Dear MechE Alumni and Friends,
As engineers, we passionately follow our curiosities and delight in new discoveries and inventions. But we are also driven by a desire to do good in the world and make a positive lasting impact on the lives of others.
We feel it is our duty to leave the planet in better shape than we found it and are lucky enough to have the opportunity to do so. Faculty members and students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering are working to build practical solutions to global challenges, whether that be clean energy, water and food shortages, security issues, transportation challenges, or environmental concerns.
Conventional wisdom says that users in developing countries can’t afford the steep prices of high-tech products and that pre-existing solutions simply need to be stripped down and repriced, regardless of how useless or unreliable they may become as a result. But MechE faculty members don’t agree. They have traveled around the world and interacted with all types of people. They know that the most valuable solutions are considerably more multi-faceted than a rote process of cutting, stripping, and pasting.
In this issue, you will read about how Professor Ghoniem and his group are working in rural India to develop optimized devices for biomass energy usage and storage. You will hear about Associate Professor Maria Yang and her researchers’ processes for user-centered design for emerging markets, and Associate Professor Rohit Karnik’s search for a portable blood analysis device. Assistant Professor Amos Winter describes his research group’s collaboration with users and stakeholders throughout the design process, from the initial stages of brainstorming to delivering the final product.
You will also hear of our many exceptional students and their passion for helping those in need throughout the world.
Of his educational collaborations with Skoltech University and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), Professor Warren Seering has said, “We’re in competition with ignorance, and all universities are on the same team.” Extending this metaphor, we are in a competition against poverty, sickness, aggression, danger, and poor quality of life – and we’re all on the same team.
As always, thank you for your continued support.
Gang Chen, Carl Richard Soderberg Professor of Power Engineering and Department Head