2015 Michigan Tech Magazine: Issue 2

Research Revolution

By Allison Mills

It's a smart new world, and Michigan Tech students have the life saving, game-changing technology-shaping ideas to propel us forward. Viva la research revolution.

Infrastructure

Removing Synthetic Chemicals

Student: Jennifer Julien
Human waste is chock full of pharmaceuticals, and Julien is looking for the cleanest way to take them out and improve wastewater treatment.


Retrofitting a Rail Shunt

Students: Samuel Scott, Frank BeFay, Sean Massey, Alexander Pate
Retrofits are never ideal, but they are necessary to improve the safety of modern American railways. Better understanding the electrical properties of shunt connection systems is one step forward.


Swapping Aluminum

Students: Annie LeSage, Alexandra Glover, Kyle Myszka, Jacob Gerdt
Cars are heavy, so some auto companies are changing over copper wiring harnesses to aluminum alloys to make them lighter. A Senior Design team in Materials Science and Engineering worked with Yazaki to test this swap.


Plugging Into Smart Grids

Plugging Into Smart Grids

Students: Jaya Yellajosula, Elizaveta Egorova, Zagros Shahooei, Gabriel Sousa, Matheus Freitas, Junior Castro
Do you think about how electricity gets to your light switch when you flip it on? The students in Bruce Mork’s and Sumit Paudyal’s power grid lab do. In fact, these students working in the Power and Energy Resource Center (PERC) plug into control consoles, test live transformers, and seek out internal faults.The faster a fault is detected, Egorova says, the less damage to a transformer will be inflicted. As our utility infrastructure ages, fails, improves, and changes, these students will help figure out how to smartly power the world.


Gathering Around Geothermal

Students: Edward Louie and the Alternative Energy Enterprise
Mining is an important part of the Keweenaw’s history. Now, an interdisciplinary team of more than ten students is looking at how to tap into minewater reservoir for geothermal heating and cooling.


Building Underwater Robots to Monitor Pipelines

Students: Levi Rhody, Buck Poszywak


Preventing Bird-Window Collisions

Students: Michigan Tech Chapter of the Wildlife Society


Connecting People and Geohazards

Students: Geoscience students in the Peace Corps Master’s International Program


Designing a Better Car Console

Students: Humane Interface Design


Dynamic Environment

Warming Up Roots

Warming Up Roots

Student: Peter Hoch
Tree roots are sensitive to small changes in temperature. Hoch studies how rising temps impact sugar maple roots, microbial activity, and the nutrients bound up in the soil.


Interpreting Data Into Sound

Students: Tom Conran, Paul Kirby, Collin Doerr-Newton, Mason Pew
Sound design isn’t just for movies. These students interpreted wolf population data from Isle Royale and turned it into interactive audio.


Understanding the Decrease in the UP's Hunting and Fishing

Student: Chris Henderson


Neutralizing the Campus Carbon Footprint

Students: Green Campus Enterprise


Preventing Bird-Window Collisions

Students: Michigan Tech Chapter of the Wildlife Society


Tracking Macrophytes and Stamp Sands in the Keweenaw Waterway

Student: Ryan Van Goethem


Figuring Out the Impacts of Extra Nitrogen on Plants and Pollinators

Student: Virginia Van Vianen


Technology

Polymerizing Fish Scales

Student: Xu Xiang
Finding ways to deliver pharmaceutical drugs using new materials is an everyday task for Xiang, who modified fish scales using polymers to better understand their nanomechanical properties.


Delivering A Dynamo

Students: Kristopher Benaglio, Christopher DeGroot, Adam Deibler, Kenneth Smith
Calibrating a dynometer is an essential part of many mechanical engineering tests. This Senior Design team hammered out a design for John Deere to make the device more transportable, expanding the testing range.


Programming The Mind Music Machine

Students: Steven Landry, Paul Kirby, Joseph Ryan
Teaching a machine to learn is tricky. Teaching a machine to read human emotions is even harder. But that’s what these interdisciplinary computer science and cognitive science students do.


Coloring Emotions

Coloring Emotions

Student: Zhine Kang
As technology gets smarter, we hope to tune it into our emotions. Kang is toying with how to make a room’s color change based on physical mood indicators like blood pressure and breathing rate.


Interpreting Data Into Sound

Students: Tom Conran, Paul Kirby, Collin Doerr-Newton, Mason Pew
Sound design isn’t just for movies. These students interpreted wolf population data from Isle Royale and turned it into interactive audio.


Teasing Apart The Properties Of Titanium Dioxide Nanocomposites

Student: Kevin Rocheleau


Protecting Computer Test Data With A Buffer Box

Students: Sylvia Ferragut, Caleb Wright, Ben Veltman, Matthew Zawisza


Building Underwater Robots To Monitor Pipelines

Students: Levi Rhody, Buck Poszywak


Making Science Fun

Making Science Fun

Students: Mind Trekkers student volunteers


Playing Music With Heat On Carbon Nanotube Speakers

Students: Troy Bouman, Mahsa Asgarisabet


Sorting Out Smart Bins For Kimberly-Clark

Students: Louis Bersine, Jake Fiebing, Yuancheng He, Kaiquan Wang


Worlds Beyond

Compiling Geospatial Data Above And Below Water

Students: Digital Mapping Enterprise


Making Science Fun

Making Science Fun

Students: Mind Trekkers student volunteers


Blasting Off Satellites

Blasting Off Satellites

Students: Andrew Conley and the Aerospace Enterprise
In 2016, more than 60 Michigan Tech students will help send the Oculus-ASR Nanosatellite into orbit. The team leads the nation’s winning project in the Air Force Research Laboratory’s University Nanosatellite competition. Once in orbit, the Oculus-ARS will complete a one-year nominal mission—completely controlled from the Michigan Tech campus. Brad King advises the enterprise and admits that while the project is huge, the efforts of Conley and his crew are taking undergraduate education to new heights.


Health

Discovering Macromolecules

Discovering Macromolecules

Students: Melanie Talaga, Ni Fan, Ashli Fueri, Robert Brown, Kevin Lawry, Ramandeep Rekhi, Alexander Vizurraga
Lysins are the jackhammers of the microscopic world. These heavy-duty macromolecules—usually proteins or peptides—punch holes in living cells, killing them. We use them in our guts to destroy unwanted bacteria. Some fungi and invertebrates make them, but bacteria are the main source of lysins. Now, Researcher Tarun Dam and his students in the chemistry department have found a new source of lysins. Surprisingly, they’re in plants. Having a better understanding of these macromolecules could pave the way for improved disease and cancer treatments.


Polymerizing Fish Scales

Student: Xu Xiang
Finding ways to deliver pharmaceutical drugs using new materials is an everyday better understand their nanomechanical properties.


Clearing Blood Clots With 3-D Printing

Clearing Blood Clots With 3-D Printing

Students: Kathleen Ikeda, Alexandria Bartlett, Alexis Alvarez, Mark Keranen, Kyle Johnston

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries around the world. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our beautiful campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.