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Fulton Schools In The News

January

2022
  • 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, The Bharat Express News and MarketWatch.

  • 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 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 and Systems 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 are Assistant Professor 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).

  • ASU researchers use bacteria to improve autism symptoms

    ASU researchers use bacteria to improve autism symptoms

    As the number of children with autism spectrum disorder increases, researchers continue to explore possibilities for new and better treatments for the development disorder. Fulton Schools Professors Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown (pictured), director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Health Through Microbiomes and James Adams, director of the Autism/Asperger’s Research Program, talk about progress being made in easing symptoms of autism. They have found bacteria-based treatments that improve the health of the microbial environment in the human gut are showing effectiveness in producing a positive change in the behavior of people with autism. Parents are saying those treatments are helping improve the lives of their children with autism more than any previous treatments.

  • Waste into wealth: Harvesting useful products from microbial growth

    Waste into wealth: Harvesting useful products from microbial growth

    Through a microbial growth process known as chain elongation, the metabolic processes of certain bacteria can convert chemicals into useful products such as aviation fuels, lubricants, solvents, food additives and plastics. Anca Delgado (at left in photo), a Fulton Schools assistant professor of environmental and sustainable engineering, is exploring new possibilities for productive uses of this process. Research being conducted at ASU’s Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology is demonstrating that advanced chemical conversion techniques might be able to minimize environmental waste and contaminants while producing biochemicals, biofuels and similarly valuable resources. These processes potentially could also enable producing energy from various forms of organic waste. Research findings by Delgado and ASU colleagues are detailed in the current issue of the International Society of Microbial Ecology journal. News about the research is also reported in Science Daily, Biotech World and Posibl.

  • ‘Time Zero’ tool adds dimension to COVID-19 arrival, spread and mutations

    ‘Time Zero’ tool adds dimension to COVID-19 arrival, spread and mutations

    Data derived from research led by Ying-Cheng Lai, a Fulton Schools professor of electrical engineering and physics, reveals that COVID-19 first arrived in the U.S. significantly earlier than first thought. That time discrepancy significantly affected the ability to identify the speed at which the COVID-19 virus spread and the effectiveness of actions taken in attempts to reduce its spread. The predictive modeling framework developed by Lai and his colleagues for their research contributes to mathematical and computational epidemiology that offers a template for advances to more effectively battle the spread of not only COVID-19 but also future pandemics.

  • SEAS professor receives grant to study artificial intelligence in transportation

    SEAS professor receives grant to study artificial intelligence in transportation

    A George Washington University professor’s research team will use artificial intelligence technologies to enable development of an app that automobile drivers can use to detect signs of their oncoming symptoms of health problems. The project will explore development of autonomous driving technology that would take control of vehicles when drivers show signs of debilitating health conditions such as epilepsy or stroke. Transportation engineer and Fulton Schools Professor Ram Pendyala says the research could give confidence to drivers with such health conditions. Drivers would know they could rely on autonomous vehicles to do the driving if their poor health conditions affected their ability to operate their automobiles safely. Today’s advanced AI technologies are capable of understanding driver behavior in a variety of scenarios, Pendyala says, which raises the chances of success for the GWU professor’s research project.

  • ASU’s cybersecurity dojo

    ASU’s cybersecurity dojo

    With cyberattacks on the rise, there’s an increasingly critical need for more cybersecurity experts. To help respond to the challenge, Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Yan Shoshitaishvili has founded an education platform to provide students hands-on training in the core concepts, skills and practices needed by the cybersecurity industry and the U.S. government. Students will learn to mount defenses against dozens of cyberthreats. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Adam Doupé, director of ASU’s Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics, says only highly trained and innovative cyber defense practitioners will be able to thwart the adroit and crafty hackers who are becoming more prevalent.

  • How Pandemic Lunches Gave Me Hope for the Planet

    How Pandemic Lunches Gave Me Hope for the Planet

    In an essay exploring the connections between how and what we eat, and the outlook for the future of our planet, a writer describes insights she gained from a conversation with Rolf Halden, a Fulton Schools professor of environmental engineering, and from his book, “Environment.” Halden talks about the impacts of the materials used for packaging food and in the cooking ware we use to prepare it. She learns of the need for what Halden calls “green chemistry” to ensure the chemicals in the waste we create won’t continue to contribute to environmental damage. And that reducing that waste in the first place would be a big step toward a healthier world.

  • Who should stop unethical A.I.?

    Who should stop unethical A.I.?

    Artificial intelligence technologies promise to make a lot of valuable contributions across a broad spectrum of endeavors in science, engineering, education, computing, security and more. But at the same time, some uses of A.I., and questionable claims about what it can do, are raising questions about ethics and the validity of the purposes for which some industries and companies are promoting and applying A.I. Experts such as Subbarao Kambhampati, a Fulton Schools profess of computer science and a past president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, have concerns that misleading claims and other misinformation could undermine the credibility of the A.I. research community. Another issue is how to effectively prevent or call attention to misrepresentation of the abilities of the technology.

  • Biodesign researchers land coveted Hering Medal

    Biodesign researchers land coveted Hering Medal

    Ridding ecosystems of the dangerous chemical trichloroethene, or TCE, is one of the toughest environmental decontamination challenges. A research paper that details a formula for using specialized bacteria to reduce harmful TCE has earned an award from the American Society of Civil Engineers for the best paper published during 2020 in the Journal of Environmental Engineering. The team that authored the paper includes Fulton Schools Professor Bruce Rittman (pictured), director of the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology, Professor Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and environmental engineering doctoral student Yihao Luo.

  • Microbial ecosystems in the mouth and gut are linked to many ills

    Microbial ecosystems in the mouth and gut are linked to many ills

    When Fulton Schools Professor Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown (pictured) and her research team discovered that certain microbes are consistently absent from children with autism, they emptied the guts of several autistic infants and inoculated them with fecal enemas taken from healthy children. They found the resulting diversity of microbes in the guts of the children with autism increased during a 10-week period of treatment, leading to positive effects that remained in some of the children for two years after the treatment — their gastrointestinal symptoms subsided and their behavior improved as well. Krajmalnik-Brown gave a session about the research at the recent annual meeting of American Association for the Advancement of Science, which was conducted virtually and hosted by ASU. It was one of several sessions on research focusing on the link between microbial ecosystems and various illnesses and other health disorders. (Subscribing or creating an account to access The Economist is necessary to view the full article.)

    See Also: AAAS lecture: microbes and autism, ASU Biodesign Institute, February 7

  • Escaping empty stages: Bringing performances online

    Escaping empty stages: Bringing performances online

    Fulton Schools students Colin Killeen and Sophia Balasubramanian are among those who have been challenged by COVID-19 to keep their musical pursuits on track as the pandemic has squelched live performances and jam sessions over the past year. Bass guitar and keyboard player Killeen, an aerospace engineering student, has turned to online collaborations and digital resources to connect and play with fellow musicians. Guitar player Balasubramanian, a biomedical engineering student, says she has begun to focus more on songwriting and developing her own sound and style as a musician, but hopes to eventually perform. Until then she is trying to contribute to the music scene by supporting her favorite local music artists on social media and Instagram.

  • ASU launches ‘The Difference Engine: An ASU Center for the Future of Equality’

    ASU launches ‘The Difference Engine: An ASU Center for the Future of Equality’

    Rising social, political and economic equality is hindering the nation’s progress. A new ASU center will focus on providing ideas and tools to reverse that trend. The center will develop new designs, systems and perspectives to push back against the things that are hampering the quest for equality, says ASU President Michael Crow. The Fulton Schools — one of a group of ASU schools and colleges working together to launch the center — are committed to contributing solutions-oriented approaches to innovations to aid the pursuit of societal advancement, says Kyle Squires, the dean of the engineering schools.

    See Also: New center launches to combat inequality in community, The State Press, February 11

     

  • Florida water treatment hack reveals long ignored vulnerabilities in America’s infrastructure

    Florida water treatment hack reveals long ignored vulnerabilities in America’s infrastructure

    Cybersecurity must become a high priority focus for managers of public infrastructure systems, experts say. The need for that precaution was exhibited by the recent hack of a water treatment plant in Florida, which put lives at risk by increasing amounts of lye (sodium hydroxide) in the water supply. The incident emphasizes that civil and environmental engineers must also learn what they can do to prevent such cyber threats, says Fulton Schools Professor Brad Allenby, a sustainable engineering expert. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Paulo Shakarian, a cybersecurity expert, describes details about the cyber attack on the Florida facility and talks about what defenses could be mounted to protect critical infrastructure from such security breaches.

  • Why A Small Arizona Business And The Salvation Army Like Cryptocurrencies

    Why A Small Arizona Business And The Salvation Army Like Cryptocurrencies

    Block chain technology makes possible the digital forms of money known as cryptocurrency, which enables transactions to be made without any physical forms of payment — coins, dollar bills, checks or credit cards, for instance. That makes many people and businesses hesitant to embrace digital currency. But some businesses and organizations are giving it a try. Fulton Schools Research Professor Dragan Boscovic, director of ASU Blockchain Research Lab, says the many different kinds of digital money — there are thousands — make it difficult for businesses to decide which kind to use, and that the inability of cryptocurrency to process large numbers of transactions quickly is a drawback. Boscovic still expects to see increasing use of digital currency, but doesn’t foresee it becoming mainstream any time soon.

  • Free and Paid Online Resources to Start Learning HTML and CSS

    Free and Paid Online Resources to Start Learning HTML and CSS

    Mastery of HTML and CSS is an essential step to success in pursuing website development career opportunities in both high tech and low tech industries. For advice on where to learn these web content and style languages, U.S. News & World Report turned to Christina Carrasquilla, a senior lecturer in the Fulton Schools graphic information technology program. Carrasquilla provides guidance on which kinds of HTML and CSS courses are good options for everyone from novices to those with varying levels of experience. She also recommends studying code-editing to learn additional skills and getting involved in coding communities to put that learning into action in hackathons and similar events that provide hands-on experience in coding and website development.

  • A new approach has been created to create a chain of artificial genes according to the principle of “winner takes all”

    A new approach has been created to create a chain of artificial genes according to the principle of “winner takes all”

    The effectiveness of treatments for many diseases could be improved as a result of revelations from recent synthetic biology research at ASU. Xiaojun Tian, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of biomedical engineering, is the lead author of a report on research describing a new process for inserting synthetic gene chains into body cells. The links in those chains are designed to perform various functions, Tian says, but those links have to compete with each other for the limited cellular resources they need to perform their specific roles. The researchers have devised a way to insert individual gene chains into multiple host cells to enable the chains to work together without depleting the cells’ resources. The discovery has the potential to make cancer treatment more effective, researchers say.

    See Also: Winner-take-all synthetic gene circuit opens new pathways to disease treatment, ASU News and SciTechDaily, February 8

    New synthetic biology approach may improve delivery of programmable medicines, The Science Advisory Board, February 8

  • How Arizona universities are meeting demand for skilled talent

    How Arizona universities are meeting demand for skilled talent

    Among the biggest attractions drawing major employers to Arizona are the exceptionally skilled graduates of universities in the state, says Chris Camacho, the president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. He points in particular to ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, noting the large numbers of well-educated students it is graduating each year from numerous degree programs. Camacho notes that those programs are producing students trained in areas of engineering that are increasingly critical to bringing innovation to companies in a wide range of industries — and to sustaining and strengthening Arizona’s knowledge-based economy.

  • How university students and faculty are joining mask innovation race

    How university students and faculty are joining mask innovation race

    Although health experts have stressed the importance of wearing face masks as the most effective way to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 disease, many have disregarded the advice. But creative efforts by some university students might convince more people to follow that advice by providing masks with new designs and features. A team of students working in ASU’s Luminosity Lab recently won an international prize for its prototype of a mask that team members — most of whom are Fulton Schools students — say is more comfortable, affordable, stylish and effective than most current face masks. The team designed the FloeMask, which has a bifurcated chamber that separates air exhaled from the nose from air exhaled from the mouth. The team’s prize provides funding to further develop its prototype and offers opportunities to manufacture the new mask. The article is also published in the Santa Fe New Mexican   and AZ Big Media.

  • Zero Electric Vehicles, Inc. Adds Three Critical Executives to Leadership Team

    Zero Electric Vehicles, Inc. Adds Three Critical Executives to Leadership Team

    Arizona-based Zero Electric Vehicles Inc., or ZEV, an is automotive design, electrical vehicle technology and manufacturing company that aspires to produce the most efficient, high-scaled production all-electric vehicle — and to develop the infrastructure to bring those sustainable energy vehicles to the world. ZEV recently appointed three of its members to the company’s leadership team, including Arunachala Mada Kannan (at left in photo), a Fulton Schools professor who has been working to advance fuel cells, solar cells and large-scale energy storage in batteries for more than three decades. Kannan will work as a battery consultant for ZEV. He will play a key role in developing a highly efficient battery package system to extend the driving range and life span of the company’s Trident automobile.

  • Polanyi’s Revenge and AI’s New Romance with Tacit Knowledge

    Polanyi’s Revenge and AI’s New Romance with Tacit Knowledge

    For all the promising capabilities of artificial intelligence technologies, there are reasons to tread carefully in fully placing our faith in their power to learn and act accordingly in performing the many critical  tasks we are increasingly assigning to them. There’s a risk that AI may not always make the wisest of decisions, writes Subbarao Kambhampati in the online magazine of the Association of Computing Machinery, the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. The Fulton Schools professor of computer science and past president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence explains the difference between tacit knowledge and explicit knowledge.  Kambhampati says that while AI has mastered acquisition of tacit knowledge, it has significant shortcomings in acquiring explicit knowledge. He warns of potentially troublesome consequences if we rely only on AI technology without the benefit of explicit knowledge to guide its reasoning.

January

2021
  • Carbon capture technology has been around for decades — here’s why it hasn’t taken off

    Carbon capture technology has been around for decades — here’s why it hasn’t taken off

    Climate experts agree on the environmental threat posed by growing accumulations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They also agree on the need for carbon capture technology to help reduce that threat. But economics and other factors present challenges to the development and deployment of the technology. The stalemate between competing interests on this matter must be overcome, says Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner. He directs the ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, where some of the more promising carbon capture systems have been designed. Lackner says failing to remove atmospheric carbon dioxide will undoubtedly heighten an already serious risk of dire consequences for the Earth’s habitability.

  • Arizona State, University of Arizona online programs rank high in U.S. News report

    Arizona State, University of Arizona online programs rank high in U.S. News report

    Arizona’s largest public universities offer online degree programs — both undergraduate and graduate programs — that were recently ranked about the best in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report. Among those programs offering remote technology-enhanced, interactive learning, ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering is ranked 10th overall in the nation — rising three places on the list over last year’s rankings. The online electrical engineering master’s degree program is ranked at number 2, while the sustainable engineering master’s program at number 5 and the engineering management master’s program is number 6. Read more. The Phoenix Business Journal news story is subscriber access only.

  • Dancing, vacuuming, learning: What’s next for robots and their creators

    Dancing, vacuuming, learning: What’s next for robots and their creators

    More than 20 research labs at ASU are involved in some facet of robotics research. Pursuits in robot-aided physical rehabilitation, robotic exoskeletons, human-robot collaboration and brain-machine interfaces are among the projects led by the university’s scientists and engineers. Among them are Fulton Schools faculty members Heni Ben Amor, who directs the Interactive Robotics Lab, Wenlong Zhang, director of the Robotics and Intelligent Systems Laboratory, Siddharth Srivastava, who runs the Autonomous Agents and Intelligent Robots Lab, Tom Sugar (at left in photo), director of the Human Machine Integration Lab, and Subbarao Kambhampati, an expert in the application of artificial intelligence technology to advance human-robot collaboration.

  • ASU on the cutting edge of robotics

    ASU on the cutting edge of robotics

    Fulton Schools faculty members are among researchers putting  ASU on the map of institutions leading the way in advancing an array of innovative robotics technologies. Spring Berman (pictured) is making progress in the control and optimization of multi-robot systems. Tom Sugar is creating exoskeletons to enhance human physical capabilities. Dan Aukes is combining robotics and machine learning technology to develop devices that help people overcome physical limitations. James Abbas is using robotics in biomedical engineering endeavors to make a Neural-Enabled Prosthetic Hand system to aid people who have had hand amputations, while Hyunglae Lee is also working on robotic-aided rehabilitation systems.

  • New Management Approach Can Help Avoid Species Vulnerability Or Extinction

    New Management Approach Can Help Avoid Species Vulnerability Or Extinction

    Thousands of the world’s animal species are considered endangered and many others are categorized as vulnerable to becoming endangered. Meanwhile, ecologists still lack reliable tools to predict when species may become at risk of decline. One step toward progress in that area, however, is a mathematical modeling process developed by Ying-Cheng Lai, a Fulton Schools professor of electrical engineering and physics. That process could reveal how interspecies relationships and interactions are impacting the status of various kinds of animals in specific environments. The information the mathematical modeling might reveal could guide scientists in developing methods to sustain ecosystems in ways that benefit potentially endangered or vulnerable species. See original article in ASU NOW.

  • ASU faculty discuss equity and inclusion in STEM at virtual event

    ASU faculty discuss equity and inclusion in STEM at virtual event

    The documentary filmPicture a Scientist” focuses on a biologist, a chemist and a geologist and their experiences with harassment, discrimination and more subtle affronts — and on how each of the women overcame that inappropriate treatment to improve the culture in the STEM professions. A virtual screening of the film hosted by ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was followed by a livestream discussion of these problems and the solutions needed to rectify them. Members of the panels driving the discussion included Fulton Schools Dean Kyle Squires, Professor and Vice Dean of Strategic Advancement Ann McKenna and Assistant Professor Brooke Coley.

  • Cyber-evolution: How computer science is harnessing the power of Darwinian transformation

    Cyber-evolution: How computer science is harnessing the power of Darwinian transformation

    In an emerging domain of science called evolutionary computation, Stephanie Forrest, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science, is working with colleagues to use new technologies to replicate the process of evolution in nature. They have recently announced some of their latest findings in the research journal Nature Machine Intelligence. Forrest, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Biocomputing, Security and Society says that in addition to providing deeper insight into biological evolution, this form of computation could also help spark advances in artificial intelligence, engineering design, robotics, medicine, software development and even gaming strategy.

  • Mothers of children with autism have many significantly different metabolite levels

    Mothers of children with autism have many significantly different metabolite levels

    A recent major study that found mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder had several distinctly different metabolite levels two to five years after they gave birth compared to mothers of normally developing children. Researchers say this result could provide a starting point for further research that might help medical science close in on more definitive knowledge about the causes and characteristics of the disorder. James Adams, a Fulton Schools professor of materials science and engineering, played a leading role in the research that produced the latest findings. Adams, director of the Autism/Asperger’s Research Program, says these results are already leading to another investigation into metabolite levels and their connection to autism. See more coverage about the research in Science Daily and Study Finds.

  • It’s in the wastewater: How Arizona universities are testing for COVID-19

    It’s in the wastewater: How Arizona universities are testing for COVID-19

    Arizona government leaders have allotted funds to the three state universities to expand research on ways to help communities slow the spread of COVID-19. Some of that support is going to work led by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and his team at ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering.  The center’s researchers have been developing a wastewater testing technique that can effectively track the spread of the coronavirus that causes the disease. That effort — along with similar research endeavors at other Arizona universities and others around the country — has evolved into a budding field called wastewater-based epidemiology that is being used across the United States, Europe, Australia and several other countries.

  • The Curious Strength of a Sea Sponge’s Glass Skeleton

    The Curious Strength of a Sea Sponge’s Glass Skeleton

    A sea sponge that has fascinated biologists for almost two centuries makes its own glass skeleton by using acid extracted from seawater. It’s only one of the interesting properties exhibited by the creature — nicknamed the Venus’ flower basket — that Fulton Schools Associate Professor Dhruv Bhate calls “the holy grail of engineering design.” A team of Harvard materials scientists and engineers is making new discoveries about the animal’s capabilities, including details about the makeup and structure of its almost uncrushable skeleton. In separate investigations, Bhate’s team is looking at how the sponge’s skeleton can maintain flexibility while also remaining so strong. If the capabilities of this sea sponge can be fully understood and replicated, it could lead to new ideas for designs of biology-inspired technology.

  • Dancing Boston Dynamics robots are impressive showcase of robot capabilities

    Dancing Boston Dynamics robots are impressive showcase of robot capabilities

    Fluidity and grace have not been among words frequently used to describe the movements of robots. But technological advances are enabling humanoid robots to do some complex and funky dance choreography. Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Heni Ben Amor says four robots made by an engineering and robotics design spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology foreshadow a future in which robots that are human in size and shape are capable of mimicking intricate and rhythmic human motions. Amor, an expert in human-robot interactions and machine learning, predicts the day will come when humans and robots team up to give ballet performances.

  • Legacy Scholarship propels construction engineering alum

    Legacy Scholarship propels construction engineering alum

    The ASU Alumni Association’s Legacy Scholarship provides financial support for family relatives of ASU graduates to pursue a college education. Scholarship recipient Nicole Evans spent her time at ASU earning a degree in construction engineering through the Fulton Schools and holding leadership positions with the Student Alumni Association, including a term as its president. She credits her education at ASU and in the Fulton Schools with her career success — first as project engineer for five years with a construction company specializing in the gaming and hospitality industries, and now as a senior project engineer for a major full-service general construction contracting company.

  • Will humans ever reverse climate change?

    Will humans ever reverse climate change?

    How strong will our commitment be to reversing the detrimental impacts of climate change? Will we abandon those efforts when they get expensive, or when we simply tire of the endeavors if they require prolonged and arduous work? A writer asks the question of Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner, who directs ASU Center for Negative Carbon Emissions. Lackner and his research team are developing some of the more promising technologies to reduce the amount of harmful carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — a major cause of global warming. Lackner and others are a bit skeptical that our communal resolve will overcome the obstacles to long-term actions to pull back on the causes of climate change, but they see increasing agreement about the need to take action.

  • What will cities look like in 2100?

    What will cities look like in 2100?

    Forty experts from around the world share their ideas about what our cities might look like in the future in a new anthology co-authored and co-edited by Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering. Today’s cities were designed and built on old industrial era models, Chester says. Those models no longer provide a sound framework for responding to the sociological and technological changes to which our large metro areas are being challenged to adapt. In fact, the experts say it is change itself — how rapidly and dramatically it can happen in the modern world — that will test our ability to adjust to new realities.

  • ASU Researchers Making Quantum Leaps In Materials Engineering

    ASU Researchers Making Quantum Leaps In Materials Engineering

    While the 3D materials have made possible some of our most significant technological leaps forward, 2D materials are now poised to enable even more progress, says Sefaattin Tongay (second from right in photo), a Fulton Schools associate professor of materials science and engineering. Tongay has been working for almost 20 years with the crystalline materials made of single layers atoms. He says the materials can enable advances in computing, energy generation, information security and more. The National Science Foundation has supported five of his research projects to explore the use of 2D materials to open the way to applications in many more devices and systems in promising areas such as quantum technologies. Tongay is also using his research to educate the next generation of materials scientists and engineers.

  • How do we solve a problem like climate change? With innovations like Mechanical Trees

    How do we solve a problem like climate change? With innovations like Mechanical Trees

    Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere would help diminish some of the more threatening global impacts of climate change. Among the innovative carbon capture and removal technologies are the mechanical trees (pictured) being developed in ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions directed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner. Lackner says a forest of these mechanical trees could efficiently take the dangerous greenhouse gas out of the air and store it underground or use it to make products such as fuels and cement. The technology offers an opportunity to not only stabilize the Earth’s warming climate but also become the foundation for a new revenue-generating industry that can provide numerous jobs.

    See Also: Mining the sky for CO2 with metal trees, towers and pumps, E&E News, January 5

    Carbon Engineering’s Tech Will Suck Carbon From the Sky, IEEE Spectrum, January 6

December

2020
  • ASU team to create augmented reality memorial to child victims

    ASU team to create augmented reality memorial to child victims

    A new kind of public memorial — made possible by today’s advanced visualization technologies — will be created by a group of ASU faculty members to honor children killed by the use of firearms. The team includes Robert LiKamWa, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering, as well as arts, media and engineering. The project will involve designing and making virtual monuments to place at locations where children died. The work will apply the expertise provided through LiKamWa’s research lab to produce software and hardware for augmented reality and virtual reality systems. One purpose of the endeavor is to give momentum to efforts to publicly address the issue of gun violence and its consequences.

  • The Sunburst hack was massive and devastating – 5 observations from a cybersecurity expert

    The Sunburst hack was massive and devastating – 5 observations from a cybersecurity expert

    The recent far-reaching cyberattack against U.S. government agencies and corporations may be one of the most consequential hacks in history to date, says Paulo Shakarian, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science. He sees the potential for it to cause significant harm over a long period time. Amid uncertainties about the attack, some of things seem clear, Shakarian says. The hack was very likely the work of a nation, not a group of criminals. The hackers were able to break down the defenses of agencies and companies with extensive cybersecurity practices. And while the extent of the damage is not fully known, it almost certainly will result in troublesome consequences for the victims and possibly the country as well. Shakarian’s commentary has also been published in more the 40 newspapers and other news outlets, including the San Francisco Times, the Houston Chronicle, Seattle PI, Snopes.com, Arizona Daily Star, St. Louis Today and Yahoo News.

  • Air Force ROTC sergeant gets surprise of his life, path to officer commissioning

    Air Force ROTC sergeant gets surprise of his life, path to officer commissioning

    Technical Sergeant Vincent Boven, a 12-year U.S. Air Force veteran, will be able to stay on active duty while completing studies for his electrical engineering degree in the Fulton Schools. Boven has been selected for the Senior Leader Enlisted Commission Program, which supports “highly skilled and exceptionally motivated” enlisted members of the Air Force in earning college degrees. Boven’s commanders cited his exemplary performance in guiding and mentoring dozens of Air Force and Space Force cadets to graduation to earn positions as officers.

  • ASU student team’s fog-free mask design wins $1 million international competition

    ASU student team’s fog-free mask design wins $1 million international competition

    Fulton Schools students are three of the five members of an ASU Luminosity Lab team that has won the Next-Gen Mask Challenge. The competition tasked teams from around the world with developing new designs to produce more functional, affordable and comfortable face masks to fight the spread of COVID-19. The team’s Floemask — described as “the latest in respirator technology” — features bifurcated chamber design in which air exhaled from the nose is kept in a separate chamber from the face and mouth. It earned the team $500,00 of the overall $1 million in prize money. The ASU team and two other winning teams will be set up with rapid manufacturing opportunities to accelerate production of their new mask designs.

    See Also: ASU Luminosity Lab team wins face mask challenge and $500,000 prize, The State Press, December 22

    ASU student team’s fog-free mask design wins $1 million international competition, News 4 Tucson KVOA.com, December 22

    See Also: ASU team wins international competition with anti-fog coronavirus mask design, ABC News 15-Phoenix, December 23

    ASU Team Wins $500K XPRIZE For COVID-19 Mask Design, KJZZ (NPR), December 23

    ASU student team wins coronavirus face mask design challenge, KTAR News, December 23

    ASU students win international COVID-19 mask competition for fog-free design, get $500,000, Arizona Republic, December 24

    Students win $550K XPrize for face mask design, Medical Design & Outsourcing. December 24

    Researchers at Arizona State University develop breakthrough face covering amid COVID-19 pandemic, Fox 10 News-Phoenix, December 26

  • What Wastewater Studies Reveal About Coronavirus Spread

    What Wastewater Studies Reveal About Coronavirus Spread

    Knowledge that guided development of a COVID-19 vaccine came in part from data gathered through wastewater analysis techniques being used to assesses the prevalence and the rate of the spread of the coronavirus infection in communities. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden (pictured) had been among the first to develop those techniques — at first using the findings to determine how extensively various toxins and pharmaceuticals were impacting specific populations. He turned his attention to detection of COVID-19 as the disease reached pandemic proportions. Now a company that has emerged from the research in ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, which Halden directs, will be expanding these wastewater studies to help the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services combat the disease.

  • US Treasury cyberattack likely orchestrated by foreign actors

    US Treasury cyberattack likely orchestrated by foreign actors

    Hackers sponsored by the Russian government are the most likely culprits in a recent hack of the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments, says Paulo Shakarian, a Fulton Schools associate professor and cybersecurity expert. Shakarian is also CEO and co-founder of ASU spinout CYR3CON, a company that is using machine learning technology to predict malicious hacking exploits before hackers use them. He describes these hacks as very sophisticated attacks against agencies whose defenses are difficult to breach — showing that sensitive government and industry information remains vulnerable to the machinations of the skillful “bad actors” of the cyber world.

  • It’s Dangerous to Drink Your Coffee This Way

    It’s Dangerous to Drink Your Coffee This Way

    Microplastic particles (pictured) that may have harmful health consequences could be entering your body through the coffee you drink — depending on the type of cup from which you’re drinking. A study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials reports that people are ingesting these tiny bits of plastic by drinking hot beverages from paper cups with linings containing thin plastic films. Heat can quickly degrade cup linings, says the study’s lead author. The study follows similar warnings about microplastics, including findings by Fulton Schools researchers. Nonbiodegradable plastics “are present everywhere,” and some pose serious health threats, says Varun Kelkar, a graduate research assistant in the Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering directed by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden.

  • ASU uses augmented reality to hold fall graduation

    ASU uses augmented reality to hold fall graduation

    A team of ASU students under the direction of Assistant Professor Robert LiKamWa produced an augmented reality presentation that connected viewers to the recent remotely conducted ASU fall graduation ceremonies. The production enabled using an Android or Apple device to place a virtual podium on the screen from wherever the users were to watch and listen to featured speakers and the rest of graduation event. LiKamWa is a faculty member in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, a collaborative of the Fulton Schools and ASUs Herberger Center for Design and the Arts. LiKamWA directs the Meteor Studio, which explores research and design of software and hardware for mobile augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, and visual computing systems.

    See Also: An augmented reality graduation brings President Crow to your home, The State Press, December 16

  • Here’s how to navigate social media ‘fake news’

    Here’s how to navigate social media ‘fake news’

    A year dominated by a global pandemic and claims of irregularities in a presidential election have provided fertile ground for a minefield of dangerous misinformation, including a growing tide of conspiracy theories and disinformation campaigns. Nadya Bliss offers ways to navigate these turbulent information wars. Bliss is executive director of the ASU Global Security Initiative and a professor of practice in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, one of the six Fulton Schools. Bliss recently wrote about ways to detect and address the disinformation strategies being used to manipulate public opinion. She says there’s a need for efforts to promote media literacy education and critical analysis skills  to give us defenses against these manipulative endeavors.

  • Pfizer vaccine presents unique distribution challenges

    Pfizer vaccine presents unique distribution challenges

    Daunting but not insurmountable. That’s one way the effort by federal agencies and private industries called Operation Warp Speed is being described. The goal is to produce and deliver about 300 million doses of COVID-10 vaccine in coming months. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Kristen Parrish says the task presents an array of logistics challenges — especially because of the ultra-cold temperatures at which the vaccine must be stored and distributed to ensure it is effective. Parrish, who has expertise in industrial refrigeration technology, also says there are limited numbers of both the high-tech freezers suitable for storage of the vaccine and of the highly skilled technicians who know how to best maintain and repair the freezers.

    See Also: Staying chill: How Arizona is preparing to store vaccines at freezing temps, Arizona Republic, December 14

  • AI Algorithms Are Slimming Down to Fit in Your Fridge

    AI Algorithms Are Slimming Down to Fit in Your Fridge

    Researchers recently demonstrated the possibility of squeezing a powerful artificial vision algorithm onto a simple, low-power computer chip that can run for months on a battery. This could lead to more advanced and energy-efficient AI capabilities such as image and voice recognition for home appliances, wearable devices and medical technologies, and to improvements in data security systems. Jae-sun Seo, a Fulton Schools associate professor of electrical engineering, says the advancements could also be used to enhance augmented reality technology — as well as open the way to significant progress in efforts to expand the performance capabilities of machine learning, one of Seo’s areas of expertise.

  • Slowing Climate Change With Sewage Treatment for the Skies

    Slowing Climate Change With Sewage Treatment for the Skies

    Systems being developed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are very expensive, but may also become very necessary if we are to maintain a livable environment on Earth. Every year, human activity is releasing much of the more than 35 gigatons of carbon dioxide going into the air, resulting in more massive accumulations of greenhouse gasses that are ratcheting up globing warming and its potentially dire consequences for the planet. Among emerging solutions are carbon capture systems such as those be created by ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner. Progress by his research team is increasing the viability of technologies designed to clean the skies of the threatening gasses.

  • ASU Research Finds Surprising Inefficiencies In A Phoenix Park’s Irrigation Plan

    ASU Research Finds Surprising Inefficiencies In A Phoenix Park’s Irrigation Plan

    A phenomenon called the “oasis effect” is turning nighttime irrigation at some larger Phoenix parks into a potential environmental problem. Fulton Schools and School of Earth and Space Exploration Professor Enrique Vivoni (center in photo), a hydrologist, and his research team have found that irrigation systems in those parks that are intended to save water are also creating a lot of evaporation, resulting in the release of high levels of troublesome carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Heavy watered sports fields, residential communities and other properties with large areas of turf may also be a source of such emissions. The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department promises to take a close look at Vivoni’s research findings and seek solutions, if necessary.

  • SCIENCE MUSEUM OPENS UK’S FIRST MAJOR EXHIBITION ON CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE

    SCIENCE MUSEUM OPENS UK’S FIRST MAJOR EXHIBITION ON CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE

    The Science Museum in London is home to a world-class collection that provides a record of significant scientific, technological and medical advancement from around the globe. One of museum’s upcoming featured exhibits, “Our Future Planet,” focuses on cutting-edge technologies and nature-based solutions being developed to help prevent or reduce some of the most threatening impacts of climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The exhibit will include one of the Mechanical Trees created by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner and his research team at ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions. Progress is being made on optimizing the system’s carbon capturing effectiveness, building prototypes and commercializing the invention.

  • ASU researchers develop new outdoor solar testing for photovoltaics

    ASU researchers develop new outdoor solar testing for photovoltaics

    There’s a new tool to enable measuring the performance of solar energy panels as they are functioning in the field — not only in a laboratory. Fulton Schools electrical engineering doctoral student and graduate research assistant Alexander Killam developed the performance assessment technique, which record’s a solar panel’s voltage as a function of light intensity outdoors. Stuart Bowden, an associate research professor who leads the silicon section of ASU’s Solar Power Laboratory, says the method provides a data stream to show how solar panels degrade over time and in different environments. That could help the industry extend the lifespan of panels beyond 25 years. The method can track the performance of individual panels or an array of 20 up to 100 modules. See more news coverage in PV Magazine, Es De Latino, CitizenSide, California New Times, List Solar, Power Info Today, Novergy Solar

  • Coping with fire-scorched land more prone to mudslides

    Coping with fire-scorched land more prone to mudslides

    Along with the threats of wildfire, communities on hilly terrain can also be plagued by widespread mudslides and related dangers long after heavy downpours of rain. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Mikhail Chester, an environmental engineer, say intense rains can trigger wet flows of land 10 times greater in areas recently burned by fire. That can happen as much as five years after the fires. Communities need to take stronger proactive measures to defend against such potential calamities, particularly extensive erosion control measures.

  • ASU students earn top 5 spot in international mask competition, could win $1 million prize

    ASU students earn top 5 spot in international mask competition, could win $1 million prize

    Electrical engineering graduate student John Patterson (pictured) and other Fulton Schools students are among members of a ASU Luminosity Lab team that is a finalist for the XPRIZE Next-Gen Mask Challenge that could win some of the competitors a combined $1 million. The contest asked people ages 15 to 24 around the world to design next-generation surgical masks that would “shift the cultural perspective” about wearing masks to help prevent transmission of COVID 19. The goal is for masks to be more comfortable, functional and stylish. The ASU team’s “Flosemask” will be judged along with the masks of other contest finalists by a panel of judges and industry experts.

  • ASU Graduate College announces Mexico-US binational award to research sustainable agriculture in Sonora, Arizona

    ASU Graduate College announces Mexico-US binational award to research sustainable agriculture in Sonora, Arizona

    ASU graduate students will have opportunities for hands-on experience in developing sustainable agriculture through a new program led by Fulton Schools Professor Enrique Vivoni. The collaborative project involving the Instituto Tecnológico de Sonora in Mexico will study agricultural regions in Arizona and Sonora to assess possibilities for sustainable farming in those areas. The program will put research-based learning into action to improve agriculture environments in those communities, says Vivoni, who is also on the faculty ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration. The project is supported by a 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Award from the U.S. Department of State.

  • Valley company receives federal contract for COVID-19 wastewater study

    Valley company receives federal contract for COVID-19 wastewater study

    AquaVitas, a company spun off from research in ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden (members of his lab team pictured here), has been awarded a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  contract to test water treatment plants across the country for signs of COVID-19. Halden and his team have developed wastewater analytics over the past several years that enable assessment of COVID-19 trends in communities. Data collected by Aquavitas will provide municipalities information that can be used to guide public health decisions in responding to COVID-19 outbreaks.

     

  • US fully restores protections for young immigrants

    US fully restores protections for young immigrants

    After a Supreme Court ruling this week against the ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began accepting new applications for the program that shields hundreds of thousands young people from deportation. Those affected by the court decision responded with a mixture of hope and concern that their futures are still uncertain. Fulton Schools aerospace engineering student Maria Garcia, who plans to apply for the reinstated program, says many students who are undocumented citizens don’t qualify for DACA protection, so a better solution must be found. The story is also reported in the Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • New testing systems could become the IoT of photovoltaics

    New testing systems could become the IoT of photovoltaics

    ASU researchers have achieved a breakthrough in photovoltaics technology that can reduce the cost and extend the longevity of interconnected power delivery. Fulton Schools electrical engineering doctoral student and graduate researcher Alexander Killam is on the team that has produced the advance. Killam says the Sun-Voc system the researchers developed will give manufacturers of photovoltaics systems and large power utility installations the kinds of data needed to adjust system designs to increase energy efficiency and the lifespans of the delivery systems.

    The news is also reported in Solar Energy International, TechXplore and AZO Cleantech

  • New York Is Scouring Its Sewers for COVID-19. Are We Learning Enough From What We Flush?

    New York Is Scouring Its Sewers for COVID-19. Are We Learning Enough From What We Flush?

    New York City communities are looking into the contents of their wastewater facilities for clues about the spread of the COVID-19 virus and how to stop it. They’re using water testing methods developed by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and his research team at the Center for Environmental Health Engineering at the ASU Biodesign Institute. Halden encouraged New York officials to increase the frequency of its sewage testing efforts and to do that testing at multiple locations. Halden is a co-author of a cost-benefit analysis that found using wastewater-based epidemiology in combination with clinical testing is much less expensive than using traditional methods that focus on testing individuals for the coronavirus infection. The article was also published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

  • ROBOTS CAN NOW HAVE TUNABLE FLEXIBILITY AND IMPROVED PERFORMANCE

    ROBOTS CAN NOW HAVE TUNABLE FLEXIBILITY AND IMPROVED PERFORMANCE

    Designs of curved structure based on the art of origami have been shown to improve the flexibility of robotics technologies. Through “tunable adaptability” robots can adjust their stiffness to effectively perform specific tasks — a function that until now has been difficult for robots to perform. The research leading to the advancement was led by Hanqing Jiang, a Fulton Schools professor of mechanical engineering. The design of the curved creases and each curved crease, corresponds to a particular flexibility,” Jiang says. His team’s paper on the research, titled “In Situ Stiffness Manipulation Using Elegant Curved Origami,” has been published in the journal Science Advances.

  • Living with autonomous systems ‘we can trust’

    Living with autonomous systems ‘we can trust’

    A report entitled “Assured Autonomy: Path Toward Living With Autonomous Systems We Can Trust” says that the future development of autonomous technologies and systems — including vehicles — should to be guided by a broad range of stakeholders throughout society. The report was commissioned by a group of members of the Computing Community Consortium, including Nancy Cooke, a Fulton Schools Professor of human systems engineering, and Nadya Bliss, executive director of ASU’s Global Security Initiative and a Fulton Schools professor of practice. They and their colleagues call for a strategy to ensure stakeholders in government, academia, industry and society at large can share ideas and concerns about the safety, security and regulation of autonomous systems.

    See Also: AI is too powerful for engineers to handle alone, Electronics Weekly, December 3

  • Prepping for COVID-19 vaccines means making sure freezers are available

    Prepping for COVID-19 vaccines means making sure freezers are available

    A challenge for health professionals who will be in charge of COVID-19 vaccine distribution will be access to freezers that can keep the vaccines in the extremely cold temperatures required for effective storage, says Fulton Schools Associate Professor Kristen Parrish (pictured). Another hurdle may be finding experienced refrigeration service professionals who can properly maintain and repair the freezers, Parrish says. Another problem could arise next spring as temperatures begin to rise in the greater Phoenix metro area, which will require freezers to run continuously for many hours and make it more difficult for them to maintain the necessary ultra-cold temperatures.

    See Also: Can the US Cold Storage Sector Handle the Strain of Covid Vaccines? Globe St.com

November

2020
  • ASU students’ lunar exploration system is a finalist in NASA competition

    ASU students’ lunar exploration system is a finalist in NASA competition

    Fulton Schools electrical engineering student Collin Schairer, mechanical engineering student Gowan Rowland and materials science and engineering student Julia Greteman are members of the ASU Luminosity Lab team designing a probe and launcher system capable of expanding exploration of the moon. The project has made the team one of eight university teams to be named finalists in a NASA space technology competition. The exploration targets are craters on the moon’s poles that never get sunlight and thus are difficult to probe. The ASU team is doing its work in the Fulton Schools new indoor motion-capture Drone Studio. In addition to the engineering involved, the project is challenging students to hone their skills in computer programming, industrial design and robotics.

  • What’s cellular about a cellphone?

    What’s cellular about a cellphone?

    Cell phones are used by almost everyone today, but few understand how these versatile, multi-functional communications devices sparked a still ongoing evolution of evermore sophisticated and far-reaching cellular networks. Dan Bliss, a Fulton Schools professor of electrical engineering and director of the Center for Wireless Information Systems and Computational Architecture, talks about the ideas that led to the first cellular networks and what the future generations of those networks will look like — and the additional functionalities that advances in the technology will make possible. The article also appeared in My San Antonio Express, Yahoo! News, Seattle PI, Stuff (Gadget Magazine), Beaumont Enterprise (Texas), Mesh Magazine, TechXplore, New Canaan Advertiser (Connecticut), Houston Chronicle (paywall).

  • 10 winners of ASU’s Graduate College grants find creative solutions for COVID-19 problems

    10 winners of ASU’s Graduate College grants find creative solutions for COVID-19 problems

    The ASU Graduate College’s first-ever Knowledge Mobilization Spotlight Grants have been awarded. The program selected winners from among graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who have developed innovative solutions to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among  10 winners from more than 70 applicants is Medha Dalal, a Fulton Schools postdoctoral scholar in engineering education. Dalal found a way to move forward with her work by providing hands-on engineering design experiences to high school counselors using mail-in design kits and a virtual workshop she created.  In one area of her research, Dalal examines ways of thinking that address complex challenges in engineering education.

  • Fragmenting society, with disinformation

    Fragmenting society, with disinformation

    In ASU’s “Thought Huddle” podcast, Fulton Schools Professor Brad Allenby discusses the proliferation of disinformation sources in an age that is seeing the rise of antagonistic “tribal political structures.” Allenby discusses how the growth and pervasiveness of today’s fractured communications environment has provided ground work for the growing influence of conspiracy theorists and targeted misinformation campaigns that have divisive impacts on societies. Allenby is a professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, as well as a professor of technology and ethics and a co-founder of ASU’s Weaponized Narrative Initiative.

  • Curved origami offers a creative route to making robots and other mechanical devices

    Curved origami offers a creative route to making robots and other mechanical devices

    Inspired by the art of paper folding called origami, Fulton Schools Professor Hanqing Jiang and doctoral student Zirui Zhai, both mechanical engineers, have developed designs for curved folding patterns that can enable robotic devices to change the stiffness and flexibility of their gripping capabilities. Shaping flexible materials into these patterns makes it possible to produce simple and inexpensive robotic grippers, swimming robots and other mechanical devices. Today’s adjustable stiffness systems are often bulky and can’t be used in soft robotics or micro-robots. Next, Jiang and Zhai plan to add more remote-control functions to trigger the folding of materials into origami structures. That will enable applying the technique to fields beyond robotics. The discovery is also reported by the Associated Press and tech news outets Manufacturing Business Technology, Gizmodo, Nanowerk and   Science Daily

  • Microbial remedies target chemical threats in the environment

    Microbial remedies target chemical threats in the environment

    Perchlorate and TCE are two chlorinated chemicals that case pose threats to human and environmental health. Research in ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Biotechnology is demonstrating that a form of microbial life can be effective in cleaning up the areas known as Superfund sites that are contaminated by those chlorinated chemicals. Among leaders of the research are Anca Delgado, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, and Srivatsan Mohana Rangan, a Fulton Schools graduate research assistant in the same field. Rangan is lead author of the study on the project published in the current issue of the research journal Environmental Science & Technology. The news is also reported on News-Medical.Net.

  • ASU team joins Phoenix in fighting extreme heat through cooler pavement

    ASU team joins Phoenix in fighting extreme heat through cooler pavement

    ASU researchers are aiding the city of Phoenix in its efforts to reduce the impacts of extreme heat by using a new kind of pavement materials designed to reduce the urban heat island effect. Ariane Middel, a Fulton Schools assistant professor and urban climatologist, is leading the research team. Middel and fellow researchers have begun testing the impacts of the so-called cool pavements that have been applied to some Phoenix streets. The team expects to have results in a year from now on the long-term performance of the pavement material. Preliminary studies are showing some cooling effects and residents on the newly paved streets said road temperatures seem cooler.

  • ASU alumni turn passion for helping people into thriving nonprofits

    ASU alumni turn passion for helping people into thriving nonprofits

    Fulton Schools graduates are among the ASU alumni who are helping thousands of people around the world though dozens of nonprofits organizations the university’s former students have started. The entrepreneurs include Fulton Schools biomedical engineering graduate Mark Huerta mechanical engineering graduate Paul Strong and biomedical/medical engineering graduate Swaroon Sridhar. Their 33 Buckets venture has evolved into an operation that is providing clean water to small rural communities in underdeveloped countries. The endeavor started as a project for the Engineering Projects in Community Service program, or EPICS, through which student teams help communities solve engineering-based problems.

  • ‘Oasis effect’ in urban parks could contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, ASU study finds

    ‘Oasis effect’ in urban parks could contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, ASU study finds

    Some potentially significant revelations about the impacts of irrigation used to make public spaces greener and cooler — especially in hotter locales such as the Phoenix area — have been discovered by hydrologist Enrique Vivoni, a professor in the Fulton Schools and the School of Earth and Space Exploration. Aided by graduate students   Mercedes Kindler, Zhaocheng and Eli Pérez-Ruiz, Vivoni used an array of sensing technologies to measure the effects of irrigating one of Phoenix’s urban golf courses. Their year-long study showed a connection between the evaporation of water on the course and the resulting amounts of carbon dioxide emissions, which could contribute to global warming. The story is also reported in Science Daily and Phys.Org.

  • Fulton Schools launch collaboration with semiconductor industry giant

    Fulton Schools launch collaboration with semiconductor industry giant

    The expertise of a group of Fulton Schools faculty members is the driving force behind a new collaborative venture with one of the largest developers and suppliers in the semiconductor industry, Applied Materials.  Professor Michael Kozicki, Associate Professor Zachary Holman and Assistant Professor Heather Emady are on the team formed to carry our research projects over the next five years at the MacroTechnology Works laboratories in the ASU Research Park. The work will involve the tools used to make the semiconductor chips that go into many technologies, Kozicki says. Emady says the goal is to establish an even longer-term relationship with Applied Materials. Holman says students will be involved in the research.

    See Also: Semiconductor equipment maker leases ‘substantial’ lab space at ASU, Phoenix Business Journal, November 3 (Subscriber access only)

  • Survey Finds Americans Reluctant To Purchase Autonomous Vehicles

    Survey Finds Americans Reluctant To Purchase Autonomous Vehicles

    Despite technological advances in self-driving vehicles, many people say they would not purchase one. In a survey that gathered responses in five major U. S. metro areas — including Phoenix — on 5% percent of respondents said they would be early adopters of autonomous automobiles and about 50% said they would have to gain more confidence in the safety of the vehicles. But 40 percent didn’t see themselves ever being comfortable with autonomous transport.  The survey was part of research by Fulton Schools Assistant Research Professor Sara Khoeini and colleagues in Teaching Old Models New Tricks, or TOMNET, a Fulton Schools Tier 1 University Transportation Center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Khoeini talks about how such vehicles might find more acceptance by the public. Read more.

  • Managing the microbiome raises new hope for autism treatment

    Managing the microbiome raises new hope for autism treatment

    The number of children born with autism spectrum disorder — a cause of lifelong developmental disorders — is growing, and there is no effective FDA-approved treatment. But research by Fulton Schools Professors Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown and James Adams is showing promise for progress toward a viable treatment. They have discovered that those with autism have abnormal microbial conditions, and that adjusting the microbiota using healthy bacteria can help ease the gastrointestinal and behavioral symptoms of the disease. Krajmalnik-Brown and Adams are leading research to advance microbial transfer therapy and microbiome transplants in efforts to manage the disease.

  • Two ASU students nominated for Churchill Scholarship to study at Cambridge University

    Two ASU students nominated for Churchill Scholarship to study at Cambridge University

    Recent Fulton Schools chemical engineering graduate Maeve Kennedy (pictured) and current chemical engineering student Alexis Hocken are nominees for one of the most prestigious graduate fellowships. Kennedy and Hocken will find out in December if they are among those awarded a Churchill Scholarship, enabling them to do postgraduate studies in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields at the renowned Cambridge University in England. Nominees for the Churchill Scholarship are selected in part for their potential to become leaders in their fields. Kennedy and Hocken are former recipients of the Goldwater Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarship programs for U.S. undergraduates studying engineering, natural sciences and math.

  • STEM students aren’t learning the soft skills they need after graduation

    STEM students aren’t learning the soft skills they need after graduation

    Despite strong education in the technological aspects of engineering provided at ASU, a columnist says more is needed to  ensure students in the field are better prepared for a competitive job market. Along with technical proficiency, students need soft skills — communication, teamwork, customer relations, conflict management and leadership skills, among others — to achieve career success, the commentator says. He points to Fulton Schools Professor Keith Hjelmstad, who has integrated soft skills workshops into some of the courses he teaches. Others should follow Hjelmstad’s example, the columnist writes, also suggesting incorporating studies in the humanities into STEM courses to give students in science, technology, engineering and math programs training in creative thinking and workplace social skills.

  • Counting critters: Students develop software to track bats

    Counting critters: Students develop software to track bats

    For their senior year capstone engineering design project, three Fulton Schools students are helping the managers Scottsdale’s 30,500-acre McDowell Sonoran Preserve monitor the health of long-time residents of the scenic area: bats. Computer science students Ryan Kemmer, Jerimiah Kent and Michael Umholtz are using machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence technology to track the movements the bats in and out of a gated mine on the preserve. The students hope to develop a software program for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy to help the organization continue the bat monitoring operation once the capstone project in complete.

  • Rapid Microgrid Design Aims to Accelerate Electrification in Rural Areas, Benefit Women

    Rapid Microgrid Design Aims to Accelerate Electrification in Rural Areas, Benefit Women

    The Fulton Schools Laboratory for Energy and Power Solutions, or LEAPS, designs and develops technologies to bring energy sources to underserved communities and underdeveloped countries, often in remote locations. One of the lab team’s latest and most challenging ventures is a project to bring electrical power resources to a region of Sierra Leone in West Africa. The project focuses on the benefits of electrification for women and girls. LEAPS Director Nathan Johnson, a Fulton Schools assistant professor, says the goal is to find ways to provide reliable power while reducing time and expense in planning and design — and to see the system empower women by providing them electricity that expands their options for creating viable businesses.

  • Can You Actually Earn an Engineering Degree Online? How It Works and What It Costs

    Can You Actually Earn an Engineering Degree Online? How It Works and What It Costs

    Job market watchers say engineering is among career paths offering high salaries along with opportunities to do work that’s valuable to society. There’s also a broad spectrum of engineering fields to choose from to fulfill a variety of professional interests and aspirations. Plus, there’s are a range of options for earning degrees online in almost every branch of engineering. Robin Hammond, Fulton Schools director of career services, has advice on how prospective students can determine if engineering is a good fit for them, and how to shop for the online programs that would best serve their particular needs. Also important: Check out what companies are recruiting graduates of those schools and their engineering programs and how alumni are faring in their careers.

  • Holman Research Group makes advances in renewable energy resources

    Holman Research Group makes advances in renewable energy resources

    Electrical and mechanical engineers, materials scientists, physicists and chemists are combining efforts through Fulton Schools Associate Professor Zack Holman’s research group to both boost the efficiency of renewable energy technology and make it more affordable. The team is making advances with photovoltaic cells that can convert a larger percentage of solar power into electrical energy than previous cells. Through the operations of two startup companies, the researchers have also developed a foil solar panel that enables more cost-effective energy conversion and a surface coating for solar panels that helps keep them operating a maximum efficiency. Those products are seen as steps to making solar energy systems more commercially viable.

  • Q&A: U.S. Science Foundation Director on His Vision for the Agency

    Q&A: U.S. Science Foundation Director on His Vision for the Agency

    It’s less than six months since Sethuraman Panchanathan began a six-year appointment as U.S. National Science Foundation director — taking a hiatus from his roles as a Fulton Schools professor and the leader of ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise — but he is moving quickly to pursue his vision for the NSF’s evolving mission. In an interview with the news outlet of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, one of the world’s largest organizations of professional engineers, Panchanathan says this is a defining moment for engineering and science. He sees progress in research to address the world’s growing challenges, increasing inclusiveness and U.S. global leadership in science and engineering, along with expanding STEM education and COVID-19 research, as critical to a better future.

  • The death of the email attack ‘campaign’

    The death of the email attack ‘campaign’

    Phishing —surreptitious attempts to fraudulently obtain sensitive information or data, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details in electronic communications — is more widespread than ever, and more malicious, faster and smarter. But new defenses against such cyber crime are being mounted. One effort involves cybersecurity researchers at Google, PayPal, Samsung and Arizona State University. ASU’s contribution draws on work by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Adam Doupé, Professor Gail-Joon Ahn and some of their colleagues in the Fulton Schools Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics. Detailed reports on the projects are in a recent ASU NOW article and a recent Internet Defense Prize-winning research paper titled  “Sunrise to Sunset: Analyzing the End-to-end Life Cycle and Effectiveness of Phishing Attacks at Scale.”

     

  • Semiconductor equipment maker leases ‘substantial’ lab space at ASU

    Semiconductor equipment maker leases ‘substantial’ lab space at ASU

    A leading producer of semiconductor equipment, Applied Materials, has signed a long-term agreement with four Fulton Schools research groups to pursue innovations in manufacturing and processing technologies used to make semiconductor chips and displays. Collaborative efforts with the company — to be based at ASU’s MacroTechnologyWorks facilities (pictured) — will be led by Fulton Schools Professor Michael Kozicki, Associate Professors Zachary Holman and Sefaattin Tongay, and Assistant Professor Heather Emady. In addition to enabling ASU researchers to employ their exceptional skills in developing new device technologies, Kozicki says the work with Applied Materials can provide students with experiences in engineering endeavors that align with the needs of the high-tech marketplace. (Subscriber access only) Read more.

  • ASU Professor Granted $2M to Accelerate Concrete 3D Printing

    ASU Professor Granted $2M to Accelerate Concrete 3D Printing

    Narayanan Neithalath, a Fulton Schools professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, is getting an opportunity to expand his achiecements in construction materials innovation. The National Science Foundation recently announced support for Neithalath and four colleagues in his field to create a 3D printing network, called 3D Concrete, with collaborators in more than a dozen countries. Neithalath says the goal is to realize the potential for 3D concrete printing techniques to be faster, safer and more efficient than the production of conventional concrete, to reduce materials waste during production processes and to make concrete that can be used create unconventional structures.

October

2020
  • ASU alumna featured in short film series on the experiences of women in STEM

    ASU alumna featured in short film series on the experiences of women in STEM

    Since earning a geology degree from ASU, Kyla Iacovino has become a prominent in her field of petrology and volcanology, mostly through her work at NASA’S Johnson Space Center. She appears in a recent documentary series developed by the national radio show “Science Friday” about women making their mark in STEM fields. In the series, Iacovino talks about the challenges for women who want to succeed in science, engineering and technology while also raising children. Career and family issues are also on the minds of Fulton Schools students, including software engineering student Jen Vesper and mechanical engineering student Jasmine Ponty. Fulton Schools chemical engineering student Maren Frohlick, chair of the Women in Chemical Engineering organization, has thoughts on how such issues can be addressed as part of the movement to help women achieve equality in their professions.

  • Accelerating skills Acquistion

    Accelerating skills Acquistion

    Fulton Schools Associate Professor Rob Gray applies his expertise in human systems engineering and perceptual-motor control to devising ways people can develop and hone athletic skills and similar physical abilities. Research that Gray conducts in his Perception & Action Lab involves studies to improve the effectiveness of sports training to achieve proficiency in various pursuits and professions requiring vigorous activity. He is also the host and producer of the The Perception & Action Podcast, which explores how psychological research can be applied to efforts to achieve sports performance goals. On another podcast, Gray is interviewed on these subjects as they apply to baseball training.

  • Tesla is putting ‘self-driving’ in the hands of drivers amid criticism the tech is not ready

    Tesla is putting ‘self-driving’ in the hands of drivers amid criticism the tech is not ready

    Tesla, the prominent electric vehicle and clean energy company, is being scrutinized for claims it is producing fully self-driving automobiles. Industry competitors contend Tesla’s technology doesn’t fulfill all the requirements for enabling cars to operate completely autonomously. Ted Pavlic, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of computing, informatics, and decision systems engineering, and an expert in robotics and autonomous systems, advises consumers to educate themselves about new driving technologies such as Tesla’s Autopilot system to better understand what current autonomous vehicles are actually capable of doing — and what they’re not.

  • The curious life of Benjamin Bartelle

    The curious life of Benjamin Bartelle

    An unconventional path brought Benjamin Bartelle to the job he began this year as an assistant professor in the Fulton Schools biomedical engineering program. Studies in neuroscience and molecular biophysics have been part of the trip, but so have a variety of sometimes out-of-the-mainstream artistic pursuits that have shaped his approach to both professional and personal endeavors. Bartelle brings a “spirit of creativity and chaos” to his work in both the classroom and the research lab. It’s a reflection of a free-spiritedness that has led him to work with a machine-based performance art collective, start his own circus company and choreograph fire dances, as well as gain expertise in molecular resonance imaging and strive to advance knowledge of neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Military police units train in Arizona for potential civil unrest

    Military police units train in Arizona for potential civil unrest

    Arizona is reportedly one of the states in which military police units are preparing to respond to civil unrest — especially any incidents that threaten to erupt into violent confrontations — during the upcoming national election day. Fulton Schools Professor Braden Allenby, whose research includes study of the use of force in military and police operations and the technologies and strategies employed in those cases, comments about the probabilities for a law enforcement response to any election day incidents at polling locations and what such responses might entail. Allenby says that with many people voting early or voting by mail, there may be less of flashpoint for potential conflict on election day — despite the contentious atmosphere during this election season.

  • New ASU technology could aid in NASA’s 2024 moon-landing mission

    New ASU technology could aid in NASA’s 2024 moon-landing mission

    A sizable contingent of Fulton Schools students — most in either the mechanical, aerospace or electrical engineering program — has contributed to development of technology to help NASA expand its exploration of the moon. The technology will aid a mission to detect water ice on the moon. Hydrogen contained in the water ice could be used to provide fuel for astronauts on a manned mission to the moon planned for 2024. Many students involved in the project in the past few years have graduated and now work for major technology companies or government science programs. More students are being sought to work on the ASU project.

  • Autism’s Gut Connection: Microbes Could Soon Lead to New Treatments

    Autism’s Gut Connection: Microbes Could Soon Lead to New Treatments

    Effective treatments of the symptoms of autism have long eluded researchers. But studies on bacteria in the human gut in recent years have yielded new knowledge about autism and led to development of a fecal transplant treatment that has shown promise in alleviating some debilitating effects of the developmental disorder. Fulton Schools Professors James Adams and Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown are among engineers and scientists who have contributed to detailed analysis of the human gut microbiome of autism patients and conducted trials that raise hope for deeper discoveries about the causes of autism and how to improve the lives of people afflicted by it.

  • Galileo Group tests and demostrates experimental smartphone technology for virtual disinfection of viruses and bacteria

    Galileo Group tests and demostrates experimental smartphone technology for virtual disinfection of viruses and bacteria

    The advanced technology company Galileo Group reported it has demonstrated the destruction of a live virus and bacteria in a lab setting using key ingredients of its patented smartphone LED system. Paul Westerhoff (pictured) and Morteza Abbaszadegan, Fulton Schools professors of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, performed the testing on the bacteria and viruses in preparation for demonstrating the effectiveness of surface-based bacteria and virus deactivation process. The new disinfection approach uses Galileo sensors and technology integrated or attached to an average computer tablet or smartphone.

  • XR@ASU creates new immersive learning experiences

    XR@ASU creates new immersive learning experiences

    ASU is helping lead the way into “the fourth realm of teaching and learning,” an intertwining of physical and digital worlds that blends virtual and augmented reality to form “extended reality,” or XR. Assistant Professor Robert LiKamWa directs research and design work to advance XR@ASU, aided by students exploring both the technical and creative aspects of bringing ideas for XR-based learning experiences to fruition. Efforts are based at LiKamwa’s Meteor Studio, which draws on resources of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, a collaborative of the Fulton Schools and ASU’s Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts, as well as the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of the six Fulton Schools.

  • Can nanobubbles and ultrasound beat disease bacterial issues in RAS?

    Can nanobubbles and ultrasound beat disease bacterial issues in RAS?

    Moleaer, a company that collaborates with ASU researchers in efforts to develop sustainable solutions for the aquaculture industry, announced its discovery that a mixture of oxygen nanobubbles and ultrasound can reduce levels of harmful bacteria in recirculating aquaculture systems. The process can eliminate or reduce waterborne pathogens, biofilms and bacteria, helping to protect aquatic food sources, restore aquatic health and improve water quality. The company credits researchers at ASU with the National Science Foundation Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment, or NEWT, for confirming the effectiveness of the new process. Fulton Schools Professor Paul Westerhoff is NEWT’s deputy director and several other Fulton Schools faculty members are involved in the consortium’s work.

  • Breakdown on the information highway

    Breakdown on the information highway

    The resilience of the internet is being tested daily by the millions of people working or being schooled at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are finding their internet connections regularly interrupted as a result of the consistently heavy traffic. Fulton Schools Professor Daniel Bliss, director of Center for Wireless Information Systems and Computational Architectures, talks about why and how this is happening, what we can expect to happen as the situation continues, and steps to improve our internet connectivity that may prevent frustrating interruptions in service.

    See Also: How to troubleshoot and improve your home Wi-Fi signal,

  • A mariachi child genius breaking down stereotypes about immigrants

    A mariachi child genius breaking down stereotypes about immigrants

    Christian Armanti says the calming effect of singing along to mariachi music has helped him cope with the stresses of schoolwork. He has, in fact, excelled in his academic pursuits in nothing less than remarkable fashion. This semester, at age 12, he began studies at ASU in the Fulton Schools biomedical engineering program, having already earned an associate’s degree in science in community college, where he met a member of a mariachi band and joined the group. He also plays piano and trumpet, and dances and acts. As the son of parents from Colombia and Venezuela, U.S.-born Armanti has goals beyond becoming a neurosurgeon. He wants to help break down stereotypes of immigrants that can hinder them from striving to achieve educational and career aspirations.

  • Carbon capture ‘moonshot’ moves closer, as billions of dollars pour in

    Carbon capture ‘moonshot’ moves closer, as billions of dollars pour in

    The  International Energy Agency says the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power can’t be accomplished soon enough to meet goals to reduce the threat of  harmful greenhouse gases saturating the Earth’s atmosphere. So, to hit targets to capture and store emissions of dangerous gases such as carbon dioxide from power plants, factories and transportation, efforts are turning to still-developing carbon capture systems. Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner is among the leading inventors of carbon capture technology. He says carbon capture can help achieve a significant drop in the buildup of air pollution caused by trucks, aviation and shipping, but a long-term solution still depends on further development and widespread use of clean and renewable energy.

    See also: Radiative Cooling and Carbon Capture: New Technologies For An Overheated World, Clean Technica, October 8

  • Students and staff adjust to classes only offered in person during the pandemic

    Students and staff adjust to classes only offered in person during the pandemic

    Some engineering classes are among those being taught in person this semester at ASU due the nature of particular courses. But faculty and students are being diligent in adapting to the limitations of gathering in groups in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students are participating in person twice a week, for a total of six hours, in the chemical engineering lab being taught by Fulton Schools Associate Professor David Nielsen because of the necessity for hands-on lab instruction — which involves use of equipment available only in campus facilities. Nielsen is making adjustments to maintain social distancing and doing some lab experiments virtually when possible. He credits his students for creating a safe environment by being “100% compliant” with precautions like wearing masks and following other guidelines to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

  • Honoring a trailblazer during National Hispanic Heritage Month

    Honoring a trailblazer during National Hispanic Heritage Month

    Jean Andino not only exceeded expectations by simply going to college, she earned engineering degrees at two of the leading U.S. universities. The Fulton Schools associate professor of chemical engineering, who is Puerto Rican, is today currently one of  only 15 mainland U.S.-born Hispanic women to earn a tenure or tenure-track engineering faculty position. Andino’s accomplishments have won her prestigious national honors, including a National Science Foundation CAREER Award and a Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers STAR Educator of the Year award. She is especially enthusiastic about her role in ASU’s Hispanic Research Center, which gives her opportunities to spread awareness of the significant contributions of the Hispanic culture.

  • Air conditioning technology is the great missed opportunity in the fight against climate change

    Air conditioning technology is the great missed opportunity in the fight against climate change

    Use of air-conditioning is increasing as temperatures rise due to climate change, leading to growing demand for energy. Changes in demand in Los Angeles are reported in a study led by ASU researchers, including Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, and Janet Reyna, a Fulton Schools doctoral graduate now at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. A potential remedy to the problem was addressed by Chester and Reyna in an earlier study in which they recommended “aggressive” energy efficiency measures to offset the impact of growing energy demand for both electricity and natural gas use. Solutions to such challenges are the focus of work at ASU’s Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering, which is directed by Chester. The MIT Technology Review article that draws on results of these research efforts is updated from its original version published September 1.

  • Computer Science students from ASU undertake difficult bat tracking project

    Computer Science students from ASU undertake difficult bat tracking project

    The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy tries to keep a close watch on the biological and wildlife activity in the more than 35,000-acre Sonoran Desert open-space preserve it manages within the boundaries of Scottsdale, Arizona. Fulton Schools computer science students Ryan Kemmer, Jerimiah Kent and Michael Umholtz are bringing scientific methodology, artificial intelligence and computer vision technology to that effort. They are exploring ways to accurately monitor the movement of bats from a gated mine on the preserve. That will help them develop a user interface for biologists to keep track of the behavior of the very small and very fast flying mammals. The students’ work is seen as having potential to establish a useful application of computer science to the field of animal biology.

  • First-year student and DACA recipient fights oppression with civic action and resiliency

    First-year student and DACA recipient fights oppression with civic action and resiliency

    Fulton Schools biomedical engineering student Angel Palazuelos has a long list of career aspirations. Beyond work as an engineer, the first-year student wants to go to law school, start a scholarship program and become a community advocate for higher education opportunities for others. Palazuelos has faced his own challenges in pursuing a college education as an undocumented student, having to overcome a lack of support and resources for those in his situation. But Palazuelos says the experience is making him more resilient and reinforcing his determination to help other students confronted by similar obstacles. 

September

2020
  • Defending Our Reality In the Era of Deep Fakes

    Defending Our Reality In the Era of Deep Fakes

    Our ingrained “seeing is believing” mindset needs to change in this age of the ever-expanding capabilities of artificial intelligence technology. Visual images of all kinds can today be created and manipulated by AI, making it difficult to discern with the naked eye what is real and what is not, says Subbarao Kambhampati, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science and an AI researcher. AI advances are enabling computers to depict people and scenarios that don’t exist or are heavily altered from reality — the so-called “deep fakes” that can be used to perpetrate consumer scams or produce misleading political propaganda. On the positive aide, Kambhampati says, new AI tech itself could help us better detect fake images. For example, the AI Foundation is developing the Reality Defender project to respond to the impact of deep fakes on democracy. Read more.

  • Biodesign Institute, on a research roll, announces new centers, state-of-the-art X-ray lab

    Biodesign Institute, on a research roll, announces new centers, state-of-the-art X-ray lab

    Two new science and engineering centers at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, along with a new lab, are expanding the university’s range of research pursuits. Among them is the Biodesign Center for Health Through Microbiomes, directed by Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, a Fulton Schools Professor of environmental engineering. The center will explore potential microbial-based therapies for diseases such as colon cancer, autism, diabetes, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome and others. Working with fellow Fulton Schools Professor James Adams, Krajmalnik-Brown has already advanced research on the management of symptoms of autism and gastrointestinal disorders through microbiota transplant therapy.

  • How to troubleshoot and improve your home Wi-Fi signal

    How to troubleshoot and improve your home Wi-Fi signal

    With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping many people at home to work, participate in virtual schooling and socialize via the internet, maintaining a strong Wi-Fi signal is critical. Fulton Schools Professor Daniel Bliss (at left in photo), director of ASU’s Center for Wireless Information Systems and Computational Architectures, gives instruction on how to keep your Wi-Fi signal strong. He offers directions for how to prevent losing Wi-Fi connections, how to solve common problems and extending the reach of wireless networks.

  • ASU’s School Of Sustainable Engineering And The Built Environment Receives A Pollution Prevention Grant From The EPA

    ASU’s School Of Sustainable Engineering And The Built Environment Receives A Pollution Prevention Grant From The EPA

    The School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU, was given more than $376,000 to continue their water efficiency project that began in 2018. Assistant research professor Mackenzie Boyer says when a company wants to switch out one flavored product for another they want to know how much water is needed to efficiently and effectively wash out the tank. “If you have a strong coffee in a coffee cup, and you try to wash it out, there will be more of that residual flavor left in your somewhat washed out coffee cup. But if you had a weak tea, then it’s a lot easier to get rid of that flavor,” Boyer said.

  • Autonomous planes head for skies, decades before passengers join the flight

    Autonomous planes head for skies, decades before passengers join the flight

    Following a successful FedEx Cessna 208 Caravan test flight with no pilot aboard in late June, FedEx CEO Fred Smith announced to shareholders that the company is working with Reliable Robotics to use small, fully automated, self-flying cargo planes to deliver cargo to remote areas. The technology will likely take decades to replace humans in large freighters. Daniel Bliss, an electrical engineering professor at ASU whose areas of expertise include increasing computational efficiency and advanced communications and navigation systems, is currently working with Europe’s Airbus to design a navigation and positioning system designed to ultimately be used for autonomous flight.

  • ASU researchers receive $6 million state contract to develop rapid, 20-minute COVID-10 saliva test

    ASU researchers receive $6 million state contract to develop rapid, 20-minute COVID-10 saliva test

    ASU researchers produced one of the first FDA-approved saliva tests to detect infection by the COVID-19 virus. They have followed up that achievement by developing a portable device that produces test results in as few as 20 minutes. The research team includes Jennifer Blain Christen, a Fulton Schools associate professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering. Christen specializes in handheld systems for thermal control and rapid optical readouts of test results. She says the team’s goal was to not only make the diagnostic tool as effective as possible but also to ensure the test is affordable.

     

  • ASU researchers find single-use contact lenses cause microplastic pollution

    ASU researchers find single-use contact lenses cause microplastic pollution

    Silicone hydrogel enables contact lenses to be softer and provide more comfort for wearers. Soft contacts are also a popular choice because shorter wear times help reduce infection and other related health risks. But the large amounts of soft contacts that are disposed of by being flushed down drains are adding dramatically to plastics pollution that threatens the environment. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, postdoctoral researcher scholar Charles Rolsky and graduate research assistant Varun Kelkar did one of the first studies to confirm the scope of the problem and its significantly detrimental consequences.

  • Building Tomorrow’s Leaders: Recruiting graduates who have the expertise to serve and protect

    Building Tomorrow’s Leaders: Recruiting graduates who have the expertise to serve and protect

    In USA Today’s Homeland Security Special Edition, Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Adam Doupé (center in photo) points to ASU’s Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics, based in the Fulton Schools, for training students not only in highly technical computer science but also in the legal, economic and psychological aspects of cybersecurity. Doupé, the center’s associate director, says students get a broad, cross-disciplinary education — helping the center fulfill its role as one of the National Centers of Academic Excellence designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. The article begins on page 73 of the special edition.

  • New research center focuses on inclusive STEM education

    New research center focuses on inclusive STEM education

     The Research For Inclusive STEM Education Center, a new ASU research center created this year to help forge a more inclusive STEM education for students, aims to achieve that goal through the undergraduate experience within science, technology, engineering and math. The center examines inequities within classrooms, research labs and learning environments to create interventions. RISE looks at identities beyond race and gender within STEM education. Kristen Parrish, an associate professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment in the Fulton Schools and the associate director of the center, said creating change in STEM leads to change in the university.

  • It’s 102 degrees in Arizona, but it’s officially too cold to swim. Here’s why

    It’s 102 degrees in Arizona, but it’s officially too cold to swim. Here’s why

    Temperatures in Phoenix are around 102 degrees outside, and pool water temperature can be 80 degrees, but for some, it feels too cold to go swimming. Thermal perception is the temperature “felt” by the body, regardless of what the thermometer reads, said Robert Wang, an associate professor in Arizona State University’s School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy. It varies from person to person, which explains why couples argue about where to set the thermostat.

     

  • Engineering sophomore creates contact-prevention multitool

    Engineering sophomore creates contact-prevention multitool

    A second-year student in the Fulton Schools has created a contact-prevention multitool to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Coronavirus Multitool, created by mechanical engineering student Benjamin Voller-Brown, helps reduce indirect transmission by limiting the amount of public surfaces people touch. Each tool is 3D printed from polylactic acid.

  • Opening of N-Line to Denver’s north suburbs a rare “bright spot” for COVID-battered transit sector

    Opening of N-Line to Denver’s north suburbs a rare “bright spot” for COVID-battered transit sector

    The opening of new rail lines in the Denver metro area marks the latest expansion of a major commuter transit system — a project well over a decade in the making. Opening new lines during a decrease in ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic is presenting challenges for the system. But Fulton Schools Professor Ram Pendyala is among transportation engineers and public transit experts who say Denver’s project will prove its value over time. Despite other forms a mobility arising and a growing work-from-home trend, there are plenty of workers and others who will benefit from the rail line, says Pendyala, who is director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six Fulton Schools.

  • ASU ranked a top 10 university for technology company hires

    ASU ranked a top 10 university for technology company hires

    In a recent survey by the talent company SHL, Arizona State University ranked No. 6 out of 10 public and private universities in the U.S. in technology-sector hires, with 8,320 graduates now working at some of the largest tech companies across the country, including Amazon and Apple. ASU outranked Carnegie Mellon University; Georgia Institute of Technology; University of California, Los Angeles; and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

  • Storing information and designing uncrackable codes with DNA

    Storing information and designing uncrackable codes with DNA

    DNA is like a molecular vault that stores the intricate design blueprints for life on Earth. A group of ASU researchers whose combined expertise encompasses biology, chemistry, physics, materials science and engineering are exploring DNA’s capacity to carry information as a model for developing microscopic forms that can encrypt, store and retrieve information as effectively as the most advanced silicon-based semiconductor computer memories. A key member of the team is Chao Wang (pictured), a Fulton Schools assistant professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering whose research focuses on bridging nanoscience and biotechnology.

  • Researchers detect 160-degree radiant temperature at Phoenix homeless encampment

    Researchers detect 160-degree radiant temperature at Phoenix homeless encampment

    Cities should provide more “engineered shade” to improve the livability of their neighborhoods and public spaces, says Ariane Middel, a Fulton Schools assistant professor and urban climate researcher. With mobile heat-sensing and measuring technology Middel designed and built, she recently compared ambient temperatures in diverse areas of Phoenix. In places where homeless people tend to camp or working-class people live there is a significant lack of shade compared to affluent neighborhoods where there are often tree-lined streets and much better shaded surroundings. Those contrasts can make a big difference in temperatures and comfort levels of the local climate, Middel says. As part of its community sustainability efforts, the city of Phoenix has been prioritizing tree planting in vulnerable areas.

    See Also: ‘Shadow hunter’: ASU climatologist helps others find shade from Arizona sun, 3TV/CBS 5 News-Phoenix

  • From high-altitude balloons to Moon missions

    From high-altitude balloons to Moon missions

    Work on a project funded by a NASA science education program has Fulton Schools mechanical engineering student Jessica Frantz setting her sights on contributing to space exploration missions in the future. Frantz says she’s gotten valuable experience as a part of team that has built instruments that have been attached to a high-altitude balloon to evaluate the health of Arizona’s desert vegetation. The project has brought challenges, but also given Frantz and her research team members confidence in their abilities to solve problems. She plans to pursue a career in aerospace.

  • Robot Wear

    Robot Wear

    Wearable robotics are becoming more of a normal part of the work environment in a variety of businesses and industries. At construction sites, in manufacturing operations and industrial plants, wearable robotics are helping workers do heavy lifting, reduce the impact of repetitive motions and improve worker safety. So-called robotic “industrial exoskeletons” are especially popular, says Fulton School Professor Tom Sugar, who is director of science and technology for the Wearable Robotics Association. Most importantly, Sugar adds, robotics are enabling people do their work with less physically strenuous efforts and thereby reducing risks of pain, injury and other debilitating health problems.

  • Focusing on the fate of flushed contact lenses

    Focusing on the fate of flushed contact lenses

    It’s estimated that tens of millions of contact lenses wearers are disposing of their old lenses by flushing them down drains. That adds up to about 90,000 pounds of contact lenses each year, which is adding significantly to growing amounts of microplastics pollution. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and two researchers in his lab, doctoral student Varun Kelkar and postdoctoral researcher Charles Rolsky, say the lenses break down to become part of the many tons of plastics finding their way into the environment and posing potential health risks to people and animal life.

  • AZBio awards ASU researchers for exceptional work in biosciences

    AZBio awards ASU researchers for exceptional work in biosciences

    Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown’s research is helping to produce renewable bioenergy, develop ways to improve human health, advance treatment for children with autism and eliminate environmental contaminants. The Fulton Schools professor’s accomplishments have earned her the Arizona Bioscience Researcher or the Year Award from AZBio, an organization that works to build Arizona’s bioscience industry. Krajmalnik-Brown, who directs ASU’s new Biodesign Center for Health Through Microbiomes, is contributing potential solutions to some of the most challenging problems in environmental engineering and science, says AZBIO’s president and CEO.

  • Are micro and nanoplastics accumulating in human organs and tissues?

    Are micro and nanoplastics accumulating in human organs and tissues?

    Plastics pollution has become a major global problem, with plastics waste spread throughout vast swaths of the planet, especially oceans. Recent research shows small bits of plastics are even finding their way into humans, with possible detrimental effects on the body’s organs and tissues. ASU’s Center for Environmental Heath Engineering, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, has been at the forefront of studies of plastics pollution and its impacts. In a recent interview, Halden, joined by Fulton Schools environmental engineering doctoral student Varun Kelkar and postdoctoral research Charles Rolsky — who also is the director of science in North America for Plastic Oceans International — provide details on what we know about the scope of the problem, what more we need to learn and what we can do to reduce the risks it poses.

  • IRF members partner on pavement engineering research

    IRF members partner on pavement engineering research

    Advances in fiber-reinforced pavement materials are expected from an expanded collaboration between a leading pavements industry company and Fulton Schools researchers. Professor Kamil Kaloush will have a key role in the effort through his role in the newly established FORTA Professorship position at ASU. Kaloush and other ASU researchers have worked with the FORTA Corporation for more than decade to develop more durable and versatile pavements. That success has spurred further investment by FORTA to fund the professorship and conduct more research at ASU. Kaloush, the chair of the International Road Federation Committee on Sustainable Pavements, will continue his work bringing together researchers, industry and government leaders to make road travel safer and roadways more resilient. Read more.

    See Also: IRF members partner on asphalt pavement engineering research, World Highways, October 16

  • Luminosity Lab develops new sterilization units for masks, general goods

    Luminosity Lab develops new sterilization units for masks, general goods

    Fulton Schools electrical engineering graduate student John Patterson (pictured) and undergraduate mechanical engineering undergraduate Katie Pascavis are among members of an ASU Luminosity Lab team developing methods of sterilizing personal protective equipment people are using to avoid the health risks posed by the COVID-19 disease. The project is producing protective face masks that remain effective for longer periods of time than standard surgical face coverings, Patterson says. Pascavis says the masks can be especially helpful in schools and for businesses that don’t have access to large supplies of protective equipment. The lab team has developed an ozone system designed to be used in dormitories and other communal spaces for sanitizing various materials.

  • Utility Global Comes Out With Bold Claims for Cheaper, Cleaner ‘Blue’ Hydrogen

    Utility Global Comes Out With Bold Claims for Cheaper, Cleaner ‘Blue’ Hydrogen

    Blue hydrogen, produced from natural gas through the process of steam methane reformation, is one of only a few methods that help make the industrial production of hydrogen a little cleaner — though it still falls short of the zero-emission or “green” hydrogen made using renewable power and electrolyzers. But a startup company claims to have made a technical breakthrough that enables making blue hydrogen less expensively and with significantly fewer carbon emissions. Ryan Milcarek, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has examined the technology. He deems it a promising technique for providing an alternative pathway to generating hydrogen in a less environmentally detrimental way than existing technologies. The technology has been tested at ASU and is now undergoing testing by the U. S. Department of Energy.

  • Virus Turns Up The Virtual Volume in AEC Sector Education

    Virus Turns Up The Virtual Volume in AEC Sector Education

    Engineering and construction educators are stepping up to challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic — specifically the closing down of many in-person classes. They are devising multiple ways to create productive learning environments through use of online, virtual and hybrid remote instruction resources. Anthony Lamanna, program chair in the Fulton Schools Del E. Webb School of Construction, says these alternative educational paths are well-suited to preparing students for careers in a range of construction and related engineering industries. Many of the tech-based teaching scenarios that have been developed in response to COVID-19 seem likely to be continued even after the pandemic subsides, Lamanna says.

  • Extreme Heat is Here, and it’s Deadly

    Extreme Heat is Here, and it’s Deadly

    With a heat-sensing robot she designed and built, Ariane Middel gathers data to gain detailed knowledge about the impacts of heat on the urban environment. Middel, a climate scientist and assistant professor in the Fulton Schools, is working with communities to fight off the extreme heat that is becoming a more frequent condition in many densely urbanized regions. Middel has focused in part on ways cities can create shade to maintain comfort levels for people. But she and other experts say more intense engineered heat mitigation efforts will be needed as climate change continues to turn up the heat in more places around the world.

    See Also: Facing killer heat during a pandemic, ASU NOW, September 3

  • New academic programs place emphasis on interdisciplinary learning and STEM

    New academic programs place emphasis on interdisciplinary learning and STEM

    ASU is adding a significant number of new undergraduate and graduate degree programs to its educational offerings, including new majors, minors and certification programs. Many are concentrating on the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. They include a Fulton Schools master of science degree program in modern energy production and sustainable use. Another is an interdisciplinary master’s of science degree program in innovation and venture development, a joint effort involving the Fulton Schools, ASU’s Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts and W. P. Carey School of Business. The program will focus on giving students experience-based learning in creating business ventures.

    See Also: New graduate programs unveiled at ASU’s Innovation Open launch begin, The State Press, September 8

August

2020
  • Power Grids Aren’t Evolving Fast Enough for Global Warming

    Power Grids Aren’t Evolving Fast Enough for Global Warming

    Extreme heat this summer is putting stress on electrical powers grids in some regions of the United States. But the bigger problem is increasing long-term impacts of global warming. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Mikhail Chester points out that many electrical grids were built decades ago and are not designed to cope with the environment we have today. That means both energy generation and distribution are likely to be hampered by the changing climate. Chester and other experts in his field say there’s an urgent need to figure out how to re-engineer the grid to be more resilient even as the climate becomes more unstable.

  • Can Tech Save The World

    Can Tech Save The World

    In a look at recent technological advances that could help the world implement more practices to sustain a healthy environment and clean up those that are threatened by the results of unsustainable human actions. The potential solutions include the carbon capture systems like those being developed by ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner. Those systems are able to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which would help reduce the accumulations of greenhouse gases that contribute to the environmental harm done by global warming.

  • NAU Scientists Join $4 Million Nanotechnology Collaborative Infrastructure Southwest

    NAU Scientists Join $4 Million Nanotechnology Collaborative Infrastructure Southwest

    Research led by Trevor Thornton, a Fulton Schools professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering, gave rise to the National Nanotechnology Collaborative Infrastructure Southwest to explore the frontiers of nanoscience and engineering. The endeavor is now expanding with a recent National Science Foundation grant enabling ASU researchers to team with colleagues at Northern Arizona University. The next-generation initiative brings world-class expertise in theoretical and experimental quantum and soft/biological nanomaterials to the collaborative’s pursuit of nanotechnology innovations.

  • Research shows water quality could diminish in closed buildings during COVID-19 pandemic

    Research shows water quality could diminish in closed buildings during COVID-19 pandemic

    A serious health risk may be growing in water inside pipes in buildings that have been closed as businesses were shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic — especially restaurants, bars and gyms. Disease-causing microorganisms could be breeding in such stagnant water, says Kerry Hamilton, a Fulton Schools assistant professor who does research in ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering. Hamilton has coauthored a report with colleagues at Purdue University, a project funded by the National Science Foundation, to address challenges assessing water conditions in buildings that have been vacant for long periods and recommending best practices to restore water quality.

    See Also: Buildings Reopening After Coronavirus May Face Tainted Water Systems, KJZZ (NPR), September 1

  • Peak Demand And The Arizona Power Grid 101

    Peak Demand And The Arizona Power Grid 101

    Higher than normal summer temperatures in much of Arizona are a key factor in the recent rise in demand for electrical power. So far, utility companies are able to keep up, primarily because electricity in the state is generated through a mix of sources — nuclear and hydroelectric power, coal, natural gas and some solar power. Fulton Schools Professor Vijay Vittal, a power systems expert, explains how the array of power systems are managed to help prevent shortages and potential blackouts. Generation, transmission and distribution of electricity is closely coordinated to help maintain an adequate supply of power. Still, Vittal points out, events such as wildfires and a surge in the use of residential power because of the COVID-19 pandemic can put stresses on the systems and threaten the smooth functioning of power grids.

  • Pilot shows early COVID-19 detection in city wastewater

    Pilot shows early COVID-19 detection in city wastewater

    ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, is among the research groups leading the way in developing wastewater analysis techniques that are helping communities around the world to detect the spread of COVID-19. The detection method has particularly aided the United States, where COVID-19 testing and test results have lagged behind some other countries.

    Read more: ASU scientists searching sewers for traces of COVID-19

  • MANY HUMAN ORGANS ARE VULNERABLE TO MICROPLASTICS IN THE ENVIRONMENT, NEW STUDY DEMONSTRATES

    MANY HUMAN ORGANS ARE VULNERABLE TO MICROPLASTICS IN THE ENVIRONMENT, NEW STUDY DEMONSTRATES

    Previous studies have found microplastics in the oceans and the air, on land, in food and in marine animals. But a new study from ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Ralph Halden, indicates human organs and tissues can also absorb microplastics and nanoplastics. Halden says the center’s researchers intend to develop a plastics exposure database as a tool for further studies to compare exposures to these plastics in groups of people over time and in different places. Graduate research assistant and co-author of the study Varun Kelkar says the next step is to conduct epidemiology studies to assess if there are any significant health risks posed by accumulations of the non-biodegradable plastics in human body’s tissues.

    See Also: Scientists Can Now Detect Microplastics in Human Organs & Tissues, Green Queen, August 27

    Oh Great, Scientists Are Now Finding Traces of Plastic in Human Flesh, Vice News, August 25

    Microplastics Found in Human Organs for First Time, EcoWatch, August 18

    Plastic Component Found In Human Organs, Forbes, August 18

    Microplastic particles now discoverable in human organs, The Guardian, August 17

    Scientists find microplastics inside human organs, Futurism, August 17

    Study of human tissues finds plastic particles in every sample, New Altas, August 17

    Tiny particles of plastic have been found inside human organs, METRO (United Kingdom), August 18

  • Scientists are trying to find out exactly how much plastic is in our bodies—and what it’s doing to us

    Scientists are trying to find out exactly how much plastic is in our bodies—and what it’s doing to us

    As the use of plastics has proliferated in the modern world of manufactured materials, tens of thousands of tiny particles called microplastics often find their way into our bodies each year. So, scientists are trying to find out how much microplastic stays in our vital organs and what long-term health impacts that might potentially have. To do that, they’ve created a tool to accurately measure the mass and volume of plastic particles in human tissue — providing a standard metric that researchers can use to compare findings, says Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering. In related work, two graduate students working under Halden have presented their findings on how nano and microplastics can be recovered from the body.

    See Also: Researchers Discover Microplastic Trapped in Human Organs: Liver, Lungs, and Spleen, Tech Times, August 17

    Microplastic pollution is found in human organs and scientists fear the tiny particles could increase the risk of infertility and cancer, Daily Mail, August 17

    Researchers find microplastics in every human tissue studied, Science Focus (BBC Focus Magazine), August 17

    Autopsies Show Microplastics in All Major Human Organs, MedicineNet and Health Today, August 17

  • Devilishly hot

    Devilishly hot

    Two climate researchers provide a guide to the hottest and coolest places on ASU’s Tempe campus as the fall semester opens amid a late summer heat wave. Ariane Middel (pictured) and Scott Krayenhoff, affiliates of ASU’s Urban Climate Research Center, did a three-year study to determine where the campus environment offers the most respite from the heat. It’s all about the shade, says Middel, whose research is aided by a mobile weather station she created to measure radiant heat outdoors. She found the formula for coolness on campus terrain is grassy areas well-shaded by trees. Middel is an assistant professor in the Fulton Schools with a joint appointment in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. Krayenhoff is an assistant professor of environmental sciences at the University of Guelph in Canada. (The report is a recent update of an article originally published in 2019.)

  • Solar panels are starting to die. What will we do with the megatons of toxic trash?

    Solar panels are starting to die. What will we do with the megatons of toxic trash?

    Solar panel technology will have an important role as a renewable energy source that can help prevent bigger waves of climate change. But one drawback already beginning to arise is the electronic waste produced when those panels exceed their productive lifespans. Meng Tao, a Fulton Schools professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering, says those used-up panels will someday become close to 80 million metric tons of solar energy tech waste. A vast recycling plan for solar panels is imperative to prevent having to dispose of them in already overloaded landfills, Tao says. He recently co-authored a research journal review paper about recycling of silicon solar modules. The article is also published in WIRED and Mother Jones.

  • Stimulating the deep brain

    Stimulating the deep brain

    Debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease can be eased through inserting electrodes into an area of the brain that plays a central role in enabling the body’s movement. The discovery results from research by Bradley Greger, a neuroscientist and Full Schools associate professor of biomedical engineering, in collaboration with Francisco Ponce, a neurosurgeon with the Barrow Neurological Institute. The patient involved in the research project and his family are sharing their experiences as he goes through the procedure to provide information about the value of the medical procedure and the research to others with Parkinson’s Disease.

  • Regardless of trigger, ammonium nitrate was likely basis for Beirut explosion

    Regardless of trigger, ammonium nitrate was likely basis for Beirut explosion

    Lack of basic safeguards for storing hazardous materials appears to have been the major contributing factor in the recent explosive blasts resulting in death and destruction in Beirut, Lebanon. Professor Kiril Hristovski, chair of the Fulton Schools Environmental and Resources Management program and a hazardous materials management expert, gives his assessment of conditions that likely led to triggering the ammonium nitrate explosion. Hristovsky says the United States has thorough regulations to guide safe practices in storing and managing explosives materials — rules that it seems apparent were not followed in Beirut.

  • Tetra Tech’s Melinda Tam Discusses How Cybersecurity Plays into the Digital World

    Tetra Tech’s Melinda Tam Discusses How Cybersecurity Plays into the Digital World

    Only several years after graduating from ASU with a degree in electrical engineering, Melinda Tam started an electrical, instrumentation and controls engineering firm. Fifteen years later, the company had more than 100 employees and four offices across the United States. She has been focusing on helping clients develop technology to transform field data into intelligent information for utility operations, maintenance and management in the water industry. That work involves making advances in the digital transformation field to help clients overcome security challenges brought on by the rapid growth in digital technology. In an interview, she delves into details about the acceleration of digital transformation endeavors and the race to secure them against cyber threats.

  • Why climate change is about to make your bad commute worse

    Why climate change is about to make your bad commute worse

    A fast-changing climate is poised to become a significant problem plaguing public infrastructure in the United States — including a big threat to make our driving experiences more aggravating. Mikhail Chester, Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering and co-leader of the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network, says many of the country’s roadways are not designed to recover from the environmental stresses that a changing climate and its extreme weather events can inflict. Power lines, bridges, sewers and dams are also in danger of being damaged by the frequency and intensity of such events likely to be driven by new normal in our climate situation.

  • Not So Soft Soap

    Not So Soft Soap

    As COVID-19 spread around the world, health organizations, governments and disease experts encouraged frequent and vigorous hand washing to protect against the coronavirus infection. Demand shot up for antibacterial soaps, sanitizers and disinfectants. But some have raised concerns about the possible negative effects of that preventative action — particularly skin irritation and sensitivity, as well as developing a resistance to antibacterial products. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, an environmental health engineer, points to risks posed by some antimicrobial chemicals used in disinfectants, cleaning and personal care products that could do harm to people and the environment.

  • ‘We have to create a very safe environment’: Summer classes at ASU give idea of what’s to come in fall

    ‘We have to create a very safe environment’: Summer classes at ASU give idea of what’s to come in fall

    As ASU prepares to begin fall semester classes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, logistics are being worked out to enable students, faculty and staff to maintain social distancing on campus to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection. A Fulton Schools summer session chemical engineering lab that has made the transition back to in-person instruction is providing an example of putting those plans into action. Fulton Schools Lecturer Michael Machas, who is teaching the lab course, says the many precautions put in place in the lab space have eased his initial concerns about the in-person course presenting a health risk. Given all the protective measures being taken, some students say the lab environment might be one of the safest places they could be during the pandemic.

  • Chemical Spilled In Tempe Train Derailment May Break Down Quickly

    Chemical Spilled In Tempe Train Derailment May Break Down Quickly

    Arizona’s hot summer temperatures cause liquid materials to evaporate quickly, says Fulton Schools Associate Professor Kiril Hristovski. That could help reduce the risk from combustible chemicals that spilled from train cars in a recent train derailment and bridge collapse at Tempe Town Lake near ASU, says Hristovski, chair of the Fulton Schools Environmental and Resource Management program. He also notes that these chemicals are biodegradable, which would enable microorganisms that live in soil to use the chemicals as a food source. The spilled substances however, are toxic in water, he adds.

    See Also: Overall Number Of Train Accidents Down In Arizona And The U.S., KJZZ (NPR), August 7

  • Could sewage have warned about Covid-19?

    Could sewage have warned about Covid-19?

    Researchers at leading universities in Mexico are among those around the world adopting methods of detecting the spread of COVID-19 that have become a major focus of work in ASU’s Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden (center in photo), the center’s director, and Associate Research Scientist Erin Driver (at right) are leaders in wastewater epidemiology, which involves analyzing wastewater to detect signs of community health risks, including levels of COVID-19 infection. A related technique, called sewage metrology is also being used to reveal the genetic indicators of the coronavirus in the materials found in wastewater. (Note: Using the Google Chrome browser gives readers the option to see a version of this article translated into English.)

  • ASU professor details hazardous materials risks in incidents like Tempe Lake Bridge derailment

    ASU professor details hazardous materials risks in incidents like Tempe Lake Bridge derailment

    Two of the train cars involved in a recent bridge collapse, train derailment and fire on a railway bridge over Tempe Town Lake contained toxic chemicals. In the wake of the accident, Kiril Hristovski, a Fulton Schools associate professor and chair of the Environmental and Resource Management program, talks about challenges involved in hazardous materials transport and handling of toxic materials. First responders to the railway destruction in Tempe did a professional job, keeping a dangerous situation from becoming more serious, Hristovski says. But he adds that the potential for such situations to quickly become more threatening to people and property make it imperative for all possible precautionary measures to be put into effect to prevent such incidents from happening.

  • ASU leads new research center to power up electrical grid

    ASU leads new research center to power up electrical grid

    A multi-university research enterprise being established by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop and more sustainable and resilient electricity grids will be based at ASU. The Energy Frontier Research Center will be led by Stephen Goodnick, a Fulton Schools professor electrical engineering and Robert Nemanich, an ASU Regents Professor of physics. They will coordinate work with colleagues at seven other major research universities to take on some of the toughest scientific and engineering challenges that are impeding progress in advancing energy technologies. Goodnick and Nemanich say one major focus will be on the use of next-generation materials to improve the performance of semiconductors systems.

  • ASU among top 10 ‘Best Buy’ public schools

    ASU among top 10 ‘Best Buy’ public schools

    One major college guide publication ranks Arizona State University as one of the best of the more affordable leading public universities. The Fisk Guide to College cites ASU for its innovative approaches to higher education and research, identifying several particularly strong academic programs — including the Fulton Schools engineering degree programs — among the offerings in the university’s 16 colleges and schools. ASU overall is touted for being a “national model of how to navigate the emerging demographics of U.S. higher education.”

July

2020
  • ASU engineers offer insight on Tempe railway bridge collapse

    ASU engineers offer insight on Tempe railway bridge collapse

    Beyond determining precisely what led to the recent train derailment, bridge collapse and resulting fire on the Union Pacific Salt River Bridge over Tempe Town Lake near ASU, other questions must be answered about the impacts of the incident to adequately assess how to effectively repair and rebuild the damaged sections of the bridge and the rail line. Fulton Schools engineers point to many technical considerations that must be taken into account to guide restoration of the structure, particularly the replacement of steel, concrete and other construction materials that will be necessary. One thing is certain, the engineers say, railway bridges are critical links in the country’s freight transportation network and any prolonged delay in their repair is disruptive to businesses and communities that rely on what railways deliver.

    See Also: ASU engineers look at possible reasons for Tempe rail bridge collapse, 3TV/CBS News 5-Phoenix, July 31

    Tempe Fire: Workers injured during train derailment cleanup effort over Tempe Town Lake, Fox 10 News-Phoenix, July 31

    Train derails, causing fire and partial Tempe Town Lake bridge collapse, ABC 15 News-Phoenix, July 29

    NBC News 12-Phoenix

  • Researchers pinpoint how sorbent materials catch and release carbon

    Researchers pinpoint how sorbent materials catch and release carbon

    Carbon capture technology is a promising tool for efforts to reduce the buildup of environmentally harmful carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. One leading example of the technology is the Mechanical Tree developed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner and his team at ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions. His recent research has revealed how sorbent materials can capture and release carbon, which is a key capability of all air capture systems. In a new research paper, he and three colleagues explain precisely how sorbent materials ­capture and release carbon. That discovery could lead to better designs for carbon capturing sorbent materials and be used to improve the performance of Lackner’s Mechanical Tree systems.

  • Train derailment, bridge collapse under investigation in Tempe

    Train derailment, bridge collapse under investigation in Tempe

    Flames and thick black smoke billowed into sky at Tempe Town Lake near ASU when a freight train derailment and bridge collapse ignited a fire on a section of the railway bridge over the lake. Some of the train cars contained toxic and flammable material. For comment about the impacts and aftermath of the damage, reporters sought out Anthony Lamanna, associate professor and undergraduate program chair for construction management in the Fulton Schools Del E. Webb School of Construction. Lamanna commented on factors that are likely to be examined in an investigation of the derailment and the fire. Lamanna, whose expertise includes bridge assessment, strengthening and repair, said it must be determined if the train derailment caused the bridge collapse or a bridge collapse caused the derailment.

    See Also: Investigators working to find cause of train derailment, bridge collapse in Tempe, 3 TV/CBS 5 News-Phoenix, July 29

  • Watcher in the Wastewater

    Watcher in the Wastewater

    Scientists say monitoring of urban wastewater could improve surveillance systems for detecting COVID-19 and other pathogens —disease-causing bacteria, viruses or other microorganisms. Various studies around the world are showing that genetic traces of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen in wastewater indicate trends in the spread of COVID-19. Among those carrying out significant wastewater monitoring projects is Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and his research team at ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering. The team is leading a wastewater surveillance program for the city of Tempe. Halden says the monitoring can’t reveal precise numbers of infected individuals within a specific geographical area, but can provide general assessments of whether disease rates in particular areas are falling or rising.

  • Efforts to cool Phoenix include pale pavement coating to reflect sunlight

    Efforts to cool Phoenix include pale pavement coating to reflect sunlight

    With much of its ground surface covered in concrete, asphalt and similar pavement materials, Phoenix offers a prime example of the urban heat island effect — which produces persistent and uncomfortably high temperatures in the metropolitan area, especially in summer. The city is now embarking on a Cool Pavement Pilot Program to attempt to prevent the heat buildup on streets and other paved expanses. Experts in ASU’s Urban Climate Research Center, including Fulton Schools Assistance Professor Ariane Middel, are among engineering and science consultants for the project. Reducing the heat buildup would also help to save money on electric bills and cut down on air pollution from greenhouse gas emissions, Middel says. The articles was also published in the Daily Independent.

    See Also: How Reflective Paint Can Combat The Urban Heat Island Effect, KJZZ News (NPR), July 24 (an interviewwith Ariane Middel)

  • Researchers at ASU double down on their drive to improve and save lives

    Researchers at ASU double down on their drive to improve and save lives

    ASU’s Skysong Innovations team is helping many of the university’s leading researchers to put their creativity and technological skills to work helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Among them are Fulton Schools faculty members. Cody Friesen, associate professor of materials science and engineering, is helping to bring clean water to communities around the world through his Zero Mass Water startup. Jennifer Blain Christen, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, is working with a multidisciplinary team of ASU researchers to develop a novel diagnostic for the COVID-19 disease. Klaus Lackner, a physicist and professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, is leading research at his Center for Negative Carbon Emissions to develop carbon-capture technologies to remove dangerous greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

  • Researchers investigating possible link between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19

    Researchers investigating possible link between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19

    Researchers conjecture that a strong immune system may provide individuals some defense against COVID-19 — and one way to maintain a healthy immune system is by avoiding a vitamin D deficiency. James Adams, a Fulton Schools professor of materials science and engineering, is among those who are leading research to discover if vitamin D supplements can help prevent infection by the novel coronavirus or even help in recovery from the disease. Adams is heading a preliminary study of vitamin D in COVID-19 patients in conjunction with the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. It’s not clear if vitamin D deficiency causes severe COVID-19 symptoms, or if the deficiency is another symptom of the disease, Adams says. But he is hoping research reveals whether vitamin D has a potential as supplemental treatment for COVID in conjunction with drugs or vaccines.

  • ‘U.S. will continue to lead the world in scientific investment and innovation’

    ‘U.S. will continue to lead the world in scientific investment and innovation’

    In his new job as director of the National Science Foundation, Fulton Schools Professor Sethuraman Panchanathan foresees the agency putting multiple goals on its list of priorities under his leadership. More medical and health research, helping to boost breakthroughs in technologies such as artificial intelligence, and supporting advances in quantum information science, wireless communications and synthetic biology are on that list. There’s also strengthening productive scientific relationships with other countries and with industry. Panchanathan sees the United States continuing to make investment in science innovation one of its most important national priorities. Panchathan is on leave from his education and research leadership positions at ASU while serving as the NSF’s director.

  • Inside Your World: COVID-19 early warning system

    Inside Your World: COVID-19 early warning system

    A sewage-testing program in Tempe, Arizona, led by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and his research team at ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering is drawing interest from communities around the United States. The testing program is revealing information about the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Tempe and helping guide city officials in taking steps to control outbreaks of the coronavirus infection. After several months of testing, the results show the monitoring program is effective. Halden says the same kind of effort could be implemented in more tan 100,000 wastewater treatment facilities worldwide if sufficient resources are invested in testing.

    See Also: Testing wastewater could be next clue in fighting coronavirus, Fox17 News (Nashville), July 16

  • Advice for the new NSF director

    Advice for the new NSF director

    Mary Sue Coleman, president of the Association of American Universities, says the United States faces formidable national security, economic and social justice challenges. Coleman writes in an editorial that aiding progress in those areas should be a priority for Sethuraman Panchanathan (pictured), the Fulton Schools professor who is on leave from his ASU leadership roles to serve as the director of the National Science Foundation. The country can benefit from a deeper public understanding of the value of science and engineering, more diversity in the science and engineering workforce, and ways to more efficiently move innovative research advances into the marketplace, Coleman says. She urges Panchanathan to become one of the nation’s leading advocates for such causes.

  • ASU professor, doctoral student develop program to detect ‘fake news’

    ASU professor, doctoral student develop program to detect ‘fake news’

    Mix the expanding capabilities of powerful technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning with increasing access to far-reaching communications platforms. Combine those factors with a lot of people persistently and craftily working to create and control the political and social narratives that shape public viewpoints. That’s a recipe for “fake news” to proliferate and thrive. Huan Liu, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science and engineering, and computer science doctoral student Kai Shu, are among experts working to develop defenses against the growing pervasiveness of false narratives that are sowing divisiveness into today’s world. In an interview, they discuss the complexities of the fake news environment and the challenges of helping people discern what’s real from what’s not.

    See Also: Fake news spotter under development at ASU, EdScoop, July 17

  • Data analytics can predict global warming trends, heat waves

    Data analytics can predict global warming trends, heat waves

    New research is revealing data that can provide early warning signals of potentially catastrophic weather events and climate trends, particularly severe heat waves and global warming. The methods to detect and track the warning signs to enable such predictive capabilities are the work of Zhihua Wang, a Fulton Schools associate professor whose expertise includes climate modeling and land-atmospheric interactions, and Chenghao Wang, a former ASU research scientist now at the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University. The researchers say the methods are applicable for predicting extreme weather events within the next few days or weeks and also forecasting meteorological and climate trends over coming decades or even longer. The article also appears in the Eurasia Review, TDnews and Phys.org.

    See Also: Climate change: Scientists look at 20th century data, heat extremes for early-warning signals, Down To Earth, July 16 

  • Is it safe to microwave food?

    Is it safe to microwave food?

    Food cooked with microwave radiation generally poses little risk to people’s health. But microwaving food in plastic containers might lead to significant problems. Some research has shown that some foods will lose a good portion of their nutritional value and their antioxidant benefits. Other studies suggest certain risks from cooking starchy foods in microwaves.  The big threat, however, appears to be what could happen when the food is cooked in plastic containers, says Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering. Certain chemicals from the containers have been shown to seep into the food — chemicals that might disrupt the healthy functioning of the body’s hormones and overall metabolism.

     

  • A U.S. Firm Is Turning Arabian Desert Air Into Bottled Water

    A U.S. Firm Is Turning Arabian Desert Air Into Bottled Water

    The Arabian Desert might be one of the last places to come to mind as a potential source for drinking water. But Zero Mass Water, a startup founded by Cody Friesen, a Fulton Schools associate professor of materials science and engineering, may change that notion. The company plans to put its renewable energy based system into operation in the United Arab Emirates. The system powered by solar energy draws moisture from the air to produce clean water. The facility the company is building near the city of Dubai could offer a model for other dry desert regions to produce drinking water in sustainable ways. Friesen also wants to start using Zero Mass Water’s capabilities to provide water for agricultural uses. (The article was also published in The Economic Times and the Bangkok Post.)

  • Rolf Halden / Sewage COVID

    Rolf Halden / Sewage COVID

    Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden is interviewed about the work of his research team at ASU Biodesign Institute‘s Center for Environmental Health Engineering that is giving communities an assessment of the levels of infection from the COVID-19 virus among the local populace. Researchers are doing this by chemical monitoring of the contents of wastewater, which Halden calls an “information super highway” that is providing accurate and valuable data about the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wastewater samples contain all the bodily fluids and other substances physicians examine to diagnose individuals’ health, Halden says, so “the sewage doesn’t lie.”

    See Also: Tempe using wastewater data to increase outreach, COVID-19 testing in parts of north Tempe, Arizona Republic, July 13

  • Phoenix using ‘cool pavement’ to try lowering temperatures

    Phoenix using ‘cool pavement’ to try lowering temperatures

    A team of ASU faculty members will conduct a year-long research project to assess the thermal impacts of new “cool pavements” on reducing the urban heat island effect in Phoenix. Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ariane Middel and Professor Kamil Kaloush are on the team. Common pavement materials absorb heat in the daytime and release it at night. In Phoenix’s desert climate that can boost night-time temperatures more than 20 degrees, making paved areas especially uncomfortable. The researchers will help Phoenix officials measure the performance of the cool pavements in reducing that heat-radiating effect. School of Sustainability Assistant Professor Jennifer Vanos and School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning Professor David Sailor and Assistant Professor David Hondula are also on the research team.

    See Also: ‘Cool Pavement’ Coming Soon To Some Phoenix Neighborhoods, KJZZ (NPR), July 19

  • Why are Artificial Intelligence systems biased?

    Why are Artificial Intelligence systems biased?

    The world wide web and the internet have often been touted as impartial appraisers of information — and therefore reliable sources on which to base informed, objective decision making. But problems have arisen with the use of artificial intelligence systems used to gather and assess information from the web and the internet. Often, what AI provides reflects many ingrained societal biases, writes Fulton Schools Professor Subbarao Kambhampati, a leader of major AI organizations and one of the experts who started the Conference on AI, Ethics and Society. Today, reining in such harmful biases is among the most urgent tasks in managing the risks of data-driven AI technology, Kambhampati says. One the positive side, many research institutions, corporations and governments are aware of the problem and appear willing to help solve it.

  • ASU’s top academic programs continue to climb in world rankings

    ASU’s top academic programs continue to climb in world rankings

    Among academic programs that made substantial gains in the recent Global Ranking of Academic Subjects was the Fulton Schools environmental science and engineering program, which finished 10th — up from 39th in 2019. Cutting-edge research that is contributing to public health, protecting the environment and development of solutions to the impacts of climate change have elevated the reputation of the program, says Professor Ram Pendyala, director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six Fulton Schools. The Global Ranking rates more than 4,000 universities on 54 areas study.

  • ASU psychology department receives NSF funding to study behavioral effects of COVID-19

    ASU psychology department receives NSF funding to study behavioral effects of COVID-19

    Beyond its life-threatening physical toll, the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the mental health of many people. The National Science Foundation is supporting ASU researchers in exploring how the disease is affecting individuals’ emotional well-being and impacting their behavior. Among the research team members is D. Vaughan Becker, a Fulton Schools associate professor human systems engineering. Becker will join his colleagues to investigate how the pandemic might be spawning different societal prejudices, ideologies and viewpoints on public policies. The hope is that the research will help government leaders, corporations, institutions and the general populace learn how to better respond to and cope with psychological ramifications of the COVID-19 crises.

  • ASU professor redesigning cooling vests to deal with hot temperatures in Arizona

    ASU professor redesigning cooling vests to deal with hot temperatures in Arizona

    One of the engineering world’s most valuable contributions to clothing design and innovation could be the kinds of attire being conceived through research led by Konrad Rykaczewski, a Fulton Schools associate professor of mechanical engineering. The water-absorbing cooling vests he is developing show promise for leading to clothes that will enable wearers to better withstand the hot summer temperatures in places such as Phoenix and the surrounding desert environs in southern Arizona. Rykaczewski hopes to produce clothing that will especially protect people who work outdoors. At right is one of Rykaczewski’s vests shown in an infrared photograph that demonstrates its evaporative cooling capability.

  • Palm Coast to begin testing wastewater for COVID-19 RNA

    Palm Coast to begin testing wastewater for COVID-19 RNA

    As it prepares to reopen schools in the midst of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Palm Coast is turning to Aquavitas, a company that has spun off from research at the ASU Biodesign Institute‘s Center for Environmental Health Engineering led by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden. The Florida city is partnering with the state’s health department for a wastewater epidemiology project to determine where in the community the threat of COVID-19 infection is highest. Aquavitas specializes in developing data-driven environmental diagnoses in efforts to protect public health. Along with Halden, AquaVitas is led by chief executive Adam Gushgari, who earned a doctoral degree in civil, environmental and sustainable engineering from the Fulton Schools, and chief technical officer Erin Driver, an ASU assistant research scientist.

  • Covid Drives Real Businesses to Tap Deepfake Technology

    Covid Drives Real Businesses to Tap Deepfake Technology

    Images and videos generated by artificial intelligence technology became known as deepfakes, due to the intent of many creators of the imagery to deceive people. Now use of such manipulated images is moving into the mainstream. Major corporations are now using AI-synthesized imagery to enhance their marketing and advertisement — especially as COVID-19 restrictions make conventional videos more difficult to produce. Digitally made models are among the first AI-produced imagery in ads. Subbarao Kambhampati, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science, AI researcher and a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, says using synthetic models instead of real people might lead to a false sense of accomplishment that people from a wide range of groups are being represented in mass media when that is not actually the reality.

  • An optimist takes the helm at the National Science Foundation

    An optimist takes the helm at the National Science Foundation

    There are challenges aplenty for the agency that oversees the United States government’s support for scientific endeavors. Not everyone in the country’s leadership institutions agrees on what priorities should be set for the National Science Foundation or on a vision for its future. But the NSF’s new director, Sethuraman Panchanathan, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science and engineering, is positive about the outlook for the agency and the important strides it can make. Panchanathan is on leave from his position as ASU’s executive vice president and chief research and innovation officer to take the helm of the NSF. With his experience helping ASU evolve into a leading research university, he is confident he can help keep the agency on an upward trajectory.

    See Also: Indo-American Scientist Appointed Head Of America’s Top Science Funding Body, South Asian Link, July 5

June

2020
  • Testing wastewater for coronavirus: ASU researchers notice spike following end to lockdown

    Testing wastewater for coronavirus: ASU researchers notice spike following end to lockdown

    With his experience analyzing wastewater to detect signs of public health problems, Rolf Halden (pictured), a Fulton Schools professor of environmental engineering, wasn’t surprised to see a spike in cases of COVID-19 in Arizona after the state ended the lockdown of certain types of businesses and lifted restrictions on public gatherings. Most of those measures have been reinstated as the number of cases have since risen sharply. But Halden says reducing the spread of COVID-19 infections will also require more conscientious actions by individuals to follow health guidelines to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

  • ASU research and innovation leader Sethuraman Panchanathan confirmed as National Science Foundation director

    ASU research and innovation leader Sethuraman Panchanathan confirmed as National Science Foundation director

    Sethuraman Panchanathan is the new director of the National Science Foundation, the U.S. government’s top science agency. He will take an extended leave from his positions as ASU’s executive vice president and chief research and innovation officer — and as a Fulton Schools professor of computer science and engineering — to take on his new duties helping set the course for the nation’s science endeavors. He is the second American of Indian origin to take the job. See more news coverage from around the world of Panchanathan’s appointment as NSF director: Daily Excelsior, American Bazaar, Nextgov, Hindustan Times, Outlook India, Business Today, New India Times, ExecutiveGov, HPC Wire, Deccan Herald, TechGenyz, The Siatat Journal.

  • Valley water technology company looks to expand after $50M cash infusion

    Valley water technology company looks to expand after $50M cash infusion

    A company founded by Cody Friesen, a Fulton Schools associate professor of materials science and engineering, appears to be the verge of a major expansion in the use of its system that employs solar energy technology to produce drinking water by capturing moisture from the air. The venture called Zero Mass Water has attracted a substantial amount of new funding from major business investment sources. Friesen says the company’s ultimate mission is to contribute to ensuring the safe drinking water is available around the world. (Subscriber access only)

  • Carbon tax should fund CO2 removal, says CEO of ‘mechanical trees’ firm

    Carbon tax should fund CO2 removal, says CEO of ‘mechanical trees’ firm

    Funding development and use of so-called mechanical trees designed to clean carbon dioxide from the atmosphere should be funded by tax revenues, says the CEO of an Irish company that produces the structures. The mechanical trees are among technologies developed through research led by Fulton Schools Profess Klaus Lackner, director of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions at ASU. The trees are among the tools the center has devised for capturing carbon dioxide to reduce the environmental threat posed by greenhouse gases building up in the atmosphere. The work is contributing to the emergence of a carbon disposal industry.

  • Covid 19: CDC Report On Feces And Coronavirus Will Change How You Use The Bathroom

    Covid 19: CDC Report On Feces And Coronavirus Will Change How You Use The Bathroom

    The possibility of fecal transmission of the coronavirus responsible for the COVD-19 pandemic is being suggested by some medical and research sources. But Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering, says that while such a transmission route should be investigated, it is certainly not the primary way the disease is being spread. Others point to a report by the Centers for Disease Control demonstrating the virus could live in feces. Bottom line: People should take steps to ensure their use of restrooms follows guidelines to protect themselves from contact with fecal material.

    See Also: Tempe first to combine strategies to learn how water sources can affect our public health, Wrangler News, June 20

  • With every flush, a stream of data for these coronavirus trackers

    With every flush, a stream of data for these coronavirus trackers

    Monitoring and analyzing the contents of communities’ wastewater streams is revealing useful information for tracking the spread of the COVID-19 disease. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and his research team at ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering have been undertaking similar studies to assess public health conditions for many years. Now, with the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, the value of that work is being widely recognized and the expansion of “wastewater epidemiology” on a global scale is seen as critical to future efforts to protect against widespread health threats.

  • ASU researcher tests face mask efficiency before and after sterilization

    ASU researcher tests face mask efficiency before and after sterilization

    Wearing of protective face masks is seen as providing a significant defense against exposure to the type of coronavirus responsible for the COBID-19 pandemic. But does sterilization of the masks make them more or less effective in shielding users from airborne particles and vaporous droplets that can spread the infection? Fulton Schools Professor Paul Westerhoff and fellow researcher Pierre Herckes, a professor in ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences, are leading work funded by the National Science Foundation to answer the question. For now, they say, wearing a mask, whether it’s been disinfected recently or not, is the wise choice — along with washing your hands.

  • ASU launches nation’s 1st master of innovation degree program

    ASU launches nation’s 1st master of innovation degree program

    A first-of-its-kind Masters of Innovation and Venture Development is being launched by the Fulton Schools, along with ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. To graduate from the program, students must  launch a new product or service — specifically one that contributes solutions to societal problems and/or addresses related business community issues and challenges. Faculty from each of the three schools will co-teach courses and guide student teams in a real-world business start-up environment. Brent Sebold, a Fulton Schools Academic and Student Affairs lecturer and a university-based entrepreneurship and innovation programs administrator, is among the new degree program’s founding faculty members.

    See Also: ASU launching yearlong innovation, venture development master’s program, KTAR, June 22

  • ASU’s Rolf Halden On New Book ‘Environment’

    ASU’s Rolf Halden On New Book ‘Environment’

    Damage we are doing to the natural environment is a growing threat to human health. That’s the urgent warning Rolf Halden gives in his new book. The idea that there is a barrier between people and nature is a mistaken perception that makes us think we can degrade the environment without similarly negative consequences for society, says Halden, a Fulton Schools professor of environmental engineering. His research includes analyzing wastewater in public facilities to identify toxins, viruses and other indications of biohazards to which communities are being exposed. Such studies reflect the fact that if land, water and air around us are polluted, then we essentially become polluted as well. But Halden says he sees signs of an awakening to the reality that protecting the ecological health of our surroundings is essential to quality of life.

    See Also: Yale Scientists Use The Sewer System To Track And Predict Changes In Coronavirus Outbreak, WNPR-Connecticut Pubic Radio, June 10 (Rolf Halden is quoted)

  • Artificial Intelligence Can Predict Our Behavior, But It Had To Adjust To COVID-19

    Artificial Intelligence Can Predict Our Behavior, But It Had To Adjust To COVID-19

    The “digital footprints” we produce of ourselves through use of the internet and other online activity can enable artificial intelligence technologies to compose behavioral portraits of people and communities. Those depictions can be used to formulate predictions about the future actions and choices of individuals and groups. While such forecasting capabilities may sound disturbing to many, Subbarao Kambhampati (pictured), a Fulton Schools professor of computer science, says such footprint data can also contribute to revealing significant information and identifying trends that can be employed in the cause of such efforts as combating major public threats like the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Clamming up (and down and sideways)

    Clamming up (and down and sideways)

    Studying the digging skills of razor clams is helping researchers such as Fulton Schools Associate Professor Junliang Tao design technologies to explore subsurface environments. Tao, a geotechnical engineer, is developing robots that can mimic the way clams “swim” through soil. The multidirectional motions they use to move underground can provide a blueprint for mobile devices equipped with sensors, power and communication components. With such capabilities, small burrowing robots could work collectively to perform studies of potential building or agricultural sites, or aid search and rescue operations. Read more about Tao’s work: Burrowing Sensor Robots Could Unearth Nature’s Subterranean Secrets, Mimicking Nature To Enhance Search For Knowledge Underground.

  • 6 Cybersecurity Stocks Keeping Your Data Safe

    6 Cybersecurity Stocks Keeping Your Data Safe

    The modern work culture is changing rapidly as more people are doing their jobs remotely — at home or elsewhere — instead in company offices. Then there’s the emerging 5G network infrastructure that is enabling more robust communications and connectivity possibilities. But those expanding technological capabilities also present tougher cybersecurity challenges, says Brad Allenby, a Fulton Schools professor and a professor of engineering and ethics with ASU’s Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics. More network devices and bigger volumes of data mean an increasing need for more effective ways to protect the privacy of data and other corporate and personal information, Allenby says.

  • The world’s first building made from carbon-fiber reinforced concrete starts construction in Germany

    The world’s first building made from carbon-fiber reinforced concrete starts construction in Germany

    Work is beginning on a new university building in Germany claimed to be the first in the world that will be constructed entirely of carbon fiber reinforced concrete. Advocates for use of the material say it offers more durability and is better for the environment than the standard mix of building materials. Barzin Mobasher, a Fulton Schools professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, has been researching and working with structure-reinforcing materials for decades. Mobasher says the carbon-reinforced material provides more resistance to cracking and erosion than conventional steel and concrete building components. The use of the new alternative, however, still faces some regulatory and economic hurdles.

    See also: Carbonhaus is the World’s First Building Made of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Concrete, Composites Manufacturing, June 12

  • Our Infrastructure Is Being Built for a Climate That’s Already Gone

    Our Infrastructure Is Being Built for a Climate That’s Already Gone

    Climate change and related environmental factors mean that the kinds of civil infrastructure built in the past no longer provide a reliable guide for designing, building or replacing electrical power lines, roads, dams, railways, reservoirs, sewage systems, pipelines and other essential public amenities. Engineers such as Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, warn that using the old models will produce infrastructure that is likely to fail when facing the array of changes in water flow, temperatures, storm severity and similar climatological trends already affecting much of world. As never before, Chester says, we must design for uncertainty and extremes.

  • This Bot Hunts Software Bugs for the Pentagon

    This Bot Hunts Software Bugs for the Pentagon

    A tool called Mayhem has proved to be a prolific prober of software to unmask security flaws. The software bug finder earned the team that made it the top prize in a major cybersecurity technology challenge. Mayhem has since been used successfully by U.S. military forces and has found flaws in software that controls networking devices and automotive and aerospace systems. Ruoyu Wang, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of computer science and engineering, says the next step is for bots like Mayhem to become capable of collaborating with humans. Wang is working on more powerful bug-finding software that relies on help from humans, whom he says are able to understand the intent and functioning of computer software programs in ways Mayhem can’t.

May

2020
  • Utah researchers looking at sewage for answers on coronavirus rates

    Utah researchers looking at sewage for answers on coronavirus rates

    Officials and researchers in Utah are looking at what is in wastewater to attempt getting an indication of the prevalence of COVID-19 infections in various communities in the state. They’re hoping that more localized data gathered from analyzing the contents of wastewater treatment plants will provide more details about infection rates than testing thousands of people for the disease. The diagnostic wastewater testing method has been developed over more than 15 years in work led by Rolf Halden, a Fulton Schools professor of environmental engineering. The ongoing project has since expanded its studies to include wastewater samples from more than 300 cities around the world to help assess local public health conditions.

    See Also: COVID-19 in wastewater can show the virus’s spread, hotspots, UA researchers find, Arizona Daily Star, May 30

  • Mobile weather station can measure how a person experiences heat

    Mobile weather station can measure how a person experiences heat

    Hot days in places like the desert Southwest can feel even hotter in cities as a result of the urban heat island effect — brought on by heat radiating from concrete building surfaces and pavements. Ariane Middel, an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, is measuring the impact of heat on people with her one-of-a-kind mobile weather station. The technology takes temperature and climatological factors into consideration, helping Middel explore ways cities can keep their outdoor environments cooler despite the high temperatures. One potential solution? Cityscapes that feature buildings and public infrastructure designed to provide more shaded areas.

  • CDC REPORT ON FECES AND CORONAVIRUS WILL CHANGE HOW YOU USE THE BATHROOM

    CDC REPORT ON FECES AND CORONAVIRUS WILL CHANGE HOW YOU USE THE BATHROOM

    Exposure to droplets from our mouths might not be the only way we are transmitting the coronavirus virus to others. The Centers for Disease Control reports findings indicating feces could be a source of transmission. That possibility should change how people use restrooms, health experts say. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, founder of ASU’s Human Health Observatory, says that particular path of transmission has not been strongly confirmed, but he still encourages caution in staying clear of poop particles. Halden and his research team are already examining the contents of wastewater for signs of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus infection. He advocates nationwide wastewater tracking to get a more accurate estimate of the spread of the infection from the virus.

    See Also: Flinn Foundation extends grantmaking response to COVID-19 in Arizona, May 19
    The Flinn Foundation’s grant to ASU will fund a COVID-19 environmental surveillance project led by Professor Rolf Halden that will use wastewater epidemiology to identify hot spots of COVID-19 infections.

  • There’s Still Time To Get A (Remote) Summer Internship

    There’s Still Time To Get A (Remote) Summer Internship

    With the coronavirus crisis came the cancellation of many college student summer internships. But thanks to technologies that enable working remotely, many companies are offering online internship options. Fulton Schools student Ananay Arora is among those who have landed a position. He’s working with a software engineering team at the California-based Apple technology company from his apartment near ASU’s main campus. Arora has also joined two fellow Fulton Schools students to start a website to help students find remote summer internship opportunities. Other websites and job services operations are helping students get intern work in a tough job market. Related article: ASU students enable peers worldwide to navigate internship uncertainty.

  • Cool clothing invented for hot climes

    Cool clothing invented for hot climes

    There is plenty of clothing to protect humans from exposure in frigid climates, but not much to keep people safe from the heat of summertime in especially hot environments like the desert Southwest. Konrad Rykaczewski, a Fulton Schools associate professor of mechanical engineering is helping to remedy that imbalance. He is developing designs for ventilated clothing with materials that reflect solar radiation and also keep wearers cooler by slowing evaporation, trapping moisture, increasing air flow around the body and providing small shade elements. Rykaczewski intends to keep developing and testing the clothing with an eye toward commercialization in few years.

  • Excitonic complexes in 2D semiconductors exploited to achieve optical gain

    Excitonic complexes in 2D semiconductors exploited to achieve optical gain

    Combining the capabilities of nanolasers and semiconductors has the potential for enabling advances in electronics and related technologies. Fulton Schools professor of electrical engineering Cun-Zheng Ning and his research collaborators have unlocked some of the workings of physics that promise to yield a significant advancement. They’ve discovered a process for producing low-power nanolasers in 2D semiconductor materials. The achievement could lead to improvements in high-speed communication channels for supercomputers and data centers. Read more: Researchers shed new light on creating nanolasers using 2D materials.

  • New stimulation approach produces ‘form vision’ in blind people

    New stimulation approach produces ‘form vision’ in blind people

    Bradley Greger (pictured), a Fulton Schools associate professor of biomedical engineering, is among researchers whose efforts are aiding advances in the combining of cortical vision prostheses and brain-machine interfaces to help people with blindness. Specialists in the field are implanting the medical device in those with profound blindness in a way that provides visual information directly to the brain. Greger says the same technology could potentially restore other senses, such as loss of touch due to spinal cord injury and improve treatment of people with neurological disorders such a Parkinson’s disease.

  • 3 students win Udall scholarship to pursue environmental, tribal careers

    3 students win Udall scholarship to pursue environmental, tribal careers

    Fulton Schools biomedical engineering student Nekiyah Draper is one of three ASU students among the recent winners of the Udall Undergraduate Scholarship. The awards recognize outstanding Native American undergraduates who are pursuing careers in public policy, health or environmental fields. After earning her undergraduate degree, Draper plans to pursue a graduate degree while working at a prosthetics manufacturing lab. She aspires to become a certified prosthetist and eventually operate prosthetics labs on the Navajo Nation.

  • The future of flying is up in the air

    The future of flying is up in the air

    In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, passenger numbers on U.S. airlines so far this year are down by 95% over last year. Few, if any,  industry observers say they’re certain what this means in the long term for commercial passenger aviation. But many agree things won’t revert to the way they before COVID-19. Tim Takahashi, a Fulton Schools professor of practice in aerospace engineering, expects airlines to take steps to provide space between passengers, plus take other measures to protect air travelers’ health. The best solution will come only when a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, says Marc O’Brien, chair of the Fulton Schools aviation program.

  • ASU Professor Creates Lab at Home to Support Healthcare Workers

    ASU Professor Creates Lab at Home to Support Healthcare Workers

    Michael Kozicki (pictured) is using his years of experience in micro contamination management to provide a useful service for health care workers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kozicki, a Fulton Schools electrical engineering professor, has built a laboratory in his home to perform studies of ozone reconditioning of surgical masks and related medical gear. The reconditioning helps health care professionals keep their work and personal materials safe, as well as enabling reuse of critical medical items that are in short supply. This work became part of a program spearheaded by students at ASU’s Luminosity Lab who are now making and deploying sterilization systems to Arizona health care facilities.

  • ‘Cool pavement’ experiments help urban planners find ways to ease rising temperatures

    ‘Cool pavement’ experiments help urban planners find ways to ease rising temperatures

    One way in which cities in warmer regions are trying the reduce the impact of heat on residents is by the use of reflective coatings on street pavements. The coatings reflect sunlight rather than storing it and converting it into heat. Ariane Middel (pictured), an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, and a colleague who is an urban planning researcher at UCLA are finding that the effectiveness of using reflective coatings and “cool pavements” can vary in different situations and are not a one-size-fits-all solution to heat mitigation. Middel says a combination of strategies, including urban infrastructure designed to provide more shading and development of heat-reducing technologies, will be needed to keep desert regions livable.

  • Vegetation shifts can outweigh climate change in desert rangelands

    Vegetation shifts can outweigh climate change in desert rangelands

    Researchers from ASU, the University of California, Riverside, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture report a surprising discovery about the impact of a change in vegetation on desert range lands in the Southwest. It has been thought that when woody shrubs replace grasses on the desert terrain, it results in less water entering streams and groundwater aquifers. A new study finds encroachment of shrubs on sloping landscape can instead increase the amount of water going into groundwater storage. One of the researchers, Enrique Vivoni, a professor in the Fulton Schools and ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, says the study verifies that land topography plays a big role in redistributing available water in deserts.

  • Zoom plans to hire hundreds of engineers for video R&D centers in Phoenix, Pittsburgh areas

    Zoom plans to hire hundreds of engineers for video R&D centers in Phoenix, Pittsburgh areas

    The fast-growing company Zoom Video Communications plans to locate one of two new research and development centers in the Phoenix area and hire hundreds of engineers to work at the facilities in the next few years. The CEO of the leading video-conferencing venture said the decision to expand into Arizona was influenced by an “incredibly well-educated, skilled and diverse talent pool” provided by the state’s universities. ASU President Michael Crow cited the 4,500 engineering graduates coming out of ASU each year, plus the high caliber of the university’s engineering faculty as a draw for companies looking for innovators in technological fields.

    See also: Zoom To Expand With Engineering Center In Phoenix, Patch, May 14

    Zoom to hire hundreds in Phoenix for R&D facility, Phoenix Business Journal, May 14 (subscriber access only)

    Behind the deal: how ASU’s engineering growth attracted Zoom to Arizona, May 17 (subsriber access only)

    Zoom expanding to Phoenix, hiring for hundreds of tech jobs, May 14, Fox10 New-Phoenix

    Zoom to launch new research and development center near ASU, The State Press, May 14

    Zoom to open research and development center in Phoenix, create hundreds of jobs, 3TV/CBS 5 News-Phoenix, May 15

  • Vancouver in pilot program to look for COVID-19 clues in wastewater

    Vancouver in pilot program to look for COVID-19 clues in wastewater

    Vancouver, Washington, is among an increasing number of cities to use methods for testing wastewater to reveal clues to the prevalence of the COVID-19 virus in communities. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden is among researchers pioneering wastewater-based epidemiology to mine sewage for indicators of human health. Halden, director of ASU’s  Center for Environmental Health Engineering, and his lab team use a process called polymerase chain reaction testing to identify fragments of virus-associated RNA, the ribonucleic acid that carries the virus’s genetic information. Halden says the process provides a more accurate way to assess the spread of the coronavirus than individual medical testing.

    See Also: Sewage may help map virus spread, Boston Globe

  • ASU, Banner Health team up to ease COVID-19 patient isolation

    ASU, Banner Health team up to ease COVID-19 patient isolation

    ASU’s first all-virtual hackathon aimed to provide COVID-19 patients technology to connect them with family members and other loved ones while they are in medical isolation. For the Devil’s Invent Hackathon, students worked with Banner Health’s Innovation Group to devise technical solutions for families of hospitalized COVID-19 patients when hospitals visits are restricted. More than 100 ASU students and faculty members joined the effort directed by Anthony Kuhn, a Fulton Schools lecturer. Two winning solutions were selected from more than a dozen presentations. Members of those teams included Fulton Schools students Bodhi England, Xueqi Li, Kashish Patel, Dhrasti Dalai, Krishna Koparde and Thanzima Rahman.

  • Can you get coronavirus from a public pool or water slide?

    Can you get coronavirus from a public pool or water slide?

    What public recreational activities are safe to participate in as Arizona allows some businesses to reopen while the state is still trying to prevent spread of the COVID-19 pandemic? Arizona’s governor says plans for gyms and swimming pools to open are coming soon. Morteza Abbaszadegan, a Fulton Schools professor of environmental microbiology and director of the National Science Foundation Water and Environmental Technology Center, says it is unlikely people would co