Category Archives: Computer Engineering

LTU researching autonomous taxi with gifts from MOBIS, Dataspeed, SoarTech, Realtime Technologies

SOUTHFIELD — Lawrence Technological University has begun the research and development of an autonomous campus taxi thanks to donations from several corporate partners.

Hyundai MOBIS, the parts and service division of the Korean automaker, donated $15,000 for the purchase of a Polaris GEM e2 two-seat electric vehicle. Dataspeed Inc., a Rochester Hills engineering firm specializing in mobile robotics and autonomous vehicle technology, converted the vehicle to an autonomous drive-by-wire system.

Also donating to the effort were a pair of Ann Arbor high-tech firms – Soar Technology Inc. provided a LIDAR (laser-based radar) unit to help the vehicle find its way, while Realtime Technologies Inc., a simulation technology firm, provided a cash donation.

Hyundai MOBIS formally turned the keys of the vehicle over to LTU Provost Maria Vaz and C.J. Chung, professor of computer science, in a ceremony on the LTU campus last week. Vaz thanked the sponsors for providing a great learning and research opportunity. David Agnew, director of advanced engineering at MOBIS, made the presentation.

David Agnew of MOBIS hands over the keys of a Polaris GEM e2 converted to a drive-by-wire EV by Dataspeed Inc. to Maria Vaz, LTU Vice President and Provost. (Photo by Matt Roush)

LTU computer science students have already won an international award with the vehicle. They developed software to make the car operate autonomously – well enough that it took first place in the new Spec 2 division of the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition, held at Oakland University in June. The Spec 2 competition required multiple self-driving vehicle functions such as lane following, lane change, traffic sign detection, obstacle avoidance, and left turns.

After winning at IGVC, team members began reprogramming the vehicle to serve as an autonomous taxi on the LTU campus. It’s been rechristened ACT, an acronym for Autonomous Campus Transport/Taxi, in a naming contest won by Nick Paul, one of the team members. Chung said the university is planning to introduce Level 3 autonomy with the vehicle – allowing both hands and eyes off the road – by August 2018.

A video of the car in competition at the IGVC is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSzxPp66vxk&feature=youtu.be.

From left to right are C.J. Chung (LTU faculty); Serge Danielson-Francois (LTU faculty); Gordon Stein (LTU faculty); Devson Butani (LTU mechanical engineering student); Chris Kawatsu (SoarTech); Avram Kluger (LTU advancement staff); David Agnew (MOBIS); Mitchell Pleune (LTU computer science student); Jane Tarakhovsky (MOBIS), Nick Paul (LTU computer science student), Patrick Nelson (LTU faculty), Maria Vaz (LTU Provost), Brian Neumeyer (Dataspeed), Alex Sebastian (Dataspeed), and Howard Davis (LTU advancement staff). (Photo by Matt Roush)

Lawrence Technological University, http://www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

LTU GlobalHack coding team makes finals

SOUTHFIELD — Lawrence Technological University’s computer science team at the GlobalHack VI software competition, held in October in St. Louis, Mo., finished in the top 20 percent of more than 150 teams.

In GlobalHack, teams compete to develop software from the ground up over the course of one weekend. This year’s competition drew more than 1,000 participants, developing software around the theme of preventing or ending homelessness.

LTU’s team tackled the problem of homeless shelter intake management, since there’s currently no system in place for organizing the distribution of homeless shelter resources in large cities. Additionally, there is no way for homeless individuals to know which shelter will best meet their needs without extensive planning or last-minute visits.

In preparing for the event, the LTU CS team learned that most homeless people have access to the internet via phone or computer. So, the LTU team designed a system using Google Maps to allow shelters to quickly redirect homeless people to nearby shelters. It also provides a way for homeless people to communicate with shelters. Finally, it provides a dashboard interface for shelters so that they can manage the number of individuals staying in their beds.

globalhack-interface

The project made it to the finals round of the competition, along with about 20 percent of participating teams.

Team members were: Nicholas Paul, captain, a senior in computer science with a concentration in scientific software, and a minor in mathematics; Nick Virag, a senior in computer science, scientific software; and Jacob Crane, a sophomore in mathematics and computer science, with an economics minor.

globalhack-team

The project’s back-end system was written in Java and JavaServer Pages and hosted on an Apache Tomcat Server. The team used Oracle’s MySQL database system to store data regarding clients and shelters. The front-end interface was designed using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript.

The team received the project Friday night, and the completed project was developed by Saturday night. Team faculty advisor C.J. Chung said the team worked on the system for 17 hours, averaging one line of code per team member per minute.

Chung said the team plans on publishing the source code for the application with a free, open source license so that anyone can use it. The project submission is publicly available at https://devpost.com/software/globalhack.

Team members said they wanted to thank Hsiao-Ping Moore, dean of the LTU College of Arts and Sciences, Shannon Timmons, assistant professor of chemistry, director of LTU’s Quest experiential learning program; Marilyn Wiseman, administrative assistant in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science; Tracy Kash, administrative assistant to Dean Moore; Patrick Nelson, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, and Chung, for all their assistance to the team members’ efforts.

A YouTube video chronicling the team’s efforts can be viewed at https://youtu.be/OKJ0_3w1shs.

Lawrence Technological University, http://www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

Holland Innovation Consultant Moves To Larger HQ

HOLLAND — Twisthink, a product innovation and business strategy consultancy, has moved into a new, larger headquarters and added new talent and new clients.

The new headquarters, 15,000 square feet in size, is at 48 E. Eighth St. in downtown Holland. It’s pictured above.

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MSU Engineering Wins NIH Challenge To Keep Track Of Pills

EAST LANSING — researchers from the Michigan State University College of Engineering have created an easy way to use a cell phone to recognize prescription pills – often a major problem for the elderly and one that can have deadly consequences.

Mi Zhang, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is the first-prize winner of the National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine Pill Image Recognition Challenge. The national competition was designed to develop new methods of automatically identifying pills using mobile phones.

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MSU to study technology to help the elderly stay in their homes

EAST LANSING — Can Grandma’s WiFi system alert you that it’s time to check in on her?

A grant from the National Science Foundation will allow Michigan State University to explore whether home WiFi systems can preserve the privacy of our aging loved ones while detecting abnormal events in their homes.

Mi Zhang, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the MSU College of Engineering, has been awarded a two-year, $171,600 grant from the NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering Research Initiation Initiative (CRII) program. The CRII grant will support the project: WiFi-Based Human Behavior Sensing and Recognition System for Aging in Place.

Continue reading MSU to study technology to help the elderly stay in their homes