Spectra Newsletter

College of Engineering and Computer Science

Medtronic-funded research projects seek to advance diabetes treatment

The unique synergy between CSUN and the medical device company Medtronic Diabetes, located on the northernmost edge of the campus, regularly finds expression in research collaborations, internships and scholarships. Most recently, it has been manifest in research grants that the company (also known as Medtronic MiniMed) awarded to five CECS faculty members to fund one-year projects relevant to diverse aspects of diabetes and the company’s signature insulin pumps. All projects are involving students as integral members of the research team.

bavarianbehzad07.jpgTesting polymers to coat implantable sensors. Implanting sensors under the skin to measure blood glucose on a continuing basis has the potential to simplify insulin regulation in diabetic patients, especially when paired with an insulin pump. But the technology is currently less than ideal because while the insulin pumps last five to eight years, the sensors, exposed to body fluids, degrade and have to be replaced every few months, which is expensive, inconvenient and painful. Behzad Bavarian, professor of manufacturing systems engineering and management, has received a grant to characterize and test different polymers to determine their suitability as coatings to protect the sensors and their compatibility with the human body. [Read More…]

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Northrop Grumman executive exemplifies spirit of Industry Advisory Board

About five years ago, C.T. Lin, professor of mechanical engineering, was trying to get a new student project under way. To move forward, his team needed an inertial guidance system, an expensive component used in navigation. Because the system was made by Northrop Grumman, CECS dean S. K. Ramesh approached the college’s man on the inside, Charles Volk, to see if he could get it for Lin’s team at a discount. Volk, vice president and chief technologist for the company’s Navigation Systems Division, did better than that: he arranged for it to be donated. And last summer, using the unit, CSUN’s team took first place in the national Intelligent Ground Vehicle competition.

A longtime member of the CECS Industry Advisory Board, Volk has been a friend, advocate and supporter of the college for many years. Ironically, however, he’s not an engineer himself. A self-described “physicist among engineers,” he began his career at Litton Industries in 1977 after earning his Ph.D. from Indiana University. After a brief foray to the Aerospace Corporation, he returned to Litton in 1984, taking on increasingly responsible roles until becoming Litton’s vice president of engineering in 1999. [Read More…]

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The sky’s the limit for CECS alumnus Michael Gross

MikeGrossSpacecraft.jpgMichael Gross has one of the most exciting jobs on—or off—the planet: space exploration. The CECS alumnus (BS ’96 summa cum laude, MS ’08 with distinction, Electrical Engineering) has spent his entire career developing spacecraft for missions that are shedding new light on the universe and providing a rare view of Earth from outer space.

When Gross first arrived at CSUN, however, he didn’t aspire to work for NASA. In fact, engineering was the farthest major from his mind. Not only had he found math challenging in junior high and high school, but his dreams were focused on the ocean depths and marine biology. After realizing the limited job prospects in that field, he decided to become a lawyer and switched his major to political science. It was only after he took a student job in the chemistry lab at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power that he began to reconsider his options. Although bored by his own work assignments, he noticed that the student engineers working alongside him really seemed to be enjoying theirs. Maybe, he thought, he should give engineering a try. [Read More…]

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2011 student competitions: A spring and summer of success

Looking back, 2011 may well go down as a record year in the annals of College of Engineering and Computer Science student competitions. CSUN teams won, placed and showed in a variety of local, national and international contests, capturing championships, awards and recognition from Long Beach to Copenhagen. The following are highlights of an unforgettable season.

Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition.
DSC_0808IGVTeam.jpgCSUN’s Red RAVEN (for Robotic Autonomous Vehicle Engineered in Northridge) took the grand prize in the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition, which is cosponsored annually by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). The CECS entry beat out 47 other robots in the June contest, which was held at Oakland University in Michigan, including vehicles entered by U.S. teams [Read More…]

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