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
20
2018

Allderdice Senior Adam Moritz to Present Research Paper at Biomedical Conference

Electrical & Computer, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (February 20, 2018) … Pittsburgh-area high school students have an opportunity to contribute breakthrough medical research, train for careers in STEM fields, and on rare occasion, present their work at international forums for leading researchers and professionals.Adam Moritz, a senior at Taylor Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill, is presenting his research from the University of Pittsburgh Computer Science, Biology and Biomedical Informatics (CoSBBI) program to the Biomedical and Health Informatics 2018 (BHI ’18) conference in Las Vegas, Nev. this March.“Adam worked on writing machine learning algorithms to interpret data about patients’ swallowing mechanisms,” said Ervin Sejdić, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. “There are more than 100 neuro-muscular events taking place during each swallow, which typically lasts less than a second, so it’s a fairly complex mechanism.” Dr. Sejdić holds a secondary appointment in bioengineering and studies swallowing difficulties called “oropharyngeal dysphagia.” He and his team use accelerometers and microphones placed outside the throat to collect data about what’s going on inside.People with dysphagia risk inhaling food or liquid and developing an infection called aspiration pneumonia. The potentially fatal condition is prevalent in up to 75 percent of patients in acute care and nursing homes; affects half of the annual 800,000 U.S. citizens who suffer from stroke; and adds nearly $500 million to U.S. health care costs per year.“Adam’s research shows a machine can make distinctions between thick and thin liquids based on our recordings of patients swallowing. His work contributes greatly toward our understanding of dysphagia and how different variables affect the data from the recordings,” said Dr. Sejdić.Dr. Sejdić supervised Moritz during the program and advised Moritz to submit his research to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) BHI ’18 conference.“It’s not very common for a high school student to have a research paper accepted at a conference like BHI,” said Dr. Sejdić. “He may be the first one.”The CoSBBI program is part of the larger UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Summer Academy, which provides high school seniors with eight weeks of research-focused learning at six laboratory sites. At the end of the program, participating scholars present their projects as oral presentations and in a poster session. “The UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Academy gives a diverse group of students the opportunity to participate in authentic and impactful research under the mentorship of University faculty and trainees, like Dr. Sejdić, who are the champions of the Academy and give selflessly of their time, effort, and resources,” said Dr. David Boone, executive director of the Academy and assistant professor of biomedical informatics at Pitt. “We are proud of Adam and all of our students. In addition to presenting at national symposia, many students have also published research papers in peer-reviewed journals, have won prestigious science fairs, awards, and scholarships, and have continued research as they enter college.”Moritz joined CoSBBI after his AP Physics teacher Janet Waldeck introduced him to the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Academy.“I knew I wanted to do something academically last summer. When my teacher told me about the summer academy, it really caught my eye as a unique opportunity,” said Moritz. “I didn’t really have a lot of experience in research, but I knew I wanted to try it.”Moritz continues to work with Dr. Sejdić and explore how machine learning can benefit dysphagia research as part of his AP Research course at Allderdice. After graduation, Moritz plans to study computer science and math in college. In the meantime, he is taking advantage of how research helps him prepare for college and a future in STEM.“There are a lot of times when the next step of the research isn’t clearly mapped out for me, so I have to teach myself how to continue. It’s more of a fluid learning experience than typical classroom learning,” said Moritz. ###
Matt Cichowicz and Leah Russell
Feb
16
2018

Undergraduate Students Awarded at the Engineers’ Society of Western PA Annual Banquet

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

PITTSBURGH (February 16, 2018) … Last night as engineers from across the region gathered to attend the 134th Annual Engineering Awards Banquet of the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania (ESWP), the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering announced its recipients of the George Washington Prize. This year’s recipient is Le Huang, an undergraduate student in bioengineering and an active member of the Swanson School community during her time at Pitt. Huang works as a research assistant in the Cardiovascular Systems Laboratory where she is developing a MATLAB-based mathematical model of the human cardiovascular system. Prior to that, she worked in the Cognition and Sensorimotor Integration Laboratory and has been a teaching assistant for several bioengineering and chemistry courses. Additionally, Huang is involved in Pitt’s Society of Women Engineers (SWE) where she serves on the executive board, co-chairs the Women in STEM Conference, and acts as an outreach activity leader for K-12 students. Pitt’s award-winning SWE chapter organizes events around the city of Pittsburgh to young women to explore STEM opportunities. Finalists for the George Washington Prize are Isaac Mastalski (Chemical Engineering) and Adam Smoulder (Bioengineering). Semi-finalists are Jennifer Cashman (Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science) and Sean Justice (Electrical and Computer Engineering). “The Swanson School is proud to recognize Le and the other finalists for their outstanding accomplishments at Pitt,” said Gerald D. Holder, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering at Pitt. “Le and her colleagues are very deserving of this competitive award, and we think they will be successful Pitt Engineering alumni.” The George Washington Prize, founded in 2008, honors the first President of the United States and the country’s first engineer. Its mission is to reinforce the importance of engineering and technology in society, and the enhance the visibility of the profession across the Swanson School’s engineering disciplines. The annual award recognizes Pitt seniors who display outstanding leadership, scholarship and performance as determined by a committee of eight professional engineers and Swanson School faculty. Winners receive a $2500 Dean’s Fellowship and award plaque. An additional $7,500 is awarded to the winner if he or she attends graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh. Founded in 1880, ESWP is a nonprofit association of more than 850 members and 30 affiliated technical societies engaged in a full spectrum of engineering and applied science disciplines. Now in its 134th year, the annual Engineering Awards Banquet is the oldest award event in the world - predating the Nobel Prize (1901), the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal (1907), and the Pulitzer Prize (1917).

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.

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