Department News

 

Mechatronics 2.737 Gets a Makeover

mechatronics photo

Courtesy of Course 2.737

Mechanical engineering exists at the intersection of several science and engineering fields, so it comes as no surprise that MechE courses reflect that. Course 2.737: Mechatronics, which teaches aspects of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and control theory, is a great example of our cross-disciplinary curriculum. Through a series of lectures and hands-on labs, students learn elements of modeling, control, instrumentation, analog electronics, digital logic, and real-time implementation.

Last year, the graduate-level course (with approximately 20% undergraduates) was updated by Professor David Trumper and lecturer/lab instructor Darya Amin-Shahidi with completely new labs and an improved curriculum. The new labs are based on a unique macro-scale scanned-probe imager, inspired by an atomic force microscope (AFM). The AFM imager uses a novel self-sensing, self-actuating magnetic probe designed and built by Amin-Shahidi and Trumper specifically for the course.

During the term, students are asked to work on various parts of the imager, such as designing motion controllers, building analog current controllers, and programming FPGA devices. In the final two labs, they integrate everything they’ve worked on throughout the course to build a working imager system. This past fall, the students displayed their work during an open house for the course.

 

Viztu Technologies Acquired

Viztu Technologies, founded by MechE PhD student Tom Milnes and Sloan School of Business graduate Ash Martin, was recently acquired by 3D Systems Corporation. Viztu is the developer of several web-based 3D scanning and printing technologies, including Hypr3D, Zeebl, VizScan, and Drink My Face. These Viztu products, the most popular of which is Hypr3D, offer customers the ability to perform 3D scans with proprietary technology, upload them to a web-based site, and request 3D prints. The resulting models can then be used for product visualization, gaming, and reverse engineering, among other things.

 

edX Platform Features Its First MechE Course

We’re pleased to announce that the first MIT MechE course on the edX platform was open for enrollment this spring. 2.01x: Elements of Structure is an online version of 2.01, the introductory-level solid mechanics class in our new flexible 2A program. Beginning on April 15, the course was offered free of charge to the world. Students that complete the assignments and exams receive a certificate of completion. To learn more, visit the course page on edX:

https://www.edx.org/courses/MITx/2.01x/2013_Spring/about

A video with an overview of the course content is also available at: http://youtu.be/iA0gFU4Piy4

 

Danielle Zurovcik Receives CAMTech Innovation Award

Danielle Zurovcik

Photo credit: Tony Pulsone

Dr. Danielle Zurovcik (SM ’07, PhD ’11) started WiCare (Worldwide Innovative Healthcare Inc.) with the goal of bringing high-quality medical devices to low-income countries. The company’s first product, the Wound-Pump, a negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) pump, was recently recognized with an Innovation Award from the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech).

Wound-Pump differs from other NPWT pumps on the market because of its unique materials, application method, and size – and its resulting ability to provide lightweight, low-cost, low-energy therapy. Standard pumps cost approximately $100 per day to overcome their extremely inefficient energy usage, preventing low- and middle-income patients from utilizing the therapy. Because Zurovcik’s Wound-Pump eliminates such energy waste, she is able to provide a pump that costs less than $2 to manufacture and doesn’t require electricity.

WiCare’s Wound-Pump was chosen from among 80 other proposals for its innovative technology, potential for widespread public health impact, and clear path to commercial success. For more information on Zurovcik’s Wound-Pump, visit http://mecheconnects.mit.edu/?p=1647

 

SciAm: Anurag Bajpayee Has Top 10 World-Changing Idea

Post-doctoral associate Anurag Bajpayee, a member of Professor Gang Chen’s lab, had one of the top 10 world-changing ideas in 2012, according to Scientific American. Bajpayee’s work as a PhD student at MIT inspired his idea of directional solvent extraction, or molecular desalination as he likes to call it, for highly contaminated waters, such as those from unconventional oil and gas wells.

While working on a previous project on cryo-preservation at Massachusetts General Hospital, Bajpayee and his team discovered that water was dissolving in soybean oil but soybean oil wasn’t dissolving in water – a strange phenomenon within the context of the “like dissolves like” rule. Used in desalination, a solvent-water pair that defies the rule allows for Bajpayee’s novel process: contaminated water is added to a solvent, the mixture is heated up, and the water is dissolved into the solvent. The contaminants are rejected and removed, and upon cooling, the pure water precipitates out and is collected. The solvent is reused.

Bajpayee is on a continued hunt for ideal solvents and expects to publish a paper in the near future. In partnership with colleagues, he recently formed a company to commercialize this and other water treatment technology (see this article for more information). To read his previous publications on the subject, visit http://rsc.li/1a4VFAE (subscription required).

Read the Scientific American article here: http://bit.ly/Tzb84L

 

MIT IDEAS Global Challenge Awards

Infant Resuscitator

Courtesy of Kevin Cedrone

MechE PhD candidate Kevin Cedrone led one of two top winning teams in this year’s MIT IDEAS Global Challenge. His team’s work, the Augmented Infant Resuscitator (AIR), was awarded $10,000 at this year’s May ceremony. Joining Cedrone on the team are external members Craig Mielcarz, Dr. Santorino Data, and Dr. Kristian Olson. AIR is an inexpensive add-on device that monitors and records resuscitation performance for existing emergency ventilation equipment. It provides real-time feedback to trainers to help improve their resuscitation technique and training practices.

Cedrone’s doctoral research focus is on emissions and efficiency of advanced gasoline engines. He has experience designing and building experiments that include extensive instrumentation of pressure, temperature, and flow systems.

Two other MechE students, Sampriti Bhattacharyya and Stephanie Scott, were part of the Lab-X team that won one of the three Community Choice awards at the IDEAS ceremony. Lab-X promotes socio-economic growth in developing countries through incentive-based educational programs.