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Fulton Schools In The News

June

2021
  • 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.

  • 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 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

  • ASU creates memorial fund and page for deceased professor

    ASU creates memorial fund and page for deceased professor

    The death of Fulton Schools Professor Junseok Chae — recently confirmed to have been the victim of a homicide — has inspired tributes and a memorial fund to honor the memory of an admired teacher and accomplished researcher. A professor of electrical engineering, computer and energy engineering who for a time served as the Fulton Schools associate dean of research, Chae’s work involved collaborations with many ASU faculty members and administrators, as well as students involved in research. The university plans to use contributions to Chae’s memorial fund to benefit students through tuition and training assistance, support to attend conferences and providing research equipment.

  • 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 contract the COVID-19 virus in a well-maintained swimming pool because the chlorine used in pool water inactivates the virus. But Abbaszadegan cautions people to be careful not to come into contact with railings or similar frequently touched surfaces around pools that might harbor the virus.

  • Computer Scientists Build New Tool to Fight Coronavirus

    Computer Scientists Build New Tool to Fight Coronavirus

    To support medical researchers seeking ways to treat people infected by COVID-19, computer scientists are applying their skills in artificial intelligence. They’re using AI to compile and correlate relevant data to help track the spread of the pandemic and identify people at high risk of infection, says Fulton Schools Professor Subbarao Kambhampati, former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.  In addition, Kambhampati says AI experts are combing through large volumes of research findings to provide new insights that could help researchers target their work to develop a vaccine or provide more effective health care options to help patients.  

  • ASU researchers find decline in coronavirus traces in Tempe wastewater

    ASU researchers find decline in coronavirus traces in Tempe wastewater

    Wastewater testing by ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, has helped the City of Tempe learn that the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is on the decline in the community. The center’s researchers have been looking at the average traces of the coronavirus in the wastewater over 24-hour periods. Halden says such testing provides a more accurate assessment of the rate of infection in an area than simply counting the people who come to hospitals with COVD-19 symptoms. Now the neighboring cities of Guadalupe and Gilbert will have the center’s researchers conduct analysis of their wastewater to gauge the levels of coronavirus presence among the local populations.

    See Also: Breakthrough in efforts by ASU researchers to track COVID-19 through wastewater, Fox 10 News-Phoenix, May 8

    Researchers test wastewater to identify Covid-19 hotspots, Water Technology, May 8

  • ASU scientists searching sewers for traces of COVID-19

    ASU scientists searching sewers for traces of COVID-19

    Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden has been among the first researchers to promote testing of wastewater for the abundance of information it can provide about human health. He has gotten good results using wastewater monitoring techniques to test for levels of opioid use in local communities and to track the spread of seasonal flu outbreaks. Now his lab team’s attention has been turned to assessing the levels of outbreaks of COVID-19 infection in urban areas. That testing offers a much more accurate picture of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic than results of testing individuals for the infection, Halden says. He is hoping his team’s success will motivate more wastewater-based testing throughout the U.S.

    See Also: As Indiana Reopens, One City Scans Sewage for Guidance, MedPageToday, May 7

    How far has the coronavirus spread? The answer may be in the sewers, MSN.com, May 5

    Rhinelander Spread Tons Of Sludge Near Site Of Contaminated Wells, WPRX Public Radio (Wisconsin), May 5

  • The Environmental Issue with Contact Lenses No One Is Talking About

    The Environmental Issue with Contact Lenses No One Is Talking About

    Contact lenses flushed in toilets or washed down sinks each year in the United States add up to between six to 10 million tons of plastic, eventually adding to the troubling amounts of plastic waste in the world’s waterways and oceans. Those plastics and the chemicals in them can have detrimental effects on the food chain among aquatic organisms, animals and humans, says Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, an environmental engineer who presented his lab’s research on plastics pollution at a meeting of the American Chemical Society. Without widespread efforts to safely recycle plastics and reduce their use overall, the threat of increasingly significant environmental damage will grow.

  • On-the-ground for L.A.’s far-reaching climate strategy

    On-the-ground for L.A.’s far-reaching climate strategy

    A “street-smart” robot named MaRTy, the creation of Ariane Middel, an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, is playing a role in strategies to keep Los Angeles cool as climate change is making things warmer — especially in major metropolitan areas. MaRTy, an assemblage of meteorological sensors, is one of the tools aiding researchers from ASU and UCLA in assessing what will and won’t work to diminish the impact from rising heat in the Los Angeles area. MaRTy is being used to evaluate the effectiveness of the city’s Cool Street program. Middel says efforts to reduce the urban heat island effect in cities, along with other climate change impacts, must be tackled not only on a technical level but approached as public health and community building efforts.

  • Street smarts required in heat mitigation

    Street smarts required in heat mitigation

    Solar reflective coatings are being used on city streets to keep surrounding temperatures lower during summer months. Radiant temperatures from road pavement have a big impact on how a people experience heat in dense urban environments. But the reflective street coatings aren’t actually cooling those temperatures enough to make a dramatic difference to pedestrians, says Adrianne Middel and other ASU researchers. Middel, an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, is director of Sensable HeatScapes and Digital Environments, or the SHaDE Lab. Her studies of roadway heat mitigation efforts are showing city planners need to focus additionally on planting trees and providing shade structures to take the heat off people.

  • ASU partners with local cities to test coronavirus levels in sewage water

    ASU partners with local cities to test coronavirus levels in sewage water

    ASU researchers are partnering with three cities in the Phoenix metropolitan area to monitor the cities’ wastewater to gauge the levels of COVID-19 infections in those communities. The effort could help establish an early warning system to help detect potential threats to public health before those threats turn into disease outbreaks, says Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of the ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering. Researchers are capable of monitoring in real time data gathered from wastewater that indicates traces of coronavirus and other information critical to protecting people’s health, Halden says. This approach might also have economic benefits by reducing the need to spend public funds to perform clinical coronavirus tests.

    See Also: Scientists Turn to Sewage as Indicator of Coronavirus Spread in Population, News 18 India, May 1

    The true number of coronavirus cases might be found in raw sewage, South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 1

    Testing insufficient, researchers analyze sewage to check spread of coronavirus, Microbiz India, May 1

April

2020
  • Tempe testing for COVID-19, expecting to publish results later this week

    Tempe testing for COVID-19, expecting to publish results later this week

    Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden (pictured) and his team at ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering are planning to soon release a report on their studies of wastewater in Tempe that’s expected to provide real-time data about the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the city. It should enable residents to see information on the city’s website about the levels of COVID-19 infection in specific neighborhoods. Halden says what the contents of Tempe’s wastewater reveal will have implications for Arizona and the country. The analytical techniques used to test the water and the results those tests produce can guide other places in efforts to assess the presence of coronavirus infection in their areas. The findings will help Tempe officials in deciding whether to loosen or tighten public restrictions depending on the prevalence of infection.

    See Also: ASU researchers believe sewage gives them a way to track the coronavirus, Fox10 News-Phoenix, April 28

  • Coronavirus curve flattening in Arizona, ASU experts say

    Coronavirus curve flattening in Arizona, ASU experts say

    There are numerous cases of coronavirus infection cases in Arizona and the numbers continue to rise. But the spread of COVID-19 in the state does appear to be leveling off, according to an Arizona Department of Health Services report. The number of cases seems to be manageable at this point, says Fulton Schools Associate Professor Esma Gel, who contributed to the report. The studies behind the findings don’t conclude what strategies — such as school closures and social distancing — are having a significant impact on the slowing numbers of infections. Projections about the pandemic are based on a disease transmission model developed by the team of ASU researchers that is still “a work in progress,” Gel says, but can provide officials a guide for making decisions about how and when to lift public restrictions.

  • Worse Air Quality In Phoenix Communities Of Color Could Mean Higher COVID-19 Risk

    Worse Air Quality In Phoenix Communities Of Color Could Mean Higher COVID-19 Risk

    Air quality is playing a role in how communities are being most impacted by the COVID-19 disease. Higher air pollution can exacerbate the spread of infection from the virus. Darshan Karwat, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering in the Fulton Schools and ASU’s School for the Future of Science and Innovation, is doing research to assess environmental factors in Phoenix neighborhoods heighten the risk of residents to exposure to COVID-19. He sees a correlation between higher poverty and pollution levels and higher rates of illness. Karwat is working with ASU colleague Jennifer Vanos on a project to help determine what policy changes could help reduce disparities in pollution levels among Phoenix neighborhoods.

    See Also: What will traffic and pollution look like post-coronavirus? The Week, April 23
    Fulton Schools Professor Ram Pendyala, director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, is quoted.

  • Poop could be the key to tracking COVID-19 outbreaks

    Poop could be the key to tracking COVID-19 outbreaks

    Studying the contents of wastewater is an especially accurate way to track the spread of the coronavirus that’s causing the COVID-19 pandemic. A single sample of wastewater can provide information that can’t be revealed through any other method, says Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering. Halden is one of the leading practitioners of wastewater-epidemiology and is hoping to work with colleagues in the field to assess the reach of COVID-19 into communities around the country. He and fellow researchers estimate their collective work could potentially test for the rate of COVID-19 infections among as much as 70 percent of the population.

    See Also: Wastewater Monitoring Gives Vital Clues About SARS-CoV-2 Spread, Technology Networks, April 24

    New Coronavirus detected, monitored in wastewater, Science Daily, April 23

  • New appointee Yung Koprowski brings wealth of transportation knowledge to Gilbert Town Council

    New appointee Yung Koprowski brings wealth of transportation knowledge to Gilbert Town Council

    Fulton Schools alumnus Young Koprowski says she will bring her background as a transportation engineer to her new post with the town council in Gilbert, east of Phoenix. Her experience as a business owner and employer will also serve her well in the position. Gilbert leaders are interested in employing technologies to improve traffic efficiency and minimize traffic problems. Koprowski’s certifications as a traffic operations engineer and a road safety professional also made her an attractive candidate for the council appointment. Read more about Koprowski’s accomplishments: Fulton Engineers Stand Out Among Phoenix Young Professionals.

  • L.A. hunkered down. But it hasn’t stopped building mansions, stadiums and apartments

    L.A. hunkered down. But it hasn’t stopped building mansions, stadiums and apartments

    Can a sprawling metropolis such as Los Angeles maintain precautions to keep public activity from increasing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic — especially if outdoor construction activity continues at a robust pace? While some states have limited construction activity, California categorizes it as essential work that should continue. The decision is drawing criticism, but Professor Edward George Gibson, chair of the Fulton Schools construction management program, says he trusts the construction industry to make safety and protection of people’s health a priority.

  • TESTING SEWAGE FOR CORONAVIRUS COULD HELP PREDICT FUTURE COVID-19 OUTBREAKS

    TESTING SEWAGE FOR CORONAVIRUS COULD HELP PREDICT FUTURE COVID-19 OUTBREAKS

    What researchers find — or don’t find — in wastewater could be critical to the success of any plans to ease restrictions on public activity in response the coronavirus pandemic. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, who directs ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering, says a recent study that  found the genetic material of the virus in treated wastewater validates the value of analyzing wastewater in helping to protect people from infection by the virus. Halden has coauthored a study in the journal Science of The Total Environment that explores the advantages and challenges of such wastewater-based epidemiology.

    See Also: Cost-effective wastewater-based epidemiology can extract vital health information, ASU NOW, April 23

    Waste water tests could monitor 2 billion people for the coronavirus, New Scientist, April 23 (subscriber access only)

  • Learning From Engineers

    Learning From Engineers

    To learn how to respond to public crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s useful to look at such potential catastrophes as an engineering problem that needs engineering solutions, say Fulton Schools Professor Brad Allenby and Associate Professor Mikhail Chester. The two civil, environmental, and sustainable engineering experts assert that the formulas and practices necessary to ensure public infrastructure systems are efficient and resilient could be applied to public health challenges such as the rapid spread of contagious diseases. From resource management, financial planning, coordination of government response efforts, public leadership strategies and the application of logistics, using engineering principles as a problem-solving model could help countries better cope with many serious threats to societal stability.

  • Researchers develop new process to up solar cell performance

    Researchers develop new process to up solar cell performance

    A major impediment to the efficiency of solar cells has been overcome through a collaboration of physicists and engineers, including David K. Ferry, a Fulton Schools emeritus professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering. Together they have developed a new approach to producing what’s called a hot carrier solar cell and combining it with ultrahigh-efficiency single junction semiconductor devices, which could raise solar cell efficiency by 20 percent —and possibly “revolutionize” the field of photovoltaics and renewable energy generation.

     

  • New 2-D Catalyst Fits Two Co-Catalysts on One Nanosheet for Better Water Purification

    New 2-D Catalyst Fits Two Co-Catalysts on One Nanosheet for Better Water Purification

    Christopher Muhich, a Fulton Schools professor of chemical engineering, is among a multi-university team of engineers and scientists to develop a new 2D catalyst that can improve water purification using the disinfection capability of hydrogen peroxide. While the project is still in early stages, researchers foresee providing an environmentally friendly process that increases the efficiency of the water decontamination without the need for additional chemical treatment. The nanotechnology-based effort is being carried out through the Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment, or NEWT, a National Science Foundation center in which ASU is a partner. Read about Muhich’s contribution to the project.

  • ASU team works to speed up wireless communication with millimeter waves

    ASU team works to speed up wireless communication with millimeter waves

    Ahmed Alkhateeb, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering, is leading a team of students in using machine learning to speed up the availability of data by increasing the capability of millimeter wave communication systems. This type of electromagnetic wave works at a high frequency, making it optimal for enabling emerging 5G networks to transmit large data packets with minimal interruptions. Millimeter waves could allow carriers to transmit data speeds faster than ever, including downloading high capacity items such as movies within seconds. Alkhateeb’s team is hoping to combine machine learning and artificial intelligence to achieve significant advances in wireless communication and in overcoming other major related technological challenges.

  • ASU supplies health care providers with protective gear

    ASU supplies health care providers with protective gear

    Fulton Schools students such as biomedical engineering student Tarun Suresh (pictured) are involved in a community networking effort organized in response to the spread of the coronavirus that is connecting hospitals in need of supplies with ASU and community resources. Materials science and engineering student Julia Greteman leads one of the student production groups in ASU Luminosity Lab. She is using 3d printing technology to make protective face masks for health care workers. Two of the Fulton Schools, the School for the Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy and The Polytechnic School, are part of the response network’s ASU contingent.

  • From ants to algorithms

    From ants to algorithms

    ASU researchers are learning more about how organic systems evolve and function by studying ant colonies. Biologists, physicists and engineers, including Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Ted Pavlic. By exploring the collective behavior of ants — how they communicate, organize labor and make decisions without central control — they are revealing an intriguing network in which all the parts work effectively by following their natural individual instincts. Pavlic, the associate director of The Biomimicry Center at ASU, is contributing his expertise in understanding adaptive decision-making strategies in autonomous systems.

  • A defense of geoengineering

    A defense of geoengineering

    How much should Earth’s environment be manipulated by technologies to reduce the risks of global warming and other impacts of climate change? Geoengineering efforts like the carbon capture system developed Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner (pictured) and his research team are raising the question. Lackner’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions has developed “mechanical trees” that can absorb and sequester the detrimental greenhouse gas. Some argue such systems won’t stop activities like burning fossil fuels that cause the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But others contend we can’t afford to dismiss technologies that can help put nature back on course.

  • Coronavirus Contact Tracing App Won’t Log Your Location, But It Will Reveal Who You Hang Out With

    Coronavirus Contact Tracing App Won’t Log Your Location, But It Will Reveal Who You Hang Out With

    A contact tracing mobile app the Australian government plans to introduce to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 has the potential to provide critical information. But it also raises concerns. Fulton Schools Professor Katina Michael and a colleague at the University of Wollongong in Australia describe the proposed TraceTogether app that will use Bluetooth technology to sense whether users who have voluntarily opted-in have come within nine meters of one another. The surveillance could help respond to the coronavirus crisis by proactively placing confirmed and suspected cases in quarantine. The downside is that it could lead to infringement on users’ privacy and civil liberties.

  • Water where you need it

    Water where you need it

    Before Fulton Schools Associate Professor Cody Friesen developed solar panels that harvest water from the air, he achieved another technological advance: rechargeable high-energy batteries —zinc-air batteries — that are eco-friendly and affordable. Those breakthroughs propelled his Zero Mass Water startup, which is helping to provide clean water in locales with a range of climate conditions in more than 35 countries. As the venture has expanded, Friesen has applied for 88 patents in related technologies and won the 2019 Lemelson-MIT Prize for inventions that shoe strong potential for improving the world.

  • What COVID-19 Has Taught Us About Our Infrastructure

    What COVID-19 Has Taught Us About Our Infrastructure

    The strengths and weakness of critical infrastructure systems throughout the United States are being revealed during the upheavals caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, say Fulton Schools faculty members Brad Allenby, Mikhail Chester and Thaddeus Miller. The situation is putting a spotlight on challenges the nation faces in ensuring the resiliency of its infrastructure systems and their ability to adapt in times of crisis. A key lesson, say the three engineers, is that in addition to prioritizing better design, engineering and construction practices in updating existing systems or building new infrastructure, it will also require good governance and effective education to achieve lasting solutions.

  • ASU researchers testing Tempe wastewater for coronavirus

    ASU researchers testing Tempe wastewater for coronavirus

    Two years ago, Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden and his team at ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering began testing Tempe’s wastewater to find indications of the prevalence of opioid use in the city. Now the researchers are planning to examine the wastewater systems to give Tempe officials an idea of the breadth of the spread of the coronavirus infection in the area. The water testing approach can reveal more about the reach of the COVID-19 pandemic into the city than individual testing at medical facilities, Rolf says.

  • ASU team building ‘UV BBQ’ to sanitize masks

    ASU team building ‘UV BBQ’ to sanitize masks

    Fulton Schools Professor Paul Westerhoff, has refocused his research team’s efforts from sanitizing water to sanitizing medical equipment to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team is developing a device that uses a type of ultraviolet light capable of providing a level of radiation sufficient to kill the COVID-19 virus. Applied in the right dosage, the UV light can disinfect medical equipment without damaging it — including protective face masks, says Westerhoff, an environmental engineer. ASU is working to provide the devices, which researchers are called the “UV-BBQ,” (as in barbecue) to facilities across Arizona that have a critical need for them.

  • Construction in Arizona continues during COVID-19 spread, but with health precautions

    Construction in Arizona continues during COVID-19 spread, but with health precautions

    Construction has been deemed as essential labor during the social-distancing period mandated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite continuing activity on building projects, some construction companies report the situation is still causing drops in revenue that might last for months. But Fulton Schools Professor Edd Gibson, a construction management expert, says the construction industry’s characteristic resilience should enable business to bounce back after the crises subsides. While the building process is being slowed by social distancing, Gibson says projects appear to be getting done safely and at good pace.

  • Epidemiologists are studying wastewater to gauge rates of COVID-19 infection.

    Epidemiologists are studying wastewater to gauge rates of COVID-19 infection.

    With multiple efforts underway to get accurate data on the spread of COVID-19, scientists and medical specialists are turning to wastewater-focused epidemiology. Examining the chemical content of wastewater systems is providing researchers a “package of genetic material” that can be used to estimate the prevalence of COVID-19  in various communities or regions, says Rolf Halden, a Fulton Schools professor who directs ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering. Halden and other experts in wastewater research say if this method of investigation can be improved, it can aid not only monitoring of the presence of the coronavirus but also provide strategies to combat future pandemics.

  • Army program will pay $100K for solutions to national ventilator shortage

    Army program will pay $100K for solutions to national ventilator shortage

    The continued threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic has prompted the U.S. Army to offer to pay manufacturers who can produce low-cost ventilators to care for people who have the contracted the COVID-19 disease. Through a Teach Search competition, businesses are submitting ideas for solutions in hope of obtaining Defense Department research contracts to develop new ventilator prototypes. Fulton Schools Professor Brad Allenby, founding chair of the Consortium for Emerging Technologies, Military Operations and National Security, comments that such technology development programs are becoming critical in light of the possibilities for widespread health crises.

  • New research examines wastewater to detect community spread of Covid-19

    New research examines wastewater to detect community spread of Covid-19

    Researchers are trying to devise and conduct testing to help provide accurate estimations of the spread of the COVID-19 disease. Some are focusing on examining wastewater for indications of the reach of the pandemic. Wastewater is a good indicator of the chemistry inside us, so coronavirus tracking efforts at water treatment plants should yield valuable information, says Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, an environmental health engineer. Wastewater-based monitoring is likely to reveal about more about how widely the virus is circulating than testing individuals, Halden says.

  • ASU researchers look for traces of COVID-19 in Tempe wastewater

    ASU researchers look for traces of COVID-19 in Tempe wastewater

    Tempe city officials are attempting to gauge how widespread outbreaks of the coronavirus are in the municipality. They are relying on a research team led by Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering. The team is using the methods it has employed in the past in cities across the United States to detect other viruses to develop early warning systems for flu and other outbreaks. Tests are being conducted to determine if the method will detect the COVID-19 disease. Halden says the test won’t track a virus outbreak back to any individual but could provide a look at the level of the presence of COVID-19 in the area.

  • EPA releases a list of disinfectants that can help you fight the new coronavirus

    EPA releases a list of disinfectants that can help you fight the new coronavirus

    Health agencies and experts are reaching out to the public with information about what will or will not help protect people from the coronavirus contagion. For instance, some sanitizing products are better than others as disinfectants to control the spread of the virus. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering, provides details about what products are best to use and how to best use them effectively. But social distancing, avoiding stress and taking other steps to protecting one’s health are equally important ways to help prevent being vulnerable to the coronavirus, say Halden and other experts.

March

2020
  • How innovation zone could be an East Valley game-changer

    How innovation zone could be an East Valley game-changer

    Business leaders are viewing the Innovation Zone project as a catalyst for solidifying Arizona’s stature as a leading hotspot for technology and engineering startups, as well as existing front-runners in those industries. The key starting point for the Innovation Zone’s creation is ASU’s Polytechnic Campus, more specifically The Polytechnic School, one of the six Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU. The schools give tech companies convenient access to engineering students being trained for careers in growing fields such as aerospace, alternative energy, human-technology integration, robotics and digital manufacturing, and to university faculty doing research in those areas and more.

  • Plastic-eating bacteria could be small step toward tackling world’s pollution crisis

    Plastic-eating bacteria could be small step toward tackling world’s pollution crisis

    A strain of bacteria that can degrade harmful chemical compounds in polyurethane has been discovered. It could lead to at least a partial solution to reducing the amount of plastic pollution that’s threatening the health of both environments and communities around the world. Polyurethane foam is used in many things with which people come into frequent contact. The material is covered in flame retardant that can disrupt the human endocrine system, says Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering. The bacteria strain could be a useful tool in destroying polyurethane, Halden says, but more research and resources are needed to take significant steps to clean up plastics pollution.

    See Also: Scientists Discover Plastic-Munching Microbe in Waste Site, Smithsonian Magazine, March 31

    Researchers have identified bacteria that can degrade plastic, Press Stories, March 30

    Some Bacteria Can Eat Plastics, The Midland Weekly, March 3o

  • Solving the water crisis drop by drop

    Solving the water crisis drop by drop

    Fulton Schools Associate Professor Cody Friesen s drawing attention as an “impact inventor” for the work being done by Zero Mass Water, his startup venture based on technology that harvests clean drinking water from moisture in the atmosphere. The system is demonstrating the potential to improve access to safe water for communities around the world. His company’s Hydro panels are basically solar panels that produce water instead of electrical power. In dry climates like that of Arizona’s desert regions and overcast places like the Pacific Northwest, the system operates reliably. The technology has so far been installed in more than 35 countries.

  • Enlisting AI in our war on coronavirus: Potential and pitfalls

    Enlisting AI in our war on coronavirus: Potential and pitfalls

    Artificial intelligence technologies may not be able to discover a vaccine to stem the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but they can be an effective tool for other efforts to cope with the crisis. Subbarao Kambhampati, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science and chief AI officer of the AI Foundation, says AI can help trace infection clusters around the world and help the public distinguish between reliable and unreliable information about the virus on the internet and elsewhere. AI could also assist with vital communications and collaborations between medical professionals. Still, there could be some potential societal downsides to broadening the use of AI to track and influence public behavior.

  • Could coronavirus permanently impact our ‘daily commute’ habits?

    Could coronavirus permanently impact our ‘daily commute’ habits?

    Along with the other significant societal impacts of the spread of the coronavirus, the pandemic might even affect the urban transportation environment. Fulton Schools Professor Ram Pendyala, whose expertise includes transportation systems planning and travel behavior, says the public may recognize the advantages of the reduction in traffic congestion resulting from the public reaction to the virus. Or it could make people more wary of shared modes of transportation, such as buses and ride-share services. But more likely, Pendyala says, traffic will bounce back to its normal levels when the pandemic wanes.

  • Machine Learning expands prediction capacity in complex, chaotic systems

    Machine Learning expands prediction capacity in complex, chaotic systems

    Ying-Cheng Lai, a Fulton Schools professor of electrical engineering and physics, is leading research that’s enabling machine learning technology to make longer-term predictions about interruptions, failures or other significant changes and trends in the workings of various systems and processes. His team’s use of artificial recurrent neural networks to increase predictability might eventually make it possible to forecast something like the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses and illnesses.

  • Stand and be counted

    Stand and be counted

    Experts in many fields at ASU say it’s critical that the U.S. Census gets as accurate a count as possible of the number of people in the country. The count is used to apportion seats in Congress among the states and determine how almost $700 billion in federal funds are spent. It’s especially essential for guiding the nation’s transportation planning, says Fulton Schools Professor Ram Pendyala, director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. Pendyala says census data is used to gather socio-demographic information that helps government leaders forecast what will be needed to best serve the future transportation needs of the communities they serve. Ultimately, he emphasizes, good transportation systems are essential to maintaining strong local, regional and national economies.

  • ASU engineering professor makes amazing solar cell advances

    ASU engineering professor makes amazing solar cell advances

    Solar energy cells on the market today are more efficient than a decade ago, but the current level of cells’ efficiency in converting energy from the Sun into electricity is being significantly exceeded by a new cell developed by Zachary Holman, a Fulton Schools associate professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering, and his research collaborators. Chris Jones, an ASU associate professor of history and an expert in the history of the world’s energy transitions, says the progress by Holman and his colleagues definitely qualifies a big leap in energy technology advancement.

  • Sci-fi tech tackles climate change with fake trees

    Sci-fi tech tackles climate change with fake trees

    In an article that’s part of a Fortune magazine special report, “Business Faces the Climate Crisis,” the focus is on carbon capturing artificial trees developed in the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions led by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner. There’s debate about the ramifications of using the technology to help clear the atmosphere of the carbon dioxide that is leading to detrimental climate change. Lackner’s system is seen as part of a number of proposed geoengineering solutions to climate change problems. But critics contend these remedial technologies would make industries complacent about taking steps to reduce pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in the first place.

  • Engendering equality in research

    Engendering equality in research

    Women are underrepresented in the research world, especially in STEM research — science, technology, engineering and math — and in medical research. Three ASU researchers are leading efforts to remedy the imbalance. Among them is Erin Chiou, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of human systems engineering.  Chiou is the editor of the new book “Advancing Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Through Human Systems Engineering,” in which she examines, for instance, how the lack of women participants in product testing and design has led to a world ill-fitted to the needs of women that, in turn, intensifies broader gender disparities that already exist in society.

  • Today’s engineers, builders already envisioning tomorrow’s infrastructure

    Today’s engineers, builders already envisioning tomorrow’s infrastructure

    Participants from 24 countries gathered recently at ASU for the 2020 American Society of Civil Engineers Construction Research Congress to explore what the construction industry — including civil, industrial, building and cyber infrastructure engineers — must do to provide the world with resilient communities. Hosted by the Fulton Schools Del E. Webb School of Construction, the event’s leadership committee of Fulton Schools faculty members Mounir El Asmar, Kristen Parrish, Samuel Ariaratnam, G. Edward Gibson Jr., Anthony Lamanna, Pingbo Tang, David Grau, Steven Ayer and Wanda Dalla Costa planned presentations focusing on identifying and solving challenges faced by cities trying to shape built environments to ensure a sustainable futures.

  • Study explains How Rattlesnakes Catch Rainwater On Their Backs

    Study explains How Rattlesnakes Catch Rainwater On Their Backs

    One way some rattlesnakes species have adapted to survive in hot, dry desert climates is though an ability to absorb or “harvest” rain, sleet and even snow. Researchers, including Konrad Rykaczewski, a Fulton Schools associate professor of mechanical engineering, have found the snakes coil themselves in ways that most effectively expose their skins to precipitation. Through nanoscale-sized features of the texture of their skins, these rattlers are able to capture water in a labyrinthine network of tiny channels from which they can imbibe the moisture. The ability enables the snakes to take advantage of a source of water with minimal use of energy or risk. The report on the study is published in the American Chemical Society’s ACS Omega research journal.

  • The Truth about Bioplastic

    The Truth about Bioplastic

    The promise of environmentally friendly bioplastics that degrade naturally and can then be recycled and reused for productive purposes is largely unfulfilled. Most makers of bioplastics are not following through on what needs to done to ensure bioplastics don’t end up adding to the growing amount of plastics waste that is harming ecosystems in oceans and rivers and across landscapes. Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Taylor Weiss, who is developing algae-based plastics, says bioplastics need to processed at facilities specifically designed to do proper recycling so they don’t become just more greenhouse gas emitting garbage.

  • Inside the hive’s mind

    Inside the hive’s mind

    Insects’ brains may be tiny, but their complexity and cognitive processing abilities fascinate scientists and engineers. What can be learned from studying and mimicking the capabilities of some insect brains has been used used to model technologies such as control systems for autonomous airplanes and search-and-rescue “roach-bots.” At ASU, Fulton Schools Professor Yu Cao and Assistant Professor Ted Pavlic are teaming with colleagues on research for a U. S. Department of Defense research agency aimed at advancing computational abilities to do things like scaling down artificial intelligence devices. In pursuit of that goal, they’ll be using knowledge gained from examining the mental capacities of certain species of bees.

  • ASU researchers are pioneers in new solar cell technology

    ASU researchers are pioneers in new solar cell technology

    A solar cell with one of the highest power-conversion efficiencies yet achieved is the work of two Fulton Schools faculty members and research collaborators at the University of Colorado, Boulder. With those colleagues, Fulton Schools Associate Professor Zachary Holman and Assistant Professor Zhengshan (Jason) Yu, both of whom teach in the electrical, computer and energy engineering program, coauthored a paper about the accomplishment recently published in Science magazine. The paper describes the team’s breakthrough with a new technique for layering a cell made of perovskite — a crystal structure designed to harvest high energy photons — with a silicon solar cell. The result is a cell that boosts conversion of the sun’s energy into electricity by about a third more than previous cells. The advance could also make the cost of solar energy more affordable.

  • Patients Try Most Intuitive Hand Prosthetics Yet in Pilot Trial

    Patients Try Most Intuitive Hand Prosthetics Yet in Pilot Trial

    Researchers have developed a biointegrated prosthetic device that works through a regenerative peripheral nerve interface. The system uses muscle grafts connected to the remaining peripheral nerves of people who have lost a hand or an arm. When amputees think of moving hands and fingers — just the way they did when they hand real hands— the grafts amplify signals that are then conveyed through wires to a robotic prosthesis. The device represents a significant technological advance in prosthetics, says Bradley Gregor, a Fulton Schools associate professor of biomedical engineering, who does research in areas related to work of the neuroscientists and others who’ve made the new prosthetic technology.  

  • How ASU researchers are working to predict when monsoons will hit

    How ASU researchers are working to predict when monsoons will hit

    How severe will the impacts of the next monsoon storm be when it hits monsoon-prone places such as Arizona? “The answer is in the ground,” says Giuseppe Mascaro, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering. Mascaro and his research team are finding ways to predict the effects of weather events in particular regions by examining the levels of soil moisture in those areas. By monitoring satellite data from NASA, Mascaro’s team can get detailed information about ground and soil conditions that reveal what is likely to happen when heavy monsoon rainstorms shower specific terrain. Read about related hydrological forecasting research Mascaro is doing with fellow ASU engineer Enrique Vivoni.

    See Also: Family files lawsuit against U.S. government after deadly 2017 Payson floods, ABC News-Northern Arizona, February 29
    Mascaro is quoted in the article reporting on a lawsuit related to the fatal results of a 2017 flash flood near Payson, Arizona.

February

2020
  • Making Waves team ties for 1st Place in Spark Tank Challenge

    Making Waves team ties for 1st Place in Spark Tank Challenge

    Fulton Schools engineers teamed with U.S. airmen at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix for an Air Force innovation challenge. Together they developed the Dynamic Unmanned Threat Emitter, designed to help train military pilots to identify and react effectively to threats such as surface-to-air missiles and antiaircraft artillery. Dan Bliss (at far left in photo), a Fulton Schools associate professor of electrical engineering, and doctoral student Wylie Standage-Beier (second from left) put together a software defined radio communications system that can be operated from a computer. The system can help pilots and their aircraft perform intelligence, surveillance and defense missions. Bliss foresees the possibility of future collaborations to provide more high-tech support for Luke Air Force base.

    See Also: Luke AFB, ASU idea is co-winner in annual Air Force competition, Goodyear Independent, March 2

  • What do we look for in a ’good’ robot colleague?

    What do we look for in a ’good’ robot colleague?

    As robots and related artificial intelligence technologies become more prevalent in manufacturing, health care and many other industries — as well as in the military — questions are arising about how to best develop effective working relationships between humans and robots. Nancy Cooke, a Fulton Schools professor of cognitive science and chair of the human systems engineering graduate program, says robot coworkers can be as cooperative or as frustrating to work with as humans. She and other experts point to potential solutions that can avoid friction and generate constructive relations between people and their robot colleagues on the job.

  • Researchers develop new gel-based nanosensor for radiation dose monitoring

    Researchers develop new gel-based nanosensor for radiation dose monitoring

    Therapeutic radiation treatment has to be done with extreme precision to be fully medically beneficial. Overdosing or underdosing in the use of high-energy radiation beams can each present serious risks to patients. Too much healthy body tissue can he destroyed by overdosing, while underdosing can do too little to remove a dangerous tumor. Kaushal Rege, a Fulton Schools professor of chemical engineering, along with research collaborators at a Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Arizona, are developing a hydrogel of gold salts and amino acids that can carefully measure doses of radiation by being applied directly to a patient’s skin.

  • ASU Mini-Satellite To Launch From ISS Wednesday

    ASU Mini-Satellite To Launch From ISS Wednesday

    A small satellite designed to study the formation and impacts of urban heat islands in seven cities throughout the United States — including Phoenix — has successfully launched from the International Space Station. The satellite was built over the past several years by the Phoenix CubeSat project team through the work of about 100 ASU students, including many Fulton Schools students. The project’s mission is to gain a better understanding of the factors that lead to urban heat islands and to collaborate with communities in efforts to plan development of urban infrastructure in ways that help to alleviate buildup of excessive heat in densely developed cities.

    See also: ASU’s Phoenix CubeSat Satellite launched into orbit, The State Press, February 24

  • ASU students using technology and drones as they work to improve search for lost hikers

    ASU students using technology and drones as they work to improve search for lost hikers

    State and local agencies in Arizona embark on an average of about a dozen search and rescue missions throughout the state each week — often on large expanses of land where people may be lost in remote areas, without resources and in need of medical aid. Research being led by Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Stephanie Gil may soon provide advanced technology to help rescuers locate and provide resources to missing persons. She and her student team are developing specially equipped drones capable of finding people and delivering water, basic medical equipment and communications devices to them. The researchers are collaborating on the project with the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military affairs.

     

  • How your favorite airline can slash its colossal carbon emissions

    How your favorite airline can slash its colossal carbon emissions

    Some major airline companies are committing to dramatically reducing the prodigious amounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide the industry emits into the atmosphere. Meeting that goal will be expensive and technologically challenging, but it’s still achievable, says Timothy Takahashi, a Fulton Schools aerospace engineering professor of practice. Huge batteries or hydrogen fuel cells are too heavy for larger planes to be feasible alternatives to CO2-emitting liquid fuels, he notes, but biofuels might do the trick if their production is increased significantly. The answer might be combining alternative fuels with flying planes higher in the atmosphere and making flights shorter, both of which would be more fuel-efficient, Takahashi says.

  • CARBON CAPTURE WINS FANS AMONG OIL GIANTS

    CARBON CAPTURE WINS FANS AMONG OIL GIANTS

    The threatening accumulation of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere — due in large part to industrial activity — is fundamentally a big “waste-management problem,” says Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner, emphasizing that it’s the responsibility of those who put the CO2 into the air to take it out. Some of the major corporations among those whose operations contribute to CO2 buildup are now looking at ways they can help deal with the problem. One potential fix is carbon-capture technology that Lackner and his colleagues at ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions are developing. The center’s “mechanical trees” are able to filter CO2 from ambient air.

    See Also: ASU professor’s “mechanical trees” pull tons of CO2 from air, Chamber Business News, February 24

    So-called ‘negative emissions’ might actually work, at least in California, Grist, February 11

    Can negative emission technologies overcome climate catastrophe? Chemical World, February 7

  • Students showcase remarkable ideas at ASU Day at the Capitol

    Students showcase remarkable ideas at ASU Day at the Capitol

    Arizona state legislators and other visitors to ASU Day at the Arizona State Capitol grounds in Phoenix got a look at what Kyle Squires, dean of the Fulton Schools, described as “the ways our students and faculty put to practice their creativity in designing solutions to real-world problems that impact the world.” Among featured exhibits was one on the ASU Blockchain Research Lab. Fulton Schools computer engineering master’s degree student Manish Vishnoi (gesturing in photo) explained the nature of the lab’s work. Visitors also got introductions to the innovations being developed by Fulton Schools faculty members and students at the Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics and the Biodesign Institute’s Center for Environmental Heath Engineering.

     

  • Illuminating Water Contamination

    Illuminating Water Contamination

    Growing up in Brazil, Mariana Lanzarini-Lopes became aware of communities in which many people suffered from a lack of access to clean water. Today she is working to find solutions to that widespread hardship. As a Fulton Schools environmental engineering doctoral student, Lanzarini-Lopes is involved in research to apply the ability of LED light to trigger a water-purification process — using flexible optical fibers woven into a fabric to disinfect water at a close range. Her research is supported by NASA, which is looking at the system for potential use on the International Space Station, and by the ARCS Foundation, which supports outstanding students seeking degrees in science, engineering and medical research.

  • Community connections will help send ASU rocket to edge of space

    Community connections will help send ASU rocket to edge of space

    ASU’s Helios Rocketry team of about 50 students, many of them Fulton Schools students, are competing in the Base 11 Space Challenge to build a liquid-fueled rocket capable of traveling to the deep reaches of outer space. In pursuit of its goal, the team is learning lessons not only in the development of space-flight technologies and systems but also in the skills it takes to recruit and work with industry partners. Helios Rocketry is collaborating with aerospace, aviation and engineering companies in the Phoenix and Mesa areas to access the facilities and tools it needs to design and construct its rocket. Next, the team plans put together a business team to expand partnerships and manage fundraising.

     

  • How Small Fibers Can Make Concrete Stronger

    How Small Fibers Can Make Concrete Stronger

    Much of the billions of tons of concrete used each year in construction projects around the world could be made more durable by an advanced fiber-reinforced concrete, says Fulton Schools Professor Barzin Mobasher. He is leading research to develop high-performance synthetic, glass, polymeric and nylon fibers that could not only increase the resilience of buildings, roads and infrastructure but also could speed up construction projects and save costs over time by making concrete structures and facilities less prone to corrosion and cracking. Read more on the ASU NOW and Modern Contractor Solutions news sites.

  • Trump Proposes a Cut in Research Spending, but a Boost for AI

    Trump Proposes a Cut in Research Spending, but a Boost for AI

    The U.S. President’s federal budget proposal is heavy on funding to pursue advances in artificial intelligence and quantum technologies, but short on support for more basic science and engineering work. Researchers and policy analysts say that support is critical to spurring innovations in a range of critical areas. Fulton Schools Professor Subbarao Kambhampati, an AI expert, says such funding cuts will risk undermining promising progress in many fields — including those that potentially can boost the capabilities of AI and quantum technologies.

  • Report names ASU a factor in rapid expansion of Phoenix’s tech market

    Report names ASU a factor in rapid expansion of Phoenix’s tech market

    “The Greater Phoenix Tech Story,” a recent report by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and a local commercial real estate business group, concludes that the Phoenix area is one of the country’s fastest-growing technology hubs — citing ASU as one of the key factors leading to that growth. Tech companies are building a talented workforce by hiring many of the university’s graduates, especially Fulton Schools graduates, according to report. Engineering is critical to the success of many of the companies, and in the Fulton Schools those businesses find students with an “entrepreneurial mindset” and a focus on being innovators, says James Collofello, Fulton Schools vice dean of Academic and Student Affairs. Students are encouraged to become “intrapreneurs,” and to gain the skills necessary to create new startup companies or join existing startups, Collofello says.

  • Is ‘Expired’ Milk Safe to Drink? Here’s How to Know When to Throw Away Food

    Is ‘Expired’ Milk Safe to Drink? Here’s How to Know When to Throw Away Food

    Confused by the “sell by” and “used by” labels found on food packaging? Experts say most people are, and the confusion is causing a significant amount of food waste. One study found that close to half the produce, meat and dairy products some people buy is getting thrown out because of those labels. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering, says much of the food that has passed its “sell by” date is safe to eat. Humans have an innate ability to sense a lack of freshness with food through visual and tactile clues, along with our sense of smell, Halden says. But a practical remedy, he advises, is to buy no more food than you will realistically eat before its gets old and freeze foods to preserve them for longer periods of time.

    See Also: To toss or not? Knowing when ‘expired’ really means expired, ASU NOW, February 24

    Knowing when ‘expired’ label dates really means expired, AZ Big Media, February 25

  • This Valley woman’s work is out of this world

    This Valley woman’s work is out of this world

    Hopes for future space exploration could be dampened if effective solutions aren’t found for breathing problems astronauts have experienced during long periods of time spent inside spacecraft. One of the engineers working on a remedy is Phoebe Henson, a Fulton Schools alumnus who earned an electrical engineering degree in 2015. Henson is a member of the Human Space Group at the Honeywell Aerospace facility near Phoenix. The team has already helped NASA by developing a system that removes excess carbon dioxide from the air inside the International Space Station. Now Henson and her colleagues are at work on advanced materials to capture and filter out the carbon dioxide from air supplies — and possibly even recycle the CO2 and turn it back into oxygen. That kind of work helped Henson become one of only several Arizonans named to Forbes magazine’s 2019 list of 30 Under 30 rising stars. (Subscriber access only)

  • Arizona poised to win in new economy if we invest wisely

    Arizona poised to win in new economy if we invest wisely

    Successful efforts to leverage investments and create partnerships to grow the Fulton Schools engineering programs is one example of what needs to done to boost Arizona’s economy, says ASU President Michael Crow. A special investment the Arizona Board of Regents is now requesting from the state government builds on that example, Crow says. That new funding would be used to spur more breakthroughs in engineering and science — advances that would in turn create a top-tier, concentrated environment of technology and talent in the greater Phoenix area to provide the state a key strategic economic development asset for the future.

    See also: Arizona’s 3 university presidents promote research as economic driver — ASU NOW, February 6 (article cites research advances led by Fulton Schools faculty members Klaus Lackner and Cody Friesen)

    Presidents of Arizona’s state universities embrace new economy initiative, KJZZ (NPR)

  • Scientists hope to win global competition with concrete that incorporates and reduces carbon dioxide emissions

    Scientists hope to win global competition with concrete that incorporates and reduces carbon dioxide emissions

    Carbon dioxide emissions are a big part of the growing greenhouse gas problem contributing to climate change impacts and air pollution. Scientists are in a race to find ways to reduce those emissions. One team of researchers is working on ways to trap CO2 emissions from industrial operations in cement, including emissions released from the production of concrete. But Allen Wright, executive director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, led by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner, says to significantly curb those emissions, efforts need to go much further. Policymakers must enable research aimed at developing advanced carbon management technologies at a large scale. The article is also published on the AZ Big Media news site.

January

2020
  • ASU scientists boost gene-editing tools to new heights in human stem cells

    ASU scientists boost gene-editing tools to new heights in human stem cells

    The promise of improving human health with use of the gene-editing tool called CRISPR has been limited because its editing capabilities are often imprecise. But David Brafman, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of biomedical engineering, is at work on developing ways to improve CRISPR’s efficiency. Results of his efforts published in the research journal Stem Cell Reports details how Brafman’s lab team has developed a new approach to enriching DNA base-edited cell populations. The genetic modification of stem cells enabled by this method looks as if it will be useful for disease modeling, drug screening and tissue engineering, and for revealing the causes of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. The article has also been published on Phys.Org, Science Codex and Technology Networks.

    See Also: Gene-editing taken to advanced levels in human stem cells, News-Medical.net, January 20

  • New high-voltage power plant in Japan can support Navy’s electric stealth destroyers

    New high-voltage power plant in Japan can support Navy’s electric stealth destroyers

    Some of the Navy’s most advanced high-tech ships are being supplied energy by equally advanced power plants. Some of those ships sport state-of-the-art electric propulsion systems and stealth design among their innovative features. The ships use gas turbines to produce electricity that is then used to power electric motors for propulsion, explains Fulton Schools Professor Brad Allenby. The electricity generated can also be used to power weapons systems, he adds. Allenby is the author of the book “Future Conflict & Emerging Technologies,” and editor of “The Applied Ethics of Military and Security Technologies.” He is a former Stockdale Fellow at the U.S Naval Academy and an associate faculty member with ASU’s Center for the Future of War.

  • Investment in engineering could reap massive economic benefits

    Investment in engineering could reap massive economic benefits

    In the second of a three-part series, ASU President Michael Crow points to the Fulton Schools as one of the university’s more prolific catalysts of innovation and technological advances that fuel economic growth in Arizona and beyond. But Crow says more investment will be needed to give engineering education and research the tools needed to fulfill their potential as the “backbone of a range of industries” for a New Economy being driven by smart technologies and systems that combine the physical, digital and biological worlds that are changing the way we live.

     

  • Arizona State University developing drone software for search and rescues

    Arizona State University developing drone software for search and rescues

    High-tech advancements are promising to help make search and rescue operations more effective. One example is work to develop software and design algorithms to enable flying drones and ground robots to more quickly locate missing or stranded persons. Those efforts are underway in the lab of Stephanie Gil (at far right in photo), a Fulton Schools assistant professor of computer science. Along with her student research assistants, Gil is exploring how drones can not only locate those who are lost, but also deliver water, medical supplies and communication devices to them. Read more about the lab’s work.

  • ASU Graduate College announces 2019-20 Outstanding Faculty Mentors

    ASU Graduate College announces 2019-20 Outstanding Faculty Mentors

    Among ASU faculty members named as outstanding mentors of the university’s graduate students for the 2019-2020 academic years is Yang Weng (at far right in photo), a Fulton Schools assistant professor in the electrical, computer and energy engineering program. The awards recognize mentors who not only guide students through their studies but also help them in successfully pursuing long-term career goals. This year’s nominees for the award “are the strongest we’ve had yet,” says Zachary Reeves-Burton, program manager of mentoring initiatives and professional development for the Graduate College.

  • No time to relax, competitive forces fiercer than ever

    No time to relax, competitive forces fiercer than ever

    Arizona’s economic health has been on the upswing, so now offers the perfect opportunity to make investments to ensure the economy keeps moving in that direction, says ASU President Michael Crow. One way to do that is taking steps to elevate the state’s stature as a hub of innovation — especially in education, research, discovery and entrepreneurship. A big part of ASU’s contribution to the goal, Crow says, should be to build “the greatest engineering school in the world, the largest, the most creative, the most innovative,” as well as to create new science and technology centers that push advances in engineering and science fields into the marketplace.

  • New Autism Treatment Targets Gut Health

    New Autism Treatment Targets Gut Health

    New research indicates a critical link between the health of the human gut and cognitive function. Fulton Schools researchers such as Professor Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown are among those showing a new gut microbiome therapy could lead to better treatments for neurodevelopment disorders, including autism. An ASU research team completed a study of 18 children who received Microbiota Transfer Therapy, also known as fecal transplant, which is producing improvements in autism-related symptoms. The study shows the gut-brain connection is real, Krajmalnik-Brown says, and that the new treatment that is providing greater gut microbiota diversity raises hope for long-term improvements in the health of people living with autism.

  • New era begins, ASU breaks ground for campus

    New era begins, ASU breaks ground for campus

    A new ASU campus, located at the Mesa City Center, will focus on training students in high-tech media production, including digital and sensory technology, experiential design, media arts and related subjects. Among the first educational attractions at the campus will be ASU’s METEOR Studio, directed by Robert LiKamWa, an assistant professor of electrical engineering in the Fulton Schools and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. The studio works on mobile software and hardware systems for computer vision and augmented reality. Read more about recent work at METEOR Studio

  • Wearable technology drives Phoenix to be leader in innovation

    Wearable technology drives Phoenix to be leader in innovation

    Several Fulton Schools faculty members will be involved in the research to be done by the new WearTEch Applied Research Center, a collaboration between ASU and local government, along with healthcare and economic organizations. The effort to establish Arizona as a hub of MedTech innovation will focus on wearable technologies, wearable robotics, bioelectronics medicine and neurotechnology development. The center will enable leading university researchers to partner with industry to quicken the pace of moving fundamental research from the lab to the marketplace and “make ASU’s backyard the competitive home of wearable medical technology,” says Kyle Squires, dean of the Fulton Schools.

  • ASU, Arizona partner to develop autonomous, unmanned systems for rescue operations

    ASU, Arizona partner to develop autonomous, unmanned systems for rescue operations

    The Robotics, Embedded Autonomy and Communications Theory Lab, or REACT, led by Stephanie Gil (at left in photo), a Fulton Schools assistant professor of computer science, gives ASU students opportunities to work on real-world projects. The latest is a collaboration with the Arizona Search and Rescue Coordinators Association and the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs. The project aims to deploy robotic drones developed by the lab on search and rescue operations throughout the state. The software and intelligence technology Gil’s team will build into the autonomous robotic systems enables drones to gather environmental information and use it to work as a team, and to use that capability to perform more effectively in searches in remote and hazardous areas.

  • TONG WINS NSF-AMAZON AWARD TO IMPROVE AI FAIRNESS

    TONG WINS NSF-AMAZON AWARD TO IMPROVE AI FAIRNESS

    Ross Maciejewski (pictured), a Fulton Schools assistant professor of computer science and engineering, has a leading role in a major computational research endeavor expected to produce advances in social network analysis, neural science, intelligent transportation systems, critical infrastructures, blockchain networks and related areas — and to develop useful open-source tools and publicly available datasets. Maciejewski is teaming with Hanghang Tong, a computer science professor at the University of Illinois, on the project that’s part of the National Science Foundation’s Fairness in Artificial Intelligence program, aimed at creating trustworthy AI systems to devise solutions to some of society’s biggest challenges.

  • Zero Mass Water: How the water in the air can save us

    Zero Mass Water: How the water in the air can save us

    By combining solar power, air and electricity to ignite a condensation process that draws water from the atmosphere, Cody Friesen (pictured), Fulton Schools professor or materials science and engineering, founded the startup Zero Mass Water, which is making big waves as a promising source for renewal water. With large-scale solar hydropanels that produce enough water for businesses and small communities, the system is being used in locales in almost 40 countries around the world. More versions of the Zero Mass Water system are in development, Friesen says. That progress promises to enable bigger and better systems that can provide water to larger and larger areas.

  • How Desert Rattlesnakes Harvest Rainwater

    How Desert Rattlesnakes Harvest Rainwater

    “Beautiful nano-labyrinths” are the secret to rattlesnakes’ ability to quench their thirst in dry climates where water is scarce, says Konrad Rykaczewski, a Fulton Schools associate professor of mechanical engineering. A team of biologists and engineers, including Rykaczewski, has discovered how the snakes become “living rain buckets.” The researchers found western diamondback rattlesnakes in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert can collect water when rain or snow is falling because water droplets stay pinned to the snakes’ skin and their scales form a network of tiny channels that capture the water.  It’s suspected that the snakes evolved the precipitation harvesting anatomical trait as a survival mechanism in response to the desert environment.

    See also: How rattlesnakes collect water in the desert, ABC News, January 17

    Rattlesnakes have skin that’s sticky for raindrops so they can sip from their scales, CBC Radio (Canada), January 17

  • B.C. naturopath’s pricey fecal transplants for autism are experimental and risky, scientists say

    B.C. naturopath’s pricey fecal transplants for autism are experimental and risky, scientists say

    A naturopath practitioner claims to have achieved dramatic improvement in treating the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder in children with fecal transplants. But physicians and scientists are skeptical, including Fulton Schools Professor Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, whose research has helped to develop the fecal transplant method the naturopath says he is using. Krajmalnik-Brown joins medical professionals and other researchers who warn it is too early in the testing of the procedure to verify its effectiveness and safety. While some results are encouraging, she adds, for now there is too much potential risk involved and more research is needed to confirm the treatment as a viable option.

  • Arts, Media and Engineering students tackle the big ‘why” questions

    Arts, Media and Engineering students tackle the big ‘why” questions

    Students in ASU’s School of Arts, Media and Engineering apply the latest technologies, research methods and knowledge from diverse disciplines to answer big-picture questions revolving around human endeavors in science, engineering, culture and society. The school’s new interim director is Associate Professor Pavan Turaga, who also teaches in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of the six Fulton Schools. He sees the fusion of pursuits intertwining arts and humanities with, for instance, the hard sciences and engineering methodologies leading to valuable discoveries and solutions that won’t be achieved without such unconventional cross-disciplinary collaborations.

  • Facebook Says It Will Ban ‘Deepfakes’

    Facebook Says It Will Ban ‘Deepfakes’

    To prevent the spread of false information on its website, the large social media network Facebook plans to ban videos extensively altered by artificial intelligence technology. The company’s vice president of global policy management, Monica Bickert (at left in photo), announced that such videos, called deepfakes, would be banned when they are either in user’s posts or in advertisements. Subbarao Kambhampati, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science and leading artificial intelligence researcher, says automated systems for detecting deepfakes will likely have limited effectiveness and provide incentives for users to attempt to fool Facebook’s detection systems. Kambhampati is also quoted in the related articles: Fake Trump video? How to spot deepfakes on Facebook and YouTube ahead of the presidential election, USA Today, January 8, and in Is seeing still believing? The deepfake challenge to truth in politics, Brookings Institution/Center for Technology Innovation, January 8.

  • AI computing will enter the ‘land of humans’ in the 2020s: The promise and the peril

    AI computing will enter the ‘land of humans’ in the 2020s: The promise and the peril

    Humans’ relationships with computers are going to evolve significantly — particularly because of advances in artificial intelligence technology, says Subbarao Kambhampati, Fulton Schools professor of computer science. Advances in “natural interaction modalities” mean human-computer and human-robot connections will have a big role in shaping modern reality, writes Kambhampati, the chief AI officer of the AI Foundation, which focuses on responsible development of AI technologies. He says the next decade will be a test of how we learn to balance the positive aspects of that new reality with its potentially negative impacts.

  • Negative carbon dioxide emissions

    Negative carbon dioxide emissions

    With the rate at which carbon dioxide is being emitted into the atmosphere, it will take much more than gradually reducing those emissions to keep the greenhouse gas from reaching more threatening levels. Among the more promising solutions to the problem is technology coming out of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner. His lab’s “artificial trees” (one of them is pictured here) are able to capture carbon dioxide and remove it from the air. An investment group is financing deployment of clusters of the devices at carbon-capture “farms” in various locations.

December

2019
  • Daily Commutes Might Worsen Exposure To Heat Waves

    Daily Commutes Might Worsen Exposure To Heat Waves

    Rates of illness and death increase for commuters in cities when the weather is extremely hot or extremely cold, according to a study published in Science Advances reporting on research by Chenghao Wang, a recent graduate of the Fulton Schools doctoral program in civil, environmental and sustainable engineering. Phoenix is among cities included in the research. Wang’s study found people working in areas in which the urban heat island effect is strongest appear to be more at risk when temperatures climb significantly.

  • Democracy 2.0: Returning power to the people

    Democracy 2.0: Returning power to the people

    Research finds politics — more than race, religion, gender or age differences — is forging the deepest divide between Americans. Stephanie Forrest, a Fulton School professor computer science and engineering and director of ASU’s Biodesign Center for Biocomputing, Security and Society, explores the sources reshaping public discourse and how they exacerbate political partisanship. Her research involves inquiries similar to work of others who are examining the trend and seeking ways to quell polarizing forces. Two leading researchers in this area will give talks at ASU on January 6 as part of a lecture series established by ASU and Princeton University.

  • Mother, student, designer — now graduate

    Mother, student, designer — now graduate

    With a degree in graphics information technology, 2019 Fulton Schools graduate Rebecca Sjorup says she’s ready to start her own business. Beyond a technical education, her experience at ASU taught her “that quitting isn’t for me’” and that “persistence and discipline can take you far and even with the countless all-nighters it is so worth it.” Read more: Mother, student, designer — now graduate

    New Fulton Schools mechanical graduate Jun Sasaki had a similar experience. “From various soft skills to time management, everything I’ve learned at ASU will be valuable for my personal development,” he says. His recommendation to college students: “Make connections and lifelong friends because these are the people that you will keep around in your life forever.” Read more: ASU mechanical engineering graduate encourages students to get involved

    Graduate Jose Guerrero will be seeking a career with the skills he has gained while earning a graphic information technology degree with a minor in film studies. His message: “Don’t be afraid to do what you want to do in life. You only have one life to live and you’re the person living it.” And when you make mistakes, “don’t take them seriously, just learn from them.” Read more: ASU grad sets sights on impacting design and film industries

  • ABOR seeks millions in new funding to expand ASU’s engineering education capacity

    ABOR seeks millions in new funding to expand ASU’s engineering education capacity

    As part of a “New Economy Initiative,” the Arizona Board of Regents is proposing a large investment by the state government to increase the number of engineering graduates from ASU. The plan includes adding faculty and establishing science and technology centers to foster partnerships between private industry, government and the university. ASU has been able to “catalyze the tech ecosystem” in Arizona, says Kyle Squires, dean of the Fulton Schools, but the need for new engineers continues to grow at a steady pace. The investment could also enable students to do research for startup companies and other tech-oriented businesses. The chair of the Arizona Technology Association says the initiative plan is critical to ensuring the growth of the state’s tech industries. (Subscriber access only)

  • Local woman finds ASU an ally in male-dominant field

    Local woman finds ASU an ally in male-dominant field

    Esther Sim recalls hearing about college engineering courses with a ratio of male to female students of more than 10 to 1. Learning in an environment not so one-sided was an important factor in her decision to go to ASU. The senior biomedical engineering major says she found a support system in the Fulton Schools that allayed some of her concerns about such imbalances.  Sim (at right in photo, with Fulton Schools computer science major Haley Harelson) still sees a need for more gender diversity in most branches of engineering. Kyle Squires, dean of the Ira A. Fulton Schools, and Jeremy Helm, senior director of academic and student affairs, say they share her perspective and that recruitment of more women into the profession remains a major priority.

  • Holiday hackathon makes toys accessible for children with disabilities

    Holiday hackathon makes toys accessible for children with disabilities

    Desert WAVE, an all-female robotics team of Fulton Schools students, joined members of Degrees of Freedom, an all-female robotics team of high school students, to apply their technical know-how to “hack” toys to make them accessible to children who face challenges manipulating interactive toys. The toys were modified to help the children playing with them develop problem-solving and socialization skills — as well as have fun. The teams developed and built push-button activators for the toys, which will be distributed during the holiday season by a nonprofit group serving members or the local community with disabilities.

  • ‘They think all I do is draw’

    ‘They think all I do is draw’

    Shandiin Yessilth, the Fulton Schools’ Outstanding Fall 2019 Graduate in Construction Management, is among Diné women bringing construction, architecture, design and community planning skills to Native American communities. She is currently gaining experience in an internship with Kitchell Corporation, a major construction contractor in the Southwest. Yesslith is being mentored by a fellow Diné, Kim Kanuho, a planner and president of a Native-owned design company, and also is managing construction labor on a project led by Diné architect Tamarah Begay. Yessilth plans to return to ASU in the fall of 2020 to pursue a master’s degree in sustainable engineering. Read about other exceptional Fulton Schools fall 2019 graduates.

  • Fiber-reinforced Concrete Speeds Construction, Reduces Costs

    Fiber-reinforced Concrete Speeds Construction, Reduces Costs

    By mixing fibers made of steel or comparable composites of materials into concrete, Fulton Schools professor Barzin Mobasher says building concrete structures and using it as a pavement could be more cost-efficient, reduce the carbon footprint of construction projects and provide significantly higher resiliency to everything from normal wear and tear over time to earthquakes. Mobasher has been leading research to develop this fiber-reinforced concrete for more than a decade and is starting to see it attract contractors’ interest. The material was recently used on a section of the Phoenix metro area light rail line.

  • Tempe company, ASU win NASA grant to develop disruptive spacecraft technology

    Tempe company, ASU win NASA grant to develop disruptive spacecraft technology

    ASU has become a leader in making technological advances in additive manufacturing, says Kyle Squires, dean of the Fulton Schools. Progress being made in that area has led to a NASA grant to support work by researchers at ASU, Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies Inc. and Kennesaw State University in Georgia to develop new technologies that will boost innovation in aerospace engineering. Efforts will include development and production of new tools to enable engineers to design components lighter and strong enough to withstand the stresses of launching and landing spacecraft. (Subscriber access only)

    See also: NASA awards Tempe engineers, ASU researchers $755K in grant money, KTAR News, December 12

  • Robocalls Targeting Immigrants, Foreign University Students

    Robocalls Targeting Immigrants, Foreign University Students

    Most Americans are aware the Internal Revenue Services does not make telephone calls to people to tell them they owe the federal tax agency money. But that knowledge is far less prevalent among particular populations. That’s why robocalls by phone scammers are targeting immigrants and foreign students at universities in the United States, says Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Adam Doupé (in red shirt, with students in photo). That’s one reason Arizona is among the places where perpetrators of such scams most frequently target their efforts, says Doupé, whose expertise includes vulnerability analysis, web security, mobile security and network security.

    See also: Report reveals Arizona is fifth worst state for robocalls, The State Press, December 4 article quotes Fulton Schools Professor Katina Michael

  • No. 1: ASU receives recognition for innovation

    No. 1: ASU receives recognition for innovation

     “We are trying to blur the line between society, the marketplace and the classroom every day,” says Brent Sebold (pictured in photo), director of Entrepreneurship + Innovation in the Fulton Schools of Engineering. The statement encapsulates a guiding mission of ASU that has led to the university being named No. 1 in innovation among the country’s institutions of higher education for five straight years by the U.S. News and World Report. Sebold is among faculty who focus on teaching the importance of entrepreneurship and value creation to ASU students to shape them into innovators. Student endeavors such as the all-female Desert WAVE robotics team — composed of Fulton Schools students —is one of the endeavors that have brought ASU wide recognition for its innovative ways.

    See also: Fighting stereotypes ASU Robotics Team shows women can excel in stem fields, College Times, December 6

  • Testing of Industrial Exoskeletons Deemed a Full Success

    Testing of Industrial Exoskeletons Deemed a Full Success

    New wearable robotics technologies developed by exoskeleton experts such as Fulton Schools Professor Thomas Sugar (at left in photo) were in the spotlight at a recent international conference. The event included hands-on testing demonstrations of new exoskeleton devices, some of which are designed for medical, industrial and military applications. The next Wearable Robotics Association conference is scheduled to be in Phoenix in early 2020.

  • How A Group Of ASU Students Launched A Research Satellite Into Space

    How A Group Of ASU Students Launched A Research Satellite Into Space

    The trend toward hotter temperatures in much of the world is more intense in densely developed cities where the urban heat island effect is spreading — especially where there are large expanses of concrete and asphalt paving. A team of ASU students, including many Fulton Schools students, is hoping to find ways to reduce the effect through data they will collect from a small satellite the team built and recently sent into orbit. Aerospace engineering major Jaime Sanchez de la Vega talks about the making of the specially designed “cube sat” named Phoenix.

  • USPCAS-E: The power of collaboration realized

    USPCAS-E: The power of collaboration realized

    Energy engineering pursuits by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Zachary Holman (at right in photo) are being enhanced by research and education collaborations developed through the U.S.-Pakistan Centers for Advanced Studies in Energy. Fulton Schools Professor Sayfe Kiaei is the USPCAS-E project director at ASU. The organization is fostering projects aimed at modernizing energy infrastructure, improving energy engineering education, providing academic exchange programs, establishing effective public policy on energy matters, and promoting entrepreneurship in the field — among many other related endeavors. Holman has traveled to Pakistan to lead technical training for faculty and students, and hosted exchange scholars in his ASU laboratory.

  • The most important engineering innovations of 2019

    The most important engineering innovations of 2019

    Mechanical “trees” offer an effective way to counteract the dangerous buildup of greenhouse gases — specifically carbon dioxide — in the atmosphere, which is exacerbating the detrimental impacts of climate change. A “forest” of these trees designed by a tech investment startup company and ASU researchers led by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner, director of  the university’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions, promises to remove more carbon dioxide from the air than any other similar endeavor to date. The pilot project the company is planning to install in California could capture emissions each day equivalent to those produced by more than 1,800 households. Read more.

    See also: Popular Science picks ASU professor’s ‘MechanicalTree’ as a 2019 top technology, ASU NOW, December 5

  • ASU students’ research could help uncover why wrong-way driving is big in AZ

    ASU students’ research could help uncover why wrong-way driving is big in AZ

    Using a simulator to test reactions of drivers, students in the Fulton Schools human systems engineering program are exploring ways to prevent people from ignoring the “wrong way” signs and driving their vehicles down ramps and onto freeways — and heading into oncoming traffic. Officials in Arizona have reported almost 3,500 instances of such wrong-way driving in the state during a recent two-and-half-year period. Fulton Schools graduate students Mathew Dusharm and John Falluca hope to provide answers for why there is so much wrong-way driving and how to stop motorists from making those errors.

     

  • Obsessed With Efficiency: The 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 In Energy

    Obsessed With Efficiency: The 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 In Energy

    Recent doctoral graduates from the Fulton Schools civil, environmental and sustainable engineering program Aashay Arora and Matthew Aguayo are among innovators “figuring out how to make new materials do amazing things.” They’ve developed coatings embedded with phase-change materials that insulate buildings — reducing energy use while keeping building interiors cool in hot weather and warm in cold weather. Arora and Aguayo’s startup, EnKoat, uses special paints, plaster and stucco that release heat at specific temperatures to achieve the insulating effect. Their company’s products are getting their first large-scale testing on a building on ASU’s Polytechnic campus. Read more.

November

2019
  • ASU academics recognized as world’s most influential researchers over the past decade

    ASU academics recognized as world’s most influential researchers over the past decade

    A good indicator of researchers’ impact is the number of times their work is cited by peers as useful in enabling further research advances. ASU recently had 10 of its faculty members ranked among the most frequently cited researchers in the world. The list includes Paul Westerhoff, an ASU Regents’ Professor in the Fulton Schools and Sefaattin Tongay, an assistant professor in the Fulton Schools. Westerhoff has become a leading exert in water treatment, contaminants in lakes, river and streams and the application of artificial intelligence in solving global water challenges. Tongay focuses on understanding the optical, electrical, mechanical and magnetic properties of nanomaterials and developing ways to use the abilities of nanomaterials in applications of quantum materials.

  • Internet Companies Prepare to Fight the ‘Deepfake’ Future

    Internet Companies Prepare to Fight the ‘Deepfake’ Future

    Technologies that can create fake videos are getting more sophisticated. Some even use cutting-edge artificial intelligence. Such tools — which reduce the time, expense and skill needed to doctor digital images — are making it easier to spread disinformation through what are called “deepfakes.” Though internet companies are trying to mount defenses against the the image manipulations, Fulton Schools professor and AI expert Subbarao Kambhampati says the new technology makes it difficult even for trained viewers to tell real from fake images and may eventually make it all but impossible.

  • ASU is 7th in national research rankings

    ASU is 7th in national research rankings

    Arizona State University had more than $617 million in research expenditures in the most recent fiscal year, raising it to No. 7 on the National Science Foundation rankings. That success is due to researchers such as Fulton Schools assistant professor Zachary Holman (pictured in photo), whose team set a world record for the efficiency of particular kinds of solar cells in generating energy. In the rankings, ASU moved up to No. 8 in electrical, electronic and communications engineering, ahead of MIT and Stanford.

  • Arizona State University students design satellite to research Urban Heat Island

    Arizona State University students design satellite to research Urban Heat Island

    A cube-shaped satellite named Phoenix now in orbit on the International Space Station is only the size of a loaf of bread. But the ASU students who built it — including Fulton Schools students — hope to see the so-called CubeSat have a big impact on deepening knowledge about the urban heat Island effect that poses challenges to the livability of growing cities such as Phoenix. If the thermal images the satellite produces achieve that goal, says aerospace engineering senior Jaime Sanchez De La Vega, the project’s chief engineer, “that would be amazing.” Read more on the Phoenix CubeSat website.

     

  • Big issues loom with driverless cars, experts say

    Big issues loom with driverless cars, experts say

    A recent symposium to discuss how Arizona can best adapt to the use of autonomous vehicles on its roadways explored potential issues that could arise from a proliferation of self-driving automobiles. One concern is about computer systems in such cars being hacked. Professor Ram Pendyala, a transportation engineer (and director of School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the six Fulton Schools) thinks such hacking could present an ethical dilemma for the autonomous car industry. It’s unclear who would bear responsibility if the data the vehicles’ computer systems are constantly gathering is accessed and used in detrimental ways, Pendyala says.

  • Speech provides a window to brain health

    Speech provides a window to brain health

    Researchers have found that human speech abilities — or the lack of them — can be an accurate early indicator of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and similar health problems. Fulton Schools Associate Professor Visar Berisha (at right in photo) has teamed with Julie Liss, a professor in ASU’s College of Health Solutions (where Berisha has a joint appointment) to start Aural Analytics, a company that uses new technology developed at ASU to detect changes in speech patterns that appear at the earliest stages of such disease and disorders. A recently awarded National Science Foundation research grant is helping the venture make progress. Aural Analytics’ technology is now being used in clinical trials at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.

  • ASU, Banner Team Creates Gel To Measure Radiation Exposure During Treatment

    ASU, Banner Team Creates Gel To Measure Radiation Exposure During Treatment

    Relief from cancer and other serious diseases can be provided by radiation treatments. But those treatments pose risks because too much exposure to radiation can trigger other medical problems. Kaushal Rege, a Fulton Schools professor of chemical engineering (second from left in photo) is part of a research team testing a new device that could prevent such complications by providing more exact measurements of radiation dosages. Rege is partnering with the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert, Arizona, to develop a device that uses a gold nanogel to reveal dosage amounts to enable medical practitioners to keep radiation exposure at healthy and effective levels.

     

  • ASU team takes first place in the state’s first Robo Hackathon

    ASU team takes first place in the state’s first Robo Hackathon

    A team of Fulton Schools students won the $5,000 first prize in the first-ever ASU Robo Hackathon involving competitors from universities and colleges throughout Arizona. Using artificial intelligence robot kits, teams had to assemble and program their AI machines to perform five challenging tasks. Yinong Chen, a Fultons Schools computer science and engineering principle lecturer, helped to design the competition tasks. The event was organized by ASU’s University Technology Office to provide an opportunity for students to test their skills with new technologies, to connect with potential employers and learn about challenges they will face in the workplace or as tech entrepreneurs. Read more.

  • Real Life Telepathy is Closer than You Think

    Real Life Telepathy is Closer than You Think

    Computer-aided telepathy is beginning to become a real thing, potentially enabling communication between people by transmitting their thoughts through devices connected to their brains. Bioengineer and neuroscientist Bradley Greger, a Fulton Schools associate professor of biomedical and health systems engineering, says questions still need to be answered about how much information can actually be gathered from the brain using such devices. But some experts are already speculating that the new telepathic technologies might someday give rise to brain-to-brain communication services.

  • ASU’s Acoustic Ecology Lab brings sound to the center of climate, health and more

    ASU’s Acoustic Ecology Lab brings sound to the center of climate, health and more

    Fulton Schools computer science and engineering student Valarie Adams and mechanical engineering student Cameron Carver are among ASU students being trained in the science of sound so they can explore acoustic ecologies to help find solutions to environmental challenges — in both natural and built environments. ASU students are being introduced to the field through the Acoustic Ecology Lab in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, a collaborative of the Fulton Schools and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Much of the lab’s work involves applying virtual reality technologies to research in various science and engineering fields.

  • What self-driving cars can’t recognize may be a matter of life and death

    What self-driving cars can’t recognize may be a matter of life and death

    Some of the most obvious problems with self-driving cars when it comes to road safety are not being sufficiently addressed by the industry, says Katina Michaels, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science and engineering. She and other experts say more rigorous engineering is needed in designing autonomous vehicles, including better programming of artificial intelligence systems that are more capable of recognizing scenarios that present potentially dangerous driving hazards.

  • New ‘Artificial Leaf’ Uses Sunlight to Turn Carbon Dioxide Into Fuel

    New ‘Artificial Leaf’ Uses Sunlight to Turn Carbon Dioxide Into Fuel

    The detrimental effects of climate change brought on by heavy accumulations of greenhouse gasses might be alleviated to a significant degree with new technology that could turn atmospheric carbon dioxide into a source of alternative fuel. The system uses an “artificial leaf” is similar in nature to the “artificial tree” technology developed by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner, director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions. His “trees” have resin-coated plastic leaves could possibly remove 100 times more carbon dioxide from the air as nature trees — and use the gas to create biofuels.

  • In the Impending Cyberwar, Engineers Must Be on the Front Lines

    In the Impending Cyberwar, Engineers Must Be on the Front Lines

    Technology that once existed only in science fiction is today rapidly evolving and broadening its reach and its power throughout the real world. The trend is evident in increasingly sophisticated uses of cyberwarfare techniques, say Fulton Schools Professor Brad Allenby and Associate Professor Mikhail Chester, writing in the American Society of Civil Engineers News. They contend the capabilities of cyber tech make it perhaps a more effective weapon in geopolitical conflict than conventional weapons of war. Allenby and Chester say it raises a critical challenge to ensure our country’s engineers gain sufficient expertise in cybersecurity to know how to protect the infrastructure and technologies engineers design, build and use from cyber threats. (Illustration at right courtesy of Pixabay)

  • Water from air: ASU professor’s technology produces clean drinking water around the globe

    Water from air: ASU professor’s technology produces clean drinking water around the globe

    As Zero Mass Water’s technology is being used in more places around the work to help communities prevent water scarcity, the company is also involved in education outreach to teach younger generations about society’s water challenges. The company emerged from research led by Fulton Schools Associate Professor Cody Friesen, who developed a system to produce water by capturing moisture from atmosphere. Students at a Phoenix elementary school recently got an introduction to the science and engineering involved in Zero Mass Water’s system, along with a lesson about the importance of developing renewable water resources for the future.

    See also: Engineer discovers how to extract water from air and sunlight, The Hill/Changing America, November 8

    From thin air: Partnership brings clean water-bottling technology to Flint, Crain’s Detroit Business, November 10

  • Engineers Create Tiny ‘Artificial Sunflowers’ That Bend Towards The Light

    Engineers Create Tiny ‘Artificial Sunflowers’ That Bend Towards The Light

    A team of scientists and engineers have designed solar panels that can increase the amounts of energy they can produce by mimicking the ability of sunflowers to take advantage of daylight hours to absorb more energy. Their system — called SunBot, for sunflower-like biomimetic omnidirectional tracker — uses temperature-sensitive materials to make tiny ‘stems’ that bend toward a bright light source. The system could be used to improve a variety of solar technologies. Fulton Schools Professor Hanqing Jiang, Associate Professor Xu Wang and doctoral student Hamsini Gopalakrishna are members of the research team.

    See Also: Sunflowers inspire light-tracking solar material (video), Chemical & Engineering News, November 13

    Fake Sunflowers that Easily Bend Towards the Sun Could Generate Efficient Solar Energy, News18 (India) November 13

  • ASU team accepts the NSF Quantum Leap challenge

    ASU team accepts the NSF Quantum Leap challenge

    A group of ASU engineers and scientists is among the research teams the National Science Foundation has assembled for its Quantum Leap Challenge Institute to develop new technologies using the latest knowledge about quantum mechanics. The ASU team includes Fulton Schools faculty members Nongjian Tao, Sefaattin Tongay, Qing Hua Wang and Stephen Goodnick. Their work will contribute to the increasing sophistication and miniaturization of electronics through the expanding ability to manipulate and control matter at the level of individual atoms and molecules. The endeavor has the potential to revolutionize computing and sensing technologies.

  • Arizona the “wild west” of stem cell therapy; experts say promising therapy ripe for exploitation

    Arizona the “wild west” of stem cell therapy; experts say promising therapy ripe for exploitation

    The lure of new cures promised by marketers of stem cell-based medical therapies should be approached with a buyer-beware attitude, say physicians and researchers, including David Brafman and Emma Frow, assistant professors in the Fulton Schools biomedical engineering program. The stem cell therapy industry is still largely unregulated and its claims mostly unproven, the experts warn. Brafman and Frow recently completed studies of services offered by stem cell clinics in the Southwest and found reasons to question the effectiveness of many of the treatments the clinics provide.

  • Engineering perceived deficits to assets

    Engineering perceived deficits to assets

    Fulton Schools engineering education and systems design doctoral student Michael Sheppard is a former Navy combat medic with a military service-connected disability. Sheppard is doing research on the psychological and emotional disabilities that often affect armed forces veterans. Now he is beginning work to help develop resources for veterans to transition into their postmilitary lives and turn their disabilities into productive assets.

     

  • Star students: ASU team watches as its project is launched into orbit

    Star students: ASU team watches as its project is launched into orbit

    ASU students worked for four years to complete a small cube-shaped satellite equipped with technology for studying the urban heat island effect in seven U.S. cities. A small group from among members of the project team — many of them Fulton Schools engineering students — recently watched the satellite blast off into space from a NASA launch site. Project manager Sarah Rogers, an aerospace engineering graduate student, said the spacecraft has provided an “incredible experience” for the 100 or so students who learned valuable lessons from the endeavor.

    See Also: Satellite built by students soars to space on mission to map heat in Phoenix, other cities, Arizona Republic, November 8

    ASU Students Launch NASA-Funded CubeSat To Study Urban Heat Island, KJZZ News, November 11

    ASU student-led team sends “Phoenix” satellite to space, The State Press, Nov 11

  • Two ASU engineering alumni won big on the latest season of Shark Tank

    Two ASU engineering alumni won big on the latest season of Shark Tank

    Fulton Schools alumni Eric Goodchild and Jake Slatnick earned a deal for a big investment in their startup company, Aira, on the popular television program “Shark Tank.” The company’s founders have developed a wireless charger that uses technology — called “Qi” —that is capable of charging several electronic devices simultaneously and is compatible with a large variety of devices. Goodchild and Slatnick, both of whom graduated from ASU in 2015, plan to bring their new technology to the market with Nomad, the major tech accessory company. They attribute some of their success to the entrepreneurial mindset fostered by many ASU programs and initiatives.

  • Made In Arizona: Scottsdale-based company selling technologies to make water from sunlight and air

    Made In Arizona: Scottsdale-based company selling technologies to make water from sunlight and air

    More than a decade ago, Cody Friesen developed technology that used the power of sunlight and moisture in the atmosphere to produce pure drinking water. Today, Zero Mass Water, the company founded by Friesen, a Fulton Schools associate professor of materials science and engineering, is seeing its system being employed in 30 countries. The venture is promising to have a significant impact on preventing water scarcity in an increasing number of communities around the world.

October

2019
  • ASU spinout provides recon for the cybersecurity battlefield

    ASU spinout provides recon for the cybersecurity battlefield

    One of the biggest cybersecurity challenges is blocking the efforts of potential hackers before they can trigger their malicious malware programs. CYR3CON, a venture that emerged from research led by Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Paulo Shakarian, recently filed its first patent for software designed to predict where hackers are likely to strike. Shakarian, CYR3CON’s CEO and co-founder, developed the framework of his new cybersecurity system as an analyst in the Army focusing on predicting the actions of terrorists and insurgents on the battlefield. The system is still being refined in Shakarian’s Cyber-Socio Intelligent Systems Laboratory at ASU. The goal is to make the system the standard of quality in predictive cybersecurity.

     

  • Stem cells pose risk, offer promise for ED, other diseases

    Stem cells pose risk, offer promise for ED, other diseases

    While there is some indication that cell-based therapies might help treat symptoms and control some urological conditions, researchers says there is a lack of scientific evidence to verify that stem cells are truly effective in these areas and do not cause any unintended harm. In a recent broad study of services offered by stem cell clinics, researchers including Emma Frow, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of biomedical engineering, point out that few of the clinics are using cell treatments for urological problems and that there are no Federal Drug Administration-approved stem cell products for use in urology.

  • Stress and corrosion can accelerate alloy cracks

    Stress and corrosion can accelerate alloy cracks

    ASU researchers are among those who have been discovering that certain environmental conditions can accelerate the corrosion of metallic materials, which poses a threat to materials used in the construction of airplanes, bridges and power plants. The new insight into parallel actions of materials stress and corrosion can help in designing new alloys the deter stress corrosion-induced materials failures, as well as point to better ways to assess the stability of metal alloys that are part of existing structures and technologies. Among leaders in this research is Karl Sieradzki, a Fulton Schools professor of materials science and engineering. Read more.

  • A student project measures fruit ripeness by measuring Ethylene Gas production

    A student project measures fruit ripeness by measuring Ethylene Gas production

    A biosensing system that reveals the ripeness of fruit earned a research group a $100,000 prize at the third annual ASU Innovation Open presented by the Fulton Schools of Engineering and Avnet, one of the world’s largest electronics components companies. The funds will enable Strella Biotechnology, led by a University of Pennsylvania researcher, to advance its work. The group’s system will help fruit growers to reduce the amount of waste created by its production processes and improve the quality of its products.

  • ASU-led project looks for new uses for solar power

    ASU-led project looks for new uses for solar power

    Fulton Schools Associate Professor Zachary Holman joined KJZZ’s The Show to talk about a new project to increase the use, and kinds of uses, of solar power. Holman and the ASU research team lead the project. They are working with MIT and schools in Ireland in this multi-year project, which focuses on manufacturing, materials and other aspects of photovoltaic devices. 

  • Department of Defense awards FIU biomedical engineering team $6 million to expand testing of pioneering prosthetic hand system

    Department of Defense awards FIU biomedical engineering team $6 million to expand testing of pioneering prosthetic hand system

    James Abbas, a Fulton Schools associate professor of biomedical engineering, is on the team of researchers that has developed a pioneering prosthetic hand system that enables amputees to regain a sense of feeling objects. Now the researchers are moving into a new stage of testing the technology, using military veterans who are amputees and others who have had hand amputations. Abbas, who has been a key partner in evaluating the “neural-enabled” prosthetic hand system, says its sensory feedback capability promises to have dramatic impacts on the lives of its users.

  • Data shows higher CO2 emissions in the Valley

    Data shows higher CO2 emissions in the Valley

    Carbon dioxide emissions are up by almost 300 percent in the Phoenix metro area over the past three decades. It’s the result of population growth, says Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering. In addition to the air pollution concerns raised by those increasing emissions, the city will be further challenged by the impacts of climate change, Chester says. The combination of smoggy brown haze over the city and the expected rise in heat in urban environments is certain to raise more public health issues for the Phoenix area.

     

  • Street Art Meets Climate Science in the Big, Blue Face of Zeus

    Street Art Meets Climate Science in the Big, Blue Face of Zeus

    A large recently completed mural painted with a surface-cooling coating on a building in Los Angeles may be a sign of things to come as cities face the challenges of a warming climate. Artists, community activists, urban planners and climate experts collaborated on the project. One of them was Ariane Middel, an assistant professor and urban climatologist in the Fulton Schools and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering. Using a thermal camera and a temperature-sensing robot, Middel measured the heat signature of the mural to demonstrate the cooling effects of the coating on the surrounding environment.

  • California earthquake: MICROBES could save buildings from Big One – ‘Time is running out’

    California earthquake: MICROBES could save buildings from Big One – ‘Time is running out’

    ASU’s Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Edward Kavaznajian, is at the forefront of developing solutions to protect natural and built environments from the potentially devastating impacts of earthquakes — including the powerful tsunamis they’ve triggered. One of the center’s researchers, Associate Professor Leon van Paassen, explains the techniques being developed to sufficiently stabilize soils to enable them to withstand shocks from earthquakes. One method involves injecting nutrients into the ground to be consumed by microbes. That causes the microbes to generate nitrogen gas bubbles that could significantly dampen ground vibrations during earthquakes, and thus prevent damage to structures standing on those soils — especially cities built on loosely compacted soils that can liquefy during a strong quakes.

  • Speeding up Construction

    Speeding up Construction

    Work led by Fulton Schools Professor Barzin Mobasher is showing how using fiber-reinforced concrete can save time, effort and costs in construction projects. His research team has come up with a series of equations, calculations and procedures for using just the right amount of fiber in concrete mixes to build structures that are more crack-resistant and durable over time and easier and less expensive to repair. The fiber and concrete formula could also provide environmental benefits by producing less of a carbon footprint than conventional concrete materials. Mobasher’s methodology also includes various sets of calculations for concrete mixes using different types of high-performance fibers, including synthetic, glass, polymeric and nylon fibers.

  • Navrotsky comes full circle with opening of new ASU center

    Navrotsky comes full circle with opening of new ASU center

    National Academy of Sciences member Alexandra Navrotsky (holding sign in photo) has returned to ASU to the lead the Navrotsky Eyring Center for Materials of the Universe. Her job is to oversee interdisciplinary explorations of newly discovered materials, including those found elsewhere in our solar system. That research thrust will enhance materials science and engineering pursuits aimed at developing new detectors and spacecraft materials needed to enable discoveries beyond our planet. Navrotsky rejoins ASU as a professor in the Fulton Schools, as well as the School of Molecular Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

     

  • ASU graduate creates tool to help with physical therapy

    ASU graduate creates tool to help with physical therapy

    A serious spinal cord injury Daniel Campbell sustained in 2012 led him to design a devise to aid his own physical rehabilitation therapy. He called it “The Spartan” and found that therapists and patients wanted to use it. A few years later, as a Fulton Schools undergraduate studying engineering with a focus on robotics, Campbell was refining the rehabilitative tool and entering competitions to raise funding to provide the device to others with similar injuries. Today he has a degree and is seeing The Spartan being used in rehab facilities in Arizona and California.

  • Riding the brain wave: ASU scientists research human electrical activity

    Riding the brain wave: ASU scientists research human electrical activity

    Rosalind Sadleir and her research team are work on more accurate and less invasive ways to measure electrical activities in the human brain and body. The Fulton Schools associate professor of biomedical engineering is hoping that deeper knowledge of these electrical activities will reveal ways to more quickly diagnose neurological problems like Parkinson’s Disease and related health disorders. The team is developing a new imaging technique that more closely pinpoints where the electrical activity is occurring in the brain. The project involves a collaboration between ASU and experts at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.

     

  • What we can’t see can hurt us: Connecting the dots between breast cancer and food

    What we can’t see can hurt us: Connecting the dots between breast cancer and food

    Research is showing possible links between certain chemicals called endocrine disruptors and the onset of breast cancer — and that research points to our modern diet being largely responsible for the slow accumulation of these disruptors in our bodies. The researchers, Fulton Schools professor Rolf Halden, director of ASU’s Center for Environmental Health Engineering, and Devin Bowes, a graduate student in the Fulton Schools biological design program, also say there are measures we can take to reduce ingesting endocrine disruptors and other chemicals we are exposed to through some processed foods and some of the materials in which they are packaged.

    See Also: National Geographic, October 10

    Fast food increases exposure to a ‘forever chemical’ called PFAS

    Long-lasting chemicals used in food packaging can seep into the food and then build up within our bodies, according to data from a new study. It looks at packaging containing a toxic chemical known as PFAS, which has been linked to cancer, thyroid disorders, weight gain and hormonal changes. Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden says PFAS is among the chemicals to which people are often exposed that do not degrade, and thus pose risks to the health of both humans and the natural environment.

  • Prepping for the Big One

    Prepping for the Big One

    It’s called liquefaction, the intense soil-displacing shaking brought on by earthquakes that turn solid ground mushy and dangerous. ASU’s Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Edward Kavazanjian, has developed technology to prevent of liquefaction by injecting nutrients deep into soil. Micro-organisms ingest the nutrients, producing gas that in turn prevents the pressure that leads to liquefaction. ASU engineers are teaming with colleagues at other universities to test the method in parts or Portland, Oregon that could be prone to liquefaction. They’re using tools such as the truck called T-Rex (see picture), which can simulate earthquake action by shaking small areas of the ground.

    See Also: Where solid ground could turn into ‘soup’ KGW8 News, Portland, October 11

  • Before the flood: System to predict rising water is tested in Phoenix and Flagstaff

    Before the flood: System to predict rising water is tested in Phoenix and Flagstaff

    Even with one of the driest monsoon seasons on record this year, Arizona still saw rains that led to flash flooding and emergency rescues of people swept away in swift waters running through desert washes. Such persistent threats to public safety could be reduced by FloodAware, a warning system being developed by engineers and scientists at ASU, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona. Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Margaret Garcia, a leader of the FloodAware research, explains how a mobile hydrology app, image-processing technology and water resource engineering can help provide real-time flood monitoring to give public safety officials timely alerts about potentially dangerous flooding at specific locations.

  • California’s massive power outage is a wake-up call for the whole country

    California’s massive power outage is a wake-up call for the whole country

    The world’s infrastructure systems can’t be adapted fast enough to handle growing challenges being brought on by climate change, says Mikhail Chester, a Fulton Schools associate professor of civil, environmental and sustainable engineering. The threatening climatic conditions and extreme weather events that are interrupting power grid operations in California are an example of what is beginning to happen across the country. Chester and other experts warn that infrastructure designed and built for the more stable and predictable climate of the past will become more prone to instability that poses risks to public safety. (Image by H. Hach from Pixabay )

    See Also: You can expect more blackouts as the country heats up, Popular Science, October 11

  • New photovoltaic research partnership spans countries, disciplines

    New photovoltaic research partnership spans countries, disciplines

    ASU’s Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technologies Engineering Research Center, known as QESST, will lead a collaboration involving five universities in three countries to make advances in solar cell technology and explore new applications for photovoltaic devices. QESST is directed by Christiana Honsberg, a Fulton Schools professor of electrical, computer and energy engineering. Among results the research project is expected to produce are technologies that are more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity, integration of solar cells into indoor “internet of things” sensors and wearable technology and low-cost solar cell manufacturing. News of the project is also posted on the Solar Novus Today, Solar Builder magazine and Phys.org websites.

  • Stunning Photos Show What It’s Really Like To Work Deep Underground In An American Coal Mine

    Stunning Photos Show What It’s Really Like To Work Deep Underground In An American Coal Mine

    Coal miners typically descend thousands of feet into the earth to their work sites. Risks they face in underground environments can be dangerous if safety measures are not followed diligently. Miners can be exposed to extremely heavy air pressure and to dangerous gases like carbon monoxide and methane. Proper ventilation will prevent harmful conditions, says Fulton Schools Professor Edward Kavazanjian, a geotechnical engineer, but mine operators must follow established procedures that make practices to protect workers’ health a priority. Kavazanjian also commented about the issue in a 2010 article in The New York Times.

     

  • Laser Activated Gold Nanorods Create Silk Seal for Incisions and Wounds

    Laser Activated Gold Nanorods Create Silk Seal for Incisions and Wounds

    A new body tissue sealing technique being developed by Fulton Schools Professor Kaushal Rege’s research team uses a laser to heat up gold nanorods to gently melt silk fibers. Those fibers then fuse with collagen — a protein within the body’s various connective tissues — to bond tissues and aid in healing of wounds and incisions, while also possibly preventing infections. The method can be applied to reinforcing the use of stitches to seal tissues or to potentially provide a resilient alternative to conventional stitching. Read more.

     

  • The Problem With ‘Cool Pavements’: They Make People Hot

    The Problem With ‘Cool Pavements’: They Make People Hot

    Many cities trying to cool down ambient outdoor temperatures for the public’s comfort have been using so-called “cool pavements,” especially on their streets. But researcher Ariane Middel is finding these typically white pavement materials that are supposed to lower temperatures, by reflecting energy from sunlight, are actually causing a rise in heat. Middel is an urban climatologist and an assistant professor in the Fulton Schools and the School of Arts, Media. She and fellow researchers have recently been studying the impact of measures to keep urban heat down in Los Angeles. But she has discovered temperatures are being boosted by the solar radiation that is reflecting off of the white paving materials.

    See Also: ASU researcher finds white ‘cool pavements’ actually make you hotter, 3TV/CBS 5 News – Phoenix, October 11

  • From pipelines to fibre optics: How drilling technology is reshaping the urban landscape

    From pipelines to fibre optics: How drilling technology is reshaping the urban landscape

    Horizontal direction drilling, or HDD, has been transforming the way power lines, gas lines and fiber optic cables are installed underground. Fulton Schools Professor Sam Ariaratnam, chair of the construction engineering program, has been at the forefront of research leading to HDD advances that have and made the technique standard practice in the underground construction industry over the past two decades. In an article reporting on how HDD is reshaping modern urban landscapes in Canada, Ariaratnam talks about the technical and environmental benefits being demonstrated by this minimally invasive drilling method.

     

  • ASU professor’s company Zero Mass Water awarded prestigious MIT prize

    ASU professor’s company Zero Mass Water awarded prestigious MIT prize

    It’s not just Zero Mass Water’s technological achievement in developing fully solar-powered hydropanels that can produce water by absorbing water vapor from the air. It’s how the company has made it a priority to bring its system to underserved communities around the world. “As inventors, we have a responsibility to ensure our technology serves all of humanity, not simply the elite” says the company’s founder, Cody Friesen, a Fulton Schools associate professor of materials science and engineering. That guiding principle recently helped Friesen and Zero Mass Water win the Lemelson-MIT Prize given annually to “honor outstanding mid-career inventors dedicated to improving our world through technological invention.” (Read more in a September 19 post on this page.)

  • First-ever clinical trial begins studying fecal microbiota transplant with Pitt-Hopkins syndrome

    First-ever clinical trial begins studying fecal microbiota transplant with Pitt-Hopkins syndrome

    ASU’s Autism/Aspergers Research Program, directed by Fulton Schools Professor James Adams, is partnering with a research foundation to do the first clinical trial of a new therapy developed by Adams and his research team to treat some of the ailments associated with autism. The trial will focus on the potential for the Microbiota Transfer Therapy to combat the effects of Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, a rare genetic disorder often classified on the autism spectrum. The hope is for the treatment to alleviate or reduce constipation and other gastrointestinal and gut problems that often plague children with Pitt-Hopkins syndrome.

  • New wearable tech center in midtown Phoenix to foster research and development

    New wearable tech center in midtown Phoenix to foster research and development

    Fulton Schools faculty members have key roles in a new wearable technology center in Phoenix. The WearTech Center is a public-private partnership between the Partnership for Economic Innovation, ASU and the state government. Gregory Raupp, professor of chemical engineering and the Fulton Schools’ director of Partnerships and Innovation, is the center’s research director. Thomas Sugar (pictured at right), graduate program chair and professor in the Fulton School’s engineering and manufacturing engineering program, is part of GoX Labs, a tenant at the WearTech center. The venture’s mission is to partner with industry to develop wearable technology solutions. Current devices include smartwatches, fitness trackers, augmented and virtual reality headsets and wearable cameras, and health- assessment devices. (Subscriber access only)

    See Also: WearTech Center — focused on R&D — opens at Park Central, AZ Big Media, October 1

September

2019
  • Free (Robot) Hugs! An Embracing Multimodal Dataset

    Free (Robot) Hugs! An Embracing Multimodal Dataset

    With the proliferation of artificial intelligence technology, human interactions with AI-equipped robots are expected to become an increasing part of daily life. So, scientists and engineers are exploring paths to better human-robot relationships. Fulton Schools Assistant Professor Heni Ben Amor has led research using a humanoid remote-controlled robot to give hundreds of hugs to humans wearing sensors to collect data on their hugging experiences. The result is a human-robot hugging interaction data set that could aid efforts to train companion robots and have applications in robots used for assembly tasks, therapy and even entertainment. Details are reported in a recent research paper authored by Ben Amor and Fulton Schools doctoral students Kunal Bagewadi and Joseph Campbell, who work in Ben Amor’s Interactive Robotics Lab.

  • ASU engineers want to use traffic cameras to warn about urban flooding

    ASU engineers want to use traffic cameras to warn about urban flooding

    Using infrared technology to take photographic images with traffic cameras, and then using algorithms to process those images, a group of Fulton Schools engineers says they will be able to help urban motorists avoid streets that are flooded or likely to soon be underwater. Margaret Garcia, an assistant professor in ASU’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, says the system could even help to determine if there’s flooding in areas without the infrared cameras.

     

     

  • ASU and MCC team up with USDA research service to expand agriculture education

    ASU and MCC team up with USDA research service to expand agriculture education

    Fulton Schools and Mesa Community College students are teaming with a U.S. Department of Agriculture research center to promote education in sustainable agriculture. They’re aiding in development of agricultural research techniques that can be applied in the lab and in hands-on field work. An undergraduate course to be offered as part of the project is expected to begin in the 2020 spring semester. The venture may provide impetus for developing more concentrated studies of food systems and related agricultural subjects at ASU, says Rebecca Muenich, an assistant professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment.

  • The Man Who Makes Water From Thin Air Wins Half-A-Million Dollar Prize

    The Man Who Makes Water From Thin Air Wins Half-A-Million Dollar Prize

    The Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology awarded Cody Friesen its annual $500,000 prize for inventions that can improve the quality of life for people around the world. Friesen, a Fulton Schools associate professor of materials science and engineering, founded Fluidic Energy and Zero Mass Water, companies that provide rechargeable batteries to power electric grids in emergency situations and solar energy panels that can produce drinkable water by absorbing water molecules from the air. So far, the technology has helped to deliver water to communities in more than 30 countries.

    See Also: MIT honors alumnus for innovations in drinking water, battery technologies, Boston Globe, September 18

    Arizona engineer, inventor wins $500,000 prize for water-air tech, KTAR News, September 19

    Cody Friesen PhD ’04 awarded $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, MIT News, September 18

    ASU professor, startup founder wins $500,000 for panels that create water from air, sunlight, Phoenix Business Journal, September 18 (Subscriber access only)

  • Reasons to be optimistic about Arizona’s water future

    Reasons to be optimistic about Arizona’s water future

    Ensuring Arizona can avoid water scarcity in a future that’s predicted to be drier throughout the Southwest will take foresight and concerted endeavors by public officials, scientists, industry, community leaders and the public to find solutions to water supply challenges. Fulton Schools Professor Paul Westerhoff was one of the water experts who spoke at a recent conference sponsored by ASU’s offices of Knowledge Enterprise Development and Government and Community Engagement. Westerhoff, the Fulton Chair of Environmental Engineering, stressed the need for industries and businesses to engage in efforts to develop best practices in their management and use of water resources.

  • Phoenix Residents Will Need To Adapt To An Even Hotter Climate

    Phoenix Residents Will Need To Adapt To An Even Hotter Climate

    Continuing urbanization is resulting in cities with more heat-absorbent surfaces — concrete sidewalks, parking lots and roads paved with asphalt, for instance — that are intensifying the urban heat island effect. With her robot that measures how heat impacts the human body, Ariane Middel is studying ways for cities that face hotter futures to help keep people cool and shielded from the sources of higher temperatures. Middel. an assistant professor in the Fulton Schools and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, is working with Phoenix and Tempe to create more shade in urban environs.

     

  • HEARTBREAKING IMAGES THAT SHOW THE IMPACT OF PLASTIC ON ANIMALS IN THE OCEANS

    HEARTBREAKING IMAGES THAT SHOW THE IMPACT OF PLASTIC ON ANIMALS IN THE OCEANS

    There is little about large accumulations of plastics in the world’s oceans that isn’t problematic, scientists and engineers report. The pollution is posing a growing risk to sea life, with animals up and down the food chain being threatened by the effects of plastics in their environments, says Charles Rolsky, an ASU doctoral student who conducts research with Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden in the Center for Environmental Health Engineering. Halden says early research indicates microplastics that are also finding their way into human’s bodies could pose serious health threats to people. The growing plastics waste situation even has serious economic implications for many large industries.

  • Starry-eyed ASU students create satellite to better understand climate change

    Starry-eyed ASU students create satellite to better understand climate change

    The large swaths of concrete and asphalt that cover much the urban environment’s surfaces are a major factor in the ongoing rise in temperatures that are making life more uncomfortable — and even unhealthy — in big cities. A team of ASU students, many of them Fulton Schools students, hope to gather valuable new information to help address the problem. They’re building and preparing a small satellite designed to help study the impacts of the urban heat island effect as it flies over several major cities, including Phoenix. A grant from NASA is supporting the CubeSat venture. Aerospace engineering student Sarah Rogers is the project manager.

     

  • New surveillance tech means you’ll never be anonymous again

    New surveillance tech means you’ll never be anonymous again

    It’s getting way beyond facial recognition. New ways researchers are developing technologies to find, detect and monitor people are expanding rapidly and becoming more effective. Tracking people by their heartbeat, microbial cells and scent are just some of the expanded capabilities. Such advances make it urgent to restrict use of such surveillance tools when it could violate democratic principles, says Katina Michael, a Fulton Schools professor of computer science and engineering, who is also on the faculty of the ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society. The impacts of these technologies need to be revealed and controlled to maintain public trust in the governments and other institutions that might use them.

  • These Scientists Are Changing Soil at a Molecular Level to Withstand Earthquakes

    These Scientists Are Changing Soil at a Molecular Level to Withstand Earthquakes

    Engineers and scientists are experimenting with using microbes to re-engineer soils underground in a way that prevents soil from liquefying. In collaboration with two other universities, ASU’s Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics, directed by Fulton Schools Professor Edward Kavazanjian, is developing a technique researchers hope can eventually be applied to liquefaction-prone locales around the world. That would fortify soil and help to keep liquids from saturating the ground during earthquakes and preventing damage to buildings, roadways and other vital structures. Trillions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure is at risk until solutions are found that will stop liquefaction on a large scale, Kavazanjian says.

  • Fires in the Amazon: Arizona researchers determine what’s true, what’s not

    Fires in the Amazon: Arizona researchers determine what’s true, what’s not

    As social media in particular rapidly spreads information and misinformation about the more than 100,000 separate fires that have erupted in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, ASU researchers are helping separate fact from fiction about the blazes and their potential environmental impacts. Among them is Kai Shu, a Fulton Schools computer science and engineering doctoral student who authored the book “Detecting Fake News on Social Media” with his academic adviser, Fulton Schools Professor Huan Liu. The flurry of photos, reporting and misreporting spreading about the Amazon fires demonstrate the challenge of getting the straight story on such dramatic events.

  • ASU professor studies how different types of shade can help keep us cool in the heat

    ASU professor studies how different types of shade can help keep us cool in the heat

    Trees, awnings, shade sails, umbrellas, landscaping and urban environmental design — all of those and more are becoming vital to coping with a growing need to cool things down in locales where temperatures continue to climb. Ariane Middel is using technology she designed — a mobile biometeorological instrument platform named “MaRTy” —   in her work with colleagues to find the most effective methods of protecting the populace from the rising heat. Middel is an assistant professor in the Fulton Schools and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering.

    See Also: Keeping Pedestrians Cool Focus of First-Ever U of G Research, University of Guelph, September 3

    Arizona researchers say shade is not all created equal, KTAR News, September 1

  • Operation Safe Roads: Do stiffer traffic citation fines lead to safer streets?

    Operation Safe Roads: Do stiffer traffic citation fines lead to safer streets?

    In some countries, fines for traffic violations that are many times higher than fines in Arizona and throughout the United States seem to have a deterrent effect on inattentive driving that leads to serious vehicle crashes. But transportation engineer and Fulton Schools Professor Ram Pendyala says raising fines probably would not by itself result in making driving safer on Phoenix streets and highways. Pendyala recommends that better roadway design and public awareness and education efforts need to be part of a solution to the rising numbers of auto collisions.

  • All-female robotics team wins major awards while slashing stereotypes of women, Latinos in STEM

    All-female robotics team wins major awards while slashing stereotypes of women, Latinos in STEM

    A rookie team of ASU engineering students — most of them Fulton Schools students — put in the surprise performance of a recent international underwater robotics competition. The team named Desert WAVE (Women in Autonomous Vehicle Engineering) took third place over all at the RoboSub international event. The team was formed in collaboration with an Arizona-based organization that provides opportunities to youngsters in underserved communities. Another version of the story was posted on the website of the national morning news show Good Morning America.

    See Also: ASU’s all female robotics team is #1 in the country, 3TV/CBS 5 News – Phoenix, September 6

     

  • Contact Lenses Another Source Of Plastic Pollution

    Contact Lenses Another Source Of Plastic Pollution

    The billions of contact lenses being disposed of by flushing them down drains and toilets is exacerbating the plastics pollution problem that is threatening the health of the environment as well as the human food chain. Contact lenses can survive the filtering processes of water treatment systems, says Fulton Schools Professor Rolf Halden, director of the ASU Center for Environmental Health Engineering. That means old contact lenses end up adding to the increasing accumulations of toxic pollutants on land and in the ocean, where they are ingested by land animals and sea creatures — including those that are sources of food for people.

     

  • Troops of the future may ditch night-vision goggles in favor of eye injections to see in the dark

    Troops of the future may ditch night-vision goggles in favor of eye injections to see in the dark

    A vision physiologist and a nanoparticle expert have injected nanoparticles that convert infrared light into visible light into the eyes of mice. The injections gave the mice the ability to see in the dark for as long as 10 weeks. The researchers say the technique could work safely in humans, and be especially useful for troops in nighttime military operations. Brad Allenby, a Fulton Schools professor of engineering and ethics, and founding chair of the Consortium for Emerging Technologies, Military Operations and National Security, says more studies would be needed to ensure such injections have no negative effects in humans, but that enhanced visual capability would give troops and security personnel a significant advantage.

  • Hackers use old scam with a twist to target Facebook users

    Hackers use old scam with a twist to target Facebook users

    Fake Facebook pages are being used to trick users of the social media network to click on a video embedded in a message that appears to be from a Facebook friend. Clicking on the video can give hackers access to much of your personal information, warns cybersecurity expert Partha Dasgupta, a Fulton Schools associate professor of computer science and engineering. Dasgupta says such so-called phishing scams have lured social media users into becoming victims of identity theft.

August

2019
  • 50 grades of shade: Researchers find that it’s not all created equal

    50 grades of shade: Researchers find that it’s not all created equal

    With a long-range forecast for higher summer temperatures in the Phoenix metro area, communities are taking steps to provide more shade in the urban environment. Ariane Middel (at left in photo) is among ASU researchers leading biometeorological studies to determine more effective ways to use landscaping, buildings, canopies and other structures to offer people some respite from the heat by shielding them from sunlight. Middel is an assistant professor in the Fulton Schools, as well as the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning.

     

  • Can We Survive Extreme Heat?

    Can We Survive Extreme Heat?

    The damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina slamming New Orleans in 2005 could be a picture of what’s to come from extreme climate events driven by warming temperatures throughout the world, says Fulton Schools Associate Professor Mikhail Chester, who directs the Metis Center for Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering at ASU. Chester’s fellow engineers and their climate science colleagues point to more than heat affecting the severity of weather events, but also how constant high temperatures can trigger social and psychological stresses. They say re-engineering cities like Phoenix to mitigate and withstand the heat is becoming imperative to quality of life.

     

  • Mini-spacecraft built by ASU students will study urban heat island effect

    Mini-spacecraft built by ASU students will study urban heat island effect

    Fulton Schools students are among more than 100 ASU students, faculty members and researchers who teamed up to design and build the Phoenix spacecraft. The small “cubesat” is set to be launched in October to the international Space Station for a two-year mission. The spacecraft will to take thermal images of several American cities (including Phoenix) to help determine the effects of their urban heat islands. The goal is to give local governments and communities data to help them confront their heat-related environmental challenges.

    See Also: Starry-eyed ASU students create satellite to better understand climate change, The State Press, September 16

  • Hitting the Books: We can engineer the Earth to fight climate change

    Hitting the Books: We can engineer the Earth to fight climate change

    The longer it takes to launch efforts to reduce the levels of carbon emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere, the bigger and more expensive a feat of geoengineering it will require to evade the dangers of a rapidly warming planet. The carbon-capture technology capable of helping to fine-tune the climate is being developed in research led by Fulton Schools Professor Klaus Lackner in ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions. But the solution is going to also require resolving some political and social conflicts.

     

  • Will CRISPR succeed in curing disease?

    Will CRISPR succeed in curing disease?

    Promising indications that the gene-editing tool called CRISPR can be used to effectively fight cancer and other serious health disorders and diseases is about to put to the test in clinical trials. Samira Kiana, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of biomedical engineering and an expert in gene therapy, describes the complex obstacles and challenges involved in verifying CRISPR’s curative powers.

  • ‘Shadow hunter’: ASU climatologist helps others find shade from Arizona sun

    ‘Shadow hunter’: ASU climatologist helps others find shade from Arizona sun

    With a robot she calls “a mean radiant temperature cart,” ASU urban climatologist Ariane Middel is gathering data that can be used to develop “thermal comfort maps.” The robot and the maps can help calculate routes that provide the most shade for those seeking refuge from Arizona’s searing summer sun. The system could also be adapted to aid architects and planners in designing structures and spaces to provide more shade. Middel is an assistant professor in the Fulton Schools and the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, and an affiliate faculty member with the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. Read more.

     

  • How do I love ants? Let me count the ways

    How do I love ants? Let me count the ways

    Doctoral student Andrew Burchill has one of the most painstaking jobs in science. His work with ASU’s Social Insect Research Group includes “mass animal