Spectra Newsletter

College of Engineering and Computer Science

A Message from the Dean

ramesh2011.jpgDear friends,

I am delighted to share with you our first issue of SPECTRA for 2011, highlighting the accomplishments of our students and faculty over the past six months. It has been a very productive period, with approximately $1.7 million in grants and contracts awarded to our faculty in support of research and education since March 2010. But in some ways it has almost evoked the words of Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the ….”, as we prepare for yet another round of painful budget cuts resulting from the serious financial crisis in California.

As I write this message, I thought I would share some observations I made at a recent IEEE meeting as part of a keynote address titled “Perspectives on the Globalization of Engineering.” They seem especially relevant, given the challenges that confront us today. As I noted, regions and nations are now competing globally in a race for talent and capital, and the global economic landscape is changing. [Read More…]

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Designing a helping hand

lin_ct.jpgMore than 36 million Americans are estimated to have some kind of disability, including over 3.7 million Californians. These figures are expected to skyrocket over the next few decades as baby boomers continue to age and life expectancy increases. Paralleling this increase, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, will be significant career opportunities in health services industries, such as assistive and adaptive technologies. Ironically, however, educational programs in this emerging field are scarce.

“If you were to do a search, you couldn’t find a master’s level degree program in assistive technology on the West Coast,” says C.T. Lin, a professor of mechanical engineering.

That’s why CSUN is inaugurating a new master’s degree program to meet the need in assistive technology engineering. “In a way, this program is really creating the workforce, which is very much needed in the field,” says Lin, who serves as the program’s academic coordinator.[Read More…]

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From sci-fi to prototype

headset.jpgNot that long ago, brain-computer interface (BCI)—harnessing brainwaves to control external devices remotely, with a computer serving as intermediary—was the stuff of science fiction. Today, however, thanks to advances in neuroscience, computer science and engineering, BCI is an established field of investigation, at the frontiers of research. And the promise it holds to augment human capabilities could restore vision, hearing and normal functionality to the physically impaired.

This past summer, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, in collaboration with Olive View–UCLA Medical Center, embarked on an ambitious BCI research project designed to make ambulation easier for people confined to wheelchairs. [Read More…]

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NSF Grant Funds New Retention Program for Science & Engineering Majors

nsf1.jpgThere are many exceptional career opportunities awaiting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors, but not enough students are getting the message. For over two decades, declining enrollments and graduation rates in most STEM fields have been an issue of national concern.

Now, thanks to a $768,313 grant from the National Science Foundation, two CSUN colleges, Engineering and Computer Science and Science and Mathematics, will be implementing a multifaceted new project designed to do something about it. The two colleges joined forces to create a program that principal investigator Vicki Pedone, professor of geological sciences, and co-principal investigators Diane Schwartz, professor of computer science, and Werner Horn, professor of mathematics, hope will improve retention of majors in STEM fields, particularly in engineering, computer science and the physical sciences, and in turn increase graduation rates.[Read More…]

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