Sensors, Energy, and Automation Laboratory

Mission Statement:

To create new sensor and automation technology applications in such fields as non-destructive testing, power engineering, and manufacturing control using latest advances in signal processing, robotics, and communications. SEAL projects are focused on design of sensor and sensor arrays using electric, magnetic, acoustic, and thermal fields. We use enabling MEMS technology to achieve enhanced performance of sensing systems. There are currently several openings on the SEAL research team for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Funded Projects

Diet Data Recorder System (DDRS)

Valid measurement of the intakes of foods in free-living persons is extraordinarily challenging. We propose a Diet Data Recorder System (DDRS) for the real-time recording of food consumption. Our approach in DDRS is to use an active vision technique that involves a video camera and a laser module integrated into the device to estimate the food volume.   

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Improved Efficiency of Energy-Intensive Processes through Control of Build-Up on Critical Heat-Transfer Surfaces

The challenge of this project is to develop an automatically controlled system monitoring parameters of the current condition of high-energy industrial processes and determining trade-off between the maximum energy efficiency accomplishing with clean equipment and the costs of shutting down the equipment for cleaning operations. Additional purposes are to propose an exact method to target zones to be cleaned exactly and to prevent physical disruption of developed system in hostile environment in order to improve economical and ecological efficacy. Principal system's technology is based on the image processing of the IR-cameras data reflecting affected internal elements of the equipment and on the accurate slag index calculus.   

Thermal Management of Microelectronics Using Electrospray Evaporative Cooling (ESEC) Devices

Thermal management of microelectronics demands more efficient heat withdrawal capability due to a rapid increase in component and heat flux densities generated from the integrated circuits (ICs). Electrospray evaporative cooling (ESEC) is the potential package-level thermal management solution for the next generation of microelectronics. This project investigates the geometry effect on the heat transfer performance of different microfluidic ESEC devices.   

Measurement of Moisture Distribution in Organic Materials

The need to measure moisture distribution as a function of position is omnipresent at manufacturing industries. We design distributed sensor arrays capable of imaging moisture distribution in organic materials, such as food products, paper, and chemicals.  

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Condition-Based Maintenance of Electric Power Systems

Small robotic crawlers will scan electric cables with infrared, acoustic, and dielectrometry sensors in search of incipient faults and to estimate cable aging status.  

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Heat Transfer Technology for Microelectronics and MEMS

Rapid development of microelectronics has led to immense component density  that has doubled every 12 months in the last decade. Each semiconductor component emits heat associated with the electrical resistance. The heat problem is one of the most profound obstacles in the electronics industry today. This project is to develop an electrostatic air pump incorporated into chip structure for heat withdrawal from microelectronics and MEMS devices.  

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Sensitive Skin

Flexible distributed sensor arrays to sense normal/shear force, temperature and humidity for use in prosthetic devices and in human-robot interactions.  

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Previous Projects

Substation Monitoring and Automation

This project is focused on development of novel sensors and signal processing algorithms for detection of incipient faults in powers systems, both at transmission/distribution lines and at substations.  

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On-line Control for Resin Transfer Molding process

Advanced Resin Transfer Molding (ARTM) and Pre-Impregnated Compression Molding (PICM) are manufacturing processes that produce lightweight and high-strength parts for use in aircraft, satellites, propulsion engines, etc. Distributed non-invasive sensor arrays are needed to properly measure process parameters in real-time and provide feedback to the control system.  

Detection of Energization Status of Underground Power Cables

The goal of this project is to create a multi-sensor device to determine whether a shielded cable is currently under high voltage. This device would simplify cable maintenance while improving work safety.  

Optimization of Electric Power Equipment for Energy Efficiency

The goal of this project is to develop and implement in software a generic  methodology for optimization of devices using finite element electric and magnetic field simulation. The developed methods would be applicable to a wide range of problems, including optimization of power equipment, sensor and MEMS design, and model-based non-destructive testing.  

Detection of Explosives with Plasma Enhanced Sensing

The goal of this project is to build a prototype device that detects traces of explosive molecules. Corona discharge is used to ionize particles in air to direct a controlled air flow towards an array of fringing field sensors.  

Educational Outreach

First Robotics

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a nationwide nonprofit organization founded to increase student interest in mathematics, science and technology. High school students, with mentors from businesses and universities, are put through an intense six-week robotic project. These students learn a wide range of skills consisting of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer engineering, business, graphics design, web development, team work, programming and computer animation. The idea is that the students will take what they have learned and create a robot to compete with other teams across the US. For more information on FIRST please visit