Pitt | Swanson Engineering

Since its founding in 1893 by two legends, George Westinghouse and Reginald Fessenden, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Pitt has excelled in education, research, and service.  Today, the department features innovative undergraduate and graduate programs and world-class research centers and labs, combining theory with practice at the nexus of computer and electrical engineering, for our students to learn, develop, and lead lives of impact.





Feb
14
2018

Action! Pitt ECE graduate student Santino Graziani appears in newest Eaton Power Systems Experience Center video

Electrical & Computer, Student Profiles

Santino Fiorello Graziani, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is the latest University of Pittsburgh student to appear in a video highlighting the Power Systems Experience Center (PSEC) at Eaton. In the video, Mr. Graziani uses a water systems analogy to explain how electrical systems work to young Kendra Carnovale. "Eaton’s Power Systems Experience Center is the ideal place to learn about electrical power systems in a safe controlled environment, and both Kendra and Santino do a wonderful job of explaining a very technical subject in a simple manner," explained Daniel Carnovale, PSEC manager. "The PSEC’s goal is to help take the mystery out of electrical power systems spanning from utility substation equipment to the receptacle in your home, making them come to life. If you can't explain the technology to a young child, then you don't really understand the technology." As an undergraduate in 2015, Mr. Graziani was one of three IEEE PES Scholarship Plus recipients in the Department. .video-container { position:relative; padding-bottom:56.25%; padding-top:30px; height:0; overflow:hidden; } .video-container iframe, .video-container object, .video-container embed { position:absolute; top:0; left:0; width:100%; height:100%; }

Jan
31
2018

Pitt and INSA Lyon Joint Paper Wins Best Student Paper Award at BIODEVICES 2018

Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH (January 31, 2018) … Recognizing an effort to advance personalized and mobile healthcare, a joint paper by engineers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering and the National Institute of Applied Science of Lyon (INSA Lyon) won the Best Student Paper award at the BIODEVICES 2018 conference. The paper, “Building IoT-Enabled Wearable Medical Devices: an Application to a Wearable, Multiparametric, Cardiorespirator Sensor,” describes a sensor capable of remotely collecting and processing data about a patient’s electrocardiogram-based activity and monitoring heart rate variability (HRV) in real-time. “Heart rate is simply the measurement of how many times your heart beats per minute, but heart rate variability measures the time between heart beats. A high HRV is a good sign of cardiovascular health and means your body is adapting well to slow-beating, calm situations as well as fast-beating, intense situations throughout the day,” explained Ervin Sejdić, associate professor with appointments in the Pitt’s departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Bioengineering, and the paper’s co-author. Joining Dr. Sejdić was lead author Arthur Gatouillat, who studied at Pitt while pursuing his master of science degree in electrical and computer engineering. Gatouillat is now a PhD student at INSA Lyon and continues to collaborate with Dr. Sejdić. Bertrand Massot, Youakim Badr, and Claudine Gehin from INSA Lyon were also co-authors of this work. The complete sensor system weighs less than an ounce and uses an Android phone to store data locally and transmit it over the internet. Three electrodes attach to the patient’s right arm, left arm, and the center of the chest. The sensor can measure heart rate, HRV, and the respiration waveform, which provides insight into a patient’s breathing patterns. “We currently plan to use the proposed sensor to investigate gait instabilities in older adults and to understand how we can use the interaction between the cardiovascular system and walking to infer about falls,” said Dr. Sejdić. “However, the proposed sensor can be used for various medical conditions that require monitoring of heart rate variability.” Other sensor systems that are worn on the wrist indirectly measure vital signs with metrics such as motion data or pulse. The authors’ sensor directly calculates HRV with an electrocardiogram signal (ECG) similar to tests done at a doctor’s office or in a hospital. The remote capabilities of the new sensor help avoid unnecessary hospital trips yet continue to monitor patients in case rapid medical response is required. “Based on preliminary analysis, it seems that the proposed sensor is very reliable in comparison to well-established monitoring systems,” said Dr. Sejdić. “We plan to conduct more tests to establish the accuracy of the senor, then later introduce more wireless sensors that can monitor gait.” The BIODEVICES 2018 conference, January 19 – 21, 2018 in Funchal, Portugal, focuses on innovative materials, devices, and systems inspired by biological systems to meet biomedical needs. Decision criteria for paper awards included both the paper quality and an oral presentation at the conference. ###
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jan
29
2018

Swanson School Students Succeed at the Startup Blitz

Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Electrical & Computer, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (January 29, 2018) … The University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute hosted its biannual Startup Blitz where nearly 50 students from across the University presented their ideas and innovations to a panel of peers and entrepreneurial experts. The Swanson School of Engineering students had a strong showing and were represented in each of the top three teams. These teams demonstrated interdepartmental collaborations that proved successful in creating ideas that spoke to fellow entrepreneurs. The top prize went to a project that may look familiar to those who attended the School’s fall semester Design Expo. The Posture Protect team of bioengineering students Tyler Bray, Raj Madhani, Jacob Meadows, and Vaishali Shetty came out on top again. They pitched their prototype for a device that helps improve posture for individuals with Parkinson’s disease to the panel of judges and were presented the first place award of $1,500. The Beacone team pitching their idea. (Photo credit: Pitt Innovation Institute) “I am delighted this team of students and their project from our fall 2017 ENGR 1716 Art of Making class won 1st place at Startup Blitz,” said Joseph Samosky, assistant professor of bioengineering and course director of The Art of Making. “In our course we promote human-centered design, the ability to frame and innovatively solve real-world problems, and how to effectively communicate your ideas to others,” said Samosky. “The Posture Protect team pursued an outstanding design thinking process, and they richly deserve the accolades they’re getting. Their project has real potential to help people with Parkinson’s.” The first runner up team included chemical engineering and Pitt STRIVE student, Henry Ayoola and electrical and computer engineering student, Teddy Valinski. They created Beacone, a safety program for manufacturing plants and construction sites that utilizes a smart device. The team was awarded a prize of $1,000. The Four Growers team presented with their award. (Photo credit: Pitt Innovation Institute) The second runner up team included electrical and computer engineering student, Dan Chi and bioengineering student, Ruben Hartogs. They created Four Growers, an automated device for harvesting tomatoes in commercial greenhouses. They were awarded $500 for their innovation. The Innovation Institute encourages students with entrepreneurial aspirations to apply to the upcoming Randall Family Big Idea Competition. Applications are due February 5. Read the entire news release from the Innovation Institute.

Jan
19
2018

Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania elects Pitt energy expert Dr. Gregory Reed to Board of Directors

Electrical & Computer

PITTSBURGH (January 19, 2018) … Gregory Reed, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, is among the 2018 cohort to join the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania (ESWP) Board of Directors. Dr. Reed is also Director of Pitt’s Center for Energy and the Energy GRID Institute. His research includes advanced electric power grid and energy generation, transmission, and distribution system technologies; power electronics and control technologies (FACTS, HVDC, and MVDC systems); micro-grids and DC infrastructure development, renewable energy systems and integration; smart grid technologies and applications; and energy storage. He earned his PhD in electric power engineering from the University of Pittsburgh (1997); his M.Eng. in electric power from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1986), and his B.S.E.E. with electric power concentration from Gannon University (1985). “I am truly honored to join the ESWP Board, and I look forward to working with my board colleagues in advancing the organization’s mission,” Dr. Reed said. “ESWP and the Swanson School have shared nearly 140 years of advancing engineering in our region, and so I am humbled to be part of that legacy.” About ESWP The ESWP mission is to advance the professions of engineering, architecture, and applied sciences through technical activities, public service participation and social organizations. It also supports the needs of industries, communities and government in western Pennsylvania. Since its founding in 1880, ESWP has continually served as a focal point for the area’s engineering and technical community. Today the ESWP serves more than 800 members and 30 associated technical societies who reflect the richness of the full spectrum of engineering and applied science disciplines. ###

Jan
5
2018

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Vehicle-to-Grid Services

Electrical & Computer

Read the full story at Microgrid Knowledge. All eyes are on Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) as it tests the ability of EVs to help power homes during outages and provide demand response. Will vehicle-to-grid live up to its big promise? Industry insiders are both optimistic and cautious... ...Brandon Grainger, associate director, Electric Power Systems Laboratory at University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, says that large communities of EVs can be used to benefit the grid. If enough generation is available from such a “community,” starting up the grid after a large outage could be easier, he says. “One could coordinate specific electric vehicles to function as generation sources and those that can serve as a load. This thought may help to enhance system resiliency. This capability (acting as source or load) is dependent on the power flow that is exchanged between the car and the grid.” If the car receives electricity, it’s a load, but if it’s sending power to the grid or another vehicle, it’s a generation source, he explains. “This can all be done with the intelligent, high power dense power electronic systems built into the cars themselves,” he says. However, if car owners are expected to participate in such events, utilities need to provide incentives to compensate owners for the use of their vehicles and for discharging their batteries, he adds. “Similar to the tax credits for installing PV generation on homes to generate widespread adoption, an incentive for battery replacement will need to be crafted,” he says. If utility use leads to batteries being replaced more often, disposing of the batteries in an environmentally friendly fashion may be a challenge, he notes. In taking advantage of EVs, utilities need to figure out how to determine whether the batteries are charged enough to help when there is an outage. Systems need to be developed to provide this service, he says.
Llisa Cohn, Microgrid Knowledge

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