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Fulton Schools In The News

August

2022
  • The 5 Best Online Degree Schools To Consider For a Career in Cybersecurity

    The 5 Best Online Degree Schools To Consider For a Career in Cybersecurity

    While job openings in cybersecurity are expected to keep increasing at a steady pace, employers are also requiring potential employees to have an expanding array of the necessary skills. ASU is among the leading institutions of higher education offering a full range of extensive instruction in cybersecurity and related science, engineering and technology fields, both on campus and online. The Fulton Schools offer a computer engineering degree with a cybersecurity specialization and an electrical engineering degree with a focus on embedded systems and cyber-physical systems. There are also individual courses on network defense, cyber intelligence, and computer systems networking and security.

  • Stories from the Most Innovative School in the US

    Stories from the Most Innovative School in the US

    Three Fulton Schools faculty members are featured in this look at successful approaches to research leadership that produces innovation and fosters creativity. Associate professor of chemical engineering and Fulton Entrepreneurial Professor Mary Laura Lind is lauded for work for ASU’s Biodesign Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors, the Mayo Clinic and the multi-university center for Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment. Professor Ed Kavazanjian is cited for his internationally recognized work on landfills, solid waste and geotechnical earthquake engineering, including his lead authorship of the Federal Highway Administration’s guidance document for seismic analysis, geotechnical transportation facilities and structural foundations. Professor Edd Gibson has proven his research leadership skills in collaborations with the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

July

2022
  • Large language models can’t plan, even if they write fancy essays

    Large language models can’t plan, even if they write fancy essays

    For all of the expanding capabilities of artificial intelligence, or AI, technologies, some aspects of their applications fall short of impressive advances. Fulton Schools Professor Subbarao Kambhampati explains how large language models that seem to be talented at writing essays are nonetheless underperformers in work that requires high-level methodical planning and are capable of only the illusion of substantive reasoning abilities. Kambhampati, a former president of the international Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, digs beneath the seemingly robust abilities of these emerging AI systems and finds the hype about their effectiveness isn’t backed up by what they are actually achieving. He suggests the use of a stringent benchmark for determining the true value of certain AI tools.

  • ASU researchers to address local air-quality concerns

    ASU researchers to address local air-quality concerns

    Growing accumulations of airborne dust and microorganisms, and the atmosphere’s thickening ozone layer are raising worries about their threat to human health in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Matt Frasier, a Fulton Schools professor and researcher in ASU’s Urban Climate Research Center will work with a colleague in the university’s School of Molecular Sciences on a deep study of those sources of air pollution with the aim of diminishing their impact and providing the region’s population with cleaner air to breathe. They’ll join Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona researchers, and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to study the airborne pollutants that can cause respiratory and other health problems. Herckes will employ his expertise in environmental chemical analysis. Fraser’s expertise includes urban air quality, sources and control of air pollution and atmospheric monitoring instrumentation.

  • Efficient ‘Tree’ Pulls Carbon From Thin Air

    Efficient ‘Tree’ Pulls Carbon From Thin Air

    The MechanicalTree — made possible by years of research and development led by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner and his team of engineers and scientists in ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions — is the primary technology being developed as the centerpiece of the carbon farms that the entrepreneurial Carbon Collect venture wants to place next to manufacturing and industrial plants to consume the carbon emissions coming from these operations. The plan is to mass produce the trees to enable extraction of hundreds of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The goal is to help clean the air of harmful pollutants and instead use the captured carbon to feed micro algae that can be used to produce fuels and other valuable products.

  • State leaders say Arizona will emerge as a leading science and technology center thanks to Chips bill

    State leaders say Arizona will emerge as a leading science and technology center thanks to Chips bill

    The new School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks, one of the seven Fulton Schools, is poised to play a major role in realizing the goals of the New Economy Initiative. Under the initiative plan, ASU is planning to establish three science and technology centers to work with industry to advance the state’s semiconductor sector. Drawing on research talent in the Fulton Schools, ASU President Michael Crow says the university will not only aid Arizona’s emergence as a leader in the manufacturing, design and development of advanced microchips, but also expand research efforts aimed at producing manufacturing systems innovations. (The full content of the Phoenix Business Journal is available only to subscribers.)

  • Partnership for Economic Innovation Secures Funding for Wearable Technology Research

    Partnership for Economic Innovation Secures Funding for Wearable Technology Research

    As a key partner with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation, Startup AZ Foundation, and the city of Phoenix, the Fulton Schools is expanding a promising wearable technology biomedical ecosystem in Arizona. The WearTech Applied Research Center has been developing paths to commercialization for wearable technologies to help people with walking disabilities, develop a fetal monitor to detect compromising health issues and create a wearable phototherapy device for treatment for thrush, a debilitating fungal yeast infection. Such success has helped to attract sufficient funding to enable the center to more than double it research projects in recent years.

  • ASU scientists find molecular clues behind traumatic brain injury

    ASU scientists find molecular clues behind traumatic brain injury

    Fulton Schools Associate Professor Sarah Stabenfeldt has led a new research study by ASU scientist and biomedical engineers that is revealing some of the first detailed molecular clues of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, one of the leading causes of death and disability such as long-term cognitive and behavioral deficits. It’s a growing public health concern, affecting more than 1.7 million Americans, including many children and young adults.  The research may begin to explain why people who have had a TBI are more susceptible to developing neurodegenerative diseases and could provide a foundation for the next generation of TBI therapeutics and diagnostics. The article is also published on AZ BIO, the Arizona Bioindustry Association website.

  • The Slow Bake of Our Infrastructure

    The Slow Bake of Our Infrastructure

    Continuing to build infrastructure using designs of past decades is a recipe for failure, writes Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering and director of ASU’s Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering. We are now in an era of rapid climate change in which heat waves are no longer few and far between, he says, and without more heat-resilient infrastructure our energy, transportation, water and cooling systems, as well as public health, will be at high risk. As more places around the world see frequent record-breaking high temperatures, Chester says it’s time to not only accelerate efforts to begin developing heat-resistant infrastructure but to also develop strategies to deal with the inevitable failure of today’s infrastructure systems in the wake of continuing climate change.

  • It’s so hot in Europe that roads are literally buckling

    It’s so hot in Europe that roads are literally buckling

    Recent record-breaking heat waves are revealing a troubling reality that few places in Europe are built to withstand the heat that climate change is causing. Roads are buckling and railroad tracks are bending under the abnormally high temperatures. Climate scientists are warning of a potentially increasing threat to the lives of people and animals. Fulton Schools Professor Mikhail Chester, director of ASU’s Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering, said countries must get more serious about making changes that reduce the stifling impacts of urban heat islands and find other solutions that will help cities become more resilient against increasingly sizzling environments.

    See Also: Heatwave: Can we redesign cities to cope with extreme temperatures? Mikhail Chester interviewed on BBC Newsday “Sounds” program

  • ASU entrepreneurs develop smart street cameras

    ASU entrepreneurs develop smart street cameras

    Traffic cameras powered by artificial intelligence technology are being seen as way to make roads safer and traffic flow more efficient. Researchers Mohammad Farhadi and Yezhou Yang in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, one of the seven Fulton Schools, have created a self-contained, solar-powered traffic camera that uses on-board computer vision, a type of artificial intelligence, to identify and classify what it sees. By refining these technologies they hope to fashion a system that helps to prevent traffic accidents, and reduces traffic congestion and travel times. In partnership with the city of Phoenix Street Transportation Department, the cameras will be installed at two busy downtown intersections for a one-year pilot program. The article was also published on the City of Phoenix news website, in the Business Telegraph (United Kingdom) and by AZ Big Media.

  • Q&A: ASU, industry partners collaborate to create factories of the future

    Q&A: ASU, industry partners collaborate to create factories of the future

    Arizona’s New Economy Initiative, a plan to grow and develop the high-tech industry through the state, will be aided by work at each of the state’s three public universities. ASU already has plans to build five new science and technology centers as part of the effort. Dhruv Bhate, an associate professor in the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks, the newest of the seven Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU, talks about plans for the university’s new Advanced Manufacturing Science and Technology Center and its role in support of the New Economy initiative, which will include building working relationships with industry to help foster innovation and create the high-tech jobs of the future.

  • Getting off the bus: CATS has plans to bring riders back after massive drop. Will it work?

    Getting off the bus: CATS has plans to bring riders back after massive drop. Will it work?

    Challenges facing Charlotte, North Carolina in efforts to boost ridership on its bus service reflect similar circumstances in other urban areas in the country. The city wants to see people riding buses more and driving automobiles less to help protect the environment by reducing carbon emissions. But Fulton Schools Research Professor Steven Polzin, a civil engineer who worked for the U.S. Department of Transportation, says adding more bus routes and more frequent service have not been shown to be sure-fire ways of increasing ridership. Still, the city hopes to fund a new light-rail line along with more bus service and build a bus fleet that would run on electric power rather than diesel fuel. See related story: Getting off the bus: How Charlotte Transit lost 75% of its passengers in less than a decade

  • 2 ASU experts join climate change national security panel

    2 ASU experts join climate change national security panel

    Experts are forecasting increasing drought and crop failure around the world in coming decades, prompting the organizing of a new national Climate Security Roundtable to assess and address those risks and advise the nation’s Climate Security Advisory Council. Among experts chosen for the roundtable is Nadya Bliss, a professor of practice in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, one of the seven Fulton Schools, and director of ASU’s Global Security Initiative. She will be joined by Vernon Morris, director of ASU’s School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, a former director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Center for Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology.

  • Solar Panel Recycling Is About To Become BIG Business

    Solar Panel Recycling Is About To Become BIG Business

    Solar energy panels installed 20 or more years ago are coming to the end of their productive lifespans and need to be replaced. Fortunately, progress is being made in the recycling of solar panel materials. One independent international energy research company predicts demand for recycled solar photovoltaic panel components will skyrocket and forecasts that those recyclable materials will be worth $2.7 billion. Fulton Schools Professor Meng Tao, whose expertise includes terawatt-scale solar photovoltaics, is among researchers working to ensure recycling of solar panel materials can be achieved in ways that minimize negative environmental impacts, reduce waste and avoid high costs and the need for using large amounts of energy in recycling processes.

  • How to block hackers from stealing your passwords

    How to block hackers from stealing your passwords

    The importance of creating a strong line of defense against hackers attempting to obtain passwords has never been more critical. Experts like Fulton Schools Associate Professor Adam Doupé, director of ASU’s Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics, warn that control over personal email, social media accounts and online banking can be threatened without passwords that are carefully crafted to prevent cybertheft. Password management systems are designed to help users maintain password security. The expense of such systems and the efforts to keep passwords from being stolen are preferable to having to recover hacked accounts, Doupé says.

  • Scottsdale medical technology company Aural Analytics lands $1.4M grant

    Scottsdale medical technology company Aural Analytics lands $1.4M grant

    ASU Associate Professor Visar Berisha, who has a joint appointment in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of the seven Fulton Schools, is a co-founder the Aural Analytics company, and helped build sound technology that taps into the physics of speech signals. That technology has now led to Aural Analytics being awarded a $1.4 million National Institutes of Health grant to help develop a new analytics tool for clinical speech language pathologists. The technology promises to provide more accurate measurements to help specialists identify neurological health problems, including disease and injuries, before other symptoms arise. Berisha’s research focuses on developing and applying new machine learning and statistical signal processing tools to better understand and model signal perception.

  • Rags to riches? How trash at landfills can be recycled into energy as flammable gas

    Rags to riches? How trash at landfills can be recycled into energy as flammable gas

    Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane that absorb energy from sunlight and trap in the atmosphere — causing environmental problems — are continuing to accumulate. A lot of those gases are emanating from waste materials people produce. New findings show the damage being caused is increasing. But a solution to reversing the trend may come from recycling efforts to turn trash into treasure. Fulton Schools Professor Bruce Rittmann, director of ASU’s Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, sees potential in a plan to capture greenhouse gases to put them to productive use. But Rittmann cautions that there will be challenges. While the concept of such carbon capture and reuse is a simple one, the execution of such an operation can encounter complications, he says. (Access to the full content of the Arizona Republic is available only to subscribers.)

  • ASU’s SolarSPELL digital libraries help teachers in Ethiopian refugee camps

    ASU’s SolarSPELL digital libraries help teachers in Ethiopian refugee camps

    Teachers in many of the world’s refugee camps are facing a lack of training and resources, the threat of displacement and a global pandemic. The work of Associate Professor Laura Hosman,  an affiliate faculty member in The Polytechnic School, one the seven Fulton Schools, is making such challenges a bit easier to overcome. Through an ASU Education for Humanity project, her SolarSPELL devices are helping teachers in refugee camps in Ethiopia conduct classes in their native language. The device is a solar-powered portable library providing educational content developed by Hosman, whose work focuses on information and communications technology for developing countries. The SolarSPELL project began in 2015, when Hosman challenged ASU engineering students to create a solar-powered library small enough to fit into a backpack.

  • Eco-Friendly Homes

    Eco-Friendly Homes

    Providing affordable, efficient and sustainable homes is a particularly big challenge in the country’s current economic situation. Supply chain issues and rising property costs and materials prices are among the big hurdles to home building and ownership. But some builders, construction experts and researchers are making strides in overcoming the obstacles.  Innovations like foam building materials and 3-D printed construction blocks are being developed, among other similar products. Narayanan Neithalath, a professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the seven Fulton Schools, says there are promising advances in his research areas, including sustainable construction materials, innovative materials processing technologies, and novel designs of new building infrastructure materials that can help manage construction costs.

  • ASU engineering graduates create toy hack website

    ASU engineering graduates create toy hack website

    Two recent ASU graduates who earned their mechanical systems engineering degrees through the Fulton Schools put their skills in robotics to productive use in a recent toy hack. Isabella Bushroe and Bridget Koehl made the most of the opportunity at the Makers Making Change event at the Arizona Science Center. They contributed their engineering knowledge to modifying toys to make them suitable for children with physical challenges and other impediments to overcome. Bushroe and Koehl had developed and hosted two toy hacks as undergraduates and even made toy hacking the focus of their honors thesis project for ASU’s Barrett, the Honors College. They used their experience as the basis for a website about hosting toy hack events.

  • Top 10 US colleges offering a Master’s in Sustainability

    Top 10 US colleges offering a Master’s in Sustainability

    ASU is among the top three universities in the U.S. — joining Harvard and Tufts universities — in this ranking of master’s degree programs in sustainability. ASU is highlighted for the Fulton Schools Master of Science in Sustainable Engineering program. The multidisciplinary program designed for professionals and graduate-level students with engineering and physical science backgrounds offers courses in energy systems, water, transportation or earth systems engineering, industrial ecology, environmental technologies, sustainable technology systems and more. Sustainability education is also integrated into other Fulton Schools and ASU graduate programs in science, engineering, resource management, community development, public policy and more.

  • One of the best tools for predicting COVID-19 outbreaks? Sewage.

    One of the best tools for predicting COVID-19 outbreaks? Sewage.

    Since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than two years ago, testing of untreated wastewater has been used to detect and track pandemic outbreaks. Medical providers and health agencies have been relying on the testing to guide decisions to ramp up detection efforts, vaccination programs and other efforts to respond to the public health threat.  Pioneers of the advanced wastewater monitoring include Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden (pictured) and his research team at ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering. Before the pandemic, Halden and the team used the testing to tract opioid use in the community and later identified a COVID-19 hotspot in the area to help guide a response from community health care workers.

June

2022
  • Humanity on wheels

    Humanity on wheels

    “Jenny’s Trailer,” a yellow 20-foot-long travel trailer with the invitation to “Come Cool Down With Us” near its door, can be seen at parks and other locations in Tempe this summer. It’s part the city’s collaborative project with Arizona State University called HOPE — Homeless Outreach Prevention Effort — that is working to give the local homeless population some respite from the heat during this season of 100-degree-plus temperatures. The project enlisted the help of ASU’s Healthy Urban Environment Initiative, which then recruited a team from the Fulton Schools Engineering Projects in Community Service program to do work on the interior design elements of the heat-relief trailer.

  • EU rules device chargers must use USB-C by 2026. What it means for U.S. consumers

    EU rules device chargers must use USB-C by 2026. What it means for U.S. consumers

    A European Union ruling means manufacturers like Apple and Samsung must standardize ports on chargers for their electronic devices in the next few years. The same USB-C connector will need to be used for all charging cables for phone, laptop and earbud chargers. The change is certain to impact U.S. consumers. Uniformity of connectors will offer advantages but likely also cause confusion for consumers, says Fulton Schools Associate Professor Ted Pavlic. Standardized connectors could result in chargers working better for some devices than for others, and the change is likely to create more electronics waste as people dispose of old charging cables, says Pavlic, whose expertise includes electrical and computer engineering. (Photo: Pixabay)

  • Chip companies are scrambling to hire college students dazzled by software dollars

    Chip companies are scrambling to hire college students dazzled by software dollars

    Startup microchip fabrication plants need tens of thousands of new skilled workers, challenging companies to convince college graduates to resist the attraction of working for big international tech companies that have been scooping up many U.S. students and graduates. Isaiah Morris, a Fulton Schools chemical engineering grad student, is an example of the young workers startup companies must lure to realize their plans for future expansion and to help the U.S. reduce dependency on tech operations in other countries. Michael Kozicki, a Fulton Schools professor of electrical engineering and teacher for more than three decades, gives his perspective on current job market trends and what is drawing students and graduates to specific high-tech opportunities.

  • ASU Gives Us Deeper Look Into Solar Car Competitions

    ASU Gives Us Deeper Look Into Solar Car Competitions

    ASU’s Sun Devil racing team is preparing to take its vehicle to the 2023 American Solar Challenge national competition. Team members are applying what they’ve been learning in their courses about automotive engineering, structural mechanics, aerodynamics, fluid dynamics, computer-aided design and modeling, prototyping, testing simulations, solar-powered battery systems circuitry and more. The team’s captain, Fulton Schools mechanical engineering graduate student Ayman Hangalay, credits the Fulton Schools curriculum for providing the fundamentals in many areas of engineering and technology that students have been drawing on to build their solar-powered vehicle. Read more: A solar-powered learning experience

  • New probes gather real-time algae information in CAP canals

    New probes gather real-time algae information in CAP canals

    Probes powered by solar energy and connected to a computer terminal that sends out data like a cell phone are being used to monitor conditions in the Central Arizona Project canal system. The probes can detect changes in algae in the system’s water sources, says Taylor Weiss, a Fulton Schools assistant professor and researcher with the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation. Through a partnership with an environmental and industrial analytical technologies company, Weiss and his team are testing water in more than 300 miles of the canal system. The sensor system will alert researchers to emerging algae problems that could threaten the quality of the water that serves a large population of users — including many Arizona farmers. The article is also published in the Casa Grande Dispatch.

  • Amazon’s Alexa could soon speak in a dead relative’s voice, making some feel uneasy

    Amazon’s Alexa could soon speak in a dead relative’s voice, making some feel uneasy

    A new feature of Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa is an ability to speak in a real person’s voice, which is making some people uncomfortable. That’s because the device can be programmed to use the voices of deceased persons, like departed family members. Response to the idea on social media included “creepy” and “morbid.” Subbarao Kambhampati, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science, says the reactions can be instructive. Amazon’s demonstration of the voice-replicating tool should make the public more aware of the growing capability of using synthetic voices, Kambhampati says, and should remind us that in a world of these technologies we cannot rely solely on our own ears to discern the true source of what we are hearing. He was also interviewed on the topic on the “Morning Wave Busan” radio program in South Korea.

  • Triple major ASU alumna uses interdisciplinary skills to research causality

    Triple major ASU alumna uses interdisciplinary skills to research causality

    Rachael Kha is finishing up work this summer to earn a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the Fulton Schools. It will be added to the bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering she also earned in the Fulton Schools as a student in ASU’s Barrett, The Honors College — along with undergraduate degrees in economics and philosophy. Kha says what she’s learned in each of these disciplines has enriched her overall educational experience, and provided knowledge that’s the foundation for her unique master’s thesis exploring applications of paradigms derived for philosophy combined with the use of engineering design in development of new technology. Next, she will pursue at doctoral degree in social and engineering systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Study: We Can’t End Car Dependency Without Disincentivizing Driving

    Study: We Can’t End Car Dependency Without Disincentivizing Driving

    Experts can make a strong case for the benefits of altering our traditional travel choices. But getting public officials and the general public to change continues to be a big challenge, says Fulton Schools Professor Ram Pendyala, a transportation engineer and director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. Even where there are good incentives for moving away from car-centric lifestyles to more environmentally sustainable choices, there’s still not much willingness to make the switch, Pendyala says. Now, he and his colleagues have devised a list of 12 things shown to influence mobility choices, which could be a guide for policymakers to mount stronger efforts to incentivize a break away from conventional modes of transport.

  • ASU students commit to action on pressing issues

    ASU students commit to action on pressing issues

    A child of immigrant parents who have depended on her to be a mediator between them and their physicians, Anika Attaluri (pictured) knows the obstacles non-English-speaking and minority communities face when seeking health care. Now a second-year Fulton Schools biomedical engineering student, Attaluri is joining fellow global health major and student in ASU’s Barrett, The Honors College, Abdi Maleka, a second-year biological sciences student, in a Clinton Global Initiative University effort to establish a community of young leaders committed to developing innovative solutions to the world’s pressing social challenges. Attaluri and Abdi will be starting a nonprofit organization called Jigsaw Health to increase health literacy among minorities and eliminate disparities in health care in Arizona.

  • Social Media’s Latest Trend

    Social Media’s Latest Trend

    A newly developed artificial intelligence, or AI, tool called DALL-E is both exciting people about its creative capabilities while also worrying them about the ramifications of its potential misuse. DALL-E can take information and directions vocally from humans and use what it hears to produce images, illustrations and depictions of what people have described to it. Fulton Schools Professor Subarrao Kambhampati, a former president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, says DALL-E represents a significant step forward in AI technology that should be recognized as an impressive advance that can augment human creativity. At the same time, he says, it’s raises concern about its potential use in creating “deep fakes” and other manufactured images intended to spread false information.

  • Enabling next-generation Space IoT with a unified memory architecture

    Enabling next-generation Space IoT with a unified memory architecture

    Today’s increasingly challenging technological advances require ever deeper expertise in a wider range of engineering and science fields, especially when developing new technologies and systems to operate in different environments — like outer space. To produce a unified memory architecture to work in space, for instance, requires skills in radiation-effects mitigation, field-programmable gate arrays, synthetic aperture radar, mega-constellations of Space IoT micro satellites and spin torque transfer magnetoresistive random access memory solutions, to name a few. Among leaders of a current endeavor involving these tools and systems is Paul Armijo, chief technology officer of aerospace and defense at Avalanche Technology, a specialist in radiation effects, among other things, who earned his degree in electrical engineering at ASU.

  • Could Arizona be at risk for rolling blackouts this summer? ASU expert weighs in

    Could Arizona be at risk for rolling blackouts this summer? ASU expert weighs in

    Summer days in Phoenix that can bring temperatures exceeding 110 degrees are when we don’t want to see power outages that can cause threatening rolling blackouts. But conditions for outages and blackouts to occur at this time of year are at their peak, says Anamitra Pal, an assistant professor in the Fulton Schools electrical, computer and energy engineering program. A recent report says about two-thirds of the United States could experience these blackouts this summer — a possibility heightened by the impacts of climate change. Pal says strategic interventions are needed — including more use of renewable resources to increase the power supplies in energy systems to help prevent those total blackouts.

    See Also: Feeling the heat? It could get worse this summer — and the summer after, ASU News, June 10
    Feeling the heat? Here’s how it could get worse this summer, AZ Big Media, June 16
    Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Anamitra Pal is interviewed about how climate change, post-pandemic energy demand and war raise the risk of dangerous rolling electrical blackouts.

  • Pesticides Are Spreading Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals,’ Scientists Warn

    Pesticides Are Spreading Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals,’ Scientists Warn

    With strong molecular bonds that can take centuries to break down in the environment, toxic “forever chemicals” are a threat to human and environmental health.  Their presence is increasing because they are being used in most pesticides that came into the market in recent years. With these chemicals also being in many consumer products, including clothing, the toxins they contain are showing up in drinking water and our bloodstreams. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, is among experts warning of the growing risk of exposure to the toxic substances. Researchers say it could take decades before we see the impacts of these fluorinated pesticides being sprayed on crops.

  • AI as (an ersatz) Natural Science?

    AI as (an ersatz) Natural Science?

    On the Association for Computing Machinery blog, Subbarao Kambhampati (pictured), former president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, writes about the fluctuating movement of the artificial intelligence, or AI, field across the boundaries of engineering and science. The science of AI has involved attempts to provide insights into the nature of human intelligence, while AI engineering has focused on getting computers to demonstrate intelligent behavior. But lately, Kambhampati writes, the pendulum has swung toward AI and its turn toward becoming a tool of natural science, raising talk about the future of computing belonging more to biology rather than logic. That trend will no doubt bring up ethical questions about the aims toward which AI technologies are deployed and where engineering will end up fitting into an AI-driven world.

  • Universities partner to make chemistry more equitable

    Universities partner to make chemistry more equitable

    Among Black, Latino, Hispanic, American Indian and Alaska Native college students, more than 40% typically withdraw from or fail general education courses, hindering their higher education pursuits. To reverse that trend, ASU and Carnegie Mellon University are partnering to develop general chemistry courseware designed to help those students. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Rod Roscoe, a human systems engineer and a Diane and Gary Tooker Professor of Effective Education in STEM, will be among leaders of the effort. A major goal of the project is to create an innovative approach to teaching chemistry in ways that help students see personal and cultural connections to the field.

  • “A Homerun:” How Arizona became the global manufacturing hotspot

    “A Homerun:” How Arizona became the global manufacturing hotspot

    Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is building a $12 billion fabrication plant in the northern Phoenix area and plans to hire 2,000 people to work there. Meanwhile, the Intel company is building two new semiconductor plants south of Phoenix, an expansion that will open up 300 new jobs at the sprawling high-tech center. These are only two of the new ventures expanding Arizona’s fast-growing advanced manufacturing scene, which in addition to semiconductors will also focus on electric vehicles, battery technology, renewable energy, aerospace and more major industry sectors. Helping to lure these ventures is the state’s deep talent pool, which includes the more than 25,000 students enrolled in engineering education programs in the Fulton Schools. (Content for the article sponsored by the Arizona Commerce Authority.)

  • ASU student with Tucson ties making big moves with Apple

    ASU student with Tucson ties making big moves with Apple

    Fulton Schools computer science student Joshua Tint (pictured) is now reaping big benefits from what he learned as a member of the robotics teams he joined during his elementary school through high school years. During a recent final exam week at ASU, Tint was able at the same time to apply skills in robotics to develop an app to help people determine what names and pronouns work best for them. The app recently made him one of the 300 winners of Apple’s worldwide Swift Student Challenge. He was also among the students selected for an invite to demo his app for Apple developers. He’s doing an internship this summer in Tucson involving software for medical equipment and is planning to eventually earn a doctoral degree.

    Read more about Tint’s work and professional aspirations on Apple.com’s Newsroom: Apple’s WWDC22 Swift Student Challenge winners help communities through coding

  • From somebody to nobody: TSMC faces uphill battle in US talent war

    From somebody to nobody: TSMC faces uphill battle in US talent war

    Large construction crews and equipment are gathered daily at two sites in the Phoenix metropolitan area. A $12 billion semiconductor chip fabrication is being built at one site for the TSMC company. A $20 billion expansion is underway at an Intel plant at another site. Both are racing to have the expansive new facilities fully operational within about two years. The two industry giants are competing for new workers from the local talent pool — primarily ASU engineering students in the Fulton Schools. Intel’s longstanding relationship with ASU makes the competition tougher for TSMC in the current competitive market for new employees, says Professor Kyle Squires, dean of the Fulton Schools. But TSMC is recruiting heavily on campus and working on establishing research and training program collaborations with the university, says Fulton Schools Associate Professor Zachary Holman. The article is also published in S.G.C. and the Leak Herald.

  • The pandemic showed us how interconnected we are. Will our climate response reflect that?

    The pandemic showed us how interconnected we are. Will our climate response reflect that?

    Scientists who authored recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other publications say pandemics and climate change are shared global problems — and that solutions must also come from a global perspective. Slowing climate change could help prevent another pandemic. One potential approach for addressing this challenge is being explored by a research group led by Gautam Dasarathy, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering. The project teams experts in computer science, math, geography, public policy and even media and the arts. Dasarathy says examining the problem from those various viewpoints could yield insights into effective ways to simultaneously deal with climate change and pandemics. (Access to the full content of the Arizona Republic is available only to subscribers.) The article is also published in USA News Lab.

May

2022
  • ‘It’s almost like the whole city was built with it’: Thousands of Tempe homes could have expired pipes

    ‘It’s almost like the whole city was built with it’: Thousands of Tempe homes could have expired pipes

    Up to 90 percent of the homes in Tempe could be at high risk of major sewage backups in the near future. After a recent pipeline break that released several million gallons of water and closed much of a major freeway across the city, officials reported that deteriorating sewage pipes in the area could potentially lead to similarly troublesome leaks or ruptures. Pipes used to connect residences to the city’s public sewer systems between 1940 and 1970 are now past the age of their average lifespans, says Samuel Ariaratnam, a professor and chair of the Fulton Schools construction engineering program. Everything from small cracks to extensive collapses of those older pipelines are now an evident threat, says Ariaratnam, who was recently appointed to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s pipeline advisory committee. The news was also reported in U.S. News & World Report, KTAR News, Claims Journal, USA News Lab, Your Valley, KJZZ News (NPR), The Miner, Tempe in Motion, Arizona Daily Sun, News Break, Daily Independent, Underground Construction

  • UB-led team advances cyber-manufacturing systems with $2.3 million NSF grant

    UB-led team advances cyber-manufacturing systems with $2.3 million NSF grant

    A multi-university reach team is working to help modernize manufacturing systems. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project aims to help industries — including semiconductor manufacturing and 3D printing — improve their quality, production and efficiency. Co-principal investigators on the team include Fulton Schools faculty members and researchers Rong Pan and Guilia Pedrielli. Pan is an associate professor and Pedrielli is an assistant professor, both of them in the School of Computing and Augmented intelligence, one of the seven Fulton Schools. The project is focused on advancing Industry 4.0, a term used to describe a fourth industrial revolution that revolves around intelligent and interactive manufacturing ecosystems that integrate product design, production and logistics.

  • ASU research examines new method for diagnosing African swine fever

    ASU research examines new method for diagnosing African swine fever

    Without an effective treatment or vaccine for African swine fever, or ASF, an outbreak of the disease can devastate swine herds. But work led by Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Chao Wang in ASU’s Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics is showing promise for a new and improved method for early diagnosis of ASF. Wang’s research combines nanoscience and biotechnology, and his expertise includes medical point-of-care biosensing technologies. This project involves design and validation of a portable diagnostic sensing device using metal nanoparticles with different optical characteristics to find ASF biomarkers. Wang and his colleagues have funding from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to pursue further development of their diagnostic test. The article is also published in Farms.com, News-Medical.net and Science Magazine.

  • Abu Dhabi University Previews Sustainable Smart Construction and Concrete 3D Printing in the Third Edition of the ADU-ASU Research Forum

    Abu Dhabi University Previews Sustainable Smart Construction and Concrete 3D Printing in the Third Edition of the ADU-ASU Research Forum

    Engineers and scientists tackling challenges of sustainable smart construction and design for projects using concrete in hot-weather environments recently gathered at Abu Dhabi University (ADU), the largest engineering college in the United Arab Emirates. ADU collaborated the School of Sustainable Engineering and Built Environment, one of the seven Fulton Schools at Arizona State University, for the ADU-ASU Research Forum 2022. Students from both universities learned about innovative concepts in sustainable construction and advances in the use of 3D printing technology to solve major industrial challenges. Fulton Schools Professor Narayanan Neithalath said the forum offered students valuable learning experiences while promoting research collaborations between educational institutions. News about the event is also published in the Eye of Dubai, Abu Dhabi University news, Emirates News Agency—WAM, Zawya, Eye of Riyadh, Write Caliber and Albawaba.

  • Why farms are falling behind on autonomous technology

    Why farms are falling behind on autonomous technology

    As transportation, manufacturing and other industries boost use of advances in automation and autonomous technologies, agricultural operations remain slow to take advantage of increasing opportunities to automate. Rene Villalobos, a Fulton Schools associate professor of industrial engineering who studies innovation in agriculture, says both agriculture businesses and consumers of farm products can benefit from new high-tech tools and systems that would make growing, harvesting and delivering food to the marketplace more efficient, economical and environmentally sustainable. And while using new technology will enable streamlining supply chains and bringing logistics to agricultural operations, Villalobos doesn’t foresee the automation that would be involved in those ventures displacing agricultural workers but instead creating news kinds of jobs for them in the industry.

  • California is beginning to bury its power lines to prevent wildfire

    California is beginning to bury its power lines to prevent wildfire

    To reduce the threat of wildfires, Pacific Gas and Electric is embarking on an extensive and expensive project to put its high-risk electrical power distribution lines underground. The company’s equipment has been faulted for sparking intense and wide-ranging wildfires in Northern California in recent years that have led to numerous fatalities and devastating property destruction. Even with the high cost, the project is a smart move, says Professor Samuel Ariaratnam, the Fulton Schools construction engineering program chair. He and other engineers point out the necessity for the project because of the intensifying impact of global warming in creating conditions to ignite wildfires. Ariaratnam is a leading expert in an evolving underground construction technique called horizontal directional drilling that could be used in this project. The technique can significantly save time and effort in restoring terrain disrupted by underground power line installations.

  • Flagstaff Seeks Carbon Capture Technology to Meet 2030 Climate Goals

    Flagstaff Seeks Carbon Capture Technology to Meet 2030 Climate Goals

    Progress is being made in developing systems to remove polluting greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and the city of Flagstaff and at least one other municipality in its region of the country are anxious to put those systems to use to protect their environments from the impacts of climate change. Flagstaff is part of the Four Corners Coalition, along with local governments of towns and cities that include Boulder County, Colorado, which also plans to obtain the new carbon capture technology. Flagstaff’s climate and energy coordinator is working with ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions State, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner, to deploy the technology. The city could be one of the first in the United States to implement a climate plan that involves both capturing and storing carbon dioxide.

  • How much phosphorous is safe for our streams and rivers?

    How much phosphorous is safe for our streams and rivers?

    The federal government and the state of Arkansas are going to court over issues revolving around the amount of the mineral phosphorous that can be contained in water coming from local sewer treatment systems. Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Rebecca Muenich, an agricultural and biological engineer, explains how this issue can impact water quality and the health of people, aquatic habitats and agricultural ecosystems, as well as shape governmental precedents for land management and environmental regulations.

  • Steelmaking is a major source of emissions. These companies are racing to fix it.

    Steelmaking is a major source of emissions. These companies are racing to fix it.

    Pollution from domestic steel mills accounts for about 15 percent of carbon emissions in the United States. But the steel industry is trying to reduce its carbon footprint. Companies are testing prototypes of systems that could enable manufacturing steel without the use of fossil fuels that have detrimental environmental impacts. Experts say this will require big changes in how steel is now made. Each potential solution faces challenges in terms of costs and the availability of key resources, says Professor Sridhar Seetharaman, the Fulton Schools vice dean for research and innovation, whose expertise is in materials science and engineering. Seetharaman says a mix of different methods will likely be needed to achieve major carbon emissions reductions.

  • Simple Gene Circuits Hint at How Stem Cells Find New Identities

    Simple Gene Circuits Hint at How Stem Cells Find New Identities

    How do body cells that are genetically identical become some of the many different kinds of cells found in complex organisms, like humans? A system designed by Xiao Wang, a Fulton Schools associate professor of biomedical engineering, helps make a step forward in understanding the ways nature tells cells how to differentiate into other kinds of cells — a process that helps generate the variety we find in biology and nature. The knowledge could help researchers learn how to control cells’ growth and change. Scientists and engineers see the possibility of introducing cells into patients that are engineered to develop in ways that are useful in diagnosing or treating diseases.

  • Algae could help fuel the future. But it’s not easy being ‘green’

    Algae could help fuel the future. But it’s not easy being ‘green’

    Researchers with ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner, are working with the city of Mesa to turn the byproducts of wastewater treatment into fuel and other useful products. Justin Flory (in picture), the center’s associate director, is managing the project that involves harnessing the way that algae works naturally in the process of breaking down human-produced wastewater. In that process, microalgae takes in carbon dioxide from the waste, which essentially feeds the microalgae and can enable it to help produce useful algae-based biofuels. Flory and other researchers see those biofuels and other uses of algae playing big roles in supporting sustainable sources of energy, as well as helping reduce the negative impacts on the environment from emissions produced by wastewater treatment. (Access to the full content of the Arizona Republic is accessible only to subscribers.)

  • Rice University Researches Ammonia Removal From Wastewater

    Rice University Researches Ammonia Removal From Wastewater

    A recently developed catalyst that can pull ammonia and solid ammonia from low levels of nitrates found in industrial wastewater and polluted groundwater promises to enable a process to yield drinkable water from those sources. Christopher Muhich, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of chemical engineering, helped researchers from Rice University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory create the catalyst. The process it enables would help reduce carbon dioxide emissions from traditional industrial production of ammonia. Using further treatment of this kind on other water contaminants could potentially clean up industrial wastewater enough to make it safe for drinking. See the earlier post below, “Process aims to strip ammonia from wastewater,” dated May 3, for more coverage of this research news.

  • COVID-19 wastewater efforts confront long-term questions

    COVID-19 wastewater efforts confront long-term questions

    Wastewater monitoring and testing has been emerging as an effective way to reveal public health trends. Wastewater surveillance programs in particular have been helping communities track the outbreak and spread of COVID-19. Still, ramping up such efforts is often difficult because they can require substantial funding and a variety of resources, as well as political support and expanded government services. Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Otakuye Conroy-Ben, an environmental engineer, is facing some of those obstacles in her work to recruit Native American tribal organizations to implement wastewater monitoring. While making some significant progress, Ben and her team are encountering administrative, cultural, geographic and economic obstacles to getting those projects up and running. The article was also published in The Mercury News,

     

  • In Chelsea, cooling an urban heat island one block at a time

    In Chelsea, cooling an urban heat island one block at a time

    As cities increasingly face longer and more intense hot weather, some are undertaking efforts like the heat-fighting Cool Block project in Chelsea, Massachusetts. More shade-producing trees are being planted and dark asphalt and heat-reflecting concrete are being replaced by white or gray concrete or other materials that reduce heat emanating from sidewalks and roadways. White roof surfaces are being installed over darker surfaces that hold heat. Larger U.S. cities — including Phoenix, Philadelphia and New York — are making strides in developing “cool corridors” that use a variety of techniques to battle the urban heat-island effect. Experts like Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel, an urban climatologist, are advising communities on these efforts to help ensure sound science and engineering principles are guiding these endeavors. 

    See Also: American Innovators: How America’s Hottest City is Handling the Heat (YouTube)

  • Explainer: What are PFAS?

    Explainer: What are PFAS?

    Perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances, or PFAS chemicals, are fully synthetic – meaning they’re not found in the natural world. They’re called “forever chemicals” because they are extremely resistant to either chemical and biological degradation. Experts, including Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, an environmental engineer who directs ASU Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, explain that while PFAS substances work well in many consumer products they can also be a threat to human and environmental health. Engineers and scientists are working on ways to remove PFAS chemicals from environments where they present serious threats.  They want to see use of more “green chemistry” — which has useful properties, but will become benign in the environment or quickly break down.

  • Biden’s cure for high gasoline prices? The 2021 infrastructure bill

    Biden’s cure for high gasoline prices? The 2021 infrastructure bill

    President Joe Biden says some solutions to rising gas prices are outlined in his legislative bill aimed at upgrading the nation’s infrastructure, including its transportation systems and travel options. Some proposed projects would lower demand — and prices — for gasoline, but take years to have a significant affect, some experts say. Making electric vehicles more affordable and mass transit more accessible would help, but still take as long as a decade, critics point out. Fulton Schools Research Professor Steven Polzin says parts of the president’s plan would alter the fuel supply-demand situation and likely help reduce prices, but adds that energy pricing is highly connected to a global market and that cutting demand in any one country would have only a modest impact on lowering oil prices.

  • The Southwest’s Drought and Fires Are a Window to Our Climate Change Future

    The Southwest’s Drought and Fires Are a Window to Our Climate Change Future

    The future of the fastest growing region of the United States, the Southwest, will be shaped by a new and different climate reality. And that is going to present big challenges. The Earth’s atmosphere has reached its highest concentration of carbon dioxide in history. That buildup is a major factor in the growing number of more intense fires and droughts. Environmental engineers and scientists are predicting those dramatic events could become more frequent and severe as climate change progresses. Fulton Schools Professor Mikhail Chester, director of ASU’s Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering, and other experts say current designs for our infrastructure systems don’t adequately address difficulties that will be presented by the emerging extreme climate conditions. The rise of the heat-island effect and similar climatic alterations could threaten power systems, water systems and the stability of communities. Chester and others say our society has long gotten away with  planning, designing and building things for a relatively stable environmental reality. But today and in the future — especially in places like the Southwest — we need to become flexible in responding to rapidly changing ecosystems.

    See Also: Activist Group Says U.S. Insurers Trying to Weaken Climate-Related Regulations, Insurance Journal, May 12
    Mikhail Chester comments on the critical need to respond to climate change challenges in the design and construction of new infrastructure projects.

  • ‘Possible cracks’ close the McClintock bridge over the US 60 in Tempe

    ‘Possible cracks’ close the McClintock bridge over the US 60 in Tempe

    Arizona Department of Transportation officials are particularly concerned about the failure of a major water pipeline near the U.S. 60 freeway in Tempe. In addition to necessitating the closure of a long stretch of the freeway, the pipeline break may have also caused cracks in the foundation of an overpass of a major road — McClintock Drive — above the freeway. The steel cyclinder pipe that broke is expected to last for about 75 years, a Tempe spokesperson said, but was only 50 years old when it broke. But such breaks are not rare, says Professor Samuel Ariaratnam, who heads the Fulton Schools construction engineering program. Ariaratnam cites research that found there are an average of 25 breaks per 100 miles of water pipeline — adding up to about 850 breaks per day in North America. The Phoenix area, for instance, is thought of as a young metropolitan area with newer infrastructure systems, but in fact has some water lines that are about a century old, he says. Ariaratnam was recently appointed to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s pipeline advisory committee.

    See also: Eight-million-gallon water main break could cause more problems underground, ABC 15 News (YouTube), May 11

    Water main break located, but no ETA for US 60 reopening in Tempe, 3TV/CBS 5 News-Phoenix, May 9

    No timetable yet for reopening US 60 in Tempe following water main break, ABC 15 News-Phoenix, May 11

  • The human health observatory in our sewers

    The human health observatory in our sewers

    Advances in wastewater testing are expanding ways in which public health can be monitored — and the ways the spread of contagious diseases can be tracked. That capability has been especially important during the outbreak of the COVID pandemic. Work at ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, led by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and his team, has helped to open up new aspects of wastewater epidemiology to provide critical information about the transmission of COVID and other health threats. Progress by the center’s researchers and other experts in the field around the world is leading to establishment of wastewater surveillance systems that can alert local health agencies to the rise of diseases. Officials can then use the data to make decisions about allocating resources to help combat outbreaks. Halden says wastewater analysis can also provide information that can be used to proactively guide people in adopting healthier lifestyle habits.

     

  • First ‘MechanicalTree’ installed on ASU’s Tempe campus

    First ‘MechanicalTree’ installed on ASU’s Tempe campus

    The first commercial-scale “MechanicalTree” is being installed on a test pad on ASU’s Tempe campus. The creation of the university’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner, the “tree” has the capability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making it a potentially vital tool in helping to reduce the environment-threatening impacts of climate change. Lackner is working with Carbon Collect Ltd., a company that is using Lackner’s pioneering carbon-capture ideas to manufacture commercially available devices for carbon dioxide removal.  When fully operational, the MechanicalTree on campus is expected to remove about 200 pounds a day of the carbon dioxide that is trapping heat in the atmosphere and causing global warming. See previous posts on this page — dated May 5 and April 22 — for more news coverage of the MechanicalTree technology.

  • Viruses in Hiding: He got throat cancer even though he was never a smoker. The cause? An HPV infection

    Viruses in Hiding: He got throat cancer even though he was never a smoker. The cause? An HPV infection

    Researchers are discovering the development of long-term diseases — including cancer — can be triggered by a complex combination of genetics, virus dynamics and environmental factors. Studies of diseases like those related to the human papillomavirus, or HPV, are revealing not only how illnesses arise and progress but also ways in which they could be treated or prevented. Work contributing to deeper understanding of the root causes of diseases and other disorders and how to combat them is being done in ASU’s Biodesign Center for Health Through Microbiomes, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, an environmental engineer. She and her team are studying the intricate workings of ecosystems in the body to determine how they are tied to our health. The research has led to promising results, such as transplants of human gut bacteria that could help children with autism. (Access to the full content of the Arizona Republic is accessible only to subscribers.)

     

  • With Charlotte back to work, more people are riding light rail. But local bus ridership isn’t growing.

    With Charlotte back to work, more people are riding light rail. But local bus ridership isn’t growing.

    The waning of the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing some workers back to offices in a time of rising gasoline prices. Those two factors appear to be attracting more riders to mass transit light rail lines —but not necessarily to buses, streetcars and other modes of public transportation. Fulton Schools Research Professor Steven Polzin, a civil engineer who specializes in transportation, says it’s difficult to ascertain precisely where public transit trends are moving. He expects that many workers won’t return to offices full time and other sources of ridership will be hard to find. He foresees overall mass transportation ridership nationwide increasing in the coming year, but not by more than about 60 percent.

  • Can ASU’s MechanicalTree remove enough carbon to slow climate change?

    Can ASU’s MechanicalTree remove enough carbon to slow climate change?

    Researchers at ASU Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner and Travis Johnson, one of the center’s associate directors, are focused on contributing to endeavors to slow climate change and avoid the environmental problems it could cause. One of the primary efforts involves maximizing the effectiveness of the carbon-capturing technologies the center’s team has been developing. A prototype of one kind of that technology — trademarked as the MechanicalTree — was recently installed on a small lot next to ASU’s Biodesign Institute. Recently commercialized by Carbon Collect Inc., a renewable energy manufacturer, the MechanicalTree is one of six projects funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to slow the effects of carbon dioxide in the environment. The goal is to build “tree farms” in the coming years to capture 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide a day.

  • Your Take-Out Coffee Cup May Shed Trillions of Plastic ‘Nanoparticles’

    Your Take-Out Coffee Cup May Shed Trillions of Plastic ‘Nanoparticles’

    A thin plastic film is used to line the inside of paper coffee cups helps keep the coffee hot and prevent it from leaking through the cardboard. But there’s concern about the tiny particles of plastic — called microplastics — that leach into the coffee and may have adverse health effects. Recent lab test results published in the research journal Environmental Science and Technology find the lining releases more than 5 trillion plastic nanoparticles per liter when hot liquid is poured into a 12-ounce single-use cup. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, says these nanoparticles are small enough to slip into our bloodstreams and get lodged in the body’s tissues and organs. At present, Halden says, researchers lack the tools to measure precisely what is happening with the ingested plastic particles and to be certain where the particles are going and what they may be doing. One recent study, however, raises hope for a new method designed to reveal the impact of these microplastics. The article is also published in HealthDay.

  • Process aims to strip ammonia from wastewater

    Process aims to strip ammonia from wastewater

    Christopher Muhich, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of chemical engineering, has teamed with researchers at Rice University and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to develop a high-performance catalyst that can pull ammonia and solid ammonia – in other words, fertilizer — from low levels of nitrates that are widespread in industrial wastewater and polluted groundwater. The achievement could open a path to advanced treatments of contaminants that can potentially enable turning industrial wastewater into drinking water. Another benefit of the process the research team has developed is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from traditional industrial production of ammonia.

    News about the project also appears in Science Daily, AZO Materials, FuelCellsWorks, Innovations Report, Technology Networks, Technology.Org, News Explorer, 24HTECH, NewsBreak, Swifttelecast, New On News, Genius Interactive, Phys.Org, Chem-Europe, WaterWorld, Nano Magazine, Water Online, Research News, Materials Today, Chemical Online, ISS Source

  • 2 ASU professors appointed as first-ever Navrotsky Professors of Materials Research

    2 ASU professors appointed as first-ever Navrotsky Professors of Materials Research

    Significant contributions to materials science and engineering have earned Fulton Schools Associate Professor Candace Chan (pictured at left in photo) one of ASU’s first Navrotsky Professor of Materials Research positions.  The professorship has been made possible by a $10 million gift bequest from Alexandra Novrotsky, the director of ASU’s Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe, to ensure the long-term growth of materials science at the university. Chan plans to work with other researchers on engineering materials solutions for decarbonization, sustainable and clean energy, and critical materials needed for important technological applications. Chan’s fellow new Navrotsky Professor, Dan (Sang-Heon) Shim (pictured at right in photo), a professor in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, will join her in efforts to drive progress in the fields of materials research and solid state science.

  • The Surprisingly Complicated Physics of Carrying a Cup of Coffee — Without Spilling

    The Surprisingly Complicated Physics of Carrying a Cup of Coffee — Without Spilling

    A significant technological advance could be achieved if robots could be enabled to handle a cup of coffee with the same dexterity humans can. Whenever we take our coffee from one place to another without spilling it, we are accomplishing a feat of physics that is not common to other creatures and machines like robots. Work on advances in robotics to make that possible is being done by researchers, including Fulton Schools Professor Ying-Cheng Lai and doctoral student Brent Wallace. The endeavor involves some very precise and advanced electrical, mechanical and computer engineering. Lai and Wallace are hopeful about finding ways to make robot movements more predictable, reliable and adaptable. They say success in their work could lead to better prosthetics and ways to more effectively synchronize the operations of technologies in general.

April

2022
  • We’re Flushing Some of Our Best COVID Data Down the Toilet

    We’re Flushing Some of Our Best COVID Data Down the Toilet

    While overall cases of the viral COVID-19 are down, it is still critically important to keep track of when and where the disease might be reemerging, especially as new variants spread and potentially trigger new surges of infections. Monitoring of COVID-19 breakouts has been made more effective by advances in wastewater testing led by researchers such as Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Halden’s wastewater testing in Tempe and surrounding areas led to identifying a previously undocumented virus hotspot in the neighboring town of Guadalupe, home to a large number of Native American and Latino residents who often did not have access to COVID-19  tests. Halden and others are still working to improve the effectiveness of their techniques, and experts expect this kind of testing to remain important for the detection and monitoring of any future pandemics.

  • ‘A tipping point’: Arizona universities join forces to map the deadly Valley fever fungus

    ‘A tipping point’: Arizona universities join forces to map the deadly Valley fever fungus

    About two-thirds of the cases of the potentially fatal respiratory disease known as Valley Fever are typically contracted in Arizona — and about 80 percent of those cases are in Maricopa County, which includes the greater Phoenix area. Now there’s a major effort in motion to address the problem. Researchers from Arizona’s three state universities — including Fulton Schools faculty members and graduate students — are teaming up through the new Valley Fever Collaborative to find ways to suppress the spread of the disease. Miriam Woolley, a graduate research assistant in the civil, environmental and sustainable engineering program, is testing a spray application developed to form a protective layer over the surface of the earth to prevent dust from rising into the atmosphere and spreading the disease. The Valley Fever Collaborative is expected to build on work like that being done by Woolley and her team.

  • A sharper image for proteins

    A sharper image for proteins

    Proteins in the form of strings of amino acids are essential for the growth and maintenance of human body tissue. They initiate thousands of biochemical reactions, and protect the body from pathogens through the immune system. To better understand proteins and their functions, Fulton Schools Associate Professor Shaopeng Wang (pictured), a researcher in ASU’s Biodesign Center for Bioelectronics and Biosensors, has helped to develop sophisticated means to see and study them through advanced microscopy by improving light detection, imaging software and the integration of advanced hardware systems. A recent study by Wang and ASU colleagues describes a new technique that cold revolutionize the imaging of proteins and other vital biomolecules. That would mean being able to visualize these tiny entities with unprecedented clarity and by simpler means than existing methods. This breakthrough could lead to safer and more effective medicinal drugs.

  • Groundwater pollution may be an overlooked aspect of Arizona water issues

    Groundwater pollution may be an overlooked aspect of Arizona water issues

    There’s growing concern about potential contamination of Arizona’s groundwater — an especially valuable resource because of the state’s dry climate. Add to that worries about water in private wells, much of which contains one or more kinds of pollutants, says Rebecca Muenich, a Fulton Schools associate professor of environmental engineering. Arizona’s continuing growth poses a challenge to keep sources of environmental contamination in check. And with the state still going through a long-term drought, officials are focusing on trying to ensure there are adequate quantities of water. But Muenich stresses that if the water is of poor quality, then having an abundant supply won’t solve any major problems.

  • CHART-ing the future of space exploration

    CHART-ing the future of space exploration

    People, robots and artificial intelligence technology will be able to collaborate more effectively if researchers in ASU’s General Human Operation of Systems as Teams Lab, also known as GHOST, are successful. Constructed by ASU’s Center for Human, Artificial and Robot Teaming, or CHART, the GHOST Lab is a center of activity for research aiming to make advances enabling productive interactions between AI, robots and humans in health care, manufacturing and transportation, as well as in defense technologies and space exploration. The research is led by CHART’s director, Fulton Schools Professor Nancy Cooke. A cognitive psychologist, Cooke is applying her expertise in human teamwork and decision-making to human-technology teamwork — including collaborating on space missions. There’s much room for improvement in the capabilities of robotic and AI technologies to work successfully with people in a variety of situations, Cooke says. But it’s a critically needed step forward that could determine if humans make any significant progress in space exploration in years to come.   

  • ASU leads 4-university effort to work with industry on vehicle efficiency, sustainability

    ASU leads 4-university effort to work with industry on vehicle efficiency, sustainability

    Improved energy efficiency and environmental sustainability are two of the key advances the National Science Foundation, or NSF, wants to see in automobiles and automotive technologies. One way the foundation is supporting that goal is by funding some of the work at the Center for Efficient Vehicles and Sustainable Transportation Systems, led by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Hongbin Yu. In the new NSF-funded project, the center will engage in research with automotive companies to develop ways to reach energy and sustainability goals. Yu says the plan is to aid the companies in achieving significant reductions in emissions from internal-combustion engines and better energy efficiency. At the same time, the center’s researchers plan to help automotive companies position themselves for conversions from the use of polluting fossil fuels to cleaner and more efficient electric power.

  • ASU professor wins $1M DoD grant to boost AI technology

    ASU professor wins $1M DoD grant to boost AI technology

    Improving the way computers discern various kinds of images is the focus of new research to be done for the U.S. Department of Defense by ASU’s Geometric Media Lab, led by Pavan Turaga, a Fulton Schools professor and director of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. The research involves developing robust applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence to specifically enable more accurate and relevant identification of objects and their environments in the various kinds of images. The challenge is to expand the abilities of computers to reliably identify objects in images by teaching the computers to pay attention to the objects’ shapes, along with other important details. This will help the military, for instance, in deciphering what is in certain types of images provided by drones, which are more frequently used to gather information for military and defense purposes. Turaga says the project will benefit from the collaboration of the arts, media and engineering program and the Fulton Schools electrical, computer and energy engineering program.

  • AIs Spot Drones with Help from a Fly Eye

    AIs Spot Drones with Help from a Fly Eye

    Unauthorized drones in commercial airspace are causing more frequent problems around the world. As these remotely piloted flying machines become ever cheaper and more accessible, there is growing concern they will become increasingly disruptive. Now a group of researchers has developed a special detection system to help stop troublesome drones.  They’ve come up with an algorithm designed by reverse engineering the visual system of the hoverfly. These flies, like some other kinds of buzzing insects, have extremely keen vision and fast reaction times. Such abilities stem from their compound eyes, which take in a lot of information simultaneously, and from the neurons that process that information — which are very good at separating relevant signals from meaningless noise. Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ted Pavlic, associate director of research for ASU’s Biomimicry Center, says the achievement by these scientists is yet another valuable example of how much can potentially be learned from nature about signal processing.

  • Can a mechanical ‘tree’ help slow climate change? An ASU researcher built one to find out

    Can a mechanical ‘tree’ help slow climate change? An ASU researcher built one to find out

    A pioneering effort by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner (pictured) and his team at ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions  has provided the carbon capturing technology called the Mechanical Tree. It is touted for its ability to absorb large amounts carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and thus become a major tool to help curb climate change that could threaten some dire consequences for the Earth’s environment. Lackner is now working with Dublin-based Carbon Collect Ltd. to make the mechanical trees commercially available. Carbon Collect has a U.S. Department of Energy grant to design three large carbon capture farms in the American South, Midwest and West. Lackner says carbon capture technologies are necessary to balance the Earth’s carbon budget and help the world stay below 2 degrees of global warming. Growing use of the Mechanical Trees and similar systems might also encourage major polluters to start using carbon capture systems.

    See Also: Mechanical ‘tree’ planted at Arizona State University in hopes of fighting climate change, KTAR News, April 22

    Mechanical ‘tree’ at Arizona State University built to help fight climate change, FOX Weather, April 28

    Chemistry in Pictures: Mechanical Trees, Chemical & Engineering News, April 29

    Carbon Collect Unveils Mechanicaltree™ In Partnership With Arizona State University – Watts Up With That? Soft Educator, April 25
    The article was also published in Newsplaneta, Waseca Foods, 6Park News/Arizona and Science X Network

  • ASU Native American student Shundene Key wins NSF award

    ASU Native American student Shundene Key wins NSF award

    A National Science Foundation Research Fellowship grant is giving ASU doctoral student Shundene Key an opportunity to expand her research on proteins and how they function in the human immune system. The project could reveal ways to treat diseases by controlling proteins’ activities within the immune system. A member of the Navajo Nation, Key chose ASU in part because of its resources for Native American students. Along with help from ASU’s American Indian Student Support Services and American Indian Graduate Student Association, she was aided by Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Otakuye Conroy-Ben, a member of South Dakota’s Ogala-Lakota tribe. Conroy-Ben, the first Native American scientist Key had met, has provided her mentorship and a sense of belonging within the ASU community that is helping Key reach her goals.

  • Electric cars generate interest as gas prices soar

    Electric cars generate interest as gas prices soar

    There’s growing consensus among business communities, industry leaders and government policy makers about the necessity of transitioning from motor vehicles that emit greenhouses gases to more environmentally sustainable automobiles powered by electricity. Despite that realization, there are many steps that need to be taken to make that transition effectively, says Fulton Schools Research Professor Steven Polzin, a former senior adviser in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Infrastructure must be put in place to provide adequate charging stations and other services for electric vehicles, along with establishing regulatory standards, price regulations, and safety and maintenance standards to support electrification, Polzin says. To adequately produce a positive environmental impact, he adds, the transition to electricity must go beyond household vehicles to trucks, buses, delivery vans and other kinds of large and numerous commercial and industrial motor vehicles. (Access to the full content of the Arizona Capitol Times is available only to subscribers.)

  • No more masks on planes, trains, and buses — for now

    No more masks on planes, trains, and buses — for now

    Debate is swirling about the potential impacts of a federal judge’s decision that the federal mask mandate initiated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic exceeded the authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fulton Schools Research Professor Steven Polzin, a civil engineer who focuses on transportation, says the ruling may result in more ridership on mass transit if people who stopped using public transportation return to it because the mask mandate has been lifted. Still, he doesn’t foresee a dramatic rise in ridership because many people will feel uncomfortable and at risk of their health if they use transit options where many other riders are maskless. On the other hand, he says tensions may ease between public transit users who have complied with mask mandates and those who have not. The change could also alleviate stress for transit systems employees who won’t have to enforce compliance with mandates.

  • How wastewater can help scientists track new COVID-19 variants

    How wastewater can help scientists track new COVID-19 variants

    As the COVID-19 virus continues to mutate into variant strains, there remains the potential for widespread outbreaks of new forms of the deadly disease. One way in which emerging variants might be detected is the advanced wastewater testing techniques that have been developed in recent years by scientists and engineers, including Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and his research team at ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering. These techniques can extract the genetic blueprint of the coronavirus from water in waste treatment facilities, enabling researchers to put together a picture of the prevalence of the virus in local communities. Public agencies and health organizations could then be alerted to deploy resources to track the virus and take actions to protect people in the area from the disease.

  • Will a Fast Train to Vegas Lure Road Trippers From Their Cars?

    Will a Fast Train to Vegas Lure Road Trippers From Their Cars?

    Las Vegas business and civic leaders are seeing more frequent traffic snarls that frustrate visitors who drive into the city to enjoy its many gaming and entertainment attractions. There’s concern that Vegas may soon lose many of those visitors and the income the city derives from them because of the massive traffic jams. Now a company wants to help solve the problem by bringing in visitors on a speedy climate-friendly rail line with amenities like free internet. But some see risks in such a privately financed intercity passenger rail system with a high price tag.  Fulton Schools Professor Steven Polzin, a civil engineer who has experience as a U.S. Department of Transportation adviser, cautions that it could be a fine line between whether such a system will become an asset or a drag on the cities’ financial outlook.

  • Interplanetary Initiative Lab student worker lands job at Blue Origin

    Interplanetary Initiative Lab student worker lands job at Blue Origin

    A Fulton Schools mechanical engineering graduate student will soon be leaving ASU after receiving his master’s degree and stepping into a job as a thermal analysis and management engineer for the leading aerospace company Blue Origin. That opportunity is due primarily to the experience Matthew Adkins (pictured) has gained since becoming part of the team at ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative Lab in 2020. His role enabled him to work on a project for NASA, network with industry professionals and move other projects forward from the concept to testing stages. At Blue Origin, he’ll assist on one project the relates to work he performed for his master’s thesis and be involved in the Orbital Reef, a project for which the university’s Interplanetary Initiative Lab is providing academic leadership.

  • First ‘Mechanical Tree’ installed on ASU’s Tempe campus

    First ‘Mechanical Tree’ installed on ASU’s Tempe campus

    Carbon capture technology developed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner and his research team at ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions is widely seen as among the most promising tools for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and thus helping to limit the impacts of environment-threatening climate change. Now, one of the first commercial-scale, capture-capturing “Mechanical Trees” is being installed on ASU’s Tempe campus. It’s part of efforts to publicly demonstrate the effectiveness of the innovative system with the larger goal of accelerating a global movement to reduce carbon emissions to combat the effects of global warming and similar problems that negatively impact the quality of life and health on the planet. Lackner is working with the business venture Carbon Collect to provide commercially available carbon dioxide removal devices.

    See Also: World’s FIRST Mechanical Tree ‘Planted” in Tempe, and It Sucks. In a Good Way, Phoenix News Times, April 19

    Dublin company unveils ‘mechanical tree’ for capturing CO2, Silicon Republic, April 19

    ASU plants ‘mechanical tree’ on Tempe campus to remove carbon dioxide, The Business Journals, April 19

    Dublin company unveils ‘mechanical tree’ for capturing CO2, Tribunal Inquiry, April 19

    Mechanical Trees Capture CO2 at ASU Tempe Campus, ABC 15 New Arizona, April 18

    Carbon Collect unveils first mechanical tree, The Chemical Engineer, April 21

  • How Arizona expertise could help solve global water challenges

    How Arizona expertise could help solve global water challenges

    Arizona’s history of advancing water engineering and science goes back almost 2,000 years ago, when the Hohokam people developed an extensive irrigation system that extended for hundreds of miles and supported a productive society. Today, research at the state’s universities is contributing to water systems innovations and advances in water-related technologies. Among the most inventive and potentially impactful is SOURCE Global, founded by Cody Friesen, a Fulton Schools associate professor of materials science and engineering. His company’s unique system uses a solar-powered device to extract moisture from the air that can be turned into drinking water. The hydropanels that accomplish the conversion eliminate the need for obtaining operating power from an electric grid, which enables the system to be more easily installed anywhere in the world that has adequate access to  sunlight.

  • Valley Fever Collaborative awarded $3M in research

    Valley Fever Collaborative awarded $3M in research

    ASU scientists and engineers will join those at the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University in a series of projects designed to gather detailed data on Valley fever in the state. The infectious disease affects thousands of people in Arizona every year — about two thirds of all Valley fever infections in the United States. Fulton Schools Professor Matthew Fraser will join Pierre Herckes, a professor in ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences, to lead one of the new Valley Fever Collaborative’s projects. The work will involve collecting and analyzing dust particles and other kinds of particles in the air at locations near Valley fever hot spots. Fraser and Herckes’ goal will be to determine the physical and biological characteristics of the particles and understand the nature of airborne Valley fever transmission. The results of the effort should help determine effective ways for people to avoid exposure to the disease.

  • ASU’s mechanical trees could make a dent in climate change

    ASU’s mechanical trees could make a dent in climate change

    Despite our knowledge that carbon emissions increase the growing risks from the effects of climate change that threatens the world’s environment, those emissions continue to increase. That is leading to calls to deploy carbon capture technologies sooner rather than later to help solve the problem. Among those technologies with the most promise of being effective are the mechanical trees first developed by ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner. The system works by attracting carbon dioxide like a magnet and absorbing it like a sponge. It is then stored underground or repurposed to make various products. Gary Dirks, chairman of Carbon Collect, commercial partner of the mechanical tree project, says the increase in carbon emissions appear likely to continue, so it’s time to accelerate efforts to put mechanical trees to work as soon, and in as many places, as possible.

  • ASU student awarded inaugural carbon capture scholarship

    ASU student awarded inaugural carbon capture scholarship

    Chemical engineering and biochemistry student Riley Seminara (in center in photo) has won the Martin Hudson Scholarship for Carbon Capture and Sustainable Energy that will enable him to pursue more education and research in those areas. Carbon capture is one of the methods most touted as an effective way to combat the increase in the growing environment-threatening carbon emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere. The captured carbon is seen as potential source of renewable energy. Seminara is already conducting research in using hydrogen gas to reduce carbon dioxide accumulations. He is currently doing research with ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences Associate Professor Ryan Trovitch, who says Seminara’s knowledge of both chemistry and chemical engineering put him in a unique position to make meaningful contributions to the carbon capture field.

  • Two ASU students win Red Bull Basement Global competition for note-taking app

    Two ASU students win Red Bull Basement Global competition for note-taking app

    Fulton Schools students Brinlee Kidd and Sylvia Lopez have won the Red Bull Basement Global innovation competition for their idea that led to development of the software for Jotted, a note-taking app that helps students organize information they need for their studies. The app finds and highlights important information in class notes and also provides links to websites that can offer more context to the information in class notes. Kidd, an informatics student, and Lopez, an industrial engineering student, topped more than 180 contest applicants from around world to the earn the Red Bull prize. Once their venture is profitable, the company’s founders say a portion of the income will be invested in local communities to provide laptop computers as learning tools for young students.

    See Also: ASU Student Team Gets First Place in Red Bull-Sponsored Competition, The State Press

  • Recycling doesn’t keep plastic out of our stomachs, lungs, or blood, experts say

    Recycling doesn’t keep plastic out of our stomachs, lungs, or blood, experts say

    The longtime and widespread use of plastics as containers and in a vast number of other consumer products has resulted in growing accumulations of tons upon tons of plastics waste around the world. The outcome is that microplastics are abundant in our water, food and air — and, as researchers have found, in our bodies — including in our organs and blood. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and other environmental engineers and scientists now say that recycling efforts are falling short as an effective method to reduce our exposure to microplastics and the dangers they present for human health. Halden and fellow experts say industries must start replacing plastics with the use of less toxic materials that won’t stay in the environment over decades and even centuries. Some researchers are already producing designs for materials made from more biodegradable sources.

    See Also: Recycling won’t prevent microplastic from entering human bodies, say experts, Business Insider, April 8

  • Wastewater provides a planetwide laboratory for study of human health

    Wastewater provides a planetwide laboratory for study of human health

    Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden is among researchers leading in the way in advancing wastewater-based epidemiology as a diagnostic tool to provide accurate and comprehensive assessments of public health. The technique can be used to get a broad picture of communitywide behaviors that affect health, including the use of alcohol, illicit drugs and tobacco, as well as exposure to hazardous chemicals, pharmaceuticals, viruses and antibiotic-resistant microbes. In addition to infectious disease monitoring, new disease biomarkers detectable in wastewater are being developed to enable researchers to mine samples for evidence of afflictions including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Details are in a research paper recently published in the journal Environmental International that was authored by Halden, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Engineering, and Fulton Schools civil engineering doctoral student Sangeet Adhikari. The article is also published in Science Daily, Technology Networks, Smart Water Magazine, TechCodex, News Medical, Verve Times, Phys.Org, Mirage News, Honest Columnist and Environmental News Network

    See Also: Bringing Wastewater Tracking to Tribal Lands to Protect Families and Elders, The Rockefeller Foundation, April 7

    Study: Wastewater Analysis is Severely Underused Method for Global Health Metrics, Laboratory Equipment, April 7

  • Valley company uses technology to create water using sunlight and air

    Valley company uses technology to create water using sunlight and air

    SOURCE Global, a company founded seven years ago by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Cody Friesen, is making progress toward its goal of providing communities a secure source of water with the novel technology Friesen developed at ASU. His hydro solar panels use thermal energy from the sun and the moisture from the atmosphere to produce clean water. SOURCE Global now operates in more than 50 countries, including communities in Dubai, South Africa, the Philippines, and the Navajo Nation. A company spokesman says the hydro panels systems — designed to work in dry, harsh climates in which water can be scarce — can last up to 15 years and create water in areas where the humidity is as low as seven percent.

    See Also: A company can make drinking water from nothing but air and sunlight, Interesting Engineering, April 20

  • Meet DALL-E, the A.I. That Draws Anything at Your Command

    Meet DALL-E, the A.I. That Draws Anything at Your Command

    New AI technology being developed would enable creating digital images by users simply by describing what they want to see. Supported by funding from Microsoft, the OpenAI artificial intelligence lab is working on technology that blends language and images to electronically generate various things in images. It’s a neural network that learns skills by analyzing large amounts of data and pinpointing patterns in thousands of pictures or other images. Such systems could help companies improve search engines, digital assistants and other common technologies, and also automate new tasks for graphic artists, programmers and other professionals. But experts like Fulton Schools Professor Subbarao Kambhampati, a computer scientist, warn of the potential to use such systems for deceptive activities, such as proliferating deep fake images or generating and spreading extensive disinformation on the internet. (Access to the full content of The New York Times is accessible only to subscribers.)

  • Artificial turf saves water, but heats considerably in direct sunlight

    Artificial turf saves water, but heats considerably in direct sunlight

    Last year, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation declared a significant water shortage in the Colorado River, one of Arizona’s major water sources. Many people reacted to calls for water conservation by replacing grass lawns with artificial turf. They found that while artificial turf did noticeably reduce their home water use, it also raised the ambient heat radiating from their yards. That’s because the materials in the turf heat up in the sunlight, and can get as hot or hotter than asphalt or concrete during the daytime, says Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel.  She and ASU School of Sustainability Assistant Professor Jennifer Vanos, both members of ASU’s Urban Climate Research Center, have been involved in numerous studies of the impacts of various materials — notably road pavements — and how they can intensify the urban heat island effect.

  • Interest in Electric Cars is Surging

    Interest in Electric Cars is Surging

    Rising gasoline prices are attracting increasing consumer interest in electric vehicles at a time when the advantages of electrically powered automobiles are also trending upward. Fulton Schools Research Professor Steve Polzin, whose works focuses on transportation engineering and related areas, says consumers will see more choices in the electric vehicle market and find these vehicles cost less per mile to drive than gas-powered vehicles. There are, however, still some challenges to going electric. The number of charging stations would need to increase significantly if electric vehicle ownership goes up substantially, and a current electronics industry shortage of semiconductor chips essential to electric cars and trucks could constrain the growth of the supply of new electric vehicles.

  • ASU scientists working toward better, more rapid COVID-19 tests

    ASU scientists working toward better, more rapid COVID-19 tests

    As the result of the work of ASU researchers over the past two years, three companies are moving toward commercialization of new testing tools methods to more effectively and quickly reveal if people have contracted COVID-19. One of the companies, Flex Bio Systems and Tech was co-founded by Jennifer Blain Christen, a Fulton Schools associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of ASU’s BioElectrical Systems and Technology group. She and her team now have working prototypes of small, portable test machines for saliva samples that can be read by scanners to reveal if results are positive, negative or in error for early indicators of COVID-19 infection.

  • Use a New IEEE Standard to Design a Safer Digital World For Kids

    Use a New IEEE Standard to Design a Safer Digital World For Kids

    Efforts to protect the online privacy and rights of young people using digital technologies are emerging as social media and other online products and services aimed at attracting children and teens are proliferating. One of those efforts is the Society Policy Engineering Collective, directed by Katina Michael, a professor in the Fulton Schools and ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Michael has been working with colleagues in those schools who are involved in  the collective, and with fellow members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE, on industry and community design standards for digital technologies and services used by youngsters. Michael, an IEEE senior member, is also chair of the organization’s standards working group. The group has developed guidelines for building age-appropriate products for youngsters that will address potential risks of digital and online services before they are deployed and will put concerns for children ahead of commercial interests.

  • Climate activism at The College

    Climate activism at The College

    In every area from the sciences and engineering to the humanities, politics and religion, ASU teachers, students and researchers are immersed in the conversation about the challenges of climate change and the potential solutions. In the Fulton Schools, with support from the National Science Foundation, Timothy Long, who is also a professor in the School of Molecular Sciences, is among researchers working on ways to either reduce, reuse or recycle all plastics. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Mathew Green, a chemical engineer and a member of Long’s research team, says if the project is able to accomplish the goal its sets for forth in its proposal, its societal impact could be an immense step in reducing a big climate change threat.

  • SPOTLIGHT: Entering the Second Half Century of HDD

    SPOTLIGHT: Entering the Second Half Century of HDD

    The construction industry publication Trenchless Works recently celebrated a half-century of advances in the Horizontal Directional Drilling, or HDD, underground construction method, beginning with an introduction written by Fulton Schools Professor Samiel Ariaratnam (pictured). On page 5 of the digital magazine, he details key accomplishments of HDD and its contributions to the evolution of the field of construction engineering. Ariaratnam, who holds the Beaver-Ames Chair of Heavy Construction at ASU, is a co-author of the “Horizontal Directional Drilling Good Practices Guidelines.” Today, Ariaratnam writes, “you can go to all corners of the world and see an HDD rig installing a critical utility for the betterment of society.” He foresees continued expansion of the HDD industry as its environmental, economic and social benefits are increasingly recognized.

March

2022
  • 4 ASU students awarded Goldwater Scholarship for excellence in STEM research

    4 ASU students awarded Goldwater Scholarship for excellence in STEM research

    Fulton Schools electrical engineering student Jasmin Falconer (top left in photo) and mechanical engineering student Katie Pascavis (bottom left) are two of the four outstanding ASU undergraduates recently selected as 2022 Goldwater Scholars. The Goldwater Scholarship is the most prestigious the United States for undergraduate researchers in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. The scholarship program is among efforts to ensure the nation produces leading scientists and engineers. Falconer plans to earn a doctoral degree in electrical engineering and work in a national laboratory on research related to electromagnetics and radio-frequency engineering. Pascavis wants to develop water purification and reclamation technologies to increase access to potable water, especially for people in low-income countries. Pascavis is also one of four students nominated for a Udall Undergraduate Scholarship , a fellowship for students who demonstrate leadership, public service and commitment to issues involving Native American nations or to the environment.

    See Also: Four ASU Students Awarded In Nationwide STEM Scholarship, The State Press, April 14

  • Our View: Semiconductors offer a chance for Arizona to play an award-winning role

    Our View: Semiconductors offer a chance for Arizona to play an award-winning role

    In a guest column, Greater Phoenix Economic CEO Chris Camacho and Arizona Technology Council CEO Steve Zylstra urge Congress to quickly come to agreement on two key legislative bills that will help put Arizona into a leading national position in the production of computer chips. Camacho and Zystra write that the state already has the potential to attract global interest as a key hub of semiconductor chip manufacturing because of training resources that are creating a world-class talent pool in the field. They point specifically to expanded tech education offerings at ASU, which has added the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks to its Fulton Schools of Engineering. Together with the MacroTechnology Works facilities at the ASU Research Park, a fabrication center advancing research and development in the semiconductor and related fields, the engineering schools are making the university a potentially robust springboard for next-generation semiconductors. (Access to the full content of the Phoenix Business Journal online is available only to subscribers.)

  • ASU Leverages Research, Technology To Gain Funding From State Through Initiative

    ASU Leverages Research, Technology To Gain Funding From State Through Initiative

    ASU leaders and Arizona’s policymakers have formulated a New Economy Initiative that involves a multi-million-dollar investment calling for the states’ public universities to help revitalize Arizona’s economy. To do that, the universities are being given additional funding to support science, engineering and technology projects and educational programs to help foster economic growth and provide a skilled workforce that will attract more industry to Arizona. A major part of the plan focuses on expanding the Fulton Schools. At the accelerating rate at which many industries are growing, Fulton Schools Dean Kyle Squires says the engineering schools have an opportunity to boost the economy by teaching students the kinds of new and advanced skills that major tech-based industries increasingly need to be successful.

  • Federal public transportation mask mandate continues while most have been lifted

    Federal public transportation mask mandate continues while most have been lifted

    While mask mandates enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have been lifted in many public gathering places, the federal mandates remain in effect for most public transit systems — especially ground transportation such as buses, subways, commuter and long-distance passenger rail lines. Several factors will likely determine the timelines for when officials will consider ending those mandates, says Fulton Schools Research Professor Steve Polzin, a civil engineer who specializes in transportation. Overall, transportation planners will be confronted with a number of changes in the public transit picture that have resulted from the long pandemic period, he says. It’s likely that as much as 10 percent of the pre-COVID workforce won’t be returning to offices. Other trends show people may choose alternatives to public transit and that concern about urban crime could keep riders away from mass transit systems, Polzin says. (Photo: Pixabay)

  • A new approach to robotics

    A new approach to robotics

    For this coming National Robotics Week (April 2-10) — an annual event to showcase innovations in robotics — Fulton Schools researchers have a lot of new advances to put in the spotlight.  Assistant Professor Heni Ben Amor’s Interactive Robotics Laboratory is making progress human-robot interaction, robot autonomy and machine learning. Assistant Professor Daniel Aukes’ IDEA Lab is developing fish-inspired robots that can perform vital work in extreme environments. Associate Professor Wenlong Zhang’s Robotics and Intelligent Systems (RISE) Lab is making drones that mimic bird-like flight. Professor Aviral Shrivastava’s Make Programming Simple Lab is helping to improve autonomous vehicles. Research by other faculty members is expanding the potential for the use of robots as medical assistants, as well as improving the capabilities of bio-inspired robotics technologies and robotic exoskeletons created in the Human Machine Integration Lab that promise to assist workers in many industries.

  • Yuma company working to perfect complicated process of recycling solar panels

    Yuma company working to perfect complicated process of recycling solar panels

    The Arizona company We Recycle Solar is focusing on recycling the materials used in solar energy panels. An ASU research team led by Fulton Schools Professor Meng Tao is aiding such efforts by developing ways to perfect the recycling process by recovering every material, including lead, from old solar panels. His goals also include making recycling cost-effective and building a pilot plant to test the recycling processes on a commercial scale. In addition, Natalie Click, a Fulton Schools materials science and engineering doctoral student and Tao’s research assistant, is focusing on increasing materials recovery rates for lead, an extremely toxic metal, in solar energy panels, so it can be reused as solder and other products, or put back into new solar panels.The article is also published on Tucson.com and Informed Consent.

  • US News ranks 13 ASU graduate programs in top 10 nationwide, 39 in the top 20

    US News ranks 13 ASU graduate programs in top 10 nationwide, 39 in the top 20

    The Fulton Schools environmental engineering and industrial engineering graduate programs are ranked among the top 20 in the nation in their fields in the recently released U.S. News & World Report Rankings. The environmental engineering program tied for No. 16. The industrial engineering program is No. 18. In addition, aerospace engineering and computer engineering both tied for No. 27. Civil engineering tied for No. 30, while electrical engineering tied for No. 34 and materials engineering tied for No. 35. Mechanical engineering tied for No. 41, chemical engineering tied for No. 48 and computer science tied for No 49. Fulton Schools engineering graduate programs were ranked No. 40 overall, the highest ever overall ranking.

  • Bill Gates and Blackrock Are Backing the Start-Up Behind Hydropanels That Make Water Out of Thin Air

    Bill Gates and Blackrock Are Backing the Start-Up Behind Hydropanels That Make Water Out of Thin Air

    Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, along with the BlackRockDuke Energy and Lightsmith Group companies are investing in Source Global, whose CEO is Fulton Schools Associate Professor Cody Friesen. His company has developed solar energy hydropanels that can draw water from moisture in the air. He invented the panels in 2014 through his research in the Fulton Schools. Using the sun’s heat, the system converts molecules into liquid water, which is collected in a reservoir inside the panel and then released as pure water. The hydropanels are currently installed in 52 countries in hundreds of separate projects. The technology enables water to be produced through the panels installed at homes, schools and throughout communities, Friesen says. The World Health Organization estimates that half the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas in the near future, which will provide a large market for ventures that can produce water on site instead of through large utility infrastructure systems, Friesen says.

    See Also: Bill Gates backs an Arizona-based startup that makes water out of thin air, Interesting Engineering, March 29

    SOURCE Global Isn’t Publicly Traded, but Its Tech Will Be in High Demand, Market Realist, Market Realist, March 29

  • Robotic Arms: Merging Technology with Healthcare

    Robotic Arms: Merging Technology with Healthcare

    Next-generation robotics and automation technologies are emerging to promise further advances in biomechatronic arms and legs. Fulton Schools Professor Marco Santello is among biomedical engineers leading efforts to improve prosthetic technology. He is developing SoftHand Pro, the first prosthetic that will combine soft robotic technologies and natural biomechanics of the human hand to help restore functionality. Other similar types of prosthetics are being developed to replace ankles and feet, knees, legs and arms. The most successful of the new prosthetic technologies achieve a close coordination of robotic limbs that work in coordination with human brain signals. Santello is collaborating with Mayo Clinic researchers on new designs for technology that integrates biology and robots. Read more about this work.

  • Microplastics discovered in human blood are ‘unsettling.’ Scientists are trying to figure out whether they’re harmful.

    Microplastics discovered in human blood are ‘unsettling.’ Scientists are trying to figure out whether they’re harmful.

    Engineers and scientists have been warning that plastics waste has increasingly been making its way across larger expanses of land and water throughout much of the world. And it’s no longer accumulating only in the environment but in our bodies. That is the latest warning from environmental engineer and Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and others who have been tracking the growing accumulations of discarded plastics. Halden, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, is among the experts spreading the word that microplastics are in our food, water and air, and that now there is evidence plastic polymers are getting into the human bloodstream. The effects on our health of microplastics in our blood is yet to be understood. So, the news about the increasing presence of plastics inside us is eliciting calls for more research to assess the potential dangers.

  • CDC’s wastewater surveillance system serves as early COVID detection

    CDC’s wastewater surveillance system serves as early COVID detection

    A wastewater surveillance system launched by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is proving to be effective in predicting trends in the spread of COVID-19. But there are challenges to putting the system to use in rural communities where many households use septic systems to collect wastewater. This means the water doesn’t go to municipal sewer facilities where it is available for testing by surveillance programs. In some areas, a large percentage of the wastewater from the population is out of reach for these programs, including Native American tribal groups in the western U.S. Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Otakuye Conroy-Ben is an environmental engineer who works with these groups. She points out some of the complexities involved in collecting and sharing data gathered from these sovereign native communities. The article is also published in America’s Triangle Newshub.

     

  • How much of the heat can we blame on the heat island?

    How much of the heat can we blame on the heat island?

    Climate change is clearly evident but also complex. So, while the scientific verification continues to accumulate, there are still questions about precisely how much impact various factors have on creating and/or intensifying changing climate conditions — especially when it comes to rising heat. Research points to the urban heat island effect brought on by increasing amounts of concrete and asphalt being used as urban areas grow. Greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere — mostly by burning fossil fuels — are also a major source of higher temperatures. Whatever the case, Fulton Schools Professor Patrick Phelan says reducing energy usage of is one solution to the urban heat buildup. Phelan directs a partnership involving a U.S. Department of Energy project and ASU’s Industrial Assessment Center to train engineering students to evaluate how manufacturing companies could improve the efficiency of their machinery to reduce energy usage.  (Access to the full content of the Arizona Republic online is available only to subscribers.)

  • Cool Pavement Program Earns Innovative Transportation Solutions Award

    Cool Pavement Program Earns Innovative Transportation Solutions Award

    Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel is among two ASU faculty members working with the Phoenix Street Transportation Department’s Cool Pavement Program, which recently won the 2022 Innovative Transportation Solutions Project of the Year Award from WTS International, an organization dedicated to advancing women in the transportation industry. The program is working on ways to reduce the urban heat island effect in the city through the use of street pavements with coatings that help to mitigate a rise in nighttime temperatures that can result in more energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and air pollution. Middel and ASU Assistant Professor Jennifer Vanos led the cool pavement project’s research and data analysis work. Middel is on the faculty of the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, one of the seven Fulton Schools, and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, a collaborative of the Fulton Schools and ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

  • Web 3.0: Here’s what it is and how it will impact you

    Web 3.0: Here’s what it is and how it will impact you

    Web 1.0 brought us the internet, providing digital information that was searchable. Web 2.0 brought interactivity, the ability to stream content and control its presentation, games we could play, and ways to comment on internet content. Now, Web 3.0 will open up a whole new realm, says Fulton Schools Professor Dragan Boscovic, director of ASU’s Blockchain Research Lab and technical director of ASU’s Center for Assured and Scalable Data Engineering. This big evolutionary step provides us data ownership — enabling stakeholders involved in various internet business ecosystems to retain control over their data and create new business models focused on monitoring that data, Boscovic says. Business competition and new regulatory legislation responding to the new Web 3.0 environment will definitely reshape our tech-based commerce. Boscovic sees the possibility of Web 3.0 accelerating the use of cryptocurrency and eventually leading to a new form of economy driven by these next-generation internet capabilities.

  • ISTB7: A building bridging our ancient past to our thriving future

    ISTB7: A building bridging our ancient past to our thriving future

    The new Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 7 on ASU’s Tempe campus reflects a purposeful integration of innovative construction, architecture, engineering and design in providing a visually compelling edifice carefully shaped and equipped to serve the varied educational and research purposes for which it was conceived. Barzin Mobasher (at right in photo), a Fulton Schools professor of civil and environmental engineering, is one of the skilled professionals who have created ISTB7’s impressive environment. Mobasher had a role in the selection of the building’s glass-fiber-reinforced concrete panels that form the building’s shell and help to make it energy efficient. Other aspects of his work on ISTB7 are key components of the building’s structural resilience and overall environmental sustainability.

  • The Solar Tech Check: PV in space, and thin films stride forward

    The Solar Tech Check: PV in space, and thin films stride forward

    A three-year research project has resulted in discovery of a new way to both measure and track the mechanisms causing voltage loss in electrical devices. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Zachary Holman and Assistant Research Professor Arthur Onno, who led the project, were on the team investigating the causes of voltage loss in cadmium selenide telluride thin films. The findings published in the research journal Nature Energy offer a way to achieve higher efficiencies in the performance of technologies and materials, including silicon and perovskites, that have industrial applications. Zachary says the group has already replicated the measurement technique to enable it to be used by two manufacturers of solar energy cells and modules.

  • Headed back to the office? Make sure your building has flushed out its water.

    Headed back to the office? Make sure your building has flushed out its water.

    People returning to offices and other workplaces that haven’t been occupied for long periods of time while employees worked remotely should be wary about what comes out of the faucets in those buildings. Metals and microorganisms that may cause harm are likely to have built up in the plumbing of places that have been vacant, warns Fulton Schools Associate Professor Treavor Boyer, an environmental engineer. Water that stagnates in a building can stagnate and corrode the plumbing, causing metals such copper and lead — which can be particularly harmful — to leach out of the system. Boyer has done research during the COVID-19 pandemic lockouts in which he examined the long-term effects on water in schools that had been closed for months. Boyer says such studies could provide ideas for better protecting buildings from facing water contamination problems when they sit empty.

  • Factories of the Future

    Factories of the Future

    Attracting more high-tech industry ventures to Arizona and keeping manufacturing in the state on the cutting edge are two primary aspects of ASU’s role in the New Economy Initiative. To pursue those goals, the university is building five science and technology centers. One is a center at ASU’s Polytechnic campus that will focus largely on a combination of manufacturing, automation and data engineering projects. Dhruv Bhate, an associate professor in The Polytechnic School, one of the seven Fulton Schools, talks about the broad range of varying technologies and systems on which work at the new center will focus. Advanced robotics and materials performance will be in the spotlight, as well as additive manufacturing, 3D printing, nanotechnology, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence, Bhate says.

    See Also: Creating the Future of Arizona, ASU News, January 13
    https://news.asu.edu/20220113-arizona-impact-creating-future-arizona-new-economy-initiative

  • America once dominated the semiconductor industry. Here’s why we must win again

    America once dominated the semiconductor industry. Here’s why we must win again

    America’s vulnerabilities in public health care, the global supply chain and technological areas like semiconductor manufacturing have been exposed by the strains of the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, says Arizona State University President Michael Crow. He traces history over recent decades that reveals how the country slipped from its pinnacle of leadership in high-tech development and market dominance. But opportunities are emerging for the United States to reassert its dominance in the industries that can drive progress in many critical areas, especially in economic development, Crow asserts. The key is for the nation’s leaders to act decisively in supporting the investments, entrepreneurship and education to achieve a new American renaissance. ASU, with the recent opening of the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks, one of the seven Fulton Schools of Engineering — the nation’s largest engineering school — is ready to help make a resurgence happen, Crow says. (Full access to the content of the Arizona Republic is available only to subscribers.)

  • Validating NFTs

    Validating NFTs

    Last year’s explosion in the value of the market for non-fungible digital tokens, or NFTs, from a trading value of $100 million to more than $20 billion, reflects both the opportunities and risks of the booming trends in a world of “cryptocurrency wallets.” The promise of the blockchain technology that provides NFT buyers security with proof of ownership of authenticity is also being dampened by the rise in scams and fraud in the wake of NFT market growth. But Blockchain experts like Fulton Schools Professor Dragan Boscovic, director of the ASU Blockchain Lab, say a new technology called distributed key generation, or DKG, which is used to automate NFT’s access control on the blockchain, can create a re-encryption key for an NFT owner and issue it to the network. That system and similar tools and services being developed for the blockchain can restore much of the confidence in dealing in the digital currency market, Boscovic says.

  • As cities across Arizona convert to electric buses, what’s stopping ASU?

    As cities across Arizona convert to electric buses, what’s stopping ASU?

    Some of Arizona’s leading cities are trying to convert their fleets of buses for public transportation to low-emission or zero-emission fuel sources — such as electric power — to help the cause of promoting environmentally sustainable transportation. But Arizona State University isn’t stepping up to join in those efforts. High costs and short battery lifespans are among reasons the university isn’t making the conversion. Fulton Schools Research Professor Steve Polzin, a civil engineer who specializes in transportation, says schools and consumers may be hesitant because battery technologies are changing quickly. Consumers and transit services may be wary of investing in what will become obsolete technology when the next waves of a new and improved batteries and fuel sources emerge, Polzin says.

  • ’98 CHS alumna at the forefront of neural injuries research

    ’98 CHS alumna at the forefront of neural injuries research

    Research contributions to neural tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, nanoparticle therapeutics and discovery of biomarkers in injured brains led recently to Fulton Schools Associate Professor Sarah Stabenfeldt’s election to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows. Elevation to that status in her profession puts her among the top two percent of medical and biological engineers in the United States. The honor was noted by a local newspaper based in Edwardsville, Illinois, where Stabenfeldt graduated from Collinsville High School. Stabenfeldt’s work has earned awards and support from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission — undoubtedly making her one of the high school’s most accomplished graduates.

February

2022
  • In the MIX: ASU looks to the future with new emerging technologies building, faculty, programs

    In the MIX: ASU looks to the future with new emerging technologies building, faculty, programs

    Experts say the future will bring our experiences in the realms of work, education, culture and other aspects of life into ever more seamless immersions in both the physical and virtual worlds. For example, Assistant Professor Robert LiKamWa recently led students in demonstrating the use of virtual reality to explore climate change and in presenting a class project called Dreamscape Learn, a fully immersive virtual reality learning system. Professor Pavan Turaga points to ASU’s new Media and Immersive Experience (MIX) Center as an example of the movement of the arts, social studies, science, engineering, media technologies and more into increasingly connected immersive environments. Turaga is director of the Schools of Arts, Media and Engineering, in which LiKamwa is a faculty member, and both are also on the faculty of the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of the seven Fulton Schools — the kinds of dual positions that reflect the merging of academic disciplines and professional fields being forged in the evolving world of immersive realities. 

  • Hormone and gut bacteria link may guide better treatment for menopause symptoms

    Hormone and gut bacteria link may guide better treatment for menopause symptoms

    Fulton Schools Professor Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown (at left in photo), director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Health Through Microbiomes, is already widely known for how her studies of the human gut have revealed information that is advancing research on treatments for autism. Now she and ASU and Mayo Clinic collaborators have found evidence that gut bacteria that are affected by hormones can spark changes in metabolism and brain function. One result of that finding may be opening a way toward progress in effective ways to treat the symptoms of menopause and to generally improve women’s health. Along with fellow researcher Heather Bimonte-Nelson (at right in photo), a professor in ASU’s Department of Psychology, Krajmalnik-Brown sees the potential for a deeper understanding of the interactions of microbial communities with gut chemistry leading to various kinds of therapies beyond those related to menopause.

  • ASU students ‘jam’ with industry experts on the future of 5G

    ASU students ‘jam’ with industry experts on the future of 5G

    ASU’s Learning Futures Collaboratory now offers Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband indoors — a next generation of broadband that opens up a many new opportunities for students, faculty, researchers and local organizations to explore technology at faster speeds than ever before. Recently, ASU students seeking degrees in a wide range of fields gathered for a “jam-style” event at Learning Futures, concluding with seven student-led teams pitching new ideas on how to apply 5G and wireless technology to enhance solutions addressing challenges in education, health care and the environment. More than a dozen experts from industry and ASU provided mentorship and insights to the students, and trained students on the use of 5G technologies, including one of the judges for the event, Robert LiKamWa, an assistant professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of the seven Fulton Schools.

  • Arizona State And Carbon Collect Bring Innovation To Sustainability

    Arizona State And Carbon Collect Bring Innovation To Sustainability

    Carbon capture technology like the MechanicalTree system developed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner and his team at ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions is viewed as one of the most promising tools for halting global warming that threatens the world’s environmental health and sustainability. An interview with the CEO of Carbon Collect, one of the more prominent companies stepping into the fledgling carbon capture industry, looks at the economic, engineering and governmental regulatory challenges of deploying MechanicalTree systems in ways the will maximize their effectiveness in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while also managing costs and providing incentives for long-established sectors of industry to join efforts to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions or mitigate their harmful impacts.

    See Also: Is Climate Restoration the Key to Stopping Climate Change, Interesting Engineering, February 11

  • 5 Best Machine Learning & AI Podcasts

    5 Best Machine Learning & AI Podcasts

    Among futurist Antoine Tardiff’s selections for the best podcasts exploring the intriguing innovations being made in artificial intelligence and machine learning technology is “Machine Learning with Jay Shah.” A Fulton Schools Graduate Research Assistant and a computer scientist, Shah has gone into depth on the inventive deep learning models being used to discover biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease and to advance research on aging. In interviews with leading experts about their various applications of machine learning techniques — in both industry and academia — Shah explores and provides insights about some of the most exciting developments in the field.

  • How Russian cyberattacks could paralyze other countries as the nation invades Ukraine

    How Russian cyberattacks could paralyze other countries as the nation invades Ukraine

    In the wake of Russia’s aggressive moves on Ukraine and harsh sanctions the United States and other countries are imposing on Russia for its actions, security experts are warning of ways Russian leaders might try to retaliate. That push-back most likely would include cyberattacks on the sanctioning countries, primarily the U.S., says Nadya Bliss, executive director of ASU’s Global Security Initiative and a professor of practice in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, one of the seven Fulton Schools. Those efforts could include attempts to breach other countries’ cybersecurity infrastructures, disrupt communications and possibly launch misinformation efforts to attempt to influence public perceptions of geopolitical events and issues. Bliss stresses that information technology providers and government agencies should shore up their cyber defense operations and strengthen security backup systems.

  • Ukraine-Russia Border Crisis

    Ukraine-Russia Border Crisis

    How are events likely to play out politically, economically and historically in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? What should be the response of the United States, and what ramifications and concerns might the invasion raise for Americans? Fulton Schools Professor Brad Allenby (pictured), co-chair of the Weaponized Narrative Initiative at ASU’s Center on the Future of War, talks about the complexities of the situation and warns about the risks involved in the ways in which the U.S. could get entangled in the conflict. One possibility, Allenby says, is that Russia could retaliate against the imposition of strong economic sanctions by the U.S. and its allies by launching cyber warfare attacks aimed at disrupting other countries’ economies, financial markets and perhaps even energy markets.

  • ASU to help bring new high-wage jobs to Arizona

    ASU to help bring new high-wage jobs to Arizona

    Arizona’s New Economy Initiative  is designed to help ensure the state’s leaders, communities and residents are ready to take advantage of opportunitie to boost the resilience of the state’s economy and ensure opportunities for prosperity for Arizona’s population. ASU will play a major role in fulfilling the initiative’s aspirations. Sally Morton, executive vice president of ASU Knowledge Enterprise, says the university will focus on efforts to facilitate and expand the state’s engineering and technology enterprises. That will involve producing university graduates with the leadership and innovation skills those industries are seeking. The plan includes developing science and technology centers as “intellectual hubs” to bring faculty, industry partners and students together to discuss real-world problems and the future of the Arizona economy.

  • The cost of algae-based biofuel is still too high

    The cost of algae-based biofuel is still too high

    Biofuels made from algae are seen as one of cleaner, more versatile and efficient alternatives to our petroleum-guzzling cars that release harmful gases and pollutants into the environment. Much progress has been made in developing methods to produce and use algae-based biofuels to power our vehicles and to move us closer to a clean energy economy. But one big hurdle persists. The cost of producing algae-based biofuels remains high. The Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation, whose leadership and research staff include Fulton Schools faculty members, is making progress in creating and using algae-based technology to produce renewable products such as biofuels, plastic alternatives and nutraceuticals. Still, many of the processes used in those operations can require big capital costs. So, researchers are now adding cost-efficiency to their list of goals in efforts to maintain the promising potential for algae engineering to become a robust source of both technological and environmental advancements.

  • How Computers See Entangled Nature

    How Computers See Entangled Nature

    In this podcast episode’s in-depth discussion, Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ted Pavlic, associate director of research for The Biomimicry Center at ASU, describes his research on natural systems, such as social insect colonies, and how these explorations can lead to development of engineering solutions. He discusses, for instance, what a deep understanding of large-scale patterns in nature can teach us that might point the way to dealing with large-scale biological dysfunctions like cancer and neurological injuries. Pavlic also elaborates on what mathematical models of fundamental decision-making processes have in common with both natural and engineered systems, and how the various kinds of engineering problems on which his work focuses can in turn give rise to meaningful new lines of scientific inquiry about biological systems.

  • New technology fused with photosynthetic life offers path to green energy

    New technology fused with photosynthetic life offers path to green energy

    Fulton Schools Professor Bruce Rittman, director of ASU’s Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, and Associate Professor Cesar Torres, a chemical engineer, have roles in collaborative work with other leading ASU researchers who are tapping into nature’s processes to develop new sources of sustainable green energy. The group has created a microbial electro-photosynthetic system that uses a genetically engineered microbe to accommodate significantly high light intensities and continue photosynthetic activity without doing environmental harm. The system can provide a bridge between artificial energy and natural photosynthesis, offering a green pathway to the production of a broad range of products — including fuels, agrochemicals, therapeutics, cosmetics, plastics and specialty chemicals, as well as human and animal supplements.

  • Developing public interest technology by engaging with and empowering communities

    Developing public interest technology by engaging with and empowering communities

    Katina Michael’s work includes advocacy for development of new technologies designed first and foremost to serve the public interest — and encouraging new research to achieve that goal. Michael (pictured) recently presented her philosophy for the design of technology at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. A professor in the Fulton Schools, as well as in ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society in the College of Global Futures, Michael wants to see the application of “socio-technical design” at the core of what is reflected in development of new technologies to help ensure they will truly perform in the best “human-centered” interests of the users. That will mean giving communities a major role in the process of establishing guidelines and priorities for the capabilities of new technologies.

  • Examining The Scope And Scale Of PG&E’s Plan To Bury 10,000 Miles Of Power Lines

    Examining The Scope And Scale Of PG&E’s Plan To Bury 10,000 Miles Of Power Lines

    Sam Ariaratnam, a Fulton Schools professor of construction engineering, joins a discussion about the extremely extensive scale of plans by the major utility company Pacific Gas & Electric to put about 10,000 miles of power lines underground in northern California. Numerous engineering, economic and environmental challenges will be involved in project the company hopes to complete over 10 years — at a cost of more than $20 billion. There are debates about the benefits versus the risks of burying power lines rather than suspending the lines overhead on utility poles and towers. The project would be one of the most complex endeavors ever in underground drilling and construction, Ariaratnam says. The company touts underground power line construction as a solution that would prevent the risks of electrical system fires. (Scroll down the webpage to find this news podcast.)

  • Dangerous driving: Why one stretch of I-10 has the most accidents

    Dangerous driving: Why one stretch of I-10 has the most accidents

    A three-mile stretch of the Interstate 10 freeway in the Phoenix area has recently been the scene of more accidents than any other location on Arizona’s highways. That’s not surprising to Professor Ram Pendyala, director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the seven Fulton Schools. Pendyala, who expertise includes transportation engineering, says the junction of three major freeways in the area makes this among the places with the heaviest traffic congestion in the state. The layered arrangement of the freeways at the junction, along with the multiple access ramps, heightens the complexities of driving at this “Mini-Stack” interchange, he says, adding that the combination of economics and limited space — plus a increasing number of drivers resulting from the Phoenix metro area’s growing population — are key factors in making the junction a high-risk driving location. But Pendyala says gathering more data about the traffic accidents could better determine the specific causes of the numerous mishaps and might reveal how to reduce them.

  • 3 ASU students selected for Brooke Owens Fellowship

    3 ASU students selected for Brooke Owens Fellowship

    Only 51 students have been selected from among more than 1,000 who applied to participate in this year’s Brooke Owens Fellowship program, which annually provides undergraduate women and other gender minorities internship positions with leading aerospace organizations. Among three ASU students selected for the program’s class of 2022 is Fulton Schools mechanical engineering student Sierra Malmberg (at right in photo). She will do a 12-week internship with SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services provider. Malmberg will work in a Starship booster engineering role.

     

  • Learning to Move with Rob Gray

    Learning to Move with Rob Gray

    A Fulton Schools associate professor of human systems engineering applies the concepts and techniques of his field to the study of optimal ways to learn, develop and train to improve physical and athletic skills. In a recent podcast, Rob Gray talks about his recent book, “How We Learn To Move,” and the intricate perceptual-motor abilities involved in enhancing human movement. Gray translates the technical language used by scientists, engineers and medical experts into descriptions that offer audiences not trained in those professions practical advice on mastering the movements required to excel in sports and other endeavors involving dexterous physicality.  

  • Scientists want to stop the next pandemic before it starts. Here are the tests they’re building to do it

    Scientists want to stop the next pandemic before it starts. Here are the tests they’re building to do it

    Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Chao Wang and his Graduate Research Associate Md Ashif Ikbal are among scientists and engineers experimenting with new ways to test for viruses that could prevent future pandemics like the one resulting from the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. A recently released study details a design by Wang and his lab team for a new kind of technology to detect pathogens that the researchers says is more efficient and accurate than existing techniques. Wang, Ikbal and their colleagues stress that the threat of new viruses is becoming more urgent as human activity increasing encroaches on wild spaces around the world, which leads to deforestation and biodiversity loss. Those factors could result in the emergence of viral strains for which there would not be effective methods to test for and stop the spread of infections. (Access to much of the content on the Arizona Republic website is available only to subscribers.)

    See Also: Researchers make cheap, portable nanosensor for disease detection, KJZZ (NPR), Feb 7

    Novel nanoanibiotics kill bacteria without harming healthy cells, Paradigm, February 9

    Simple, Inexpensive, Fast and Accurate Nano-sensors Pinpoint Infectious Diseases, Dr. Miller’s RMM Blog, February 6

  • Out of chaos, excellence

    Out of chaos, excellence

    Ying-Cheng Lai’s path to an elite faculty position at ASU has been chaotic — in a manner of speaking. Lai, who teaches in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of the seven Fulton Schools, was recently named an ASU Regents Professor. Lai (at left in photo, with students) earned the high honor in large part for his outstanding accomplishments as a chaos theorist. Chaos theory is a major force in modern advances in physics, quantum mechanics and complex systems that is being increasingly applied not only to science and engineering but to fields like sociology and ecology. Lai is internationally recognized for his research in the field and has attracted more than $12 million in federal funding for his research.

  • Bill would allow veterans and their families easier access to in-state tuition rates

    Bill would allow veterans and their families easier access to in-state tuition rates

    Arizona’s Legislature looks likely to pass a bill to make the path to college less challenging for U.S. military veterans. The measure would remove the barrier of requiring veterans to wait three years after the time of service to use military education benefits. The legislation also calls for changes making it easier for veterans of the armed forces to qualify for in-state tuition rates. Fulton Schools Professor Brad Allenby, founding chair of ASU’s Consortium for Emerging Technologies, Military Operations and National Security, says the new policy falls in line with ASU’s mission to help make higher education easier to access for all potential students. It would also boost acknowledgement of ASU’s as one of the more veteran-friendly universities, Allen says.

  • Arizona State University teams up with City of Mesa on pilot project to remove greenhouse gases with algae

    Arizona State University teams up with City of Mesa on pilot project to remove greenhouse gases with algae

    ASU research centers led by Fulton Schools faculty members are helping one of Arizona’s larger municipalities with the engineering involved in a pilot recycling project that uses algae to remove greenhouses gases. The project site in the city of Mesa is a wastewater treatment plant — one that like many other such facilities emits carbon dioxide and methane, which are among greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere and contributing to global warming and other troubling climate changes. ASU’s Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, directed by Professor Bruce Rittmann, and the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, directed by Professor Klaus Lackner and associate research director Justin Flory, are teaming up on the project they hope will provide a model for environmental sustainability for other wastewater plant operations to emulate.

  • New London engineering school ‘will dare to be different’

    New London engineering school ‘will dare to be different’

    A deliberately daring new kind of engineering education is the boldly stated aspiration of the The Engineering and Design Institute in London, or TEDI-London. With a focus on project-driven degree programs in global design engineering, the institute is a partnership that will combine the resources of Arizona State University, King’s College London and UNSW Sydney, in Australia, to help solve an array of pressing global challenges. TEDI-London’s dean and chief executive, Judy Raper (pictured), talks about the school’s strong commitment to an unswerving thrust into unconventional approaches to learning engineering and creatively applying its guiding principles. The founding of the institute has been supported through an alliance involving the Fulton Schools and the aforementioned schools in Sydney and London. (Access to the full story is available by registering or subscribing to the Times Higher Education online.) Read more: ASU helps launch a new project-based engineering program in London

  • Microwaving Styrofoam can cause chemicals to leech into your food — here’s why you should use glass instead

    Microwaving Styrofoam can cause chemicals to leech into your food — here’s why you should use glass instead

    Microwaving some kinds of containers, including cups, can accelerate the chemical leaching process, which triggers the movement of chemicals out of plastic containers and into food, says Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services backs him up on that warning, especially when containers are made from expanded polystyrene foams — plastics made from tiny beads that are heated and molded into a specific shape. Styrene, a chemical in those foams, is considered a “reasonably anticipated human carcinogen.” Halden recommends heating food or drinks in a microwave-safe container made of glass. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also suggests microwave-safe plastic and ceramic as suitable choices for microwaving. 

  • Sundt names new president of its western industrial group

    Sundt names new president of its western industrial group

    Cade Rowley (pictured), who earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from ASU in 1998, has been promoted to president of the Industrial Group-West of Sundt Construction, one of the 100 largest construction companies in the United States. He will lead business development, preconstruction and operations for the company’s construction work throughout the western U.S. Rowley, who joined Sundt as a field engineer after graduation from ASU, most recently was senior vice president overseeing the company’s transportation and heavy civil work throughout the Southwest and Intermountain regions. His teams have built several billion dollars’ worth of projects.

  • ASU names 3 faculty as 2022 President’s Professors

    ASU names 3 faculty as 2022 President’s Professors

    Two of ASU’s three newest President’s Professors are Fulton Schools faculty members. Andrea Richa (at right in photo), a professor of computer science, and Thomas Sugar, a professor of mechanical engineering, join those who have been given one of the most prestigious designations bestowed by the university. The title recognizes honorees at the forefront of innovation, entrepreneurship and inclusion. Richa’s accomplishments include an impressive number of peer-reviewed research articles, conference proceedings and four book chapters, many focusing on her expertise in self-organizing particle systems. Richa has served students through her leadership on curriculum and graduate studies program committees. Sugar has been involved in numerous projects that have advanced many aspects of his engineering field. He has authored or co-authored an exceedingly high number of articles published in research journals and is especially known for his teaching of studio-based classes geared to solving real-world challenges through project-based curriculum design.

  • Fast and accurate nanosensors pinpoint infectious diseases

    Fast and accurate nanosensors pinpoint infectious diseases

    A significant advance in the battle infectious diseases has come from research by Chao Wang, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering, and collaborators at the University of Washington, Seattle. Their technique called Nano2RED, is a twist conventional high-accuracy tests relying on complex testing protocols and expensive readout systems. An innovative Rapid and Electronic Readout process developed in the Wang lab delivers test results, which are detectable as a color change in the sample solution and record the data through inexpensive semiconductor elements such as LEDs and photodetectors. It can be developed and produced at a very low cost, deployed within weeks or days after an outbreak and made available for around 1 cent per test. Wang is a researcher in the Biodesign Center for Molecular Design and Biomimetics at ASU.The news has also been reported in LabMedica, Verve Times, Technology Networks, Science Daily, Honest Columnist, The Science Times, MDLinx, Knowledia, Nanowerk, Medically Prime.Com, Mirage News, Phys.Org, Nano Market, ASU Biodesign Institute News, RapidMicroMethods, NovLink.co,  KJZZ (NPR) Fronteras

  • NSF grant to support FIU antenna design that will deliver complex data faster

    NSF grant to support FIU antenna design that will deliver complex data faster

    Florida International University Professor Stavros Georgakopoulos, who earned his doctoral degree in electrical engineering at ASU in 2001, is working on designs for advanced antenna technology that will be capable of delivering more complex data in shorter amounts of time. The project has recently received support through a $365,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to FIU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Georgakopoulo is director of the university’s Transforming Antennas Center and the RF Communications mm-Waves and Terahertz Lab. Under his leadership, FIU has received numerous research grants from the military, government and private sectors. 

  • Treatment for autism symptoms earns ASU researchers patent

    Treatment for autism symptoms earns ASU researchers patent

    A new therapy developed by Fulton Schools Professors Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and James Adams offers hope to those with autism spectrum disorder who often are afflicted with chronic gastrointestinal symptoms associated with the disorder. The therapy, called Microbiota Transplant Therapy, has been granted a patent by the U.S. Patent Office, which is an important step in developing new medication that would be approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating the core symptoms of autism. The patent approval also opens the door for pharmaceutical companies to invest in conducting further clinical trials on the new treatment. Krajmalnik-Brown, Adams and their team in the ASU Biodesign Center for Health Through Microbiomes will continue their own tests of the treatment with both adults and children with autism.

January

2022
  • The next Silicon Valley? These founders say this Arizona city is the best place to build a startup

    The next Silicon Valley? These founders say this Arizona city is the best place to build a startup

    More than 20 cities and towns are on the map in and around the Phoenix metropolitan area, which is considered a hot spot for potential business startups — and entrepreneurship experts says the most promising municipality in the area is Tempe. One reason cited for that conclusion is that Tempe is the home of Arizona State University’s largest campus and has become a nexus for the spinout of hundreds of startups and other business expansion ventures. The development of that trend is attributed in large part to the high numbers of new and well-skilled engineers graduating each year from the Fulton Schools, one of the largest engineering schools in the United States. (Access to the full story is available only to Bizjournals.com subscribers. Nonsubscribers can create a free account to see news content.)

  • Fortifying the foundations of cybersecurity

    Fortifying the foundations of cybersecurity

    Cyberattacks on our information technology systems have become almost constant, as well as increasingly sophisticated and more difficult to defend against. In response to the growing threat, cybersecurity experts are developing more comprehensive and integrated responses to help keep professionals and the general public from being victimized. The efforts include work by ASU’s new Center for Cybersecurity and Trusted Foundations, directed by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Adam Doupé. The center now joins the ASU Global Security Initiative’s Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics and the Cybersecurity Education Consortium in the university’s endeavors to holistically address cybersecurity challenges through research, education and upskilling.

  • New meta-analysis explores potential environmental causes of ALS

    New meta-analysis explores potential environmental causes of ALS

    Much about the devastating neuromuscular disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS — and also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — remains a mystery. But researchers have been learning more about the factors the underlie the complexities of the disorder — some new knowledge pointing to a range of environmental agents as possible risks factors. Research by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and two doctoral students in Halden’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering is focused on exploring environmental influences potentially linked to the disease. Using rigorous quantitative methods, they are examining the complicated interplay of various environmental and physical dynamics in the hope of revealing a distinct pattern of causality related to the disease.

  • ASU commitment to innovation front and center at Arizona Capitol

    ASU commitment to innovation front and center at Arizona Capitol

    At the annual “Day at the Capitol” showcase, Arizona lawmakers got a wide-ranging overview of the engineering, science, civics and humanities research being done at ASU. Students and faculty members gave state government leaders some show-and-tell education and updates about the university’s many endeavors to make innovative advances in fields such as medicine and health care, environmental and resource management, approaches to policy making, and space exploration — among many other areas. The Fulton Schools was among the university’s various schools, colleges, research centers and programs most prominently represented at the event.

  • Reducing polarization is key to stabilizing democracy

    Reducing polarization is key to stabilizing democracy

    For the United States to maintain its ability to respond to societal challenges and crises in ways that remain consistent with the spirit of democratic and pluralistic ideals, we must find ways to effectively stem the tide of political polarization that is fracturing the nation’s political environment. That’s the conclusion of Fulton Schools Professor Stephanie Forrest and Joshua Daymude, a postdoctoral researcher with ASU’s Biodesign Institute. They teamed with University of Michigan political scientist Robert Axelrod to explore the factors involved in the evolution of political polarization in the U.S. in recent times and propose ways in which its socially destabilizing impacts might be diminished. Their study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In this detailing of that research and its conclusions, computer scientists Forrest and Daymude suggest paths that politicians, the news media and the citizenry can take to “resist the poison of extremism.” Read more about their research.

    See Also: Researchers look to technology to find out what’s increasing the country’s social and political divide, “Arizona Horizon”/Arizona PBS, January 27

  • AAAS honors ASU Professor Enrique Vivoni as a lifetime fellow

    AAAS honors ASU Professor Enrique Vivoni as a lifetime fellow

    During his career, Enrique Vivoni has made important advances in the understanding of the hydrology of natural and urban systems, as well as the interactions of ecologic and atmospheric phenomena. Those contributions promise paths to improving environmental sustainability efforts and offering more effective protection and management of natural resources. For those achievements, Vivoni, a Fulton Schools professor with a joint appoint in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, has be elevated to the rank of Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society. He joins a group of scientists, engineers and other innovators recognized for the positive impacts of their work on science and society. 

  • US News ranks ASU among the best in nation for online programs

    US News ranks ASU among the best in nation for online programs

    ASU is again ranked among the nation’s leading educational institutions offering online university degree programs. The US News 2022 Best Online Program report gave a second-place ranking to the Fulton Schools online electrical engineering program and ASU’s online bachelor’s degree program for military veterans. The Fulton Schools was ranked in the top 15 overall for its online engineering graduate degree programs — including a number two ranking for the online management engineering graduate degree program and number four for its online industrial engineering graduate degree program.

    See Also: ASU’s online graduate engineering program ranked among the nation’s best, ASU News, January 25

    ASU ranked top 5 in the nation for 16 online programs, ASU Online, January 25

  • Connecting career and community through mentorship

    Connecting career and community through mentorship

    Carrying forward the servant-leadership societal legacy espoused by leaders such as Martin Luther King, ASU has teamed with the Greater Phoenix Urban League Young Professionals to form CoNext@ASU. The program seeks to transition college students into high performing young professionals by providing them training and experience in leadership, community service and life skills. CoNext@ASU enables students to get access to mentoring that is personalized in accordance with their interests, needs and class schedules, and connects those students with professionals in a variety of industries — including engineers. In its first endeavors, the program has drawn students from about a dozen of the university’s schools, including the Fulton Schools.

  • Japan allocates $56 million toward developing electric railgun for missile defense

    Japan allocates $56 million toward developing electric railgun for missile defense

    With its recent development of a large gun that uses electromagnetic force to launch a projectile, Japan’s military is pushing weaponry into new spheres of technological capability. The new railgun can fire projectiles at six times the speed of sound and can defend against advanced hypersonic missiles. Even though it requires a lot of power consumption and lacks optimal mobility and cooling efficiency, it is more fully developed and deployable than similar weaponry developed for the United State military.  Still, railguns overall are not yet as effective as convention missile technology, says Fulton Schools Professor Braden Allenby, founding chair of the Consortium for Emerging Technologies, Military Operations, and National Security. But Allenby foresees Japan’s project potentially prompting other nations to invest in the pursuit of more railgun advances in the future.

  • ASU a major player is microelectronics

    ASU a major player is microelectronics

    ASU is helping Arizona and the United States establish itself as a leader in microelectronics. The pipeline to an educated workforce for the microelectronics industry now includes the engineering talent being nurtured by the recently established School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks, one of the seven Fulton Schools. ASU engineering faculty members and students are contributing to research pursuits in microelectronics at state-of-the-art ASU facilities such as the Advanced Electronics and Photonics facilityASU NanoFab and the Eyring Materials Center. David Quispe (pictured), a Fulton Schools materials science and engineering doctoral student, works at another advanced research facility, the Macro Technology Works lab at ASU’s Research Park. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Zachary Holman says research efforts promise to produce forward strides in microelectronics by improving transistors, microchips and semiconductors. A version of the article has also been published by AZ Big Media.

    See Also: Arizona’s economic investments aim to attract high-tech industry players, bizjournals.com, Jan 21.

  • These machines scrub greenhouse gases from the air – an inventor of direct air capture technology shows how it works

    These machines scrub greenhouse gases from the air – an inventor of direct air capture technology shows how it works

    Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner is director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, where researchers have been at the forefront of efforts to finetune technologies to reduce the threats of climate change and global warning. That primarily means developing effective ways to remove the damaging greenhouse gases the have accumulated in the atmosphere, largely from two centuries of burning fossil fuels. Lackner goes into detail about this ambitious science and engineering endeavor and the tools and techniques that he and his research team have been exploring as possible paths to overcoming the serious challenges of developing and deploying potent, large-scale air capture systems. The article is also published in The Daily Beast, Fast Company, Yahoo News, The Bharat Express News, The Next Web, Rappler and MarketWatch.

    See Also: Scientists Suggest Building Mechanical Trees to Effectively Remove Bad Carbon Dioxide, Wonderful Engineering, January 24

    Forest of mechanical tree could be built to ‘soak up carbon dioxide’ and help stave off climate change, scientists claim, Daily Mail (London), January 25

  • How the Arizona New Economy Initiative will bring jobs, boost business

    How the Arizona New Economy Initiative will bring jobs, boost business

    Cattle, cotton, copper, citrus and climate have long been recognized as the pillars of Arizona’s economy. But today the view of what is driving the state’s economic well-being and its business outlook for the future has broadened. Prominent among new things on the list of things critical to Arizona’s success in the future is the growing abundance of engineering talent and innovation. Arizona’s New Economy Initiative now foresees substantial growth of high wage jobs, increased economic output and return on the state’s economic development investments in business sectors that rely on advanced engineering skills. The initiative points specifically to the growth of the Fulton Schools as a key source of those skills — pointing to the competency of the faculty and the caliber of the training and education being provided to students. Added to that list of positive developments is the Fulton Schools’ growing track record of productive partnerships and collaborations with businesses and industries across a broad spectrum of leading sectors of the national economy.

    See Also: Creating the future of Arizona: How ASU is helping bring new high-wage jobs to Arizona and increase the state economic output throug the New Economy Initiative, ASU News, January 13

  • Broad and Shallow AI: The promise and perils of competence without comprehension

    Broad and Shallow AI: The promise and perils of competence without comprehension

    While there is optimism about the advantages of artificial intelligence, or AI, technologies evolving to reach and encompass the full spectrum of human intelligence and cognitive capabilities, others fear the potential misuses of the technology that such advances might make possible. Fulton Schools Professor Subbarao Kambhampati, a former president of the international Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, explores questions about the societal implications of a world in which AI goes beyond being able to merely imitate or approximate human intelligence. What happens if and when the technology can not only replicate human intelligence but gain an intrinsic understanding of itself and the world around it that is comparable to our intellectual competence but falls short of a fully developed comprehension of human reality?  

  • IEEE SA Managing Director’s Special Recognition Award Given to Katina Michael

    IEEE SA Managing Director’s Special Recognition Award Given to Katina Michael

    Professor Katina Michael’s areas of expertise include public interest technology. That interest has made her a leader in advocating for age-appropriate technology design standards and promoting public policies to establish protections for children in an ever-evolving age of digital technologies. Michael has applied her experience in informatics, human-centered design and consensus-building to efforts that have led to a standard for companies and key stakeholders globally to follow in designing practical digital solutions with children. For that accomplishment, she was recently given a Managing Directors Special Recognition Award by the Standards Association of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Michael is a joint hire with ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence, one of the seven Fulton schools, and is the director of the Society Policy Engineering Collective, and a Senior Global Futures Scientist.

    Read about Michaels’ work related to public interest technology here: Ideas on Optimizing the Future Soft Law Governance of AI, Technology and Society, January 5

  • Wastewater-based epidemiology comes of age during pandemic

    Wastewater-based epidemiology comes of age during pandemic

    News from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reports how advances in analyzing the contents of wastewater has become an effective, noninvasive and cost-saving method that helps track the prevalence and spread of diseases in communities. The institute’s recent Partnerships for Environmental Public Health event focused on the emerging science and environmental engineering that is advancing wastewater-based epidemiology. Among those whose work is contributing to progress in this area is Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden (pictured), who has helped to pioneer this field of epidemiology for more than two decades. His research has led to a ban on antimicrobials in consumer products that proved to present public health risks and advances in detection of COVID-19 in communities through new wastewater analysis methods.

  • As U.S. moves toward solar energy, this roofing company hopes ‘solar shingles’ will get homeowners to buy in

    As U.S. moves toward solar energy, this roofing company hopes ‘solar shingles’ will get homeowners to buy in

    A new solar roofing product from one of the country’s largest roofing companies aims to drive down the costs of home solar energy installations and boost the overall use of solar technology. Solar power expert Zachary Holman, a Fulton Schools associate professor of electrical and energy engineering, says the company, GAF Energy, seems to have all the technical aspects of its operations in place, and that with a good supply chain and business management operations the company could be in position to achieve its goals. Still, Holman and other renewable energy experts say there may be some challenges involved in the installation, operation, efficiency and resilience of this new kind of solar system under various conditions.

  • ASU again among nation’s top research universities

    ASU again among nation’s top research universities

    ASU is maintaining its place among the leading research universities in the United States. Recent rankings place the university at 26 among more than 400 universities for research expenditures — and moving up to sixth place among 755 other institutions without a medical school. Among notable engineering research pursuits are studies to improve treatment of traumatic brain injury led by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Sarah Stabenfeldt. Another is a project led by Professor Bruce Rittmann to solve the problem of carbon dioxide released from wastewater treatment systems. A process he and his research team at ASU’s Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology have developed is designed to consume carbon dioxide and convert it into biofuel and other useful  products. ASU is ranked 18th in overall in engineering research, 10th in civil engineering and 11th in electrical, electronic and communications engineering.

December

2021
  • Q&AZ: Why do most metro Phoenix homes have big block fences?

    Q&AZ: Why do most metro Phoenix homes have big block fences?

    A newcomer to the Phoenix area asks why so many residential developments in the city and its neighboring cities and towns have big masonry block walls around homes rather than the fences or lack of property barriers that are common in other parts of the country. Among the experts with an answer is Barzin Mobasher, a Fulton Schools civil engineering professor and an expert on building materials and their structural stability. The strength of block walls along with the variety of creative architectural features they can offer is one reason those walls became popular with builders, Mobasher says. Another factor: Much of the technology for making masonry blocks was developed in the Phoenix area, he says, which led to masonry plants being built in the area, which then drove the market for use of concrete blocks in home construction.

  • ASU students win gold medal for making arsenic-absorbing algae

    ASU students win gold medal for making arsenic-absorbing algae

    A team of six ASU students — three of them Fulton Schools biomedical engineering undergraduates — has won earn a gold medal in the prestigious International Genetically Engineered Machine, or iGEM, competition. The team’s project involved modifying micro algae to make proteins capable of removing toxic arsenic from water and then trapping it within the tiny algae plants. In this process the arsenic gets trapped by the proteins that are existing in the chloroplasts that the team directed the micro algae to make. Team co-captains Maggie Cook ( second from right in photo) and Emma Lieberman (at left in photo) are biomedical engineering seniors.

  • Public transit in rural Maine is sparse. Improving it could help the state fight climate change

    Public transit in rural Maine is sparse. Improving it could help the state fight climate change

    The state of Maine is trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% over the next three decades to help combat climate change. Achieving the goal will mean a change that entails both providing more public transit while also promoting a change in habits and attitudes among large numbers of the state’s citizenry who traditionally don’t make a habit of using public transit services. Fulton Schools Associate Professor and director of ASU’s Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering, Mikhail Chester, whose grandmother lives in Maine, says it’s increasingly important for states to invest more in providing new or expanded transportation systems, especially those that will provide viable options to cars in more heavily trafficked areas, thereby helping to lure more people to chose public transit.

  • America’s Greatest Disruptors: Hall of Famers

    America’s Greatest Disruptors: Hall of Famers

    A new special issue of Newsweek magazine features Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner among the outstanding innovators named to the publication’s Hall of Fame as the nation’s “Greatest Disruptors.” The magazine proclaims these ground breakers working in various fields as the “Visionaries whose career-long actions have had far-reaching impact.” Lackner, director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, is lauded for his leadership in developing carbon capture technologies and systems that could absorb or otherwise remove greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, and keep those gasses from contributing to global warming and climate change that could pose potentially devastating threats to our environment and our own health.

    See Also: The Controversial Plan to Vacuum Carbon Out of the Atmosphere, Slate, December 20

  • Researchers repurpose wastewater treatment greenhouse gases to grow algae, make useful products

    Researchers repurpose wastewater treatment greenhouse gases to grow algae, make useful products

    Biogas byproducts produced by the carbon dioxide and methane gases that emanate from wastewater treatment plants typically are burned away as part of the treatment process. But now Fulton Schools Professor Bruce Rittmann and his team at ASU’s Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, which he directs, are repurposing the process to grow algae and make other useful products. Manufacturers are able to turn microalgae into fuel, food additives and other valuable materials, and methane can be captured and sold to various industries that use it. Working with a city of Mesa water reclamation plant operators, the ASU researchers are developing a sustainable, large-scale system to reclaim valuable waste materials for beneficial uses.

    See also: Algae could be key to reducing carbon emission in wastewater treatment process, ABC15 News Arizona, December 9

  • How IIJA changes the value statement for construction technology

    How IIJA changes the value statement for construction technology

    Despite approval of the largest investment by the federal government in many decades for public infrastructure upgrades to roads, bridges, railways, public transportation, renewable energy, the electrical grid, water systems and more, skeptics says there are many construction and engineering industry obstacles to completing some of those projects. Yet other researchers are proposing alternative construction project delivery methods that might overcome roadblocks to some infrastructure improvement efforts, says Mounir El Asmar, a Fulton Schools associate professor of sustainable engineering and the built environment. An ASU and University of Colorado team has already developed guidebooks to help states’ departments of transportation implement alternative building strategies. The team plans to supplement those guides with industry training opportunities.

  • ASU students create time-travel experience in Dreamscape Learn

    ASU students create time-travel experience in Dreamscape Learn

    Robert LiKamWa says “the creative workforce of the future” is taking shape in ASU’s new “Designing for Dreamscape” course. Thirty-five students recently presented their final project for the course co-taught by LiKamWa, an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, and Ed Finn, founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination and an associate professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Divided into narrative storytelling, art, sound and pod integration teams, students collaborated to create timelines, develop characters and animation and record and edit sound to produce the project called “Theta Labs.” They used the new Dreamscape Learn virtual reality platform to create a time-traveling climate-change scenario. ASU President Michael Crow called the project a powerful form of visualization that can enable creation of useful intellectual constructs to address complex societal challenges.

  • Fighting climate change: Not all trees are created equal

    Fighting climate change: Not all trees are created equal

    Even in the hot arid deserts of Arizona and the humid tropical environs of Florida, trees can play a big part in keeping the populace cooler in seasons when the heat rises. With a growing number of days each year when temperatures climb above 90 degrees in the southern and southwestern U.S., the shade provided by trees can be one of the best ways to keep people comfortable outdoors, says Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel, an urban climatologist. But not all kinds of trees do the job. Urban planners should examine how effectively the canopies of particular tree species will perform in their cities’ specific environmental and climatological conditions. The report also aired on ABC Channel 7 News Denver.

November

2021
  • ASU professor develops app that can predict falling

    ASU professor develops app that can predict falling

    His father’s physical difficulties led Thurmon Lockhart, a Fulton Schools professor of biological and health systems engineer, to develop technology capable of closely monitoring peoples’ movement while walking to determine their risk of falling. The app measures baseline walking speed and stability while walking, and issues a warning if there is a risk of falling. The app can also be downloaded on mobile phones and I-watches. The device recognizes patterns of movement that can indicate physical frailty and some types of the symptoms related to physical dissonance, vertigo, depression and head injuries.

  • Zero Waste Water

    Zero Waste Water

    Turning waste materials into valuable products and resources has become a growing pursuit of environmental engineers and scientists. Fulton Schools Professor Bruce Rittmann has been at the forefront of the trend for two decades. Rittman, director of the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at ASU Biodesign Center, is now aiding efforts to use greenhouse gases produced by wastewater treatment to generate electricity and to make biofuel with microalgae. Collaborating with ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions and Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation and the city of Mesa, Rittman’s team is helping pioneer methods and technologies that promise to create sustainable resource reclamation processes that will help maintain a cleaner environment.

  • The cars of the future can be found across Arizona

    The cars of the future can be found across Arizona

    Innovative companies like Lucid Motors, Polestar and Rivian, each of which has operations in Arizona, are focused on developing new automotive technologies and helping lead the transition to electric vehicles. But the big question is whether these companies’ new vehicles will be able to significantly protect the environment from the negative impacts of carbon emissions like those produced by gasoline-fueled vehicles. Fulton Schools Research Professor Steve Polzin, a civil engineer who specializes in transportation, says some of the materials and manufacturing processes used to make electric vehicles still require the use of fossil fuels and carbon-intensive industrial practices. More work by engineers and researchers is needed to offset the negative environmental impacts of those aspects of the electric car industry, Polzin says.

  • Will glow-in-the-dark materials someday light our cities?

    Will glow-in-the-dark materials someday light our cities?

    A new generation of luminescent materials is prompting talk of the possibility that glowing photoluminescent substances might someday light buildings, streets and sidewalks. Such photoluminescent materials work by “trapping” the energy of a photon and re-emitting that energy as lower-wavelength light. Some of these materials could be able to glow strongly for many hours. Beyond providing illumination, it might also possible to engineer the materials to cool local environments and reduce the urban heat island effect. Fulton Schools Professor Patrick Phelan, a mechanical engineer and co-author a research paper on the heat island effect, finds that possibility worth investigating. The article also appears in Inverse.

  • Trees cool the land surface temperature of cities by up to 12°C

    Trees cool the land surface temperature of cities by up to 12°C

    Satellite data analysis of green spaces in almost 300 cities shows that trees are one of the best safeguards against rising temperatures resulting from global warming. The study concludes green spaces with plenty of tree-covered areas have a bigger cooling effect than green spaces with few or no trees. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Zhihua Wang, an environmental engineer and co-director of climate systems research for the National Center of Excellence on SMART Innovations, says the findings provide a practical guide for cities to establish effective urban heat mitigation strategies. The cooling effect happens primarily through shading and transpiration, when water inside trees is released as water vapor through their leaves, which helps lower the surrounding temperature.

  • Water Wisdom: The Indigenous Scientists Walking In Two Worlds

    Water Wisdom: The Indigenous Scientists Walking In Two Worlds

    Otakuye Conroy-Ben is among the scientists and engineers with roots in North America’s Indigenous communities and Native American cultures who are drawing on their academic training and cultural experiences to sustain natural resources by protecting sources of water and restoring ecosystems in those communities. Conroy-Ben is an environmental engineer and Fulton Schools assistant professor, as well as a Senior Global Futures Scientist with ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory. She is working with Indigenous colleagues to “get a grasp on the state of the future as it affects tribal nations,” she says. That includes work to help communities reduce water contamination and water scarcity, and protect natural resources from the impacts of climate change and increasing environmental pollution.

  • Let the video games begin

    Let the video games begin

    ASU’s new esports lounge may look like all fun and games. But with a global video gaming industry projected to grow to a well over a $200 billion enterprise, the facility is providing training that could more than ever put students on paths to careers in science, technology and engineering. It even might prepare students to become professional esports athletes, says Pavan Turaga, a Fulton Schools associate professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering and director of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, a collaborative of the Fulton Schools and ASU’s Herberger Institute for the Arts. Some students are there not just playing video games but developing new ones and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering is already adding a gaming concentration to its degree program. “There is serious academic leveraging around gaming,” Turaga says.

  • ASU Names 2022 Regents Professors

    ASU Names 2022 Regents Professors

    Fulton Schools Professor Ying-Cheng Lai (at left in photo, with students) is among four educators joining the ranks of those given the highest honor ASU bestows on its faculty members. The Regents Professor title recognizes those who have made pioneering contributions in their academic and research areas, achieved a sustained level of distinction and earned national and international recognition. Lai is an endowed professor of electrical engineering and innovator in nonlinear dynamics, complex systems and relativistic quantum chaos, a field he pioneered. More than 20 doctoral students and numerous master’s degree students have earned degrees under his guidance.

  • ASU scholars awarded $2M grant to advance educational data sharing

    ASU scholars awarded $2M grant to advance educational data sharing

    Fulton Schools faculty members are among the ASU data analysts and other data specialists in the ASU Learning at Scale Digital Learning Network, which is part of the Digital Learning Platforms to Enable Efficient Education Research Network. That network is part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, which has awarded ASU $12 million to develop infrastructure and protocols to facilitate the connection of student achievement, learning and related data at ASU and elsewhere. The project’s goal is to take major steps toward understanding learning and instruction in real-world contexts for the purpose of providing more effective higher education to college students and other learners.  

  • Freeze frame: Scientists use new electron microscope to explore the mysteries of life

    Freeze frame: Scientists use new electron microscope to explore the mysteries of life

    Some of the most fundamental biological underpinnings of life are being explored in an ASU lab equipped with a highly specialized cryogenic transmission electron microscope, technology designed to reveal the inner complexities of cells. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Brent Nannenga (pictured), a chemical engineer who probes the functions and structures of biosystems, is among the engineers and scientists whose research careers are benefiting from the capabilities of the powerful microscope named Titan Krios. It is helping to make advances in medicine, renewable energy and other critical areas, and Nannenga says efforts to upgrade the performance of Titan Krios could open the door to the next big leaps forward in microscopy.

  • Putting a dent in Plastic Waste

    Putting a dent in Plastic Waste

    Fulton Schools students Michael Brady and Johna Yolo (at left in photo) are members of the ASU chapter of the international Precious Plastic community, which is helping lead the way in sustainability efforts to recycle plastic by turning it into useful new products. Club members are using social engagement, semi-industrial plastic-processing machines and education to promote plastics recycling and zero-waste lifestyles. Brady, a civil engineering student, the club’s engineering lead, hopes to see development of plastic bricks to make homeless shelters, durable water bottles, clamps and office furniture, and a retail enterprise to support the club’s efforts. Yolo, a human systems engineering student and the club’s process lead, says major technical advances in plastics recycling are needed to make it economical and less labor-intensive but still foresees the potential to have a significant sustainability impact.

  • Research reveals tactics used by US stem cell clinics to sell therapeutics

    Research reveals tactics used by US stem cell clinics to sell therapeutics

    Despite the proliferation of stem cell clinics offering therapies the businesses say can effectively treat a number of physical disorders and restore healthy conditions in various areas of the body, new research casts doubt on the extent of the powers of those stem cell treatments. David Brafman and Emma Frow are among those who say some clinics significantly overstate the effectiveness of the therapies. Associate Professor Brafman and Assistant Professor Frow are Fulton Schools biological and health systems engineering faculty members. They have analyzed the advertising of about 60 stem cells clinics and found the claims of many of them are not based on strongly supported medical evidence, and many clinics have increasingly offered stem cell products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

  • Business Experts Split on Criticism of Buttigieg on Supply Chain Issues

    Business Experts Split on Criticism of Buttigieg on Supply Chain Issues

    A lack of the availability of basic commodities and the increasing prices of those goods are one result of the current breakdown of the global supply chain. Among the factors being cited by some critics as a cause of the problem is a lack of leadership by U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. But others, including Mahour Parast, a Fulton Schools eminent scholar whose research focuses on supply chain risk and resilience management, point to other things, such as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a reason for the supply chain problems. He also cites companies’ decisions to move their operations overseas to benefit from lower production costs and better access to raw materials as a cause. Such moves may bring cost savings, Parast says, but they also decrease the agility of supply chains.

  • Sports — you’re doing it wrong

    Sports — you’re doing it wrong

    A new book by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Rob Gray counters some of the long-accepted techniques used in physical training to develop athletic skills and compete in sports. Gray, who teaches in the Fulton Schools human systems engineering program, says new research and knowledge is casting some doubt on the effectiveness of some longtime approaches to sports training and how athletes practice. In his book, he draws on his research on human perceptual-motor control, with an emphasis on demanding physical and perceptual actions involved in sports, driving and aviation. He proposes new ways to coach and guide people — especially youngsters — who are trying to master the movements necessary to excel in challenging sporting endeavors.

  • ASU students named US finalists in Red Bull Basement global competition

    ASU students named US finalists in Red Bull Basement global competition

    Fulton Schools Student Brinlee Kidd and Sylvia Lopez will represent the United States in an international competition for student innovators December 13-15. They were selected from almost 200 applicants to participate in the Red Bull Basement Final as part of a program designed to encourage inventive students to devise ideas for using technology to drive positive change in the world. They’ve developed Jotted, an automated note-taking tool enabling students to type notes and turn them into digital notebooks with various features such as a resource finding function. Kidd is an informatics student with a minor in film and media production. Lopez is an industrial engineering student with a minor in humans systems engineering. Both are also students in ASU’s Barrett, the Honors college, and members of ASU’s student-driven Luminosity Lab.

  • Can vacuuming carbon dioxide out of the air reverse climate change?

    Can vacuuming carbon dioxide out of the air reverse climate change?

    It was decades ago that warnings about global climate change began to emerge, and not long after that came ideas for technology that could capture carbon from the atmosphere to ease the negative impacts of global warming. Klaus Lackner was among the first to propose that approach to climate engineering and then begin designing the technology and systems to make it possible. Today, as a Fulton Schools professor and director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, Lackner and his team have produced a “mechanical tree” that can effectively remove threatening greenhouse gases. Other scientists and engineers have also proposed and prototyped various methods of atmospheric carbon removal. Their efforts still face economic, governmental and political hurdles to becoming operational at scales large enough to play a big part in reversing climate change.

  • Could GPS devices be leading people to drive the wrong-way?

    Could GPS devices be leading people to drive the wrong-way?

    Some suspect that global positioning systems, or GPS, technology could be a factor in causing a spike in the occurrence of automobile accidents involving drivers going the wrong way on roads. Reporters asked Fulton Schools Professor Ram Pendyala, a transportation engineer, to explain what some of the latest research on the problem is showing about the impact of GPS devices on road safety. There is data speculating that the technology could possibly misdirect drivers in situations where there is a very short distance between an exit ramp and an access point to another road. But Pendyala says the evidence points more to driver error rather than GPS. Still, he adds, with mor reliance on GPS systems, every effort must be made to improve the technology so it can be as effective and reliable as possible.

  • Foiling AI hackers with counterfactual reasoning

    Foiling AI hackers with counterfactual reasoning

    Despite ongoing advances in the technologies used in self-driving vehicles and similar autonomous systems, they continue to be vulnerable to those capable of hacking the artificial intelligence, or AI, systems that control many autonomous systems. Yezhou Yang (pictured), a Fulton Schools assistant professor of computer science and engineering, as well as director of the ASU Active Perception Group, is among researchers working on defenses against these hackers. Among potential solutions are development of systems to thwart the specific types of complex hacking attacks aimed at taking control of the AI systems in autonomous vehicles. Yang’s efforts recently earned him an Amazon Research Award to support his research.

  • Modern modifications

    Modern modifications

    Are we on the cusp of a transhumanist future? One sign of such a trend may be the proliferation of extreme body modification. New and more intensive modification techniques are giving rise to startup industries that are expanding the creative and sometimes radical applications of tattooing, body piercings and bodily alterations — some using implantable devices — from a subculture to popular culture status. Some say it’s about building on old traditions, other see potential danger. Some forms of modification are touted as the path to inevitable transhumanism, enabled by the use of body enhancement technologies to overcome human biological limitations.  While that may bring benefits in some ways, Fulton Schools Professor Katina Michael, who studies emerging implantable tech, says it could also create social and ethical dilemmas, and blur the line between medical correction and performance enhancement.

  • Lecture Series Spotlights Indigenous Architecture

    Lecture Series Spotlights Indigenous Architecture

    “On the Ground: Indigenous Voices on Constructed Place,” a lecture series being presented by the University of Washington Department of Architecture, will bring indigenous architects, researchers and community organizers to speak as part of a celebration of National Native American Heritage Month. The featured speakers include architect Wanda Dalla Costa, an associate professor in the Del E. Webb School of Construction in the Fulton Schools and an Institute Professor in The Design School in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Dalla Costa, a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, is also affiliated with ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory and is the founder and design director of the Indigenous Design Collaborative.

  • ASU Foundation now accepting cryptocurrency gifts

    ASU Foundation now accepting cryptocurrency gifts

    ASU supporters have been donating to the university using cash, stocks, bonds, fine art, real estate, life insurance and many other traditional modes of giving. Now those philanthropic options are expanding extensively. The ASU Foundation for a New American University has begun accepting 90 kinds of cryptocurrencies, enabling new options for engaging with a broader and more diverse range of donors through more seamless processes that could provide supporters various benefits. Dragan Boscovic, Fulton Schools professor of computer science and director of the Blockchain Research Lab, says the use of cryptocurrency for philanthropy can open the way to opportunities for ASU to participate in a blockchain network that would produce additional financial advantages.

October

2021
  • The science behind the suits of ‘Dune’

    The science behind the suits of ‘Dune’

    There’s some real science in the science fiction in the new movie “Dune,” based on the long-popular novel. Characters in the film wear protective suits to help them cope more comfortably with their planet’s challenging environment.  Such attire most definitely demonstrates the application of thermal dynamics and materials engineering, says mechanical engineer and Fulton Schools Associate Professor Konrad Rykaczewski. His research has involved formulating concepts for clothing, designs and materials for very hot places like southern Arizona, where the climate is much like that of the desert planet Arrakis in “Dune.” The movie characters’ clothing shields them from much of the heat on the planet while also cooling them down and helping recycle moisture from their bodies. Rykaczewski and others involved in work similar to his engineering pursuits are developing clothing with some of the same capabilities — not only for people on Earth but, for instance, as highly functional outfits for space traveling astronauts.

  • Increasing days with extreme heat prompt new US guidelines for workers

    Increasing days with extreme heat prompt new US guidelines for workers

    Rising temperatures in places link Phoenix are posing an increasing threat to the health of workers whose jobs keep them outdoors and exposed to high temperatures for long periods of time. The U.S.Occupational Safety and Health Administration is now at work on a process to develop a workplace heat standard. The agency is looking at developing a national program that would implement an enforcement initiative on heat-related hazards and heat inspections, and forming a working group to engage stakeholders and coordinate with state and local officials. Urban climatologist Ariane Middel, a Fulton Schools assistant professor, studies “heatscapes” and how people experience the impacts of the urban heat island effect. The effects come not only from direct exposure to sunlight, Middel says, but also from ground-level surfaces, such as asphalt, concrete other materials in the built environment that strongly reflect heat. (Online access to the Phoenix Business Journal is available only to subsribers.)

  • Here’s how cryptocurrency is changing how Arizonans do business

    Here’s how cryptocurrency is changing how Arizonans do business

    Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has signed legislation to establish a Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Study Committee, which will report on what might help the cryptocurrency market grow in the state. The committee’s membership includes Fulton Schools Research Professor Dragan Boscovic, founder of ASU’s Blockchain Research Lab. Blockchain technology provides am electronic digital leger that makes cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Ethereum work. Boscovic says real estate is one area in which cryptocurrency could take hold as a common form of financial transactions. By the end of next year, the study Committee must provide a report on what steps Arizona legislators can take to support the cryptocurrency market.

  • Hoolest develops technology to treat anxiety without drugs

    Hoolest develops technology to treat anxiety without drugs

    A company founded by two Fulton Schools graduates has announced its development of a device to treat anxiety and other medical conditions. Hoolest Performance Technologies develops neurotechnologies to enhance mental health and human performance. Hoolest is led by founders Nick Hool, who earned bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in biomedical engineering in the Fulton Schools, and John Patterson, who earned bachelors and masters degrees in electrical engineering. Their newest product is a noninvasive electrical nerve stimulation device to treat anxiety and related conditions, which they tout as a fast-acting anxiety relief alternative to drug treatments.

  • Graduate College announces launch of 2 presidential scholar programs

    Graduate College announces launch of 2 presidential scholar programs

    Four new Fulton Schools graduate students — Vidya Chandrasekhar Krishnan, Kelsie Herzer, Isaiah Woodson and Gloria Appiah Nsiah (pictured with Fulton Schools Professor Treavor Boyer) — are among the 2021 cohort of 26 young scholars who are new Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows and Presidential Graduate Assistants at ASU. The programs are designed to accelerate meaningful change by bringing talented, diverse students and postdocs to the university. Their work will involve advancing research to help ASU contribute to a national agenda for social justice. The programs have been launched as a part of ASU’s Listen, Invest, Facilitate and Teach, or LIFT, Initiative.

  • Team me up, Scotty!

    Team me up, Scotty!

    ASU’s NewSpace initiative is giving academia and industry opportunities to forge partnerships to pursue advances in space exploration. Among the ASU researchers involved is mechanical engineer and Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Sze Zheng Yong. NewSpace helped Yong learn about the process of seeking NASA funding for research projects. That helped Yong earn a 2020 Early Career Faculty Space Tech Research Grant to develop an algorithm designed to coordinate robots that are physically tethered together to navigate challenging terrain. He is now working with an aerospace company to see if this type of robotic system could aid future space missions by making it possible to more adeptly navigate and explore other planets.

  • A new kind of MaRTiny: ASU researchers hope device will help gather heat data

    A new kind of MaRTiny: ASU researchers hope device will help gather heat data

    Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel, whose expertise in includes urban climatology, has been helping officials in Phoenix and Tempe seek solutions to the detrimental impacts of rising temperature in those cities. The work has included gathering data on factors that are increasing the heat in urban environments. Middel has been doing much of that work with a biometeorological sensing device she named MaRTy. After realizing the need for a smaller, more easily transported and less expensive version of the technology, Middel has developed MaRTiny. The new device can connect to Wi-Fi and provide data every minute, and features a camera that can record the data from a livestream. If this small version proves to provide data as accurate as its larger forerunner, it could reveal how urban areas could cope more productively when the heat is on.

  • 7 ASU students, alumni nominated for Marshall and Rhodes scholarships

    7 ASU students, alumni nominated for Marshall and Rhodes scholarships

    Fulton Schools chemical engineering graduate student Rachael Kha has been nominated for two of the most prestigious fellowships in higher educaton, the Marshall and Rhodes Scholarships. After earning bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering, economics and philosophy, she has been pursuing a master’s degree in chemical engineering. She has done research at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, the Pathfinder Center and the Control Systems Engineering Laboratory, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Daniel Rivera. With a Marshall Scholarship she would get support for two years of graduate study at any university in the United Kingdom, while a Rhodes Scholarship would provide funding for two years of postgraduate study at Oxford University.

  • Sun Exposure and Physical Activity: The Valuable Role of UV Wearables

    Sun Exposure and Physical Activity: The Valuable Role of UV Wearables

    New wearable electronic sensing and monitoring devices can provide users information to help them determine if their environment is exposing them to specific health risks, such as skin cancer. Those technologies are especially good at detecting unsafe levels of exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation, a main cause of skin damage. In an article coauthored by Fulton Schools biological design doctoral student Alyssa Henning, ASU researchers offer a detailed examination of current wearable devices that sense ultraviolet radiation — including smartwatches, fitness trackers, running watches that work in tandem with smartphones, tablets and computers. The researcher offer evaluations of the capabilities and potential effectiveness of the technologies.

  • From mosquito nets to food apps: Students look to build businesses

    From mosquito nets to food apps: Students look to build businesses

    A Fulton Schools mechanical engineering student was a winner in the recent Open Pitch entrepreneurship competition hosted by ASU’s J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute. Ben VollerBrown’s winning idea was a kit for fixing torn mosquito nets, a problem particularly plaguing Africa, where mosquitos often carry the yellow fever virus and West Nile virus. VollerBrown’s sent 1,000 kits to a Ugandan nonprofit to collect data on the repair kits’ utility. Through Youth Rising Uganda, VollerBrown went to Uganda to test his product. Later, he and his business partner were accepted into Clinton Global Initiative University, an organization that provides skills training to college students. A mentor with the program connected Vollerbrown with a United Nations campaign, Nothing But Nets, which was interested in purchasing 300,000 of the net repair hits.

  • Fact check: Plastic water bottles left in hot cars don’t release dioxins, do leach other chemicals

    Fact check: Plastic water bottles left in hot cars don’t release dioxins, do leach other chemicals

    Contrary to what has been claimed in various media over recent years, plastic bottles left in cars will not release harmful dioxins that could possibly cause cancer. But experts still note that heat does react with the plastics of which many bottles are made, a process called leaching — but don’t produce any of the group of toxic chemical compounds called dioxins. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden (pictured in an ASU photograph), director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, says there should be little worry of about exposure to cancer-causing chemicals like dioxins from the use of water bottles. Nevertheless, he says, there are chemicals that could cause harm. Halden recommends using chemically inert materials for storage of water and other liquids — for instance, glass instead of plastic.

  • Silent storm: Extreme heat prompts new national guidelines for workers

    Silent storm: Extreme heat prompts new national guidelines for workers

    Cities and regions that have long endured hot temperatures during a few months of the year are now experiencing even higher temperatures over long periods of time. In response to the jump in the numbers of days annually when people in these areas are feeling more intense and persistent heat, the federal government is launching a process to develop national guidelines for a workplace heat standard, establish a national heat inspection program and work with local officials to reduce heat-related health and safety hazards. Cities like Phoenix are already taking steps to reduce the impacts of the urban heat island effect — with the help of urban climatologists, including Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel.

    See Also: Sunblock for streets: Cool pavement curbs heat in Phoenix, but more testing is needed, Arizona Daily Sun, October 14
    (Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel developed the meteorological sensing device named MaRTy that is described in the story. The device is helping measure radiant temperatures and the impacts of the urban heat island effect.)

    Next Phase of Cool Pavement Program Begins, City of Phoenix, October 20
    The report includes a summary of a related study by ASU researchers.

  • ASU at Mesa City Center nears completion

    ASU at Mesa City Center nears completion

    A state-of-the-art digital media learning center will be the high-tech highlight of the new ASU at Mesa City Center that is set to open its doors in spring of next year. The facility will be home to programs in range of study areas, including some in the Fulton Schools. Along with students in ASU’s Sidney Poitier New American Film School and the Herberger Center for Design and the Arts, Fulton Schools students will get immersive experiences with the latest digital technologies and systems that are becoming essential in professions and industries in which students are expected to find opportunities for “careers of the future.”

  • Engineering the Manufacturing Boom

    Engineering the Manufacturing Boom

    Professor Kyle Squires, dean of the Fulton Schools, explains how today’s current growth boom in the manufacturing industry has emerged — and how higher education institutions like ASU are poised to be essential to the supply chain for engineering talent and expertise that are critical to advanced manufacturing operations. For instance, students in the new School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks, one of the seven Fulton Schools, are learning the latest in microelectronics, semiconductors, automation, robotics, computer science and in other areas important to manufacturing. Those student will be prepared to help provide the next-generation technologies, tools and facilities to drive the Industry 4.0 economic expansion in the United States and elsewhere.

  • Is Sucking Carbon Out of the Air the Solution to Our Climate Crisis?

    Is Sucking Carbon Out of the Air the Solution to Our Climate Crisis?

    New technologies designed to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are touted as solutions for protecting human and environmental health by greatly reducing harmful greenhouse gases that are a significant cause of global warming. But there’s debate about whether the techniques are truly capable of alleviating the threat. Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner is among engineers and scientists who have pioneered carbon capture technologies and systems and touted their potential effectiveness. His carbon absorbing “mechanical tree” has attracted keen interest. But some environmentalists question whether Lackner and other developers of these systems can overcome the corporate, economic and political factors that may present roadblocks to their efforts.

  • My View: This Arizona industry makes something small. But it’s really big

    My View: This Arizona industry makes something small. But it’s really big

    The Phoenix metro area is poised to become a major magnet for big semiconductor industry investments. One of the leading companies in in the field, the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, along with Intel (a part of its Chandler plant is pictured), are among those making multibillion-dollar investments to build new or expanded facilities in or near the city. Arizona overall ranks third in the United States for the number of business establishments in the semiconductor sector. The president and chief executive of the Arizona Technology Council says companies will be looking for talented new employees — and finding them, for instance, among those who earn credentials from the Fulton Schools’ new Certificate in Semiconductor Processing program, which provides training in various aspects of chip production. (Online access to the Phoenix Business Journal is available only to subscribers.)

  • Climate change is making Texas hotter, threatening public health, water supply and the state’s infrastructure

    Climate change is making Texas hotter, threatening public health, water supply and the state’s infrastructure

    The data is showing all the indications of an ongoing trend for hotter weather in Texas, with climate change accelerating the increase in extreme weather events and more persistent heat. The number of 100-degree days annually is expected to double compared with those from the years 2000 to 2018. The situation is more than likely to present threats to public health, strain the state’s water supply and electric grid, and mean extinction for some species. Those and other stresses on the environment and natural resources will almost certainly lead to a “monumental” challenge to maintain the state’s prosperity and quality of life, says Fulton Schools Associate Professor Mikhail Chester, an environmental engineer and director of the Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering. The article also appeared in the Texas Tribune.

  • Language Imitation Games and the Arrival of Broad and Shallow AI

    Language Imitation Games and the Arrival of Broad and Shallow AI

    Large Language Models, or LLMs, are what artificial intelligence systems use to imitate, analyze, contextualize, interpret and decipher human language. The models are proving to be accurate and valuable in ways that inform or fulfill the well-meaning purposes for which they are most often employed, but still problematic in some significant ways, says Subbarao Kambhampati (pictured), a Fulton Schools professor of computer science and a former president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. Some uses of LLMs have raised concerns about their tendency to reflect societal biases and stereotypes, Kambhampati writes in a commentary on the blog of the Association for Computing Machinery. There’s a need for LLMs to evolve to prevent the negative ramifications of their current limitations, he says, noting that researchers are beginning to explore remedies to such drawbacks.

  • Targeting gut bacteria to treat autism

    Targeting gut bacteria to treat autism

    Connections between microbes in the human gut and the brain are beginning to reveal paths to potential new medical treatments for autism. Scientists have already linked changes in the biology of the gut to neurological disorders, including epilepsy, depression and autism spectrum disorders. They now know gut microbes send signals to the brain in numerous ways. Fulton Schools Professor Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown (at left in picture), an environmental engineer, is among leading experts in the connection between autism and the human microbiome. Her work with fellow Fulton Schools Professor James Adams, a materials engineer, has led to a treatment being shown to ease some symptoms of autism in children with the disease. They plan to expand their research to better understand the dynamics of interactions between the microbiome and the brain in the hope of developing more types of promising treatments.

  • Out of thin air: can hydropanels bring water to parched communities?

    Out of thin air: can hydropanels bring water to parched communities?

    Technology developed by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Cody Friesen that can capture moisture from the air to provide a source of water may help end chronic water scarcity on the sprawling Navajo Nation. Members of the reservation in Arizona and New Mexico are far more likely than most communities in the United States to lack running water in their homes. Friesen’s company, Source, is hoping to help Navajo communities end that scarcity and to demonstrate the company’s hydropanel systems can effectively and economically end such long-running shortages of vital resources. The challenge will also involve convincing critics who contend that Source’s technology has not yet proven it can provide a complete remedy for alleviating water shortages, especially those that are predicted to become more acute.

  • Biosphere 2: The Once Infamous Live-In Terrarium Is Transforming Climate Research

    Biosphere 2: The Once Infamous Live-In Terrarium Is Transforming Climate Research

    A prototype for an extraterrestrial habitat called Biosphere 2 that opened about three decades ago in southern Arizona has had a history as an intriguing and unusual attraction — but not as a wholly successful scientific research center. Now, proponents of the project say it can still fulfill its potential as a venue for valuable experimentation within an innovative life-supporting built environment.  Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner, director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, is among scientists who foresee possibilities for using Biosphere 2 to create mini-environments that will enable researchers to make more accurate climate predictions, develop more effective reforestation techniques and learn to create self-sustaining biosystems.

  • 6 ASU graduate alumni earn placements in prestigious science policy program

    6 ASU graduate alumni earn placements in prestigious science policy program

    Two graduates of Fulton Schools degree programs are among the ASU 2021-2022 cohort of alumni pursuing professional aspirations through the prestigious Science and Technology Policy Fellowship of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Evvan Morton and Emily Bondank earned doctoral degrees in the civil, environmental and sustaining engineering program. Through the fellowship, Morton is working in the Office of Sustainable Transportation in the U.S. Department of Energy on decarbonization policies related to electric vehicles, biofuels and hydrogen fuel cells. Bondank is at the U.S. Agency for International Development and is moving the Water Office to the Center for Water, Security, Sanitation and Hygiene to support water security, sanitation and hygiene programming and applying scientific knowledge to improve climate resilience. Avni Solanki worked under Fulton Schools Associate Professor Treavor Boyer while at ASU. With support from the fellowship, she will soon be working on water policy for the U.S. Department of State.

September

2021
  • Cybersecurity competition challenges next generation of security experts

    Cybersecurity competition challenges next generation of security experts

    The Capture the Flag competition — the signature event of DEF CON, one the world’s leading hacking conventions — has been organized since 2018 by the Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics, which is directed by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Adam Doupé. Once again, hundreds of teams from around the world competed. Doupé and Yan Shoshitaishvili, a Fulton Schools assistant professor and a researcher in the center, say the event has elevated ASU’s stature as a top university for cybersecurity education. They predict the techniques being tested and deployed at DEF CON and in the Capture the Flag competitions are helping to set the course for the evolution of the cybersecurity field in years to come.

  • Reflective Coatings Deployed to Cool the Built Environment

    Reflective Coatings Deployed to Cool the Built Environment

    ASU researchers are working with the city of Phoenix Office of Sustainability and Street Transportation Department to reduce heat gain in its denser urban areas. A major focus of the effort involves using light-colored reflective coatings to pave streets. The city has been applying the “cool pavements” to roads and finding the material does reduce radiant temperatures at street level to a significant degree. The Cool Pavement Pilot Program is producing results that are exactly what city officials are hoping for, says Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. The ASU team involved in the endeavor includes faculty members Ariane Middel, Kamil Kaloush, Jennifer Vanos, David Hondula and David Sailor, who between them have various affiliations with the Fulton Schools, the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and the School of Sustainability. A second phase of the project will study the impacts of using a darker street coating with higher reflectivity.

    See Also: To Beat the Heat, Phoenix Paints Its Streets Gray, Scientific American/E&E News, October 3

    Is lighter-colored pavement helping cool down Phoenix city streets? Channel 12 News NBC-Phoenix, October 3

  • The ‘FORCE’ is with ASU, thanks to a $13.7M NSF grant

    The ‘FORCE’ is with ASU, thanks to a $13.7M NSF grant

    Alexandra Navrotsky is a professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, one of the seven Fulton Schools, as well as in ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences and School of Earth and Space Exploration — and directs the Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe. She will be drawing on her exceptionally wide range of expertise in partnership with other ASU faculty members and researchers who are leaders in their fields of engineering and science as they begin work in FORCE (the Facility for Open Research in a Compressed Environment). With support from the National Science Foundation, researchers say the facility will be a launch pad for the discovery of new materials and the solutions to fundamental problems in Earth and planetary science, materials science, chemistry, physics, energy conversion and other fields.

  • ASU designs exoskeletons for US military

    ASU designs exoskeletons for US military

    With the help of exoskeleton technology, aerial porters at Travis Air Force Base experienced a big boost in their physical strength — thanks to the work led by Fulton Schools Professor Thomas Sugar, who has spent more than 30 years designing the robotics used to create exoskeletons. The military has begun asking for new devices that would help prevent musculoskeletal injuries to people doing strenuous lifting and pushing in their work. The Air Force particularly wanted devices to help people who load and unload cargo from aircraft. Those workers have one of the highest rates of injury in that branch of the military. Developers of the technology say they foresee growing use of exoskeletons, especially in manufacturing and shipping industries.

    See Also: The Future Is Here: Air Force Porters Get Exoskeleton From Arizona State University, SOFREP (Special Operations Forces Report). September 30

  • Addressing software bugs

    Addressing software bugs

    Growing numbers of serious data breaches and hacking of our growing array of digital technologies are raising demand for solutions to software vulnerabilities. A technique called micropatching is being looked at as a potentially effective remedy to the problem. ASU is tackling the challenge through a U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract awarded to ASU’s Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics, directed by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Adam Doupé. The center is contributing research and development efforts to the Assured Micropatching program. Putting solutions in place will require a complex mix of high-tech maneuvers and cyber defense techniques to stop hackers and others attempting to access, disrupt, control or disable computerized digital technologies. Solutions will also require preventative actions by regulators, government policymakers and companies providing software systems and related technology.

  • People eager for autonomous vehicles, ASU study finds

    People eager for autonomous vehicles, ASU study finds

    Recent studies are indicating growing public acceptance of autonomous vehicles. One study, provided by ASU, is the result of a six-month pilot program involving Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority, which operates in the Phoenix area, and Waymo the autonomous-driving technology company. Fulton Schools Professor Ram Pendyala, director of a research consortium sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, notes the pilot study is the first to deploy a true AV-based mobility-on-demand service for members of the public to use for their regular daily trips. It showed people were willing to use autonomous vehicle service for traveling to and from work, shopping and entertainment destinations.

    See Also: Autonomous Vehicles Now Preferred Mode Among Seniors, Disabled, According to Transit Study, Wrangler News, September 28

    Americans with experience of driverless cars warming to the idea, Highway News, September 28

  • California utility to underground 10,000 mi of power lines

    California utility to underground 10,000 mi of power lines

    One of the largest gas and electric utilities in the U.S. is planning to put about 10,000 miles of its above-ground electric power distribution lines underground — at a likely cost of about $20 billion. The motivation is to decrease wildfires caused by Pacific Gas & Electric company’s power lines and boost the reliability of the electricity distribution in California. The company pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges related to the deadliest fire in the state’s history in 2018. Fulton Schools Professor Samuel Ariaratnam, chair of ASU’s construction engineering program and an underground construction expert, says factors like climate change are making overhead power lines “a recipe for fires.” Underground lines will not only prevent fires but better protect the lines from damage from wind and ice storms, and reduce maintenance costs. In addition, Ariaratnam says PG&E’s project could provide utilities industries valuable lessons in how to overcome the many challenges of installing large underground distribution systems.

  • Summer internship with NASA JPL was more than virtual for ASU graduate student

    Summer internship with NASA JPL was more than virtual for ASU graduate student

    ASU graduate student Lauren Gold’s recent internship involved a deep dive into virtual reality and immersive technology. Gold’s academic home is the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, a collaborative of the Fulton Schools and ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. She’s also a researcher in the Meteor Studio directed by Robert LiKamWa, an assistant professor in both schools, who also directs the Learning Futures Immersive Creation Studio. Gold’s internship with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in an “XR,” or extended reality, position, enabled her to explore designs and implementations of virtual reality app concepts to create a virtual Mars environment, helping to develop tools and interactions for scientists and engineers working on the proposed mission. Gold’s JPL supervisor says she used virtual reality tools to help gain new insights about potential applications of the technology for future NASA missions. Gold’s work also helped produce a prototype virtual reality tool for a proposed Mars mission whose principal scientist, Meenakshi Wadhwa, is a professor in ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration.

  • Weighing wastewater’s worth as a COVID-19 monitoring tool

    Weighing wastewater’s worth as a COVID-19 monitoring tool

    Scientists and engineers have been proving the value of wastewater surveillance and analysis in recent years. In particular, some have targeted their monitoring methods at detecting the signs of COVID-19 in public wastewater treatment facilities. With his team at ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, environmental engineer and Fulton School Professor Rolf Halden has been among those leading the way in tracking the spread of COVID-19, as well as providing important data about the overall health of communities. He also co-founded a wastewater-based epidemiology start-up that performed the first nationwide study in over 100 cities for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Still, Halden and other experts say there remain challenges to achieving the advances to enable even more effective wastewater analysis-based defenses against disease.

  • The CORE Institute helps develop app that aids in fall prevention

    The CORE Institute helps develop app that aids in fall prevention

    A leading orthopedic practice in Arizona, The CORE Institute, is teaming with the Arizona WearTech Center to accelerate progress on new technology to advance the science of fall prevention. The work focuses on development of the Lockhart Monitor, which springs from research led by Fulton Schools Professor Thurmon Lockhart, who specializes in biomechanics. The monitor works by way of a smartphone application with an internal accelerometer and a gyroscope that gathers data about walking speed and step strength. When the system detects signs of instability in a person’s movement, it sends out a warning to help the person take action to prevent falling. The WearTech center chose Lockhart’s project as one of the first endeavors to support through its research validation and commercialization phases.

  • Trying to cool off neighborhoods with a new kind of road surface

    Trying to cool off neighborhoods with a new kind of road surface

    Road pavement surfaces are where some of the most dramatic reflections of the urban heat island effect can be measured. In already hot Phoenix, temperatures on roads during summers can get as high as 180 degrees. ASU researchers are working with city officials to test what light-colored pavements can do to bring down the ambient heat on the streets. Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel, an urban climatologist, has been using her mobile meteorological sensing devices to help gauge changes in radiant temperatures on streets and in neighborhoods to test the effectiveness of various shading and other heat-reducing measures. In a video, Middel and fellow ASU researchers Assistant Professor Jennifer Vanos and doctoral student Florian Schneider give details about the combination of methods and techniques it will take to cool things down in the city during it hottest months.  Phase two of their studies for Phoenix government officials will begin in the near future.

    See Also: Here’s how cool pavement pilot program is impacting Phoenix, AZ Big Media, September 22

    How America’s hottest city is trying to cool down, Vox (YouTube)
    Ariane Middel contributed to the story.

    Phoenix study finds cool pavement makes significant difference, KTAR News, September 20

    Phoenix and ASU announce results of cool pavements study, Downtown Devil, September 20

    Cool pavements research builds as temperatures rise, Smart Cities Dive, Sept 24

  • The dream of carbon air capture edges toward reality in Iceland

    The dream of carbon air capture edges toward reality in Iceland

    The Swiss company Climeworks is set to open a new project designed to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, mix it with water and divert it to a deep underground well. The industrial facility in Iceland is looking like it might provide a template for a carbon capture enterprise that can effectively help clean greenhouse gases out of the air and reduce the impacts of carbon emissions that are among causes of threatening changes to the Earth’s climate. Significantly, at the same time, it may also provide an important example of how such an operation can become a commercially viable business. Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner, a pioneer in the carbon capture field and director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, sees reason for hope that the venture can follow in the footsteps of the solar photovoltaics industry and find ways to reduce operational costs while providing a clean source of energy, enabling it to be both technologically and economically successful.

    See Also: America’s innovators will solve climate change, not regulators, Tech Crunch, September 21

  • A tech billionaire wants to build a smart city in the desert. Can it be sustainable?

    A tech billionaire wants to build a smart city in the desert. Can it be sustainable?

    Diapers.com founder Marc Lore is proposing a “city of the future” in the water-scarce American desert. Arizona is one of the states being proposed as a possible location for the new city. The idea is drawing reactions from experts on urban environments, development and resource management. One question being asked: How could such a city overcome the numerous hurdles to achieving long-term sustainability in a challenging climate like desert? Zhihua Wang, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, who researches sustainable cities, says such a city would face all of the problems that now confront the Phoenix metropolitan area, including water scarcity and climate change. But, he adds, planners of a new city might be successful by learning from the experiences of existing cities how to avoid the pitfalls that have historically hindered their progress.

    See also:  A huge new city is being built in the US desert – but is it just greenwashing? TimeOut, September 21

  • What’s toxic algae and could it really have killed an entire California family hiking near Yosemite?

    What’s toxic algae and could it really have killed an entire California family hiking near Yosemite?

    California officials report that toxic algae is being investigated as a possible cause of the recent deaths of a family of three who had been hiking in a remote part of the state’s Yosemite National Park. Tests confirm that dangerous anatoxins from a kind of algae called cyanobacteria are present in a river near the hiking trail where the three were found. Taylor Weiss, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of environmental and resource management, and an algae expert, says not all algae are harmful, but some can bloom quickly and produce toxins dangerous to people and animals. Cyanobacteria is the most common. Weiss says anatoxin breaks down quickly and easily and doesn’t stay in body tissues for long, making it difficult for toxicology tests to confirm if algae contributed to the deaths. Today, environmental resource managers and water regulatory officials are being taught more about potential dangers from algae, so safety measures should be improving, he says.

  • Silicon in the Valley: Creating opportunities to benefit Arizona

    Silicon in the Valley: Creating opportunities to benefit Arizona

    Microelectronics that are getting smarter, faster and less costly to produce are helping drive a revolution in semiconductors — the critical elements in building the microscopic circuits that provide the heart of the computers in todays’ advanced technological devices. Joining the semiconductor ecosystem is now a prime target of regions looking to bring industry, jobs and economic opportunity to their communities. In Arizona, a big draw for semiconductor manufacturers are innovations being kindled by a range of high-tech research pursuits led by the Fulton Schools faculty members, including Michael Kozicki, Bertan Bakkaloglua, Cun-Zheng Ning, Bruno Azaredo, Sefaatin Tongay, Heather Emady and Zachary Holman. They are among the experts providing companies with the discoveries and infrastructure needed to become leaders in their fields, says Kyle Squires, dean of the Fulton Schools, which is striving to further boost the Phoenix area’s stature in the semiconductor world with the recent launch of the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks.

  • Bear the Burden

    Bear the Burden

    Historical inequities remain as barriers to climate justice in the Phoenix metropolitan area and elsewhere in Arizona, especially in their impact on what communities bear the burden of the urban heat island effect and other problems brought on by climate change. In her environmental engineering course, Fulton Schools Lecturer Mackenzie Boyer has students analyze air quality levels and temperatures in Phoenix to reveal how racial and economic disparities have made some areas more vulnerable to the rising temperatures caused by a changing climate and other factors. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Wanda Dalla Costa points to Phoenix’s Heat Vulnerability Index and how it shows that Arizona’s Indigenous communities are much more burdened by severe heat than residents in affluent areas. ASU researchers are involved in efforts to find solutions to provide cooling in heat-exposed locales as well as bring attention to the societal disparities at the root of the crisis.

  • FTA report signals new era of accessible transit

    FTA report signals new era of accessible transit

    A recently completed Federal Transit Administration report completed with the help of ASU indicates growing overall public confidence with the safety and mobility of autonomous vehicles. The ASU-focused part of the study was led by Professor Ram Pendyala, director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Build Environment, one of the seven Fulton Schools. Collecting data with the help of  Valley Metro  and Waymo, Pendyala says one conclusion of the study indicates the potential of autonomous vehicles — or robotic taxis — to providie more accessibility to transportation for people with physical disabilities, who are underserved in many communities, as well as for mobility on university campuses. With some engineering and design solutions, Pendyala says automated vehicle services could become safer and more affordable than traditional transit methods — and even bring on a revolutionary transformation in transportation.

  • Alexandra Navrotsky increases ASU donation to $10M to help ensure future of materials science

    Alexandra Navrotsky increases ASU donation to $10M to help ensure future of materials science

    In many decades of work as a materials science researcher, Alexandra Navrotsky has helped make significant strides in the field. What she has earned through her internationally recognized achievements has now enabled her to make a personal multimillion-dollar investment to support continued advances in materials science at ASU. The gift from the professor in both the Fulton Schools and ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will provide more funding for the Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe, which fosters collaborations between scientists and engineers to pursue materials innovations. The investment will also support professorship positions, early-career faculty endeavors and research in thermochemistry, as well as junior faculty and graduate students engaged in thermodynamics research efforts.

  • A Stanford Proposal Over AI’s ‘Foundations’ Ignites Debate

    A Stanford Proposal Over AI’s ‘Foundations’ Ignites Debate

    A dispute is brewing among the experts whose work involves efforts to make machines smarter. A recent paper coauthored by dozens of Stanford University researchers announces a new paradigm for building artificial intelligence, or AI, systems. But that claim is generating pushback from colleagues who say this paradigm is not the foundational advance the Stanford researchers claim. Their research paper doesn’t show a clear path from their work to game-changing progress that would revolutionize AI technology, says Subbarao Kambhampati, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science and a past president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. The director of Stanford’s new Center for Research on Foundation Models, however, says the large machine learning models researchers used do appear to be unique and important and show a notable improvement in the ability to handle real-world complexity.

  • The Godfather of Carbon Capture: Klaus Lackner Interview

    The Godfather of Carbon Capture: Klaus Lackner Interview

    More than two decades ago, physicist Klaus Lackner was among the first to explore the idea of technologies that could capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to reduce the buildup of greenhouse gases contributing to the rise in global warming and its environmental threat. Today, as a Fulton Schools professor and director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, Lackner and his research team are making progress toward safe, scalable and cost-efficient technologies and systems for carbon capture and sequestration. In this interview, Lackner provides a wide-ranging look at the potential of these advances to clean up our air and the challenges of pursuing that goal effectively and broadly enough to make a sustainable impact on the quality of the planet’s environment.

  • We’re eating and drinking Great Lakes plastic. How alarmed should we be?

    We’re eating and drinking Great Lakes plastic. How alarmed should we be?

    Microscopic-sized pieces of plastics have become so prevalent in water, air, food and a multitude of things else we typically come into contact with in our daily lives. In places with large bodies of water, like the Great Lakes region, water utility managers say microplastics contamination is emerging as a major concern because of the potential detriment it could pose to human health. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, warns about the “soup” of microplastics growing thicker and more widespread, and making it much more challenging to reduce the volumes of them to safer levels in our environments.

  • Engineering students still learning from collapse of World Trade Center

    Engineering students still learning from collapse of World Trade Center

    Looking back at the violent destruction of two of the United States’ most prominent buildings in the September 9, 2011 terrorist attacks is helping ASU engineering students learn about ways to prevent future structural failures. Fulton Schools Professor Barzin Mobasher today examines the fall of the World Trade Center towers in New York to teach students about the importance of the technical, engineering and design aspects of skyscraper construction. A forensic analysis of the towers’ fall emphasizes that thoroughly evaluating all potential modes of structural failure is critical to preventing such disasters in the future, he says. Such an analysis, Mobasher points out, has revealed that the fires caused by the attacks and the particularly the intense heat the flames produced were a root cause structural tension and fracturing the led to the towers’ collapse.

  • Turn Any Surface Into a Touchscreen

    Turn Any Surface Into a Touchscreen

    A team of researchers is opening a path to a range of new possibilities for interacting with the digital world by using an optical technique that helps project interactive touchscreens on any surface. Working with colleagues at a science and technology institute in Japan, Suren Jayasuriya, an assistant professor in the Fulton Schools and ASU’s School of Arts, Media and Engineering, helped devise a system that relies on a laser scanning projector. By ensuring only movements just above the surface of the projection are detected, the technique makes it possible to register users’ fingers as they press buttons, while ignoring everything else in the camera’s field of view. Jayasuriya and his collaborators are hoping the technology can be used to create large, interactive displays almost anywhere.

  • Stem cells help untangle Alzheimer’s, other disease origins

    Stem cells help untangle Alzheimer’s, other disease origins

    Researchers are peering more intensely down into the molecular and cellular foundations of human biology to study the evolution many of the world’s more debilitating diseases — and potential remedies for them. This high-precision approach is being employed by biomedical engineers and other health and medical experts like Fulton Schools Associate Professor David Brafman. He is exploring the molecular clues in stem cells, and ways to reprogram them, to attempt to produce knowledge that could lead to prevention or a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Among other things, Brafman is experimenting with cutting-edge gene editing technologies in pursuit of his goal.

  • Mesa Veteran Remembers 9/11

    Mesa Veteran Remembers 9/11

    Anthony Wende has vivid memories of his reactions in the aftermath of the deadly September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, in New York City and the nation’s capital. Wende, today an aviation lecturer and instructor at The Polytechnic School, one of the seven Fulton Schools, was in the U.S. Air Force at the time. The event led to his decision to delay his retirement from the military while the country faced the aftermath of the attacks. He now passes on to younger generations the history of 9/11 events and the lessons they can teach us. Wendt, who did some of his military service at the Williams Air Force in Mesa, recalls how the shocking tragedy altered the geopolitical picture of where, how and from what kinds of aggressors violent acts could spring and how quickly the world can change.

    See Also: Inspired to serve: Sun Devils who answered the call after 9/11, ASU News, September 9
    Fulton Schools aviation lecturer Anthony Wende talks about being in the Air Force and stationed in South Korea at the time of the 9/11 acts of terrorism and the shock of hearing about violent attacks on his homeland.

  • Walking with coffee is a little-understood feat of physics

    Walking with coffee is a little-understood feat of physics

    Understanding the intricate complexities of the physics involved in how humans walk while steadily holding a cup of coffee could provide a key to making major advances in robotics, prosthetics, automation and manufacturing technologies. It’s all explained in a new research paper  based on work by Brent Wallace, a Fulton Schools electrical engineering doctoral student, that was supervised by Fulton Schools Professor Ying-Cheng Lai, an electrical engineer and physicist. The research studies conclude that a systematic quantitative understanding of how humans interact dynamically with their environment, along with mimicking of behaviors adopted by humans in handling complex objects, could help revolutionize many technological processes and systems. The article and related reports are also published in ASU News, Science Magazine, Gamers Grade, Florida New Times, Samachar Central, TechCodex, True Viral News, Today Biz News, Verity News Now, Reporter Wings, FUNTiTECH, Digichat, International Communicaffe CNET.com, MessageToEagle, TechiLIve, Coffee Talk, Nanowerk news, ScitechDaily, Sprudge, APB Live KTEX.Iheart.com, Kiss95.1FM, u92slc.com, WCCQ.com, Prestige Online, UGOLINI News, NewsBrig

    See Also: The Mind-Bending Physics Of Walking With Coffee May Save Humanity, For Now, Forbes, September 9
    Physics explains why humans can walk through crowded places and not spill their coffee, Physics World, September 10 
    Physics Behind Walking With Cup of Coffee on Hand Without Spillage; Can It Be Applied to Soft Robotics? Science Times, September 8
    How Humans Walk and Carry a Cup of Coffee Is a Bit of a Physics Mystery, Food & Wine, September 8
    Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day, Bloomberg, September 8 (See “What we’ve been reading”)

  • ASU graduate students focus on sustainable agriculture in desert landscapes

    ASU graduate students focus on sustainable agriculture in desert landscapes

    Fulton Schools Professor Enrique Vivoni recently led a team of ASU graduate students on a journey across the U.S.-Mexico border region to get a first-hand look at how natural resources are managed in the binational Sonoran Desert, which spans across a large swath of northern Mexico and southern Arizona. The trip was part of a joint effort involving ASU and the Instituto Tecnologico de Sonora to develop sustainable agriculture in the North American desert landscapes. During the trip, students and faculty toured water supply sources, water and wastewater treatment operations as well as ecological sites and the Intercultural Center for the Study of the Deserts and Oceans. The trip was part of a larger effort led by the U.S. Department of State to promote education that will provide opportunity and stimulate the economy of the region.

  • How an ASU program helped a student business working to turn poop water into plants

    How an ASU program helped a student business working to turn poop water into plants

    A new master’s degree program that’s a partnership of the Fulton Schools and ASU’s business and design schools is enabling a company co-founded by Travis Andren, an ASU alumnus — and a graduate of the program — to pursue its goal of developing a new way to clean up agricultural wastewater. Traditionally, many industrial animal farms manage waste from animal excrement in ways that can let the waste become a threatening environmental contaminant. These “manure lagoons” that often leak and flood can infiltrate local groundwater and endanger other aquatic environments, says Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Rebecca Muenich, who studies agricultural water quality. Now Andren’s company is developing a system to harness the productive characteristics of high-protein duckweed plants to clean contaminants from agriculture water before it reaches nearby communities.

  • PG&E To Bury Power Lines To Reduce Wildfire Risk

    PG&E To Bury Power Lines To Reduce Wildfire Risk

    Raging wildfires in California. A devastating hurricane in New Orleans. Pounding rains bringing deadly and destructive flash floods to a large swath of Tennessee. These recent extreme and dangerous climate-related events make it more critical to start putting power lines and parts of other public utility systems underground, says Professor Sam Ariaratnam, chair of the Fulton Schools construction engineering program and a leading underground construction expert. Even with the high costs of burying energy and other utility infrastructure below the surface, there can be long term benefits in making those systems more resilient and in ensuring communities won’t lose vital public services in the midst of life-threatening weather events.

August

2021
  • Building infrastructure for the future beyond traditional systems

    Building infrastructure for the future beyond traditional systems

    A recent webinar convened by ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes and Issues in Science and Technology focused on the big investment the U.S. government is preparing to make to upgrade the country’s infrastructure. A panel of experts, including Mikhail Chester, (bottom left in photo) a Fulton Schools professor of civil, environmental and sustaining engineering, discussed how the infrastructure projects should be designed to help society become more resilient, flexible and equitable. Modern infrastructure must adapt to a world that is much more fast-changing than in the past, Chester said. New technologies, climate change,  cyberspace systems and politics are among things that today transform more quickly than at any time in history. Using models of systems from previous decades and centuries won’t work to overcome today’s challenges, both in terms of providing sustainable infrastructure or adapting to evolving social needs and priorities, Chester said.

  • Waymo Autonomous Vehicles Partnership Gets National Spotlight

    Waymo Autonomous Vehicles Partnership Gets National Spotlight

    A recent Federal Transportation Administration report concludes that public acceptance of autonomous vehicles is trending upward. The Valley Metro regional public transportation agency teamed with Waymo, the autonomous car company, and ASU engineering researchers to explore how autonomous vehicles can be used for the Valley Metro RideChoice program. The study showed how autonomous vehicles can enhance customer experience, meet accessibility needs and help improve affordability and safety. Ram Pendyala, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the seven Fulton Schools, and director of the Center for Teaching Old Models New Tricks, a multi-university transportation research group, says the study reveals strong strong inclinations among people to adopt autonomous vehicle-based transportation.

    See Also: Valley Metro’s Waymo AV partnership gets national spotlight, Mass Transit, September 1

    Report Shows East Valley Seniors, ADA Riders Prefer Autonomous Vehicles, KJZZ (NPR), August 30

    Riders Prefer AV Technology, New Study Shows, Metro Magazine, August 31

  • ASU ranks 4th nationally in undergrad STEM degrees

    ASU ranks 4th nationally in undergrad STEM degrees

    The thousands of ASU undergraduates earning degrees in STEM-related fields each year has moved the university into the ranks of the leading U.S. institutions of higher education that are supplying the nation with the next generations of engineers and scientists. STEM fields are a primary focus of ASU’s New Economy Initiative, which will invest $10 million into various growth efforts, including growing the Fulton Schools faculty to accelerate research endeavors, graduating 5,000 students from engineering degree programs each year by 2025, emerging as a top 15 U.S. engineering education institution and making metro Phoenix one of the largest producers of technology and engineering talent in the country, among other equally ambitious goals.

  • Net Zero Is No Longer Enough – It’s Time For Net Negative, Policy Coherence And Robust ESG

    Net Zero Is No Longer Enough – It’s Time For Net Negative, Policy Coherence And Robust ESG

    Several countries have passed laws that set goals to stop increasing the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming, climate change and the negative environmental impacts that those trends are producing. At the same time, companies and financial institutions spotlight their efforts to help limit those emissions. But experts now say those actions will be an insufficient response to stop the dangerous extreme weather and climate volatility that has become more frequent. Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner, director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, and member of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group, says large amounts of existing carbon emissions must also be removed from the atmosphere if a crisis is to be averted.

  • Quat disinfectants are helping during the pandemic. But could they contribute to antibiotic resistance?

    Quat disinfectants are helping during the pandemic. But could they contribute to antibiotic resistance?

    Quaternary ammonium compounds, or quats, are a common ingredient of disinfectants, sanitizing wipes, and personal care products. Use of quats has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic — half of the disinfectants approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 contain quats. But while they can slow the spread of disease, researchers worry they could endanger the environment. High quat levels could hinder wastewater treatment processes that rely on bacterial activity, leading to inadequately treated wastewater that then pollutes rivers and other waters downstream. But with help from colleagues, Yenjung (Sean) Lai, an assistant research scientist in ASU’s Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Bruce Rittmann, is developing a system to make quats harmless to the bacteria used to decontaminate wastewater.

  • Are You Entitled to Privacy Over Your Pee and Poop?

    Are You Entitled to Privacy Over Your Pee and Poop?

    Wastewater epidemiology is an emerging field of research that is proving its value in detecting the spread of diseases and informing efforts to mount defenses against threats to public health. Wastewater monitoring is in some ways a relatively new endeavor, so the legal and ethical parameters — including matters of privacy rights — to guide its use should be explored, says Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, a pioneer in the field. But while those issues need to be worked out, Halden asserts that this should not put the brakes on a diagnostic method that is clearly becoming a potent force in protecting large populations from the worst ramifications of epidemics and other risks to the quality of life in vulnerable communities.

  • What Can We Really Expect From Elon Musk’s Tesla Robot?

    What Can We Really Expect From Elon Musk’s Tesla Robot?

    Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, the prominent electric vehicle company, says one of his next ventures will involve development of a Tesla humanoid robot that will look and move like people. Some robotics experts are skeptical, pointing to many dexterous human physical capabilities that no machines have been able to mimic precisely. Roboticist Heni Ben Amor, a Fulton Schools assistant professor, says the human hand is extremely complex, and that making a robot that could match all of the hand’s skills would be a daunting technological challenge. But Ben Amor says if Musk’s aspiration leads only to a few advances toward his goal, it could still yield significant progress in robotics.

  • How Greater Phoenix, companies are adjusting to cybersecurity demands

    How Greater Phoenix, companies are adjusting to cybersecurity demands

    Businesses, educational institutions and other organizations are positioning the greater Phoenix metropolitan area to be a strong hub of cybersecurity endeavors and education. Those groups are proactively taking steps to respond to the growing demand for security against malicious actors in the cyberworld. That’s the message from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, or GPEC, which recently convened a group of local leaders and experts for a discussion of cybersecurity trends and the latest GPEC cybersecurity industry report. One bright spot that was highlighted among positive developments is the increasing numbers of graduates coming out of the Fulton Schools with schooling and training in the latest cybersecurity technologies and skills.

  • How faculty is making ‘ASU work’ during the fall semester

    How faculty is making ‘ASU work’ during the fall semester

    With tens of thousands of ASU students returning to the university’s campuses for the fall semester, faculty members are taking a variety of approaches in managing their classes to respond to the continuing threat of the COVID pandemic. The precautions in place ask faculty and students to do a lot to ensure a safe environment for classes and other campus activities, but sometimes students are even exceeding the protocols and practices the university administration expects them to follow. Fulton Schools Professor Daniel Bliss says that the large numbers of students and faculty members in the engineering schools is an advantage if a “buddy system” is needed so students and faculty can cover for each other if they miss classes due to contracting or being exposed to COVID.  

  • Algae bloom may be behind mysterious California deaths

    Algae bloom may be behind mysterious California deaths

    ASU’s Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation focuses on ways algae can be used to produce food, renewable energy and other things that contribute to a more sustainable society. But the center’s researchers also provide a valuable service when warning about the dangers these aquatic plants can present. Taylor Weiss, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of environmental and resources management, talks about kinds of algae that are among the more deadly toxins in the world. In the wake of news that a family and its dog may have been victims of a particle form of algae, Weiss describes what people can do to recognize algae that can pose a threat to life and know how to avoid such tragedy.  

  • Infrastructure funds for mass transit won’t solve the real problem

    Infrastructure funds for mass transit won’t solve the real problem

    Congress is poised to invest billions of dollars into public transit as part of efforts to support the country’s infrastructure systems. But there are challenges that cast doubt on whether the investment in mass transit will be worth the cost. One problem is that ridership on some transit systems remains low. Steven Polzin, a Fulton Schools research professor who does transportation policy analyses as part of his work for ASU’s TOMNET University Transportation Center, says several factors — most recently and dramatically the COVID epidemic — are discouraging use of public transit. Companies that have postponed return of the workers to their offices, as well as potential riders’ concerns about urban crime and rising homeless populations, are among other reasons transit vehicles often serve low numbers of passengers. The article was also published in the Washington Examiner.

  • How can civil engineers bridge the broadband divide?

    How can civil engineers bridge the broadband divide?

    If engineers want to act in the best interests of society today, they need to be at the forefront of efforts to ensure broadband access is available to all people and communities, says Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering. In an article that’s part of a series examining how public infrastructure affects social equity, Chester says those without adequate broadband connections will be disadvantaged in ways that will negatively impact their health, employment opportunities and access to information and resources. That makes it equally important for engineers to help mount defenses against cyberattacks that could threaten the safety and effectiveness of cyber-infrastructure technologies and systems.

  • ASU to Congress: Help us win globally in tech

    ASU to Congress: Help us win globally in tech

    Breakthroughs in engineering and technology development were touted at ASU’s recent annual Congressional Conference as critical to putting Arizona’s economy on solid ground into the future. In his talk about the university’s New Economy Initiative, ASU President Michael Crow highlighted the need for the state to become a global leader in producing advances in microelectronics design and manufacturing. That goal is reflected in the recent establishment of the newest of the seven Fulton Schools, the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks, to address next-generation engineering challenges. Crow described what is needed to fulfill that aspiration as nothing less than a larger, more capable and more agile university engineering education and research enterprise than any that has yet existed.

  • Meet affiliated faculty Rolf Halden

    Meet affiliated faculty Rolf Halden

    One of the major focuses of research led by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden involves examining society’s activities and analyzing how they are impacting our planet. These efforts include analysis of the energy, water and other resources used in food production. That and related pursuits align Halden’s work as director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering with the mission of the university’s new Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems , which will seek solutions to the many challenges in areas of agriculture, nutrition, infrastructure and the environmental footprint of food systems. Through his affiliation with the new center, Halden hopes to work on advances in farming and related technologies, and on further studies of food production processes and the impacts of food intake on human health.

  • ASU shade research could help guide urban heat island mitigation strategies

    ASU shade research could help guide urban heat island mitigation strategies

    Shading needs to become a leading priority in today’s urban planning endeavors, say experts like Ariane Middel, a Fulton Schools assistant professor and urban climatologist. Proper shading can have a significant impact on easing the severity of the urban heat island effect that is becoming more intense in larger cities like Phoenix. Middel says those efforts must go beyond simply providing more trees for shading purposes. It’s also critical to design buildings and other structures in ways that provide shading in public places where people walk, gather or exercise outdoors. Middel is pictured at right with her mobile laboratory, a wagon equipped with meteorological sensing devices.

     

  • Staying cool for back to school

    Staying cool for back to school

    The start of the school year doesn’t necessarily mean the arrival cool fall weather in the desert Southwest. Students can expect triple-digit daytime temperatures to persist on campuses for several weeks. Fortunately, ASU has experts to provide useful guidance on surviving campus life under the strong Arizona sun. Among them is Ariane Middel (pictured), director of  The SHaDe Lab, an ASU-based urban climate research group. The lab’s team — which includes several leading experts on urban planning and climatology — did a three-year study to map out the coolest and hottest places on ASU’s Tempe campus. They’re sharing their knowledge with students about how best to survive and thrive in intensely sun-drenched environments. Their message: Take the heat seriously because its impacts on your health could be harmful. They’re giving practical advice on how to stay safe in the sun.

  • Exciting new degree programs await ASU students for fall 2021

    Exciting new degree programs await ASU students for fall 2021

    The fall semester at ASU will see the introduction of notable additions to the hundreds of degree programs offered by the university — as well as more minors and certificates programs. Those include a new degree program offering a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering along with a master’s degree in global management, offered by The Polytechnic School, one of the seven Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and the Thunderbird School of Global Management. In addition, the Fulton Schools are debuting a Certificate in Semiconductor Processing program and the Fulton Schools Office of Global Outreach and Extended Education is teaming with the College of Health Solutions to offer a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt in Health Care certificate program.

  • Evolution of Assistive Technology Presents A World of Possibilities for People with Disabilities

    Evolution of Assistive Technology Presents A World of Possibilities for People with Disabilities

    Advances in assistive technologies such as exoskeletons, powered prosthetics and a variety of related robotic systems are helping change the lives of people with disabilities. University research centers in particular are leading the way. At ASU, Fulton Schools Associate Professors Rod Roscoe and Jennifer Blain Christen are using their skills in engineering and other STEM fields to expand efforts aimed at spurring assistive technology innovations. They secured funding to support engineering students in developing and modifying these technologies. So far, this has led to new and improved systems for people with autism, cerebral palsy, and hearing and speech impairments. Roscoe and Christen are also looking for funding opportunities that would enable them to expand the program to graduate students and to design an engineering course focused specifically on assistive technologies.

  • The mouse that roars

    The mouse that roars

    ASU’s Polytechnic campus is only about a tenth of the size of ASU’s Tempe campus — and as student Cecilia Alcantar-Chavez notes, the Polytechnic campus also has a small-town feel in stark contrast to the bustling urban, high-tech, high-rise architecture and ambiance of the Tempe campus. Which is one reason Alcantar-Chavez, a mechanical engineering student, and many others are drawn to the campus, home of The Polytechnic School, one of the seven Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU. But engineering students say the smaller campus has no shortcomings when it comes to their education. Mechanical engineering student Jake Okun says he has found no lack of research opportunities, echoing Alcantar-Chavez’s affinity for the plethora of hands-on engineering education opportunities and the many student clubs at the campus.

  • National Security Academic Accelerator pilot program advances ASU faculty and student ideas, technologies

    National Security Academic Accelerator pilot program advances ASU faculty and student ideas, technologies

    To cultivate collaborations among government agencies and leading research institutions to advance U.S. security goals in both commercial and defense sectors, ASU’s recently launched National Security Academic Accelerator pilot program has partnered with the National Security Innovation Network. The university is now helping bring together resources and expertise from academia, industry and defense organizations to develop cutting-edge technologies that will enhance the nation’s security ecosystem. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Fengbo Ren is one of the ASU faculty members involved in those efforts through his expertise in high performance computing. He will be on sabbatical next year to further develop his work and to launch a related startup venture.

  • Sun Devil Life: Power move

    Sun Devil Life: Power move

    Doreen Marfo’s motivation for coming to Arizona State University is all about gaining power — for her home country. Growing up with her grandparents in Ghana, there was no access to electricity in their village. Today, the village does have electricity but the gird is by no means robust. After a summer internship at the Ghana Grid Company, Marfo is beginning her studies in the Fulton Schools to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering with the goal of eventually working to improve the African country’s electrical services. ASU’s power systems laboratories and researchers — especially Professors Vijay Vittal and Raja Ayyanar — helped draw Marfo to the university, where she plans to join a research center and the National Society of Black Engineers.

  • Biden’s road to carbon reduction leads with electric vehicles

    Biden’s road to carbon reduction leads with electric vehicles

    President Joe Biden has set a goal for all new vehicles sold in 2030 to produce zero carbon emissions — including battery-charged electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel-cell-powered vehicles. That plan will mean cutting the use of gasoline for automobiles by billions of gallons. Fulton Schools Research Professor Steven Polzin, a transportation expert and a recent senior adviser in the U.S. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, recently testified before the U.S, Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He talks about what must happen to ensure the American public’s successful transition to the use of electric vehicles.

  • California wildfires make underground utilities an infrastructure priority

    California wildfires make underground utilities an infrastructure priority

    California largest electricity provider has long said underground installation of long distance, high voltage power transmission lines would be too costly. Now, Pacific Gas & Electric plans to spend the next decade putting 10,000 miles of power lines below the ground in areas of the state prone to wildfires. Fulton Schools Professor Samuel Ariaratnam, an expert in trenchless technology and underground construction, says the decision highlights the critical need to adopt new advanced technologies — despite the costs — to protect communities from wildfires of other catastrophic events like tornadoes, hurricanes and ice storms. Ariaratnam, who has worked to develop good practices for installing underground utilities, talks about what these technological breakthroughs mean for public safety, protecting power grids and minimizing the effects of climate change.

  • Tempe expands wastewater COVID data program thanks to CDC grant

    Tempe expands wastewater COVID data program thanks to CDC grant

    A wastewater data program the city of Tempe has used to track the spread of COVID-19 in its communities will be expanded with a $1 million grant from the Center for Disease Control to the Arizona Department of Health Services to partner with the city. ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, has been working with Tempe for the past few years, using wastewater-based epidemiology to gather information that can reveal public health issues. In addition to tracking COVID-19, the sewage surveillance project can also help detect other emerging health crises, Halden says.

  • Microbes for better sewage treatment

    Microbes for better sewage treatment

    The “first great triumph of microbial-community engineering” promises a big leap forward in wastewater treatment. A special news feature in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports on the development of methods that use “cultured bacterial communities” to not only treat sewage but to create useful products. Fulton Schools Professor Bruce Rittmann, an environmental engineer who has been doing research in this area for more the three decades, has helped pioneer techniques that can now tailor microbial communities to perform specific functions. With this and related advances, Rittmann and fellow researchers sparked a fundamental rethink of the classic activated-sludge approach to treating wastewater. Their work has led to a “game-changing approach” in ways communities can deal with sewage and at the same time recover valuable resources in the process.

  • How to Get Rid of Stuff at Home

    How to Get Rid of Stuff at Home

    Decluttering shouldn’t be just a matter of what and how much you throw away or otherwise dispose of. Doing it right should also mean doing it responsibly. What you add to the trash pile shouldn’t become a nuisance — or threat — to others. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, points out that chemicals in the containers of household products could become dangerous if they leak into soil. Batteries, for instance, contain lead and cadmium, which shouldn’t be put in the garbage. To avoid doing harm, look for websites with information about eco-friendly services that take hazardous waste such as fuels, pesticides, fluorescent lightbulbs, unused medications, batteries and even large appliances and recycles them or disposes of them safely.

  • How Urban Heat Impacts Communities of Color

    How Urban Heat Impacts Communities of Color

    The harmful impacts of warming urban climates in many metropolitan areas — including Phoenix — are affecting some communities more dramatically than others. Beyond environmental changes making the urban heat island effect more intense, social, economic and political factors have contributed to the problem. A lack of resources, amenities and civic support over decades for some neighborhoods has left residents especially vulnerable to rising temperatures. Urban climate researcher Ariane Middel (pictured), a Fulton Schools assistant professor, is among those calling attention to ways in which some areas remain disproportionately burdened by increasing heat, including the scarcity of shading and protective structures and vegetation in public spaces, and use of building materials that increase radiant air temperatures.

    See Also: Solutions to extreme heat can be found in our streets, Boston Globe, August 3
    The article reports that a team from Arizona State University is working with the city of Phoenix on a pilot program to study the use of “cool pavement” to reduce the urban heat island effect — a phenomenon that raises temperatures in urban areas covered by asphalt and concrete. Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel is leading the ASU team for the project.

  • How to Build a Water-Smart City

    How to Build a Water-Smart City

    With drought becoming more common, cities will need to invest in multiple endeavors to ensure their water supplies can meet the growing needs of what are projected to be significantly larger populations. That will mean more major water recycling efforts, technologies that conserve water and systems to harvest water. It will so require responding to the root causes of climate change and building new infrastructure to protect water supplies and keep them safe from contamination. With demands for water certain to increase for residential, industrial and ecological uses, hydrologist Enrique Vivoni, a Fulton Schools professor, says cities must devise master plans designed to provide and secure water resources for as many as 50 to 100 years into the future.

  • Sunny-Day Flooding Is About to Become More Than a Nuisance

    Sunny-Day Flooding Is About to Become More Than a Nuisance

    Extreme weather events that scientists have been saying climate change would eventually trigger are beginning to occur years ahead of what has been predicted. Flooding in particular has come on suddenly, strongly and more frequently, especially in coastal areas, with some of the events causing major damage and disruption to business as usual. The quickly emerging and unexpected flooding is proving more difficult to prepare for and recover from. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Mikhail Chester, a leader of the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network, says such rapidly changing environmental conditions signal the pressing need to design and build new and more sustainable infrastructure systems that will be able to withstand more erratic and dramatic climate and weather scenarios.

    The article also appeared in ELÉTÍỌFE.

July

2021
  • ASU scientists use commercial satellite data to determine water flow in Southwestern rivers

    ASU scientists use commercial satellite data to determine water flow in Southwestern rivers

    By using advanced remote sensing and imagery on two commercial satellites, and with support from a NASA program, hydrologist and Fulton Schools Professor Enrique Vivoni and Fulton Schools graduate student Zhaocheng Wang hope to gather extensive and important data about environmental conditions of major rivers in Arizona and California. The information is expected to help improve forecasts of flooding and assessments of other hazards, and better determine stream flow levels. New data should also aid efforts to study surface water and groundwater interactions and survey river and riverbank habitats. The project should also produce assessments to help other state in the Southwest U.S. to manage water resources, control pollution and maintain water quality in rivers.

  • Meeting Today’s Needs With Tomorrow In Mind

    Meeting Today’s Needs With Tomorrow In Mind

    Serious consideration of the environmental impacts of engineering endeavors has never been more critical, say those commenting in this article in the flagship publication of the National Society of Professional Engineers. Sustainability, healthy environments, recyclable materials, renewable energy and other “green practices” should guide today’s engineering design and implementation, they say, as well as become an integral part of engineering education. Fulton Schools Professor Brad Allenby is among educators emphasizing the importance of proactive change to make the long-term well-being of society a primary foundation of all engineering fields and the industries engineers serve. Allenby and others are trying to arm students with broader knowledge of government, public policy, business practices, ethics and politics to teach them real-world problem solving skills they will need to alter the mindset about the ultimate role of engineering in society. (Accees to PE Magazine online is available to subscribers only.)

  • Equipping the next generation of cybersecurity professionals

    Equipping the next generation of cybersecurity professionals

    There’s a growing and urgent need for more cybersecurity experts in the U.S., a problem reflected in a workforce shortage in the industry that threatens to weaken the country’s defenses against cyberattacks and cybercrime. In response, the National Security Agency and National Science Foundation are funding GenCyber camps for high school students across the country to respond to the need. ASU recently hosted one of the first GenCyber camps. Cybersecurity researcher and Fulton Schools Associate Professor Adam Doupé says one challenge in efforts to attract more young people is the negative image of cyber enthusiasts and experts as hackers who engage in nefarious activities in the cyberworld.  He says the cyber community must recapture the original meaning of hackers as people who apply ingenuity to come up with creative solutions and beneficial innovations. Doupé gave a talk titled “Cybersecurity, ASU, and You” at the GenCyber camp.

  • High school students explore transportation careers

    High school students explore transportation careers

    More than 40 Arizona high school juniors and seniors recently explored the evolving world of transportation through the National Summer Transportation Institute program presented by the Fulton Schools in partnership with the Arizona Department of Transportation, or ADOT. In two free five-day sessions that included virtual field trips and road studies, Fulton Schools faculty members and students helped demonstrate to the high school students how engineers plan and maintain Arizona transportation systems. Those students also completed hands-on projects like building small robots to simulate self-driving vehicles.

  • These companies are sucking carbon out of the atmosphere — and investors are piling in

    These companies are sucking carbon out of the atmosphere — and investors are piling in

    Technology that essentially vacuums carbon from the atmosphere is being seen as critical to the increasingly urgent endeavor to prevent more intense global warming and meet the goals of the international Paris climate agreement. Investors are increasingly supporting companies that are developing tools and techniques to help keep the heat from rising across the globe. A carbon capture system involving “mechanical trees” developed at ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner, is among ventures drawing interest from those investors. In addition to cleaning carbon dioxide from the air, carbon capture systems could potentially also be used to make new products and to help oil companies release oil trapped underground, which could be a big draw for corporate investment.

  • Seed grants bring ASU, Mayo Clinic researchers together to advance patient care

    Seed grants bring ASU, Mayo Clinic researchers together to advance patient care

    Exploring new research ideas on a small scale often enables scientists and biomedical engineers to make progress that attracts funding to support more extensive work that may improve patient care and spark advances in a variety of health-related fields. Mayo Clinic and ASU’s Alliance for Health Care have been providing seed grants for these projects to fuel medical advances for more than 15 years. Five new research proposals have recently been awarded funding. Two projects will involve work by Fulton Schools faculty members. Assistant Professor David Brafman will team with Mayo Clinic neurology expert Richard Caselli to look at factors that present African American with elevated risks of Alzheimer’s disease. Assistant Professor Christopher Plaisier will collaborate with Mayo Clinic cancer biology specialist Nhan Tran to study how tumor cells interact with other cells to invade and proliferate in the human body.

  • Is electrical engineering a good career?

    Is electrical engineering a good career?

    Ever expanding and exciting uses for new digital devices, robotics, machine learning and telecommunications technologies. Growing demand for advances in power generation, renewable energy, manufacturing systems and smart vehicles. All this and more is broadening horizons of possibilities for new and future engineers. There have never been more opportunities and promising prospects for successful careers in engineering than there are today. Plus, there’s the widening range of creative pursuits now encompassed by the multiple kinds of endeavors that fall within the realm of engineering. All these factors are broadening the allure of the field for aspiring innovators.

  • The Secret Cleaning Power of Bacteria

    The Secret Cleaning Power of Bacteria

    Bacteria and cleanliness are not words that many people think of having a connection. But microbial bacteria are efficient at digesting or breaking down substances and organic matter such as germs, sewage, oily stains and various industrial waste products and other messy stuff that people generally don’t want contact with. Today, bacteria are being put to work in an increasing number of cleanup projects. Bruce Rittmann, a Fulton Schools professor of environmental engineering is using “microbial communities” to treat wastewater. He is working on a process to use bacteria to rid water sources of polyfluoroalkyl substances, which have strong chemical bonds that make them difficult to remove. He is hoping to employ microbial organisms to transform chemicals these microbes consider food but we think of as pollution.

  • After fatal floods, German authorities face criticism for lack of preparation

    After fatal floods, German authorities face criticism for lack of preparation

    The tragic toll of death and destruction triggered by severe flooding across a large region of Germany is raising awareness of the need for preparation to withstand potentially catastrophic weather events — especially with the increasing impacts of climate change. Even with a forecast of extraordinarily heavy rainfall, the communication systems, public safety operations and infrastructure were inadequate to avert extensive damage and loss of life. Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of environmental engineering, says the crux of the problem is a lack of ability to make infrastructure systems more agile and flexible in response to environmental changes. The remedy will need to involve rethinking of not only how  infrastructure is designed  but also the ways it is financed, governed and managed, Chester says.

    See Also: As Disasters Spiral, Cities Confront Need for Climate Adaptation, Bloomberg CityLab + Green, July 20
    Fulton Schools Associate Professor Mikhail Chester says the U.S. must deal with its “Band-Aided” infrastructure, a result of years of disinvestment and neglect. The country must “make surgical investments and triage like wartime” in response to challenging changes in climate trends and their environmental impacts, says Chester, director of ASU’s Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering.

  • Scottsdale-based Ambature is on the path to a superconductive future

    Scottsdale-based Ambature is on the path to a superconductive future

    Using a material found to be more conductive than silicon, and building its product vertically rather than horizontally, Ambature Inc. has made a significant innovation in semiconductor chip design. CEO Ron Kelly (pictured) says the company has proven it’s possible to build a vertical structure architecture superconductor through a process that can provide better chips for an array of products. While Ambature’s new technology has been independently tested by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Kelly says the company also owes much of its success to ASU’s engineering labs. He notes that all but a small percentage of the technology for which Ambature has patent claims has been developed in those labs. (Access to the Phoenix Business Journal online is available only to subscribers.)

  • Complete connection: the 75-year evolution of the mobile phone

    Complete connection: the 75-year evolution of the mobile phone

    The precursor to the modern mobile phone was bulky — many people would have been unable to hold it easily in one hand — and it could not make a direct call. Also, there were only a very limited number of places where it could get a signal. The evolution toward today’s versatile cell phone has been long and sporadic, says Daniel Bliss, a Fulton Schools professor or electrical, computer and energy engineering. Historically, if not for the military’s interest in mobile communications, early versions of mobile telephones would likely not have been developed until decades later than they were. In the future, Bliss says to expect more convergences of technologies that combine various communication functions, such as a phone with a personal health monitor or a radar device that makes users more aware of what’s in their immediate environments. Communication technologies might even be built into clothes, he says.

  • The life-or-death race to improve carbon capture

    The life-or-death race to improve carbon capture

    Carbon capture technology could help overcome some of the bigger problems associated with global warming, climate change and pollution. But the current capabilities of engineering and chemistry to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere must be significantly scaled up to avoid environmental calamity. Klaus Lackner director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, says the transition can’t be made without industries reducing the carbon dioxide they put into the air, which means a lot less burning of fossil fuels. Accomplishing that will require not only take technological advances, but international governance and economic solutions, Lackner says. Other experts add that defenses against bigger problems arising from the abundance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere won’t be avoided without major action in the next decade.

  • What is microplastic anyway? Inside the insidious pollution that is absolutely everywhere

    What is microplastic anyway? Inside the insidious pollution that is absolutely everywhere

    Tiny bits of plastics have been linked to both human and environmental health threats — and the continuing accumulations of plastics pollution is magnifying the danger. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, is among engineers, scientists and others warning of the impacts of plastics used for food packaging and a vast number of other products, including automobile tires. When the chemicals in the plastic parts of these products break down, they add to the often toxic microplastics now found in waterways and on land in much of the world. Experts says stemming the tide of microplastics will likely require significant actions by industries that use plastics and lifestyle choices by people who use products containing plastics.

  • Entrepreneur: Thank you note writing is going to the robots at this Valley startup

    Entrepreneur: Thank you note writing is going to the robots at this Valley startup

    More than 100 pen holding robots are the writers for the Phoenix based personalized note writing company Handwrytten, led by entrepreneur David Wachs (pictured).  Much of the success of the venture — which was No. 148 on the 2020 Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the U.S. — has sprung from being able to make robots with the skill to produce penmanship that looks nuanced and realistic. That achievement, according to Wachs, sprung from the money saving suggestion by an ASU mechanical engineering graduate to use 3D printing technology to make robot parts that can be created by the company inhouse. (Access to the Phoenix Business Journal online is available only to subscribers.)

  • Communication linked to productivity in software company

    Communication linked to productivity in software company

    It’s long been an accepted belief that effective communication within companies and other organizations contributes to overall productivity. However, there has been a lack of strong evidence to substantiate that link. Now, Arindam Dutta, a doctoral research scholar in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of the Fulton Schools, has teamed with colleagues to develop a rigorous methodology to characterize and analyze organizational communication and reveal how it relates to employee performance and productivity. An analysis of three years of conversations at a software company confirmed the assumption about the communication-productivity connection. The research findings are presented in the science journal PLOS One.

    See Also: Productivity of software organizations related to communication, Illinois News Today, July 17

  • Heat Waves Are Taking a Toll On PNW Drinking Water

    Heat Waves Are Taking a Toll On PNW Drinking Water

    Droughts and heat waves can degrade water quality in a number of ways. Reduced river and stream flows caused by heat and draught can make bodies of water more stagnant— leading to emergence of pollutants and bacteria. Heat waves also lower oxygen levels in water, which in turn endangers fish and other marine life and reduces water quality.  Heat waves and droughts can create conditions that lead to wild fires that in turn bring sediment, ash, charcoal and debris into fresh waters and ground water. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, notes that hot weather can also contaminate water in plastic bottles. The hotter it gets, Halden says, the more likely that substances in plastic can move into and affect food or drinking water in the bottles.

  • ASU students to be empowered by ‘technofluency’

    ASU students to be empowered by ‘technofluency’

    Pavan Turaga says equipping students with deep knowledge of the tools, applications and societal implications of modern technologies is among the central missions of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, a collaborative initiative between the Fulton Schools and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Associate Professor Turaga, the school’s new director, foresees students working on projects that will produce positive community impacts, such as devising creative ways to use artificial intelligence technologies and computer gaming as learning platforms. He also sees possibilities for students to work on wearable technologies that could monitor individuals’ health and interactive technologies to enhance human performance and learning. The broad spectrum of skills students could acquire through these tech-based approaches can produce graduates qualified to work in a wide range of career fields, Turaga says.

  • The Bitcoin Industry’s Environmental Impacts

    The Bitcoin Industry’s Environmental Impacts

    Despite some setbacks, the world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is proving to be profitable and becoming more popular. But along with some market volatility and criticism from observers of trends in the digital currency industry, there are warnings about the potentially harmful environmental impacts of creating Bitcoin. The electronic “mining” of Bitcoin requires a vast network of computers, which use a lot of energy and collectively produce a lot of heat. Urban climate expert Ariane Middel, a Fulton Schools assistant professor, says the added heat might become a factor in pushing up temperatures, especially in hot climates like that of Phoenix and other desert cities. For now, the impact is minuscule, but if Bitcoin-mining data centers proliferate, the industry could contribute to intensifying the urban heat island effect that’s now affecting many cities.

  • Living in a heatwave: How to design the climate-proof cities of tomorrow

    Living in a heatwave: How to design the climate-proof cities of tomorrow

    Analysis of recent record-breaking high temperatures in the U.S. and Canada point to human-caused climate change as a major reason for the major heat waves. Cutting carbon emissions to curb global warming is among steps scientists see as crucial to lowering the heat. But there are practical steps cities and communities can take to protect against the harmful impacts of rising temperatures. Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel, an urban climate expert, is among those researching ways to reduce the urban heat-island effect. Los Angeles, for instance, painted some of its street pavements a lighter shade of grey to help to cut back on the heat the surfaces radiate. A study by Middel measured the effectiveness of the effort. The city has coated roads around 50 city blocks with the lighter grey paint and now plans to extend the painting to cover streets around 200 additional city blocks.

  • ASU biomechanics professor addressing fall prevention through new partnership

    ASU biomechanics professor addressing fall prevention through new partnership

    Developing a smartphone app that can warn people of their risk of falling is one the primary goals of research led by Thurmon Lockhart, a Fulton Schools professor of biomechanics. Recently named the first Musculoskeletal Orthopedic Research and Education, or MORE, Foundation Professor of Life in Motion, Lockhart wants to give patients and cargivers enhanced technology-enabled capabilities to more effectively restore individuals’ mobility and quality of life. The Lockhart Monitor gathers data each person’s measures of walking gait, posture and stability, working with a smartphone to provide information such as walking speed and step length, and then determines muscle motor control. The technology helps assess how patients are progressing in recovery after surgery and can guide rehabilitation efforts to restore walking ability. Read more about Lockhart’s work.

  • Regents Professor Bruce Rittmann honored with WEF research award

    Regents Professor Bruce Rittmann honored with WEF research award

    Honoring his achievements as a researcher and educator, the Water Environment Federation has given Fulton Schools Professor Bruce Rittman its 2021 WEF Camp Applied Research Award. Rittmann, director of ASU’s Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, is acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost leaders in his field. The WEF award is the most recent of his long list of professional accolades, including receiving a prize three years ago that has been called the Nobel Prize of water search. Rittmann’s work has led to advances in remediation of environmental pollution, water and wastewater treatment, capture of renewable energy and technologies to improve human health.

  • ASU’s MyPath2ASU enhances the transfer experience for students

    ASU’s MyPath2ASU enhances the transfer experience for students

    Valentin Madrigal grew up in circumstances that led him to believe a college education was not in his future. But today he is a U.S. Army veteran and honor student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the Fulton Schools aerospace engineering program. His progress has recently been aided by MyPath2ASU a set of tools for students to complete an efficient transfer experience to ASU after earning credits or an associate degree from a U.S. community college or another university. Madrigal, a first-generation college student, transferred from Central Arizona Community College to fulfill his aspirations for a career in aerospace engineering and space travel. He talks about his motivations for continuing his education and his transfer experience to ASU.

  • Air Force exoskeleton gets heavy lift from ASU

    Air Force exoskeleton gets heavy lift from ASU

    Aerial porters — Air Force personnel who load pallets and lift cargo onto aircraft — are getting help doing their jobs more safely and with less exertion, thanks to new lightweight exoskeleton technology developed by ASU engineers. A recent study reveals that more the $30 million is spent each year in disability benefits for retired aerial porters, who had a high incidence of musculoskeletal injuries. The Aerial Porter Exoskeleton project has been led by Fulton Schools Professor Tom Sugar, whose expertise in mechanical, manufacturing and systems engineering guided his work to design more effective flexible wearable robots to prevent those injuries. The exoskeleton enables teams of porters to lift and move as much as 10,000 pounds of materials and load them onto planes, while allowing users to easily disengage the technology when walking, running, sitting or crawling so that it won’t be a hindrance to free movement when it’s not needed.

  • How Bad Is America’s Infrastructure, Really?

    How Bad Is America’s Infrastructure, Really?

    Various surveys, studies and other assessments of infrastructure in the U.S. have for years warned of the deteriorating conditions of roads, bridges, water and power systems, rail lines and other critical facets of the nation’s built environment and the dire need to rebuild or update these vital public facilities. Engineers including Anthony Lamanna, a Fulton Schools professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, explain the evolution of today’s growing infrastructure challenges and the reasons why potential solutions can come up against roadblocks. One solution might be putting more infrastructure projects under the control of public-private partnerships, rather than being completely government projects. Lamanna, a program chair in the Fulton Schools’ Del E. Web School of Construction, suggests having more engineers in the U.S. Congress might set the stage for some progress in addressing infrastructure needs.

  • A new microwave scanner can track moving objects through walls, Superman-style

    A new microwave scanner can track moving objects through walls, Superman-style

    A new radar scanning system developed by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology uses microwave scanner that can create real-time images and video of objects — even when they are hidden behind walls or moving at hypersonic speeds. The technology could potentially allow first responders to more easily find people in smoke-filled burning buildings, or to track speeding debris up in space. Seyedmohammadreza Faghih Imani, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering, who has studied microwave imaging, describes how this new technology expands the possibilities of what microwave imaging systems can do. Imani says it could lead to more effective microwave security scanners at airports and microwave imagers for self-driving cars, as well as microwave cameras that can fit into telephones.

  • No Shade: Why Is It So Hard to Hide From the Sun in Phoenix?

    No Shade: Why Is It So Hard to Hide From the Sun in Phoenix?

    With rising temperatures and an intensifying urban heat island impact, the Phoenix area faces tough challenges in maintaining its livability. In this environment, shade is more than merely a comfort factor, it’s critical to protecting the well-being of both individuals and entire communities. Local governments are now including shading strategies in their urban development planning. Some efforts are being informed by experts like Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel, who is with ASU’s Urban Climate Research Center. Middel and her colleagues are providing scientific and engineering foundations for determining the most efficient and effective ways to provide shade to a busy and sprawling metropolitan region.

  • Carbon removal hype is becoming a dangerous distraction

    Carbon removal hype is becoming a dangerous distraction

    While large companies and national governments announce plans for efforts to take harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, scientists and engineers warn that this approach doesn’t address the root causes of the problem. Even with the use of new technologies that absorb carbon dioxide from the air, tons of carbon emissions would continue to be produced by automobiles and other technologies and industrial operations that burn fossil fuels. Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner, director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions and a pioneer of carbon capture technology, agrees carbon removal is only part of the solution. Lackner also says he is seeing corporations and countries pledge to remove carbon without the full know-how to achieve what they promise. He and other engineers and scientists say the best long-term option for environmental sustainability lies in a major shift by industries away from fossil fuels.

  • Scottsdale, ASU ‘cool’ partnership places focus on heat mitigation

    Scottsdale, ASU ‘cool’ partnership places focus on heat mitigation

    A mobile weather station named MaRTy developed by Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel is one of the technologies being used by ASU researchers and Scottsdale officials in efforts to reduce the impacts of heat on the city’s residents and visitors. Researchers are conducting studies to help prioritize programs and policies to provide city staff and residents a better understanding of current heat-related risks and vulnerabilities facing Scottsdale, and to devise strategies to address heat challenges. It’s critical for cities to be proactive in dealing with rising heat that is becoming more common and intense due to climate change, says Mary Wright, a doctoral student in ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning who is involved in the project. Middel, a faculty affiliate in the school, is involved in a range of research projects aimed at helping cities combat the urban heat island effect.

  • The climate is changing fast. Infrastructure should, too

    The climate is changing fast. Infrastructure should, too

    Simply repairing and rebuilding aging infrastructure will fall far short of what’s needed to provide the U.S. with resilient roadways, bridges, dams, pipelines and other critical systems and facilities, says Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering. As the impacts of climate change put more environmental stress on power grids, water delivery and flood control systems and other structures, Chester says governments and industries must rethink their approach to infrastructure by adopting new designs and construction techniques that respond to the growing challenges posed by a different climate conditions. Chester is a co-leader of the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network, a project funded by the National Science Foundation that is identifying new strategies for dealing with climate change in 10 cities in the United States and Latin America.

  • How the ASU Polytechnic campus’ partnerships lift all boats

    How the ASU Polytechnic campus’ partnerships lift all boats

    Only a few decades ago the ground on which ASU’s Polytechnic campus stands was the site of an abandoned Air Force base and a less than alluring expanse of desert terrain. Through ASU’s work in partnership with many local civic, business, cultural, government and education leaders, the Polytechnic campus has become a thriving hub of resources and collaborations that are enriching the community. The Polytechnic School, one of the six Fulton Schools, has contributed to the upward swing of the area through the quality of the engineering education and expertise it is providing. In addition, the Fulton Schools will soon open the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks on the Polytechnic campus, focusing on cutting-edge human-machine teaming and systems engineering,  as well as support for microelectronics manufacturing, a major player in the Phoenix metro area’s economy.

  • Here’s what cryptocurrencies will look like in 50 years according to experts

    Here’s what cryptocurrencies will look like in 50 years according to experts

    Some experts say it’s certain that cryptocurrencies will change our understanding of the concept of money and the way we do financial transactions. Others warn of the dangers of these digital currencies, such a bitcoin, and the problematic manipulations they could make possible. The key to engendering public trust in cryptocurrencies is developing and enforcing regulations on how they can be used, says Fulton Schools Professor Dragan Boscovic, cryptocurrency expert and director of ASU’s Blockchain Research Lab. Banking industry overseers are already at work on these regulations and safeguards, Boscovic says. He foresees cryptocurrencies becoming mainstream in about a decade or so.

  • Are thermal batteries an alternative to lithium-ion?

    Are thermal batteries an alternative to lithium-ion?

    ASU’s Laboratory for Energy And Power Solutions, or LEAPS, directed by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Nathan Johnson, played a leading role in research for a Swedish clean tech company working to further develop thermal batteries as an efficient, sustainable, affordable, renewable and environmentally safe source of energy. The Texel Energy Storage company’s thermal batteries are seen as a viable alternative to other kinds of batteries for powering electric vehicles, for use of emission-free fuels such as green hydrogen in combustion processes. They are also viewed as an economically viable and circular energy storage technology that could improve future energy production and distribution. LEAPS has also helped to evaluate market opportunities for Texel Energy Storage in the U.S.

  • Jacksonville Based CSX Says New Partnership Will Help Reduce Emissions Intensity

    Jacksonville Based CSX Says New Partnership Will Help Reduce Emissions Intensity

    A Florida-based rail company is using new technology to reduce the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions from its fleet of trains. Using technology that automatically starts and stops trains, the CSX company plans to significantly improve fuel efficiency and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. The upgrades might shrink the carbon footprint of each CSX locomotive by more than 200 tons annually. Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, says CSX is taking some helpful steps. But he explains that reducing emissions intensity is not the same as cutting overall carbon emissions, which would have more of a productive environmental impact as part of efforts to reverse detrimental climate change trends being exacerbated by carbon emissions.

June

2021
  • ASU receives 16 NSF CAREER awards

    ASU receives 16 NSF CAREER awards

    More than half of the National Science Foundation CAREER Awards won by ASU researchers since late last year have gone to Fulton Schools faculty members. The NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program identifies promising young engineers and scientists and provides them funding to pursue their research and teaching goals. The work of these recent NSF CAREER Award winners reflects a wide range of cutting-edge science and engineering research aimed at making advances in areas deemed relevant to national interests. The latest cohort of Fulton Schools faculty members earning the honor includes Assistant Professors Ahmed Alkhateeb, Guatam Dasarthy, Margaret Garcia, Nicolo Michelusi, Giulia Pedrielli, Jorge Sefair, Siddharth Srivastava, Yang Weng, Yu Yao and Yu Zhang. Funding from the awards to ASU researchers totals $9 million.

  • Too hot to live: Millions worldwide will face unbearable temperatures

    Too hot to live: Millions worldwide will face unbearable temperatures

    Rising heat is becoming a predominant environmental factor in much of the world, making entire regions less comfortable places to live. Climate experts estimate that in about 50 years as much as a third of the planet’s population could be living in areas where average daily summer temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Phoenix, the hottest city in the U.S., now has more than 110 days a year with triple-digit temperatures. Last year, the city and surrounding Maricopa County area saw a record 207 heat-related deaths. Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel is among colleagues with ASU’s Urban Climate Research Center focusing their engineering endeavors on finding ways cities can reduce the impacts of the urban heat island effect to better maintain livability. She’s pictured in National Geographic with the mobile biometeorological robot she uses to measure temperatures, solar radiation, humidity and other factors that combine to produce the hot and getting hotter summers. (Access to the National Geographic online is available only to subscribers.)

  • CARBON COLLECT’S MECHANICAL TREE SOLUTION SELECTED FOR U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AWARD

    CARBON COLLECT’S MECHANICAL TREE SOLUTION SELECTED FOR U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY AWARD

    Carbon capturing “mechanical trees” developed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner and his research team at ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions will be built at three “carbon farms” to be developed at locations across the U.S. A recent $2.5 award from the U.S. Department of Energy is supporting the design of the facilities. Carbon Collect Limited and its U.S. subsidiary Carbon Collect Inc. has been formed in partnership with ASU to commercialize and deploy the technology. The system is designed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help reduce the buildup of the greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and global warming. The mechanical trees can remove carbon dioxide without drawing air through the system using energy-intensive devices, which makes the system a passive, comparatively low-cost and scalable solution.

    See Also: Carbon Collect’s MechanicalTree selected for US Department of  Energy award, ASU News, July 2

  • Are you an engineering student? The alliance between these universities opens the door to create successful projects

    Are you an engineering student? The alliance between these universities  opens the door to create successful projects

    University engineering students in Mexico are being encouraged to expand their education and real-world experience through opportunities offered by the Fulton Schools. Professor Kyle Squires, dean of the Fulton Schools, describes a variety of collaborations and initiatives that enable students to work with industry — including major high-tech companies such as Intel — as well as with projects to catalyze business startups and with government research programs. The Fulton Schools also has existing collaborations with the Engineering Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and is implementing a Capstone Semester Binational Initiative with the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico. More opportunities are likely to spring from the opening this fall of the newest of the Fulton Schools, the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks.

  • ASU makes Top 10 in U.S. patent rankings for 3rd straight year

    ASU makes Top 10 in U.S. patent rankings for 3rd straight year

    The dedication of ASU research faculty to take on and solve some of society’s biggest challenges is a major factor in the university’s ranking in the top 10 for U.S. patents won by U.S. universities, says the executive vice president of ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise. The annual rankings by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association places ASU just one spot behind Harvard University in the top 10, which also includes MIT, Caltech and Stanford universities. Among the more successful of the patent earning ASU ventures are those lead by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Cody Friesen, including Source Global, and Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Visar Berisha, who has co-founded Aural Analytics with Professor Julie Liss, associate dean of the College of Health Solutions.

  • What it will take to achieve affordable carbon removal

    What it will take to achieve affordable carbon removal

    Climate researchers say it will require removing billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to return to a climate that isn’t threatening us with dangerous levels of global warming. But that will necessitate finding a way to make such a massive climate control effort economically feasible. Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner, a carbon capture pioneer and director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, and Habib Azarabadi, a doctoral student and researcher at the center, recently authored a research paper that estimated what would be needed to make eliminating great amounts of carbon dioxide economically viable. They estimate it would take technology that can remove the greenhouse gas at a cost of about $100 per ton — far less than what current technologies can achieve. Experts say overcoming that drawback can be achieved only by governments, major industries and research institutions collectively committing to finding solutions.

  • Semiconductor investment is a win for Arizona, but also not a reason to relax

    Semiconductor investment is a win for Arizona, but also not a reason to relax

    Arizona is well positioned to see major economic benefits from the surge of growth in the semiconductor and microchip manufacturing industries, writes ASU President Michael Crow. With growing companies setting up shop in the state — joining the large operations of Intel, Honeywell and other long-established high-tech manufacturers in the Phoenix metro area and elsewhere in the state — Arizona has become a magnet for investment by the newest and most robust tech-based business sectors. But the migration of these ventures to Arizona isn’t enough to guarantee a sustainable economic upturn, Crow says. The state must compete to provide these companies with the skilled workforce and innovation they will need to thrive into the future. ASU is already responding. This fall it will launch the newest of the Fulton Schools — the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks. (Access to the Arizona Republic online is for subscribers only.) Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

  • ASU Graduate College announces first-ever Staff Awards for Excellence winners

    ASU Graduate College announces first-ever Staff Awards for Excellence winners

    More than 300 staff members support ASU’s graduate students, providing services and playing other critical roles in helping those students through their academic journeys. The ASU Graduate College decided to recognize those efforts with an annual awards program. Winners of the inaugural Staff Awards for Excellence include Lynn Pratte, a senior academic success advising coordinator in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of the six Fulton Schools. Pratte earned the Outstanding Collaboration Award. She was chosen for her work to enhance the effectiveness of Graduate College operations. She is being recognized for being the “go-to person” for the Graduate College’s graduate program support and data/IT teams for beta testing new tools that will help her graduate support colleagues. Pratte is pictured at the far right in the bottom row in the composite photo of the first-ever Staff Awards for Excellence winners.

  • Tempe leans into wastewater analysis as fewer people seek COVID-19 tests

    Tempe leans into wastewater analysis as fewer people seek COVID-19 tests

    The city of Tempe has been getting a more accurate picture of the health of residents in its communities through a partnership with ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden. The center launched the water analysis program in 2018 to help the city monitor public health by examining the contents of local wastewater, at first testing it for the presence of opioids and other drugs. Operation shifted to testing for signs of COVID-19 in early 2020 with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. That helped the city develop an early warning program about the spread of COVID-19, and take steps to protect public health. Now, the city is wants to continue that work as fewer people are seeking COVID-19 tests, raising the possibility of a resurgence of the infectious disease. Tempe leaders now hope to also expand the program to test for other health-related indicators.

  • New Research: Some Types Of Shade Better Than Others At Keeping Us Cool

    New Research: Some Types Of Shade Better Than Others At Keeping Us Cool

    City planners look for opportunities to plant more trees to increase comfort by providing shade in sprawling urban environments — especially in cities where summer temperatures are the highest. But more trees are only part of the solution, says Fulton Schools assistant professor Ariane Middel (at left in photo) and a part of the team in ASU’s Urban Climate Research Center. Her team’s recent report, “50 Grades of Shade,” emphasizes the importance of buildings, tunnels, large umbrellas, shade sails and similar things to provide shade and help curb the impacts of the urban heat island effect. With help from MaRTy, her mobile meteorological sensing technology (in picture), Middel and fellow researchers recently determined where creating shade in the city of Tempe would have the most impact on keeping people cool. They plan to develop an online tool to help city planners develop shade strategies.

  • How Rainbows Could Boost Your Roof’s Solar Power

    How Rainbows Could Boost Your Roof’s Solar Power

    A holographic system designed to reduce some of the lost efficiency in solar panels could provide a big jump in the potential of solar power to be a major source of sustainable clean energy. By inserting a holographic light collector into a solar panel, University of Arizona researchers have raised the possibility of technical advances that might increase the capacity of the panels to generate electricity generation and boost power production. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Stuart Bowden, who leads the silicon section of ASU Solar Power Lab, says the use a holographic system could lead to a major step in improving the overall performance of solar power technology and in reducing the costs of some uses of solar power.

  • Research, innovation thrive in educational institutes amid lockdown

    Research, innovation thrive in educational institutes amid lockdown

    Multiple waves of the spread of the COVD-19 in India and the continuing lockdowns in response to the pandemic have slowed activities and growth in sectors of the country’s economy and its industrial base. But leaders of the India’s major higher education institutions have been taking steps to maintain the progress of their research programs and their pursuits of engineering and science innovation. Among those efforts are those of NorthCap University, which has partnered with ASU through the Cintana Alliance under India’s New Education Policy. The alliance will involve collaborations with NorthCap University and the Fulton Schools, along with ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management and W. P. Carey School of Business, designed to enhance an international innovation ecosystem.

    See Also: NorthCap Univ inks global pact to embrace digital transformation, reshape higher education in India, Sarkaritel.com, June 22

    Northcap Univ Inks Global Pact To Embrace Digital Transformation, Reshape Higher Education In India, Ommcomm News, June 22

  • With roads so bad even the ambulance can’t pass, this county hopes for infrastructure dollars

    With roads so bad even the ambulance can’t pass, this county hopes for infrastructure dollars

    The challenges facing one West Virginia county that has long gone without resources to adequately fund, build, maintain, repair and ensure the safety of its roadways reflects the persistent problems of many of the country’s rural areas in need of sustainable public infrastructure. Clay County and others like it contending with similar difficulties could be rescued by a “quantum leap” in the ways federal and state governments deal with public transportation needs, says Fulton Schools Professor Ram Pendyala, director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six Fulton Schools. A revamping of resource allocation policies and methods of prioritizing needs could be transformational in efforts to upgrade much of the U.S. roadway transportation environment. Some regions are in dire need of such progress. Without it, local officials say, those areas will continue to struggle to remain viable as functioning communities.

  • Arizona’s High-Tech Appeal

    Arizona’s High-Tech Appeal

    With major tech companies like Intel, Honeywell and Boeing have long been operating facilities in the greater Phoenix metro area, the region has been an active center of high-tech manufacturing. But it is now also seeing a big influx of other leading companies opening facilities for advanced manufacturing and technology development in a wider range of fields, including electric vehicles, semiconductors and logistics. A major factor driving that growth is the talent pool of engineers coming from graduates of Arizona’s three state universities. ASU’s Fulton Schools of Engineering, one of the top-ranked engineering programs in the country, is cited a major attraction for companies seeking to fill thousands of new jobs, both in the Phoenix area and elsewhere in Arizona.

  • More work from home, less dining out: Nationwide survey reveals changes to habits and travel in the US

    More work from home, less dining out: Nationwide survey reveals changes to habits and travel in the US

    Alterations in our daily lives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to result in long-term changes to Americans’ habits, behaviors and lifestyles. That’s one conclusion in an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The article reports on the findings of ASU researchers from a nationwide survey to gauge the potential behavioral changes in people and communities in the U.S. resulting from trends that evolved during the pandemic lockdown. Principal investigators for the COVD Future Survey project included Professor Ram Pendyala, director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six Fulton Schools. The survey suggests changes in behavior will include more telecommuting, or working at home, more online shopping, less dining out and less air travel, among other changes. The survey also indicates people may walk or bike more in their communities, suggesting potential shifts in public infrastructure development to accommodate changes in travel behavior.

  • Sewage sleuths helped an Arizona town beat back Covid-19. For wastewater epidemiology, that’s just the start

    Sewage sleuths helped an Arizona town beat back Covid-19. For wastewater epidemiology, that’s just the start

    Wastewater testing and analysis have become critical tools for communities to gauge the levels of exposure to COVID-19 in their areas and to devise effective strategies to respond to the spread of the pandemic. The ASU Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Technology, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, has been among research laboratories leading the way in advancing wastewater-based epidemiology to enable detection of indicators of diseases and other threats to public health in local water systems. The early work of  center’s research team focused on helping protect the health of residents of  the city of Tempe and neighboring Guadalupe as COVID-19 erupted. It has since expanded into various efforts in other towns, cities and regions that most needed help battling the pandemic, and also led to startup ventures that aim to expand the benefits of these health engineering advances to more regions.

  • Researchers use 3D printing of Cu2Se thermoelectric materials for power generation

    Researchers use 3D printing of Cu2Se thermoelectric materials for power generation

    Thermoelectric power generation promises to enable converting heat into electricity without producing pollution. Thermoelectric materials are used in systems for cooling and heating and might be able to regenerate electricity from waste heat. Beomjin Kwon, a Fulton Schools assistant professor mechanical engineering, works to improve energy conversion and transport systems and has developed energy systems and technologies, including wearable thermoelectric generators. He has also been collaborating with researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea to design cellular thermoelectric architectures for efficient and durable power generation, using a 3D printing process of copper selenide thermoelectric materials. In a paper published in the science journal Nature Communications, the research team reports that the 3D printing approach could be used for cost-effective manufacturing of thermoelectric modules that can be used for energy devices, electronics, space and aviation technologies and in automotive industries.

  • The first mobile phone call was 75 years ago – what it takes for technologies to go from breakthrough to big time

    The first mobile phone call was 75 years ago – what it takes for technologies to go from breakthrough to big time

    Telephones built into wristwatches once existed only in science fiction — as did many technologies that are now commonplace. With so much more technology in our lives today than in the past, we tend not to remember the decades of research, resources and engineering and science talent that set the stage for our modern age of electronic, computerized and miniaturized marvels, writes Daniel Bliss (at left in photo), a Fulton Schools professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering. Bliss says we would do well to keep in mind the sustained efforts and investments that have enabled government agencies, industry and research institutions to make the cutting-edge progress that enhance society and our lives today, and could continue to do in the future if we understand the commitment it requires. This article has appeared in more than 20 other news publications, including Smithsonian Magazine.

  • Contest challenges students to solve Arizona’s water problems

    Contest challenges students to solve Arizona’s water problems

    Through the TriU Engineering Partnership, a collaboration of engineering colleges and schools at Arizona’s three state universities, high school students have been competing virtually this week to explore possible solutions to Arizona’s challenges to provide clean water in future years. The Challenge 2021: Access to Clean Water event requires students to define a water-related problem and propose engineering strategies to address the problem. Jennifer Velez, a Fulton Schools outreach and recruitment coordinator, says the event offers an opportunity for students to learn about water challenges and related issues that Arizona residents are facing. A panel of engineering faculty members and engineering professionals will critique the ideas produced by the student teams and choose the best and most innovative solutions. Winners will be announced June 21.

  • Hundreds of stem cell clinics offer unapproved, unregulated treatments in Arizona

    Hundreds of stem cell clinics offer unapproved, unregulated treatments in Arizona

    An investigation by journalists revealed that more than 200 clinics in Arizona are offering unapproved and unregulated stem cell treatments. Reporters found some clinics staffed with people who lacked proper medical training to work with stem cells or treat certain medical conditions. The article cites earlier revelations in research by David Brafman and Emma Frow, Fulton Schools assistant professors of biological and health systems engineering. They found some clinics using stem cell treatments not proven to cure or provide relief from diseases. Brafman and Frow concluded that when businesses claim to treat a wide variety of conditions it is less likely the health care providers at the businesses have been fully trained in the areas in which they are practicing. See ASU research reviews unregulated stem cell clinics in six southwestern states for details on the research. (Access to The Arizona Republic online is for subscribers only.)

  • How will we protect American infrastructure from cyberattacks?

    How will we protect American infrastructure from cyberattacks?

    In a world increasingly threatened by cyberattacks and criminal activities via the internet, the most critical foundations of a functioning society can be put in danger. The digital connectedness that enables a multitude of productive pursuits and services, is also a platform from which transportation, communications and electrical power and fuel sources can be tampered with and even disabled. As the U.S. works to upgrade its infrastructure, it must also integrate strong cybersecurity capabilities into facilities and systems that maintain the country’s quality of life, economy and defenses. That work is part of the mission of ASU’s  Global Security Initiative. Two Fulton Schools faculty members lead key aspects of GSI’s endeavors. Associate Professor Adam Doupé is acting director of GSI’s Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics. Assistant Professor Tiffany Bao focuses on research to address software vulnerabilities. She uses artificial intelligence and game theory to solve security challenges.

    The article is also published in Newswise.

  • The 2021 Top 100 Project Delivery Firms: Good in a Crisis

    The 2021 Top 100 Project Delivery Firms: Good in a Crisis

    With fluctuating prices in the construction market, labor shortages and high construction materials costs, contractors face challenges to be agile in pivoting to alternate construction project delivery methods that enable them to work within project budgets, design requirements and timelines to maintain profitability. Mounir El Asmar, a Fulton Schools associate professor in the School of School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six Fulton Schools, provides guidance on innovative strategies and various delivery systems to help contractors cope with the variety of hurdles they face in today’s economy. (A limited number of articles are available to nonsubscribers on the Engineering News Record website)

  • For 12-year-old NASA hopeful, free tuition to ASU Online

    For 12-year-old NASA hopeful, free tuition to ASU Online

    Alena Wicker (aka Alena Analeigh) aspires to be the youngest person to work for NASA and travel into space. At 12, she is off to a good start. This summer she will begin studies in the Fulton Schools mechanical engineering program, hoping to earn a degree in the field by age 16. Her achievements have already earned her full-tuition support from ASU, the Desert Financial Credit Union and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. Wicker also plans to help others through her company focused on encouraging girls of color to pursue education in STEM fields, and a foundation that provides scholarships to girls interested in that opportunity.

    See Also: 12-Year-Old ASU engineering student plans NASA Career, 3TV/CBS 5 News – Phoenix, June 3

  • Watch a Drone Swarm Fly Through a Fake Forest Without Crashing

    Watch a Drone Swarm Fly Through a Fake Forest Without Crashing

    Engineers are trying to find solutions to the challenge of designing highly reliable control systems for drone swarms. They want multiple drones to be capable of safely performing coordinated flight maneuvers on missions in places with randomly situated obstacles, such forests and densely developed built environments like big cities. One answer could come from research led by Fulton Schools Professor Daniel Bliss, director of the Center for Wireless Information Systems and Computational Architecture, whose expertise includes signal processing with applications in remote sensing. Among his projects is one aimed at making advances in mobile computer processing and sensing that could enable drones to become increasingly adept at navigating variable terrain.

  • Contaminated water issues near Luke in Glendale close to an end

    Contaminated water issues near Luke in Glendale close to an end

    A filtration system is being installed in response to the discovery of contaminants in water supplies close to the Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix. Lab tests detected high levels of chemicals from a fire extinguisher foam that has long been used on the military base. Customers of the water utility company in the area have been provided bottled water since February while the Air Force installs treatment facilities to reduce the presence of the chemicals. Fulton Schools Professor Paul Westerhoff, an environmental engineer whose research focuses on water, says the levels of the chemicals are not yet dangerously high. There are places where water with similar levels of these chemical compounds has been consumed for many years without resulting in significant health problems, Westerhoff says. The Air Force plans to have the filtration system operating by the end of this month. (Access to the Daily Independent online is for subscribers only.)

  • The Electric Future Of Education Transportation

    The Electric Future Of Education Transportation

    Retiring the big yellow diesel fueled buses that have taken young students to and from schools for many decades may take some time, but it looks like cleaner methods of powering school buses — primarily compressed natural gas and electrical energy sources — are destined to become the new standard for transit for school systems. President Biden’s infrastructure plans call for electrifying school buses in the U.S. within about a decade. With support of government policies and various incentives, Professor Ram Pendyala, a transportation engineer, professor and director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six Fulton Schools, foresees the inevitability of school vehicles going green within a decade or two.

  • NO PARKING: CITIES RETHINK GARAGES FOR A WORLD WITH FEWER PERSONAL CARS

    NO PARKING: CITIES RETHINK GARAGES FOR A WORLD WITH FEWER PERSONAL CARS

    More and more parking has been a constant mandate for modern urban transportation planning. But several trends point to a big drop in the need for parking spaces, say experts including Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering. Chester was among researchers at ASU and the University of California, Berkeley, who estimated of the numbers of parking spaces in the U.S. compared to the number of passenger vehicles. Researchers say that with more shared autonomous vehicles, robotaxis and micro-mobility devices, along with remote working and lower rates of car ownership among younger generations, the demand for more parking spaces will almost certainly dwindle.

  • Do trees provide the best shade for urban environments?

    Do trees provide the best shade for urban environments?

    In a study published by the American Meteorology Society, “Fifty Grades of Shade,” ASU climate scientists look at “the science behind shade.” Trees can do a lot to improve the livability of urbanized areas, but are not always the best solution — especially with all the underground infrastructure in cities. With her meteorological measurement technology — a mobile garden cart equipped with sensors to measure radiant temperatures — Ariane Middel and her team are exploring how urban design and customized shade structures can boost the comfort factor in hot urban climates. Their work has earned funding from ASU’s Healthy Urban Environments Initiative. Middel is an assistant professor in School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, one of the six Fulton Schools, and in ASU’s School of Arts, Media and Engineering.

    See Also, How America’s Hottest City is Innovating to Survive, PBS Terra (YouTube), June 7

  • The Southwest Is America’s New Factory Hub. ‘Cranes Everywhere.’

    The Southwest Is America’s New Factory Hub. ‘Cranes Everywhere.’

    Almost a third of the new jobs in manufacturing industries in the U.S. in recent years have been in five Southwest states — including Arizona. One of the factors luring new and expanding companies is the engineering talent being produced in the region at institutions of higher education such as ASU. Kyle Squires, dean of the Fulton Schools, notes the large numbers of new employees needed by companies. The growth of the Fulton Schools — from fewer than 10,000 undergraduate students about eight years ago to more than 20,000 today — is providing a rich source of young recruits educated in areas of expertise needed by cutting-edge tech companies.  The Fulton Schools is planning to soon open a new school that will focus on manufacturing engineering.

May

2021
  • Science Olympiad at ASU fosters competition, education, philanthropy

    Science Olympiad at ASU fosters competition, education, philanthropy

    Teams from more than 120 middle schools and high schools participated in the a recent 2021 National Science Olympiad event. They competed virtually in science and engineering activities, were tutored by college students and helped raise funds for a charity organization. The Fulton Schools, along with ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Access Arizona, helped the Science Olympiad organization with the logistics of putting on the event at ASU. The Olympiad has proven to be one of the most important endeavors in raising students’ enthusiasm for learning and showing them the range of educational possibilities and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, said Professor James Collofello, the Fulton Schools vice dean for academic and student affairs.

  • Fickle monsoon could yield more megafires

    Fickle monsoon could yield more megafires

    Summer monsoons in Arizona’s mountainous high country bring rains that dampen the potential for severe wildfires and replenish groundwater aquifers. So, with global temperatures on the rise there’s a growing threat of weaker monsoons, resulting in more fire-prone forest lands and depleted water tables, say experts such as hydrologist Enrique Vivoni, a professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six Fulton Schools, and ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. Results of recent research reported in the journal Nature Climate Change and studies by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration support the warning of Vivoni and others about the troubling outlook.

  • US university pledges cooperation with HCM City in human resources training

    US university pledges cooperation with HCM City in human resources training

    Government leaders in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s southern economic hub, have worked with ASU and Fulton Schools officials for the past decade to bolster human resources training in Vietnam’s fast-growing center of culture and commerce. The city’s leaders met recently with Jeffrey Goss, director of the Fulton Schools Global Outreach and Extended Education, or GOEE, program to envision a roadmap for human resources training based on international standards for knowledge and skills needed to pursue opportunities presented by Industrial Revolution 4.0. The discussions set out a shared vision for a meaningful partnership between ASU and the People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Snakeskin-Inspired Pilings Could Stabilize Buildings

    Snakeskin-Inspired Pilings Could Stabilize Buildings

    One of the more fascinating approaches to solving engineering problems by using nature as a guide has emerged from research for the Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Edward Kavazanjian. Researchers with one of the center’s partners, the University of California, Davis, have been looking for more effective ways to stabilize buildings and other structures built on soft soils. One potential solution is to use snakeskin as a model for the columns of strong materials — called pilings — that are driven into soil to strengthen the foundations. The skin of snakes is constructed in such a way that it enables the reptiles to move more easily in one direction than another. So, pilings made like snakeskin would be easy to drive into soil but harder to pull out. Engineering researchers collaborated with snake experts to develop scale models of these pilings and test them in a lab. Results so far are promising.

  • How Partnership for Economic Innovation drives tech in Arizona

    How Partnership for Economic Innovation drives tech in Arizona

    Technology industries have overtaken other business sectors as the cornerstone of Arizona’s economy, writes Steven Zylstra, the president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Technology Council. That’s true as well in many other states around the country, he says, making it critical for Arizona to compete to maintain and build on its current tech business boom. That goal has led to formation of the Partnership for Economic Innovation, or PEI. Two of the new organization’s bigger ventures have been launched in partnership with the Fulton Schools and aided by local industry and economic development groups. Together they have established the WearTech Applied Research Center and Blockchain Applied Research Center, research development hubs focused on bringing state-of-the-art technology solutions to the market.

  • Knowledge Exchange for Resilience gives ASU students invaluable experience

    Knowledge Exchange for Resilience gives ASU students invaluable experience

    Student workers at ASU’s Knowledge Exchange for Resilience , or KER, responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by collaborating on research aimed at exploring ways to make communities more resilient to challenges presented by such widespread threats to human health. Among them is Fulton Schools graduate student Kevin Vora, a data analytics research aide with KER who is pursuing a master’s degree in computer science with a focus on robotics, autonomous systems and artificial intelligence. Vora analyzed COVID-19 cases by geographic region, discovering they resembled a patchwork of outbreaks rather than a single uniform pandemic. The data was provided to decision-makers to help them develop more informed public policies and interventions in the battle against the pandemic.

  • Valley Metro takes STEM mentoring program for underrepresented students to YouTube

    Valley Metro takes STEM mentoring program for underrepresented students to YouTube

    Valley Metro, which plans, develops and operates public transportation services in the Phoenix metro area, has been helping to promote higher education to young students in communities it serves. In 2018, Valley Metro launched Engineers of the Future as part of its workforce development efforts. The program has focused on introducing students in underrepresented communities to engineering through hands-on activities and connecting students to mentors in engineering fields. Lessons have been uploaded on the Valley Metro website and on YouTube. The videos, which provide a mix of instruction, activities and a virtual field trip, continue to get a growing number of views. Valley Metro plans to enhance the program by partnering with the Fulton Schools to add new educational content to the online lessons.

  • How wastewater is helping South Africa fight COVID-19

    How wastewater is helping South Africa fight COVID-19

    Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden has been advancing methods for wastewater testing for two decades. What he and others in the field have discovered over those years is today making analysis of the contents of wastewater a significant part of efforts to detect and defend against threats to human health in communities and even entire countries. The techniques have been used to gather data that has helped public health officials provide timely warnings about outbreaks of COVID-19 and plan effective responses to the potential danger. Halden says such testing of wastewater treatment plants enables keeping an eye on the habits, activities and health conditions of large swaths of the population. While this ability provides definite benefits, Halden says precautions are needed to ensure information gleaned from the testing is used strictly in the best interests of the public.

    See Also: Tempe named among world’s Smart 50 cities, May 24
    The city of Tempe has won an award for its wastewater science program, developed through a partnership with ASU ‘s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, which is directed by Professor Rolf Halden.

  • ASU’s new Health Futures Center provides fresh intersections with Mayo Clinic to transform health care

    ASU’s new Health Futures Center provides fresh intersections with Mayo Clinic to transform health care

    Medical research, entrepreneurship and learning are the intertwining focuses of one of ASU’s new state-of-the-art facilities. Work at the Health Futures Center will team the Mayo Clinic and the ASU Alliance for Health Care to pursue innovation across a spectrum of research, education and entrepreneurial ventures — with support from the Fulton Schools, ASU’s College of Health Solutions, the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation and the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute. The new center furthers ASU’s a long relationship with Mayo, which has led programs in nursing, medical imaging, regenerative and rehabilitative medicine, wearable biosensors, nursing education, many joint faculty appointments and joint intellectual property disclosures.

  • Vietnam’s universities keen to ‘go digital’

    Vietnam’s universities keen to ‘go digital’

    Over the past decade, through efforts including those of the Fulton Schools Global Outreach and Extended Education, or GOEE, program, Arizona State University has partnered with Vietnamese universities to help guide the country’s higher education institutions in embracing digital pedagogy and technology-centric learning modalities. When the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted Vietnam’s higher education systems, experts from ASU ramped up efforts to teach digital immersion pedagogies to more than 1,000 Vietnamese educators through a series of webinars, virtual workshops and faculty development initiatives. This article on a major Vietnam news site reports on the progress of these and related efforts, many supported by GOEE as a part its role in projects led by the United States Agency for International Development.

  • Climate change and urban development leading to warmer nights in Phoenix,

    Climate change and urban development leading to warmer nights in Phoenix,

    Urban growth is propelling the trend of rising temperatures in the U.S. Southwest and increasing climate stresses on people and the region’s desert environments, says Ariane Middel, a Fulton Schools assistant professor who also works in ASU’s Urban Climate Research Center. Phoenix is among the country’s fastest-warming cities, in large part as a result of so-called urban heat islands caused mostly by construction of new roads, buildings and other facilities and structures that store heat in the day and release it at night. Because of that phenomenon, the metropolitan area is seeing its highest nighttime temperatures ever. The continuing amplification of heat is challenging communities to find ways to preserve their livability, Middel says.

    See Also: Hot Cities, Methane Leakers and the Catholic Church, Climate One, May 21

  • 3 ASU students awarded Killam Fellowships

    3 ASU students awarded Killam Fellowships

    Fulton Schools chemical engineering student Adam Chismar is one of three ASU students who will do his 2021-2022 academic year studies at one of the top universities in Canada with support from a Killam Fellowship. The fellowship is administered by the Foundation for Educational Exchange Between Canada and the United States of America, also known as Fulbright Canada. The program is designed to introduce students to new perspectives on potential solutions to issues facing both the U.S. and Canada. Chismar will attend Carleton University in Ottawa to study food science and explore food and hunger policy issues in Canada to see if any of those approaches could be adapted to help combat food insecurity in the U.S.

  • Contest Challenges AZ High Schoolers to Solve State’s Water Problems

    Contest Challenges AZ High Schoolers to Solve State’s Water Problems

    ASU’s Fulton Schools are joining colleagues at Arizona’s other public universities to present Challenge 2021, which will give teams of high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to learn about and propose solutions to the challenges Arizona faces in ensuring the viability of its water resources. The task was chosen because of the critical importance of reliable water supplies in Arizona’s desert climate, says Jennifer Velez, a Fulton Schools education outreach and recruitment program coordinator. The June 15 through 18 event will also offer students a look at the engineering schools at each of the three state universities. Last year, in the first Challenge event, students explored ways in which students could safely return to school as the COVID-19 pandemic waned. Velez says it gave students insight into how engineering can have positive impacts on society.

  • ASU student-built spacecraft to interact with the public

    ASU student-built spacecraft to interact with the public

    Fulton Schools students and alumni make up four of five ASU teams working on a project NASA has selected as part of its CubeSat Launch Initiative. The project’s space vehicle is one of 14 CubeSats — small research satellites — NASA has chosen to support. The teams are collaborating with ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative, Vega Space Systems and CETYS Universidad in Mexicali, Mexico. Fulton Schools Professor David Allee and Associate Professor Michael Goryll are among advisors to the teams. The ASU CubeSat, called LightCube, will launch aboard a spaceflight mission and deploy into orbit from the International Space Station. The public will be able to track the LightCube satellite using an app, then be able to transmit to the satellite with a ham radio. 

  • Transportation for the Anthropocene

    Transportation for the Anthropocene

    Many of our transportation systems are still being designed and managed for an era that is quickly passing, write Associate Professor Mikhail Chester and Professor Brad Allenby, who teach in the Fulton Schools civil, environmental and sustainable engineering program.  Chester also directs the Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering.  What’s needed, they say, are new paradigms that go beyond the frameworks of transportation systems of a now bygone industrial age. To meet 21st century needs, infrastructure must be agile and flexible, able to adapt to rapidly accelerating technological evolution as well as changes to the natural environment — especially climate change, but also geological and ecological shifts. Allenby and Chester’s article is in a publication of the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center, a network of eight partner universities in Arizona, California and Hawaii.

  • Science Museum shows potential routes forward in fight against man-made climate change

    Science Museum shows potential routes forward in fight against man-made climate change

    A new exhibit at London’s Science Museum puts a spotlight on new technologies designed to counteract the impacts of carbon dioxide emissions that have accumulated in the Earth’s atmosphere throughout the past century and accelerated troublesome climate change. Among the machines invented to reverse the threat are carbon capture systems such as the “mechanical trees” developed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner and his research team at ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions. The exhibit features a prototype of these trees equipped with carbon absorbing filters, along with a sketch of an industrial size mechanical tree “farm” that could be capable of capturing of ton of carbon dioxide for the atmosphere in a day, according to the exhibit information.

    See Also: London Science Museum opens carbon capture exhibition, The Chemical Engineer, May 19

  • Inside Burt’s Bees partnership with Arizona State University

    Inside Burt’s Bees partnership with Arizona State University

    Burt’s Bees, a personal care products company describing itself as an “Earth friendly, Natural Personal Care Company” that makes products for health, beauty and personal hygiene, began a campaign last year to encourage more recycling of products materials by consumers and recycling facilities. One of the groups the company turned to for ideas was The Sustainability Consortium at ASU. That led to a collaboration with ASU’s Innovation Space program, which organized teams of Fulton Schools engineering students and ASU design and business students to work on the project. Professor of Practice Cheryl Heller, director of design integration for Innovation Space, says the student teams responded with imaginative solutions. Burt’s Bees, The Sustainability Consortium and other partners are now discussing how to move those ideas into actions and to encourage other consumer products companies to join the cause.

  • ASU Researchers Test Inventors’ Coronavirus-Killing Smartphone Technology

    ASU Researchers Test Inventors’ Coronavirus-Killing Smartphone Technology

    Fulton Schools Professors Morteza Abbaszadegan and Paul Westerhoff collaborated with the Galileo Group, a leading remote sensing services tech company, to design, build and test a smartphone attachment that uses light in the ultraviolet range to deactivate the coronavirus from commonly touched surfaces. Westerhoff reported that within seconds the device eradicated a range of viruses and bacteria on glass, ceramic and metal surfaces. Abbaszadegan (at left in photo), director of the National Science Foundation Water & Environmental Technology Center at ASU, says the tests showed a major improvement in hygienic conditions due to the device inactivating a large number of viral particles and bacterial cells. Galileo Group envisions the results leading to a low-cost solution that effectively decontaminates work spaces and frequently touched surfaces and equipment.

  • HDD at 50

    HDD at 50

    Marking a half century since the development of horizontal directional drilling, also known as HDD — a significant as a step in the evolution of the trenchless technology method used in modern underground construction — Trenchless Technology magazine has produced a special podcast series on the history and impact of the drilling technique and the advances construction engineers have made with it over the decades. In one episode of the podcast series, Professor Samuel Ariaratnam (pictured), chair of the Fulton Schools construction engineering program, talks about the early days of HDD education and provides his perspective on the ongoing globalization of HDD.

  • Athletes, teams dipping their toes into cryptocurrency, NFT pool

    Athletes, teams dipping their toes into cryptocurrency, NFT pool

    The cryptocurrency trend is spreading into professional sports. Athletes, teams and leagues are using these “digital assets” for various financial transactions involving charitable donations, selling memorabilia and collectibles, and funding various player and team promotional ventures. One National Basketball Association team is even launching its own collection of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, one of the newest forms of cryptocurrency.  Players are also getting involved in sports business ventures funded by NFTs. Fulton Schools Professor Dragan Boscovic, a cryptocurrency expert and director of the Blockchain Research Lab, explains how these digital cryptocurrency assets can even be in the form of videos, photographs or digital files, and how transactions carried out with these assets are managed by “smart contracts.”

  • Phoenix, SRP partner on new EV charging

    Phoenix, SRP partner on new EV charging

    New charging stations for electric vehicles will be installed at various public parks and libraries in Phoenix. It’s part of the city government’s incentive program in collaboration with the Salt River Project utility company to provide more access to charging stations for the convenience of electric vehicle owners. With electric powered vehicle ownership expected to keep rising, the city’s chief sustainability officer says Phoenix needs to make charging stations part of its long-term infrastructure development. Providing more recharging facilities would be a smart move to help promote sustainable transportation choices by consumers, says Fulton Schools Professor Ram Pendyala, a transportation engineer and director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six Futon Schools. (Access to the Daily Independent online is for subscribers only.)

  • TSMC hires first recruiting class of 250 employees

    TSMC hires first recruiting class of 250 employees

    TSMC, a Taiwan-based semiconductor manufacturer, announced last year its selection of Arizona as a site for its new advanced semiconductor factory. The news blog of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council now reports that TSMC has hired more than 250 employees from the United States for the new manufacturing facility in Phoenix. About 20 percent of the new employees have earned undergraduate and/or graduate degrees from Arizona universities, including ASU. Kyle Squires, dean of the Fulton Schools, says he is gratified to see the schools’ graduates acknowledged for their abilities to help high-tech industries accelerate innovation and for those graduates to have the opportunity to support a leading global semiconductor company in establishing itself in Arizona.

  • Finding Scholarship and Grant Money For College

    Finding Scholarship and Grant Money For College

    Even as the costs of higher education rise, students continue to tap into resources to help them cover many of the expenses of their college studies. But it takes persistent effort and learning about the various programs, agencies, organizations, institutions and companies that provide support for students or can help students learn about the array of opportunities to receive financial aid. Fulton Schools mechanical engineering student George Montano (pictured) recalls how an online personal finance course started him on the path to applying for grants and scholarships to attend ASU. Montano, a first-generation college student, now has much of his tuition and room and board costs covered.

  • Microplastics are everywhere — but are they harmful?

    Microplastics are everywhere — but are they harmful?

    Tiny specks of plastics that come in large part from the enormous amounts of the material used in packaging and many consumer products are increasingly being found everywhere around the world. The degrading plastics are accumulating not only on land and in oceans and rivers, but in living things from small organisms to humans. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and his research team in ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering are among engineers and scientists trying to determine if microplastics pose a serious threat to human health. Some of them are small enough to penetrate into human tissues and even cells. But these microparticles are so miniscule that proving they clearly have a significant impact on health will be difficult, Halden says.

April

2021
  • Can Infrastructure Keep Up With a Rapidly Changing World?

    Can Infrastructure Keep Up With a Rapidly Changing World?

    What has worked in decades past won’t work again when it comes to the kind of public infrastructure that is needed in today’s world. That’s the message of engineers, scientists and other experts who say efforts to design and build sustainable infrastructure in the 21st century must be guided by a new mindset that takes into account an increasing number of evolving challenges. Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, includes on that list factors such as climate change, economic volatility and rapid technological advances — especially in regard to integrating cybertechnologies and artificial intelligence into infrastructure systems. In addition, Chester says, it’s critical for governments to ensure social equity is enhanced and not further eroded by policy decisions that shape new infrastructure development — or the lack of it.

  • Here’s how Arizona manufacturing has evolved and impacts the economy

    Here’s how Arizona manufacturing has evolved and impacts the economy

    Arizona has long been reliant on real estate development as a leading source of economic activity. Today, however, the manufacturing industry is providing more jobs in the state than construction. Mark Gaspers, the chairman of the board of the Arizona Manufacturers Council, says multiple factors have led to growing investment by manufacturers in the state. Some of the major reasons are the partnerships and access to sizable pools of workforce-ready talent that manufacturers have with some of the state’s instituions of higher education, particularly the research universities. Gaspers includes the Fulton Schools among those that have become the most valuable to the regional expansion of manufacturing businesses. The article was originally published in Chamber Business News.

  • EASE up: New ASU program supports engineering students with autism

    EASE up: New ASU program supports engineering students with autism

    Employment Assistance and Social Engagement, or EASE, a new project involving the Fulton Schools and ASU’s College of Health Solutions, is now providing peer support to students with autism spectrum disorder. That is happening in part because of the efforts of Fulton Schools chemical engineering student Ignazio Macaluso (pictured), who is living with autism. Macaluso is now the curriculum developer for the program that got off the ground with the help of Fulton School Lecturer Deana Delp and Maria Diaz, a clinical professor in College of Health Solutions. Delp and Diaz hope to see the program expand from helping those students graduate from college to finding employment for them after graduation. About a quarter of ASU students living with autism who have registered with Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services are studying engineering. The article has also been published in the Prescott E-News and the Herald Review in Cochise County.

  • Something very positive is happening in Greater Phoenix

    Something very positive is happening in Greater Phoenix

    Major tech industry companies are opening new operations or expanding current operations in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. One of the factors influencing the decisions of these businesses is the deep pool of talent at the Fulton Schools, says Professor Kyle Squires, the schools’ dean. The New Economy Initiative proposed by the Arizona Board of Regents, the governing body of the state’s public universities, is designed to sustain and build on this trend, Squires writes. The initiative calls for an investment in the Fulton Schools to support its rise as a major source of employees for companies needing a highly skilled workforce. In addition, Squires points out, the Fulton Schools faculty are conducting research and developing technologies that are providing creative solutions for industry.

  • Investing in infrastructure

    Investing in infrastructure

    When we talk about upgrading aging public infrastructure, we tend to focus only on the physical aspects of the endeavor — rebuilding roads, bridges, dams, sanitation systems and the like. That narrow view is a weak foundation for guiding efforts intended to provide sustainable solutions to our infrastructure challenges, say Fulton Schools Associate Professor Mikhail Chester and Professor Braden Allenby, authors of the new book “The Rightful Place of Science: Infrastructure in the Anthropocene.” Fully modernizing infrastructure in the 21st century, they say, is not simply about boosting the technical resiliency of systems and facilities. Social and ecological impacts must also be prioritized, as well as today’s critical digital information systems, and the artificial intelligence, big data and analytics we need to effectively manage and secure our vital public resources.

  • ASU, UNLV students collaborate to solve homeland security challenges

    ASU, UNLV students collaborate to solve homeland security challenges

    Security experts call them soft targets. They are the easily accessible and largely unprotected places, such as sporting events and shopping centers, where the public gathers and that are difficult to secure from threats to peoples’ safety. In a recent design challenge event presented by the  Center for Accelerating Operational Efficiency, a Department of Homeland Security Center for Excellence led by ASU, student teams were presented scenarios involving busy public spaces or a site of public service facilities. Teams had to devise security strategies for one of the three areas. The Hardening Soft Targets challenge was part of Devils Invent, a series of engineering and design competitions organized by the Fulton Schools. Mentors for participating student teams were led by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Ross Maciejewski and Professor of Practice Dan McCarville.

  • Conversation on Societal Impacts of AI

    Conversation on Societal Impacts of AI

    There are a number of important questions and issues revolving around the outlook and predictions for the future development of powerful artificial intelligence, or AI, technologies. Subbarao Kambhampati (pictured), a Fulton Schools professor of computer science and a past president of the international Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, discussed those topics in a conversation on the legal and societal impacts of AI with researchers at Jawaharlal Nehru University Center for the Study of Law and Governance, a leading school in India. Kambhampati addressed questions about the potential complexities arising from the use of AI for data collection and surveillance, and the potential biases of AI technology.

  • Sewers may hold the secrets to making us healthier

    Sewers may hold the secrets to making us healthier

    The tens of billions of gallons of wastewater produced daily in the United States is the source of a rich dataset that researchers are tapping to learn more about the state of the public’s health. Among researchers engaged in some of the most thorough wastewater-based epidemiology is Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Heath Engineering. Halden and his research team are part of growing efforts to examine wastewater to track the spread of diseases such as COVID-19 and the flu, and the use of opioids in various communities. While wastewater analysis is revealing significant information to drive public health protection strategies, Halden and other experts say much more could be accomplished if government would provide support to expand this research.

    See also: In the Tales Told by Sewage, Public Health and Privacy Collide, Undark, April 21

    Sewage Has Stores to Tell. Why Won’t The U.S. Listen, Smithsonian Magazine, April 26

  • The Reuters Hot List

    The Reuters Hot List

    Reuters, the major international news service, lists Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environment and sustainable engineering, as one of the world’s most influential climate scientists and academics. The rankings are based on how many research papers the scientists and academics have published on topics related to climate change and how often those papers are cited by other scientists in similar fields of study, such as biology, chemistry or physics — and how often those papers are referenced in by the news media, social media, policy papers and other outlets. The photo at right shows an image from an article earlier this year about a new anthology in which 40 experts from around the world share ideas about what our urban surroundings and climate could look like in the future. Chester co-edited the book.

  • Palo Verde generator helps Southwest meet climate goals, but future of nuclear is debated

    Palo Verde generator helps Southwest meet climate goals, but future of nuclear is debated

    A recent study concludes that the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station west of Phoenix could help in the cause of reducing the use of fossil fuels for power generation. That would help to eliminate environmentally harmful carbon emissions from power utility grids across the Southwest. But experts such as Meng Tao, a Fulton Schools professor of electrical engineering, warns that Palo Verde and other nuclear power plants are not the best solution because of the large amounts of other resources needed to operate the facilities. But Toa says nuclear power plants could be used to reduce the overall use of fossil fuels until advances in solar power and other renewable energy resources can  be made to provide a better solution.

  • Arizona colleges say a greater focus needed on diversity

    Arizona colleges say a greater focus needed on diversity

    Arizona’s largest public universities are making some progress in bringing students from diverse backgrounds to their campuses. In fall 2020, the University of Arizona had its most diverse class ever of newly enrolled students. At Arizona State University, enrollment of underrepresented minorities has risen steadily over recent years. In the fall 2020 semester, about 40 percent of newly enrolled ASU students identified as minorities. But both universities say even more diversity is a major goal. Lexi Roberts (pictured), a Fulton Schools mechanical engineering student who has leadership roles in several ASU student organizations, wants to see diversity increase in engineering education programs. Female engineering students who are members of minorities will benefit from seeing see more women like them succeed in the field, Roberts says.

  • New data shows impact of COVID-19 on transportation

    New data shows impact of COVID-19 on transportation

    Professor Ram Pendyala, director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six Fulton Schools, is collaborating with colleagues at ASU and the University of Illinois, Chicago, on the COVIDFuture research team. The researchers are gathering data on the changes in peoples’ daily habits that have emerged in response to the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The data will be used to understand how the pandemic has affected choices about remote work and commuting, shopping, air travel and other mobility-related decisions. The team hopes to provide decision makers with information on how people’s behavior will or won’t change in a post-pandemic environment.

  • ASU team receives grant to create artificial intelligence undergraduate program

    ASU team receives grant to create artificial intelligence undergraduate program

    ASU faculty members Suren Jayasuriya and Sha Xin Wei will help to develop an undergraduate certificate program in artificial intelligence in digital culture with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Jayasuriya is an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of the six Fulton Schools. Wei is a professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. Working with Ed Finn, director of ASU’s Center for Science and Imagination, they have already been developing curriculum for the new program that promises to infuse experiential learning and the humanities into the teaching of artificial intelligence to future designers and engineers.

     

  • Vodka, toothpaste, yoga mats … the new technology making items out of thin air

    Vodka, toothpaste, yoga mats … the new technology making items out of thin air

    An artificial tree developed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner and his research team is among featured items on exhibit in the exhibition title “Our Future Planet” at London’s Science Museum. The mechanical tree can work like living plants to breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen, thereby helping reduce the buildup of greenhouse gases that can threaten the health of the planet’s environment. It is among a growing array of new technologies being developed to perform carbon capture. Lackner’s tree is seen as one of the more promising mechanisms that could be made more affordable and highly efficient at the task of keeping carbon dioxide from rising to dangerous levels.

     

  • Why NFTs Aren’t Just for Art and Collectibles

    Why NFTs Aren’t Just for Art and Collectibles

    Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have been considered a form of cryptocurrency with limited applications. That outlook is changing. Beyond current uses in high-end purchases of art and collectibles and the gaming industry, NFTs are being used in more types of transactions. Fulton Schools Professor Dragan Boscovic, a cryptocurrency expert and director of the Blockchain Research Lab, says NFTs can be used to create digital objects that have unique identifiers. This improves the tradability and transparency in the use of NFTs, making transactions more secure, Boscovic says. He expects NFTs to remain a viable option for the foreseeable future, one that will help blockchain technology to realize its potential as a new method for doing business.

    See Also: NFT trend shows burst, but could have staying power, Daily Independent, April 5

  • Exhibition puts on show the tech we need to avert the climate crisis

    Exhibition puts on show the tech we need to avert the climate crisis

    A prototype of a “mechanical tree” developed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner and his team in ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions is featured in a special new exhibit at the Science Museum in London. The exhibit titled “Our Future Planet” focuses on emerging technologies designed to mitigate the potentially threatening environmental impacts of climate change. One of the major ways being proposed to meet that goal is cleaning carbon dioxide from the air, and thereby preventing dangerous levels of the troublesome greenhouse gas from continuing to build up in the atmosphere. Lackner’s mechanical trees mimic the ability or real trees to absorb carbon. The exhibition highlights other engineered approaches to climate control, which could supplement natural processes that help maintain environmental health.

  • ASU Leadership Academy to graduate 8th cohort in May

    ASU Leadership Academy to graduate 8th cohort in May

    More than 240 ASU faculty and staff members have now completed the year-long ASU Leadership Academy experience. Mounir El Asmar, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, is a recent graduate of the program that focuses developing leadership skills, supporting individuals in advancing impactful projects, and creating a diverse culture of leadership at the university. Mounir calls it “one of the best experiences I’ve had at ASU,” that helps to create a productive network of partners and collaborators among ASU faculty and staff. About half of the participants who responded to a survey about the academy experience say they have since earned a leadership role in a new project or initiative.

  • Human fecal transplant reduces autism symptoms by almost 50%, study finds

    Human fecal transplant reduces autism symptoms by almost 50%, study finds

    Discoveries showing a significant connection between microbes in the intestines and signals received by the brain is raising hopes for potential new treatments for the symptoms of autism, especially in children. Studies led by Fulton Schools Professor Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown (at left in photo) are demonstrating that a fecal transplant technique — called Microbiota Transfer Therapy — is helping to ease the gastrointestinal problems often experienced by children with autism. When those problems are successfully treated it improves the behavior of the children. Many people with autism experience chronic gastrointestinal problems. The discomfort the ailments cause can make children irritable, which decreases their attention and learning capabilities.

    See recent related news on Krajmalnik-Brown’s research: Gastric Bypass: We’re Still Understanding the Benefits of Weight-Loss Surgery, Discover magazine, March 18

  • ASU Graduate College recognizes research at 2021 Knowledge Mobilization Awards

    ASU Graduate College recognizes research at 2021 Knowledge Mobilization Awards

    The ASU Graduate College’s Knowledge Mobilization Initiative aids the university’s researchers in getting the academic knowledge they produce put to use for the public good through collaborations with industry and community-based organizations. The Graduate College’s annual Knowledge Mobilization Awards are given to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers whose research projects demonstrate ingenuity and innovation in addressing societal needs. Three Fulton Schools students — Akshay Kumar Dileep, Man Luo  and Marzieh Bitaab — were among recent winners and finalists in the awards program. Their separate projects involved methods of identifying at-risk students, biomedical information retrieval and detection of scam websites.

  • NASA awards Geisel Software and Arizona State University swarm robotics contract

    NASA awards Geisel Software and Arizona State University swarm robotics contract

    Sze Zheng Yong, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, will work with some of his students to develop communicationless coordination technologies for NASA that could be deployed in space missions. NASA has awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer technology grant for the project to ASU and Geisel Software, a custom software development company, to work on what has the potential to be ground-breaking swarming research. Phase I will focus on identifying and developing intent estimation and intent-expressive motion planning technologies that enable cooperative operation of swarms of space vehicles in lunar and planetary exploration.

  • What will it take to build an antifragile economy in Phoenix?

    What will it take to build an antifragile economy in Phoenix?

    The Great Recession that hit in 2008 revealed the fragility of the Phoenix metropolitan area’s once-booming economy in the years preceding the dramatic downturn. Business community leaders have since sought to lay foundations for a more sustainable regional economy. ASU has been a big part of the effort to create an “antifragile” economy, with the Fulton Schools playing a major role. Startup companies that have grown out of research advances by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Mariana Bertoni and Assistant Research Professor Stanislau Herasimenka exemplify the kinds of promising ventures that foster economic resilience. Fulton Schools Dean Kyle Squires and business leaders point to other endeavors that are providing a highly skilled, well-educated and diverse workforce and a climate of innovation that are attracting new industry to the region. The article in AZ Big Media is also the cover story in the most recent edition of ASU Thrive magazine.

  • Loose-fit infrastructure can better account for climate change

    Loose-fit infrastructure can better account for climate change

    With the uncertainty we face in trying to redesign and rebuild the nation’s core infrastructure systems, the best solutions might be flexible and adaptable approaches. Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, and his Carnegie Mellon University colleague Costas Samaras suggest “loose-fit” strategies to overcome the growing disconnect between what our current infrastructure is constructed to do and the different things we will need it to do in the near future to protect against the impacts of climate change and other threats. To be successful, they say, the country must confront the challenge not only as a necessary hardware upgrade but also address governmental, financial, management and cultural factors that will shape the outcomes of any infrastructure modernization effort.

  • The Metabolic Profile of Mothers with an ASD Child

    The Metabolic Profile of Mothers with an ASD Child

    Fulton Schools Professor James Adams was the lead principal investigator on a recent research study that has revealed important new knowledge about autism. The study concluded that mothers with a child on the autism spectrum have significantly different metabolic profiles than mothers with typically developing children. The research report, published in BMC Pediatrics, also notes significant differences in regard to mothers’ levels of vitamin B-12, leading to questions about the possibility of mothers of a child with autism benefiting from B-12 supplements. The research team is now at work on a similar study to find out if metabolic differences can be seen during pregnancy, which might mean a blood test could be used to identify mothers who are at a higher risk of having a child with autism. Adams, who directs the Autism/Asperger’s Research Program at ASU, also led the study proposal and design, oversaw recruitment of participants, helped to analyze the results and co-led the writing of the paper. The feature on the research in the April 2021 issue of Autism Advocate Parenting Magazine begins on page 41 of the online publication.

March

2021
  • Now is (finally) the time to future-proof our infrastructure

    Now is (finally) the time to future-proof our infrastructure

    Both recent events and updated forecasts for the not-too-distant future are making it more apparent that public infrastructure systems in the U.S. must respond to a growing urgency for more structural and operational resiliency. On an American Society of Civil Engineers news site, Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, is joined by colleague Constantine Samaras at Carnegie Mellon University in issuing a warning about the costs of inaction as challenges presented by a warming and more volatile climate continue to become more serious. Power utilities, transportation systems and other essential facilities and services are at risk if defenses against the destructive consequences of climate change, cybersecurity breaches and similar increasingly dire threats are not put in place.

  • How nonfungible tokens work and where they get their value – a cryptocurrency expert explains NFTs

    How nonfungible tokens work and where they get their value – a cryptocurrency expert explains NFTs

    In the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, the use of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, is among the more ephemeral forms of financial transactions. Dragan Boscovic, a Fulton Schools research professor of computing, informatics and decision systems engineering, and director of ASU’s Blockchain Lab, explains why the NFT market is likely to expand as a highly efficient way of managing and securing digital assets, and why this “energy hungry” cryptocurrency is raising environmental concerns. Despite such potential drawbacks, Boscovic says NFTs are making inroads into the crypto-economy, especially in luxury goods and gaming industries and the high-end art market. Boscovic’s commentary has also been published in Vox, Yahoo News, the Houston Chronicle, the Connecticut Post, the Times Union in Albany, New York, the Seattle Post Intelligencer and The Street.

  • US News ranks 14 ASU graduate programs in top 10

    US News ranks 14 ASU graduate programs in top 10

    More than 30 ASU graduate degree programs are ranked in the top 20 in the nation within their fields of study in the latest US News & World Report rankings. The higher ranking programs included the Fulton Schools industrial engineering program, at No. 18, and the environmental engineering program, at number 20. The data for the rankings came from statistical surveys of more than 2,100 programs and from surveys sent to more than 23,000 academics and professionals, according to U.S. News & World Report.

  • Making food tracking tags impossible to forge

    Making food tracking tags impossible to forge

    Fulton Schools Professor Michael Kozicki and Assistant Research Professor Yago Gonzalez Velo are part of a multidisciplinary team of engineers and scientists hoping to use technology to help prevent foodborne illnesses. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the project that also involves researchers from Northern Arizona University is exploring the use of dendritic tags to enable tracing food at any point in the supply chain. Dendrites are shapes that can be found in the natural world, such as tree branches and blood vessels. By producing these kinds of tags electrochemically or photochemically, Kozicki says, they can enable singular identities for food products that are impossible to duplicate or forge — unlike standard bar codes and other identifying labeling. Read more about Kozicki and Velo’s work.

  • The Difference Engine at ASU aims to create change on the ground

    The Difference Engine at ASU aims to create change on the ground

    The Fulton Schools is joined by ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, W. P. Carey School of Business and Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in ASU’s new enterprise called The Difference Engine: An ASU Center for the Future of Equality. Its mission is to develop the tools for the nation to confront rising social, political and economic inequality. In a recent interview, the leader of the initiative talks about The Difference Engine’s genesis, its specific goals and the kinds of projects underway and being planned to help spark the social changes the venture aspires to make.

  • Using tech to detect flooding before water rises on roads

    Using tech to detect flooding before water rises on roads

    Rapidly evolving rainstorms that are hard to predict often do serious damage to property and threaten public safety. University researchers are developing technologies to quickly detect the potential for flooding in areas where storms are brewing. Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, is one of the leaders of the FloodAware project supported by the National Science Foundation. The early warning systems he and colleagues are working on promise to enable real-time views of rising waters. Chester says such a capability will allow authorities to block roads and take other precautions to prevent people from driving on streets where floodwaters are likely to rise to dangerous levels. Cities in North Carolina and Arizona are among those exploring use of the research team’s tech solutions.

  • Intelligent.com Announces Best Master’s in Electrical Engineering Degree Programs for 2021

    Intelligent.com Announces Best Master’s in Electrical Engineering Degree Programs for 2021

    Arizona State University was recently listed by Intelligent.com among the leading U. S. universities with the best electrical engineering degree programs. The ranking is based on assessments of the earning potential and career opportunities of graduates for these universities’ electrical engineering programs. The website offers curated guides to the best degree programs in addition to information about financial aid, internships and study strategies at these institutions. According to the website, steady job growth in electrical engineering market is one of the reasons programs in this field of engineering were researched and ranked

     

  • 3D-printed ‘veggie battery’ could power devices more sustainably

    3D-printed ‘veggie battery’ could power devices more sustainably

    A 3D-printed battery that might make mobile devices more environmentally friendly and provide a higher capacity power than current lithium-ion batteries has been produced by a team engineers at four universities, including ASU. The new battery uses electrodes made from vegetable starch. Fulton Schools Professor Arunachala Mada Kannan contributed to research on the new type of battery that promises to also be more sustainable than current batteries, as well as store and release more energy. To make the new battery, the researchers used polylactic acid, a biodegradable material that is processed from the starch of corn and sugar beet, which enables the battery to be more recyclable.

    See Also: 3D-printed lithium-ion battery shows green potential, The Engineer, March 23

  • Here what’s driving the rising PHX East Valley economy

    Here what’s driving the rising PHX East Valley economy

    Arizona is ranked as one of the top three fastest-growing states and greater metropolitan Phoenix is among the regions that are attracting the most talent in a variety of industries. ASU and its skilled graduates are cited as another source of talent and innovation that can help drive the growth and success of the local economy. Companies — especially those in the East Valley area — are already establishing strong connections with ASU engineering schools as they map their plans for business expansion and the growth of their work forces.

  • Can microbes save us from PFAS?

    Can microbes save us from PFAS?

    Some researchers are now hoping certain microbes might be able to clean up one of the more persistent types of environmental contaminants, specifically polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. The substances have become known as “forever chemicals” because it is difficult to get them to degrade and thus prevent the damage they do. But even if the microbial cleanup methods work, say Rolf Halden and Bruce Rittmann, Fulton Schools professors of environmental engineering, that success might sidetrack us from efforts to reduce the industrial uses that lead to PFAS contamination in the first place. Halden says there should be a focus on finding ways to make use of PFAS safer, so that large-scale remediation operations won’t needed to prevent harm to environments. Rittmann is exploring the use of a combination of biological and chemical remediation techniques that would use microorganisms to neutralize these contaminants.

  • Tech company plans to develop lab at ASU Polytechnic in Mesa

    Tech company plans to develop lab at ASU Polytechnic in Mesa

    Mechnano, an advanced nanotechnology company, plans to establish a laboratory, at ASU’s Polytechnic campus — home to The Polytechnic School, one of the six Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. The lab is expected to provide ASU student opportunities to learn cutting-edge nanotechnology processes. The facility will be a part of the ASU Polytechnic Innovation District , which is next to the campus. Mechnano brings together scientists and entrepreneurs to improve manufacturing materials.

    See Also: Nanotechnology company to create cutting-edge lab in Mesa, East Valley Tribune, March 30

  • Voices of Houston: Woman uses her engineering and innovative skills to help transform her community

    Voices of Houston: Woman uses her engineering and innovative skills to help transform her community

    Nelia Mazula, a 2001 ASU chemical engineering graduate, is a digital transformation strategist making inroads for women in the field predominantly led by men. She helps companies use the capabilities of digital transformation to improve their operations. Mazula, who also has a degree in international business, is involved in developing robots and AI entities that could someday interact with people in their daily activities. In addition, she helped her native country of Mozambique build a natural gas plant and now is working with a Houston community center to enhance a technology center named in honor of her late brother, Marcos Mazula. She takes time to communicate about her work and its impacts as a way to inspire more girls and young women to pursue opportunities in science, technology and engineering.

  • ASU alumnus founds only Black-owned engineering firm on West Coast

    ASU alumnus founds only Black-owned engineering firm on West Coast

    Anthony Winston III, a 2006 Fulton Schools mechanical engineering graduate, wants the company he founded to not only promote sustainability in engineering but to also inspire social change. Winston Engineering Inc. is the only Black-owned residential and commercial mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering company on the West Coast. The company has set a goal for all of its projects to produce net zero carbon emissions to aid the cause of environmental sustainability for the sake of future generations. Another goal is helping to break down barriers that still often stand in the way of those in minority communities who aspire to own businesses. Winston has visited schools to talk to young students about his journey through college and into his own business and he plans to begin an internship program at his company to give students real-life business experiences.

  • What’s next for iris-recognition systems?

    What’s next for iris-recognition systems?

    Today’s facial and retinal recognition systems will make passports and other traditional forms of identification obsolete, says Subbarao Kambhampati, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science whose research focuses on artificial intelligence. Human-aware AI technology is already enabling a major international airport to walk people through an “intelligence gate” that identifies them by their irises. Iris recognition already works better than using fingerprints, Kambhampati says. The systems are also being increasingly employed by police and other law enforcement organizations and security operations. These uses of such advanced technologies are beginning to raise issues about the erosion of privacy in public spaces and the ramifications of the errors these systems can make.

  • Student entrepreneurs win over $300,000 in ASU Innovation Open

    Student entrepreneurs win over $300,000 in ASU Innovation Open

    In the fifth annual ASU Innovation Open, sponsored by the Fulton Schools, Avnet, and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, seven teams of students from various universities earned a total of more than $300,000 to advances their startup company ventures. The ASU-led team Optical Waters won the $25,000 Technology for Social Equity prize. The company is designing optical fibers that emit ultraviolet light to disinfect the inside of hard-to-reach spaces like pipes. Teams involved in the competition also get feedback and mentorship from experts to help guide their business planning. Teams from Yale University and Northwestern University were among the Innovation Open competitors.

  • Premature or precautionary? California is first to tackle microplastics in drinking water

    Premature or precautionary? California is first to tackle microplastics in drinking water

    California is preparing to be the first place in the world to set guidelines for reducing microplastics in drinking water. There are questions about the need for these particular guidelines and challenges involved in devising methods that will be effective in reducing human exposure to the tiny but potentially harmful bits of plastic in the environment. Still, Rolf Halden, a Fulton School professor and director on ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Heath Engineering, says the amount of microplastics waste continues to grow and it is becoming increasingly critical to take actions to reduce them to prevent more contamination. If the “soup of plastics” we live in gets thicker, Halden says, the dangers they pose will become more serious and more difficult to eliminate. The article also appeared in the Market Research Telecast, the Lost Coast Outpost and the Desert Sun.

  • Early signs remain encouraging for treating autism with bacterial pills

    Early signs remain encouraging for treating autism with bacterial pills

    A novel approach to treating autism being developed through research and experimentation led by Fulton Schools Professors Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and James Adams continues to draw widespread attention. Krajmalnik-Brown’s recent presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science provided an update on the new method called microbiota transfer therapy, which involves altering bacteria in the gut to improve both digestive health and brain function in children with autism spectrum disorder. Results have shown the treatment led to a decrease in the gastrointestinal symptoms of autism in the children and to improvement in their behavior. Researchers hope further studies will reveal which microbes and the molecules they produce are most effective in improving the health of people with autism.

  • ‘Easing’ students with autism into college, career-readiness

    ‘Easing’ students with autism into college, career-readiness

    When Fulton Schools Lecturer Deana Delp saw students with autism in the courses she teaches struggling despite their academic abilities, she went searching for solutions and found Advocating Sun Devils (formerly Autistics on Campus). The group strives to provide a supportive campus environment for people with autism. Along with Maria Dixon, a clinical professor in ASU College of Health Solutions, Delp has founded a peer mentoring program as a joint project of the engineering schools and the health college to assist students with autism with the transitions into college life and careers. Delp and Dixon are now exploring the potential for expanding the mentoring program to serve students in other STEM-related studies beyond engineering.

  • Mountain Ridge grad helps launch teen-driven science periodical

    Mountain Ridge grad helps launch teen-driven science periodical

    Fulton Schools computer systems engineering student Tina Sindwani is one of the founders of a new organization dedicated to giving teens a voice in the STEM community. Sindwani is the director and one of the editors-in-chief of The Scientific Teen, which now has teens with interests in science, technology, engineering and math from more than 20 countries contributing articles and participating in a podcast and in STEM-themed art and design projects. There are also plans for a YouTube series and a magazine. Sindwani also writes for the organization’s website. Her recent article reported on NASA’s Mars exploration spacecraft. Sindwani recently displayed her own STEM skills as one of the award winners in an ASU student engineering, technology and product design experience.

February

2021
  • ASU Climbs to Sixth in National Research Rankings

    ASU Climbs to Sixth in National Research Rankings

    Among the more than 750 universities in the nation without a medical school, ASU recently moved up to sixth place in research expenditure rankings. The kinds of creative and impactful achievements cited for helping to push ASU’s ranking upward include innovations that can improve the movement capabilities of robots. Work led Hanqing Jiang, a Fulton Schools professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, is using curved structures similar those exhibited in art of origami to increase the flexibility of robotic technologies. Jiang says some robotic movements that typically have required complicated sets of gears, hinges and motors can now be done with the use of origami-like creases in sheets of flexible materials that enable robots to firmly grasp heavy objects and also gently grasp delicate objects.

  • Will Artificial Intel get along with us? Only if we design it that way

    Will Artificial Intel get along with us? Only if we design it that way

    When artificial intelligence was in its early stages of development, its creators were not envisioning technology that interacts with humans in the same way humans interact with each other. But as AI has advanced and been stirring our imaginations with its possibilities, the idea of human-compatible AI is gaining traction, says Subbarao Kambhampati, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science and a past president of the international Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. Reaching that goal will require overcoming big challenges, he says. AI must develop social intelligence and be capable of adopting the kinds of mental states that guide human interactions, and be able to understand human emotions and values. To see a future in which AI agents work successfully with us, Kambhampati says, there must be close collaborations between AI experts and those in other fields, particularly behavioral psychology, sociology and the humanities.

  • ASU’s biggest virtual campus tour ever now streaming on Amazona Prime Video

    ASU’s biggest virtual campus tour ever now streaming on Amazona Prime Video

    A new video series that premiered recently features students sharing stories about their most meaningful ASU learning experiences. Among them is recent Fulton Schools graduate Lily Baye-Wallace. Through the Fulton Schools 4+1 program, Baye-Wallace earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in robotics and autonomous systems in just four and half years, while working part-time. She was also part of a team of students who collaborated with a music therapist to develop technology to help children with autism. The project, done through the Fulton Schools Engineering Projects in Community Service, or EPICS, program, won an award that was presented to team members at an international Society of Women Engineers conference.

  • Call them guardians: Seventeen airmen transfer to Space Force at US air base in Japan

    Call them guardians: Seventeen airmen transfer to Space Force at US air base in Japan

    Deployment of U.S. military airmen into the new U.S. Space Force continues to get off the ground. A contingent of 17 new members recently transitioned into the Space Force at Yokota Air Base in Japan, where they are expected to work with Japan’s space defense operations to protect the two countries’ satellites and deter potential national security threats. Fulton Schools Professor Brad Allenby, whose expertise includes military technology, provides some details on the technological and geopolitical aspects of what those space defense operations will entail.

  • Experts: Texas-style grid failure unlikely in Arizona

    Experts: Texas-style grid failure unlikely in Arizona

    Effects of the extraordinarily severe cold weather that recently hit Texas were made worse by the failure of the state’s electrical power systems. Fulton Schools Professor Vijay Vittal, a power systems engineer, says such a scenario in which extreme weather conditions leave millions of residents without power is unlikely to occur in Arizona. Vittal says power delivery systems in Arizona are interconnected and those in Texas are not, which left electricity providers there without sufficient backup capabilities when the big freeze crippled their facilities. Arizona’s interconnected systems proved their value last summer during a period when power utilities were able to avoid outages and meet demand during extended periods of record heat. The news was also reported by KTAR News in Phoenix. U.S. News and World Report, the Arizona Daily Sun and the Kenosha News (Wisconsin).