research in softbotics, a transformative field of robotics where materials are more flexible and elastic as opposed to hard materials. He talks about a breakthrough in the field: a new material that is able to heal itself. “The key difference is the fact that it’s self-healing. The material binds itself together through hydrogen bonds. And these are actually the same hydrogen bonds that produce forces between water molecules. So these materials have a very high density of these hydrogen bonds. And when those bonds break, they can readily form themselves back together upon contact,” he says.
Sullivan comments about the unique chemical bonds found in PFAS-containing firefighting foams in the Military Times
ChemE’s Ryan Sullivan makes a comment about the unique chemical bonds found in PFAS-containing firefighting foams in Military Times. “[Fluorine is] the strongest bond you can make to carbon, and so that makes the molecules very persistent,” Sullivan says.
Zhang elected to AIMBE College of Fellow chair-elect
MechE’s Jessica Zhang has been elected chair-elect of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)’s College of Fellows. This is a one-year term followed by another one-year term as chair of the College of Fellows. It is a high honor to be elected to such a significant position for a national organization. As chair-elect, Zhang will oversee the nomination, review, and election of new Fellows. It is the practice of AIMBE tha the Chair-Elect is an ex-official member of the Board of Directors. Next year, as chair, she will be responsible for managing the development and organization of the annual event, and be a voting member of the board.
Five Engineering faculty receive professorships
Five faculty recently received professorships in Engineering for their outstanding scholarly achievements. The faculty included:
- Yuejie Chi (ECE) - Sense of Wonder Group Endowed Professorship of Electrical and Computer Engineering in AI Systems
- Marc De Graef (MSE) - John and Claire Bertucci Distinguished Professorship in Engineering
- Swarun Kumar (ECE) - Sathaye Family Foundation Career Development Professorship
- Brandon Lucia (ECE) - Kavčić-Moura Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Rebecca (Bex) Taylor (MechE) - Inaugural ANSYS Career Development Chair in Engineering
MechE’s Jessica Zhang has been selected as a Class of 2023 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Fellow for exemplary research and outsanding service to the community.
Bergbreiter talks insect-inspired robotics design
MechE’s Sarah Bergbreiter spoke to Popular Science about how jumping insects inspired the mechanics of her team’s recent design, a bouncing robot that can control energy transfers between surface and device using the launch mechanism. “It’s really fascinating that the latch—something that we already need in our robots—can be used to control outputs that we couldn't have controlled before.” The design takes its cues from grasshoppers and other insects that use delicate energy transfers to land securely on different surfaces.
Presto talks about the chemical effects of the East Palestine train derailment
MechE’s Albert Presto talks to Fortune and NBC News about the after effects of the East Palestine train derailment and the chemicals’ effects on the town’s residents.“We didn’t see any hot spots, places with high concentrations,” Presto says about contaminants such as benzene, toluene, xylenes, and vinyl chloride. However, he acknowledges the high levels of acrolein in the environment which could cause some long-term health concerns.
Majidi discusses breakthroughs in softbotics
MechE’s Carmel Majidi and his research team engineered the first self-healing soft material with electrical conductivity, low stiffness, and high stretchability—a breakthrough in the world of softbotics and beyond. “Softbotics is about seamlessly integrating robotics into everyday life, putting humans at the center,” explains Majidi. “Instead of being wired up with biomonitoring electrodes connecting patients to bio measurement hardware mounted on a cart, our gel can be used as a bioelectrode that directly interfaces with body-mounted electronics that can collect information and transmit it wirelessly.” This work was also covered in New Atlas.
Zhang delivered plenary lecture at SIAM International Meshing Roundtable Workshop
MechE’s Jessica Zhang was an invited plenary speaker at the SIAM International Meshing Roundtable Workshop on March 6 - 9, 2023 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She presented her latest research on modeling traffic jam and growth process of neurons using isogeometric analysis and physics-informed neural network.
Sullivan talks to The Washington Post about the danger of air fresheners
The Washington Post
MechE’s Ryan Sullivan talks with The Washington Post about how air fresheners can actually have serious adverse effects on consumers. “To a chemist ‘really clean’ would actually be no scent because the scent is caused by a chemical. Truly clean means very low levels of chemicals,” Sullivan says. He expresses concern toward the chemicals potentially causing hormone disruption and even cancer. Instead, he recommends naturally sourced essential oils as a way to combat household odors.
Shen discusses his new copper-based material that can increase electronics’ lifetime
Mining Dot Com
MechE’s Sheng Shen explains how his new flexible, copper-based material can elongate the lifetime of electronics through a “sandwich” method. A graphene-coated copper nanowire array is placed between two thin copper films which helps prevent overheating and burning out. “We believe that a wide variety of electronic systems can benefit from it by allowing them to operate at a lower temperature with higher performance,” Shen says.
Presto comments on the Ohio train derailment in CNN
MechE’s Albert Presto talks to CNN about the Ohio train derailment and the environmental effects the accident has caused. “It’s not elevated to the point where it’s necessarily like an immediate ‘evacuate the building’ health concern, but, you know, we don’t know necessarily what the long-term risk is or how long that concentration that causes that risk will persist,” he says. This uncertainty has also resulted in the residents of East Palestine becoming frustrated, which Presto hopes will decrease with better monitoring and communication.
Weber discusses tech that restores movement for stroke patients
The New York Times
MechE’s Douglas Weber was mentioned in The New York Times for the research he and other researchers are working on that looks at restoring mobility in stroke patients. The method they are investigating involves surgically-implanted electrodes that are then stimulated to help produce movement. Weber says that implantation is preferred to letting the electrodes rest on the skin because it’s “much more specific” and can better “target the muscles that control the wrist and the hand.” This work was also featured in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Michalek talks reality of owning an electric vehicle with The Atlantic
EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek talks to The Atlantic about the reality of owning an electric vehicle. For many consumers, buying an EV is not so simple; they have plenty of considerations to think about before purchasing. “Even if they have charging infrastructure this year, renters tend to move, and they don’t know whether they’ll have that access next year. Even a lot of homeowners don’t have off-street parking, and relying entirely on public charging infrastructure is a whole different ball game,” Michalek says.
Majidi discusses the future of shape-shifting robotics
MechE’s Carmel Majidi and a team of researchers have created a shape-shifting robot that can hold objects 30 times its own mass. The team tested the robot through a series of obstacles, including jumping over moats and removing foreign objects from a model stomach. “What we’re showing are just one-off demonstrations, proofs of concept,” Majidi says. “Future work should further explore how these robots could be used within a biomedical context.”
Zhang paper recognized as top-cited article
According to Citation data from Clarivate Analytics, Mech’s Jessica Zhang’s paper “Tuned Hybrid Nonuniform Subdivision Surfaces with Optimal Convergence Rates” is recognized as one of the top cited articles published in an issue of International Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering between January 1, 2021 through December 15, 2022.
Viswanathan’s research on battery-power aircraft referenced in The Guardian
Research by MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan on the future of battery-powered aircraft was referenced in an article from The Guardian about Australia, a country heavily reliant on aviation. Viswanathan’s research detailed the opportunities and challenges of electric aircraft, concluding that significant gains for battery-powered flight are possible by 2030 given sufficient investment in aeronautical applications.
YKK AP to research feasibility of virtual factory at Mill 19
USGlass News Network
YKK AP Technologies Lab, who has partnered with MechE’s Kenji Shimada since 2020, has signed a five-year lease for space at Mill 19. They hope to develop a “virtual factory” that simulates engineering and supply chains in a virtual space for construction, glass, and fenestrations industries.
Michalek talks implications of ridesourcing apps like Uber and Lyft
MechE/EEP’s Jeremy Michalek talks about his research on transportation network companies (TNCs) and the economic, environmental, and social implications they have in a policy brief series. “Overall, Uber and Lyft affect different kinds of cities differently, and that is important to understanding their impact,” Michalek says. The briefs provide a succinct summary of his findings and recommendations.
Viswanathan and Guttenberg test startup software
MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan and Matthew Guttenberg tested software developed by their startup, InceptEV, to successfully simulate battery performance of Tesla’s Class 8 electric semi-truck 500-mile trip hauling 81,000 pounds. They mapped the truck’s likely route and used historical elevation, wind speed, wind direction, and temperature data to replicate a plot Tesla had shared on social media.
Zhang elected Program Director, SIAM Activity Group
MechE’s Jessica Zhang was elected program director of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Activity Group on Geometric Design.
Panat quoted in Lifewire
MechE’s Rahul Panat tells Lifewire, “Brain research aims to understand the communication between individual neurons or groups of neurons and can help us understand natural intelligence.” He explains that although natural intelligence can be used to develop AI, this proves to be a “herculean task” as neural recording limitations hinder the investigation of communication between different parts of the brain. “So advances in the recording density and interpretation of the signaling patterns of the neurons has been of immense interest,” Panat says.
Majidi discusses use of skin-wearable computers
MechE’s Carmel Majidi was quoted by Lifewire on skin wearable systems. He says, “Skin wearable computing is primarily useful for its ability to capture human motion and physiological state, including health vitals, while allowing the wearer to remain mobile and perform daily tasks.” Majidi directs the Soft Machines Lab at Carnegie Mellon University.
McComb named associate editor of JMD
ASME’s Journal of Mechanical Design
MechE’s Chris McComb was named an associate editor of ASME’s Journal of Mechanical Design.
Michalek quoted in Popular Science
EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek tells Popular Science that EV charging needs to be adapted depending on travel. He says that on a day-to-day basis, highway corridors and communities lacking off-street parking should be prioritized. He also voices concerns about holidays when more people will be on the roads. “I think that the issue of peak demand is what worries me most when it comes to making this rollout be successful,” Michalek says.
Jayan’s Minecraft course featured in New York Times
New York Times
MechE’s Reeja Jayan was quoted in The New York Times about her use of Minecraft for a materials science class. “[O]ne of the advantages of using a game like Minecraft is it’s so flexible. It’s so easy for a small child to learn to play the game, but at the same time it’s been adapted for teaching advanced scientific concepts,” Jayan says.
Viswanathan discusses AI enabling autonomous experimentation
MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan was quoted in Popular Science on machine learning systems “Dragonfly” and “Clio” and their role in optimizing the electrolyte solution involved in battery recharging.
CMU Engineering staff win Andy Awards
Congratulations to the following College of Engineering staff members who have won Andy Awards:
- Commitment to Excellence, Rookie: Keren DeCarlo (MechE)
- Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Eva Mergner (MechE)
- Innovative and Creative Contributions: Athena Wintruba (III)
Zhang presents research at International Conference on Isogeometric Analysis
MechE’s Jessica Zhang was a plenary speaker of the 10th International Conference on Isogeometric Analysis in Banff, Canada on November 6-9, 2022. She presented her latest research on “Modeling Traffic Jam and Growth Process of Neurons using Isogeometric Analysis and Physics-Informed Neural Network.”
Engineering staff nominated for Andy Awards
Congratulations to the following College of Engineering staff members who have been nominated for Andy Awards:
- Commitment to Excellence, Rookie: Brian Brown (INI), Keren DeCarlo (MechE)
- Commitment to Excellence, Veteran: Kristen Geiger (ECE)
- Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Eva Mergner (MechE), Jessica Tomko (ECE)
- Commitment to Students: Rachel Amos (INI)
- Innovative and Creative Contributions: Brian Belowich (CEE), Elizabeth Clark (MSE), Athena Wintruba (III)
- Spirit: Trish Hredzak-Showalter (ChemE)
- Teamwork and Collaboration, Standing Teams: The Teck Spark Team (MechE): Ed Wojciechowski, Ryan Bates, Justin Harvilla, Jen Hitchcock, John Fulmer, Tom Rusu
Zhao quoted on reducing emissions using AI
MechE’s Ding Zhao was quoted by Lifewire on the potential impact of self-driving cars, delivery robots, and drones on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Reeja named to ACerS Electronic Leadership
MechE's B. Reeja Jayan was nominated Secretary-Elect of the Electronics Division of the American Ceramics Society (ACerS).
Michalek interviewed on The Why
EPP’s/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek spoke with The Why news program about how environmentally friendly electric vehicles are. “Electric vehicles are one of the few ways that we have to move people and goods with very low emissions. The emissions that we get depend on how we charge the vehicle, [and] what energy we use to produce the electricity to charge the vehicle, but it’s at least possible to generate electricity with very clean sources and end up with a big improvement.”
Halilaj quoted on about humanoid robots
MechE’s Eni Halilaj was quoted by CNBC about humanoid robots. “Our body is a complex engineering system that we still do not fully understand,” Halilaj said. “We have a long way to go to reverse engineer it, making motion planning and control challenging for humanoid robotics.” Halilaj directs the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Lab at Carnegie Mellon University.
Presto quoted on new ethane cracker
MechE’s Abert Presto was quoted about air quality in the Allegheny Front’s article about residents’ concern over the new Shell ethane cracker in Beaver County. Presto’s research group has installed monitors near the cracker.
Johnson quoted in Reuters
MechE’s Aaron Johnson talked about the challenges of autonomous robotics in an article on Tesla’s new Optimus robot. Johnson explains why handling soft, unpredictable material is harder for a robot than for a human.
Whitefoot talks future of electric vehicles after California’s ban on gasoline vehicles
EPP/MechE’s Kate Whitefoot discussed future uptake of electric vehicles in Vox after California passed a measure banning the sale of fossil fuel-powered cars by 2035. “It is expected that EVs will dominate the new vehicle market nationwide in the future,” she told the outlet. “The uncertainty is exactly when this will occur. This regulation by California would serve to accelerate that timeline.”
Viswanathan offers advice to climate tech startups
MechE’s Venkat Viswanathan shared expert advice in GreenBiz on how climate tech startup founders can approach investors as the market shifts.
Sripad’s aircraft research referenced in Fast Company
Research by MechE’s Shashank Sripad on battery-powered urban aircraft was referenced in a Fast Company story on building flying cars. Specifically, Sripad’s research looked at ways to improve energy efficiency. “Even though the battery safety brings in some issues, the rest of the aspects in terms of the number of critical points of failure and so on are a lot fewer,” he says.
Weber featured on first human brain implant
MechE’s Doug Weber is among the team monitoring the first human implant of a brain-computer interface (BCI). The BCI was implanted at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. The goal of the trial is to evaluate safety and efficacy in helping patients with ALS.
Whitefoot honored for work in design automation
EPP/MechE’s Kate Whitefoot has been recognized with the Young Investigator Award by the 2022 ASME Design Automation Committee for her work at the intersection of economics and market systems. She will collect the honor in St. Louis at the ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conference.
Weber’s NIH trial covered
MechE’s Douglas Weber was referenced in in Bloomberg after a trial that he leads with David Putrino of Mount Sinai placed a stentrode implant in its first patient. The trial received $10 million from the NIH to bring the device, which aims to help decision making for people with certain disabilities, to US patients.
Sullivan and Gordon receive DOE award
MechE’s Ryan Sullivan and the Accelerator’s Hamish Gordon have received funding from the Department of Energy for atmospheric research. They will use the award to continue studying how ice nucleating particles emitted by wildfires could affect cloud microphysics, precipitation, and climate.
Chen wins IMPI award for Best Oral Presentation
MechE’s Morgan Chen has won the award for Best Oral Presentation at the International Microwave Power Institute (IMPI) 56 conference in Savannah, Georgia. The IMPI connects the global microwave/RF community. Chen’s presentation was titled “The Effect of Different Microwave Powers and Frequencies in the Reduction of Magnetite to Iron.”
Majidi quoted in article on electronic skin
MechE’s Carmel Majidi was quoted in Scientific American about the work in his lab that specializes in developing soft materials for human-compatible electronics. “A lot of the opportunities, I think, aren’t for robots,” Majidi said. He explains that the tech innovations behind these e-skins being developed as sensors for robots are also improvements to many other technologies such as touch pads and smart clothing. “The limiting factor is actually not so much the robotic skin—those technologies exist. I think it’s more on the demand.”
Zhang delivered a virtual keynote at IWCIA 2022
International Workshop on Combinatorial Image Analysis
MechE’s Jessica Zhang delivered a virtual keynote at the International Workshop on Combinatorial Image Analysis on July 15. She presented her latest research on machine learning enhanced simulation and PDE-constrained optimization for material transport control in neurons.
Jayan contributes to book on women in mechanical engineering
MechE’s Reeja Jayan contributed a chapter to the new book Women in Mechanical Engineering: Energy and Environment, published through Springer. Jayan’s chapter discusses her nonlinear path to a career in engineering. “To my readers, I wish to share with you the joy, risks, and hardships I experienced while taking these road(s) less travelled,” she writes.
Michalek quoted on environmental impact of electric cars
EPP/MechE's Jeremy Michalek was quoted in MSN on the environmental impact of electric vehicles. As Michalek first told the New York Times, “If you’ve got electric cars in Pittsburgh that are being plugged in at night and leading nearby coal plants to burn more coal to charge them, then the climate benefits won’t be as great.”
Zhang delivers two keynotes
MechE’s Jessica Zhang recently delivered two virtual keynotes. One was at the 7th International Conference on Computational and Mathematical Biomedical Engineering (CMBE22) on June 27-29, and the other one was at CVPR 2022 Workshop and Challenges: Deep Learning for Geometric Computing on June 20.
Tucker to co-chair workshop on AI and justified confidence
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
MechE’s Conrad Tucker has been invited to serve as co-chair for “Artificial Intelligence and Justified Confidence: A Workshop” by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The planning committee will develop a workshop to explore how to improve the robustness of machine learning and other artificial intelligence (ML/AI) technologies to better enable their successful implementation in the Army’s Command and Control (C2) operations. The kickoff meeting is Wednesday, June 29.
Michalek quoted in Marketplace article about electric vehicles
EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek was quoted in a recent article on Marketplace on Electric Vehicles (EVs). Michalek was interviewed about his experience and expertise on the sparse infrastructure for EVs. He explains that if people are going to adopt EVs en masse they have to be able to travel with them and own them even if they live in an apartment. “If you don’t have off-street parking, you need to know that you are going to have access to public chargers and be able to reliably charge your vehicle,” Michalek said.
Presto quoted on air pollution and heart disease
MechE’s Albert Presto was quoted in Fatherly on various air filtration systems to protect yourself from air pollution. “The better the filter, the faster it will get clogged, so it needs to get replaced more often than a filter that lets a lot of particles through,” Presto said. He explains that inside the home, a HEPA filter is the best air filtration system on the market. But it’s expensive and has to be replaced often. Presto explains that most air filters use the MERV system in which the higher the MERV number, the more efficient the device is at filtering particles out of the air, which is useful to check when buying air filters.
Scott Institute announces 2022 seed grants for five projects
The Scott Institute has announced its latest seed grant awards worth $1.42 million to five research projects led by CMU Engineering faculty. This is the 10th annual round of grants awarded by the Scott Institute. Funding recipients include CEE’s Corey Harper, ChemE’s Gabriel dos Passos Gomes and Zachary Ulissi, CMU-Africa/ECE’s Barry Rawn, MechE’s Shawn Litster, and MSE’s Chris Pistorius.
Michalek quoted on EVs
EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek was quoted in Lifewire about new federal Electric Vehicle (EV) charging rules. These rules include new standards for the national EV charging network to homogenize the payment systems, pricing, charging speeds, and more. “For long-distance travel, a robust network of chargers along major routes, like highway rest stops, is needed,” Michalek said, “If the network is sized for ordinary days, there will be huge queues and massive wait times on peak travel days. If the network is sized for peak travel days, there will be a lot of investment in infrastructure that goes unused on most days.”
Zhang delivers lecture at ECCOMAS
ECCOMAS Congress 2022
MechE’s Jessica Zhang delivered a semi-plenary lecture at the 8th European Congress on Computational Methods in Applied Sciences and Engineering (ECCOMAS Congress 2022) in Oslo, Norway on June 5-9, 2022. She presented her latest research on machine learning-enhanced simulation and PDE-constrained optimization for material transport control in neurons. In addition, Zhang was also invited to be a mentor in the ECCOMAS Young Investigators Career Forum, during which young researchers have the opportunity to interact in small groups with scientists at different career stages to gain essential insights into the academic application process and receive tips for their next career steps.
Whitefoot quoted on electric vehicles
EPP/MechE’s Katie Whitefoot was quoted in a Vox article for her expertise in electric vehicles in public policy. “Efficiency regulations are still really important even as automakers are making pledges to electrify their fleets,” Whitefoot said. The article describes the various hurdles in converting our U.S. car population to electric vehicles. The car industry moves slowly and no matter how fast we convert to electric vehicles it could still take decades to get gas-powered cars off the street since the average lifespan of a car is 11 years. Car companies are also less inclined to take risks as the economy falters. “Uncertainty in and of itself has a lot of impact on the industry in terms of long R&D planning,” Whitefoot explains.
Michalek quoted on school bus environmental impact
EPP/MechE’s Jeremy Michalek was quoted in Popular Science article about the new federal Clean School Bus Program. The program aims to replace diesel-powered school buses with electric buses over the next five years. “When diesel is burned in a bus engine, it produces fine particulate matter—particles with a diameter much smaller than human hair—that floats in the air and lodge deep in our lungs when we breathe them in,” Michalek said. He further explained the dangers of carbon pollution in an urban environment and also that electric buses are not “pollution-free” as it still pollutes the environment to produce the batteries for vehicles like these.
Yim and Johnson quoted on small robotics
MechE’s Aaron Johnson and Justin Yim were quoted in an IEEE Spectrum article highlighting their work in small humanoid robots. Their work was displayed at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation(ICRA). The presentation highlighted a 15-centimeter bipedal robot. “Our goal with this project is to make miniature walking robots, as small as a LEGO Minifigure (1-centimeter leg) or smaller.” said Yim. Johnson was quoted as saying, “Minimally actuated designs that leverage passive dynamics will be key. We aren't there yet on the LEGO scale, but with this paper, we wanted to understand the way this particular morphology walks before dealing with the smaller actuators and constraints.”
CMU team wins big at robotics conference
MechE’s Victoria Webster-Wood and her team took home top honors in the ICRA 2022 Outstanding Mechanisms and Design Paper category for their submission, “Design of a Biomimetic Tactile Sensor for Material Classification.”
Whitacre interviewed on environmentally friendly batteries
Instigators of Change
Scott Institute Director Jay Whitacre was interviewed in the podcast Instigators of Change on how batteries can still have a negative impact on the environment. He explained how, depending on where you are in the world, a hybrid vehicle might be a smarter choice than fully electric vehicles (EVs). The reason for this is a combination of factors from how the electricity for the EVs is generated to the fact that battery technology has not progressed past some major hurdles in its design since the 1990s. Whitacre points out that the batteries first used in Tesla cars were nearly identical to those developed in the late ’90s.
Majidi quoted on complex robotic hand manipulation
MechE’s Carmel Majidi was quoted in Lifewire on robotic hand manipulation about MIT’s new robotic hand that can manipulate over 2,000 different types of objects. “These hands are highly dexterous and capable of performing in-hand manipulation,” said Majidi. “That is, in addition to grasping and releasing objects, they can use their fingers to manipulate an object like a screwdriver or scissors.”
Majidi quoted on gallium in bendable electronics
MechE’s Carmel Majidi was quoted in Smithsonian Magazine ongallium’s use in wearable electronics. “You can use it to track your own body’s motion, or the forces that you’re in contact with, and then impart that information into whatever the virtual world is that you’re experiencing,” Majidi said. Wearable electronics is just one of many uses of gallium the article covers. Majidi discusses how the bending, crunching, and flexing of these gallium circuits “printed” onto the hand or circuit can change the current flowing through the circuit and therefore change the input to a computer tracking movement.
Cagan delivers keynote on AI-human hybrid teaming
Design Conference 2022
MechE Interim Head Jonathan Cagan delivered a keynote speech at the Design Conference on AI-human hybrid teaming.