NSF IRES Track I: Collaborative Research: Interdisciplinary Research in Korea on Applied Smart Systems (IRiKA) for Undergraduate Students (Principal Investigator)

Interdisciplinary Research in Korea on Applied smart systems (IRiKA) for Undergraduate Students will provide a cohort of five US undergraduate students per year with the opportunity to conduct research for 8 weeks at Korea’s top-ranked universities with state-of-the-art research facilities: Seoul National University, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Ewha Womans University. Over the lifetime of this 3-year project, 15 students will participate. Students from underrepresented groups will be recruited. The unifying research theme of IRiKA is smart systems with the subtopics of sensors, emerging electronics, and materials and process development. In addition to lab work and weekly cohort research meetings, IRiKA students will visit Korea’s government research institutions and global leaders in the tech industry such as Samsung, LG, and Hyundai. The distinctive features of IRiKA are: 1) A cohort experience bringing the US participants together; 2) Vetted and structured professional development program tailored for both US students and Korean mentors; and 3) Availability of follow-on collaborative projects in US and Korea to facilitate a sustained global network of mentorship. Students will gain formative research skills and learn how smart systems brings together interdisciplinary technological solutions for manufacturing, healthcare, energy, safety and security, transportation, and logistics. 


NSF I-Corps: A Quantitative Approach to Detecting Meltdowns in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Principal Investigator)

This I-Corps project involves wearable technology for predicting, detecting, tracking, and mitigating meltdowns for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We have developed a biometric sensing suite comprising two components: The hardware portion consists of a detachable, water-resistant core unit for biosignal filtering, processing, and transmission as well as machine washable sensors that can be embedded into apparel; The software portion consists of our proprietary machine learning models for determination of when a meltdown is to occur, alerting the parent or caregiver of a high risk of a meltdown, and an assessment of mitigation techniques afterwards. Our innovation will advance autism research, as the technology has the potential to open the doors to a better understanding of behavioral phenotypes. Being able to tell what a non-verbal child is feeling can pave the way for more efficient and productive lessons for social/education development as well as broader phenotypical research. The assessment feature of our product will lead to the improvement of mitigation techniques for meltdowns. gaia’s competitive advantage is in its pre-emptive nature of care. Proof-of-concept was demonstrated, and a beta prototype will be complete by the end of Summer 2018.


2016-2017 Northwestern University Provost’s Fellowship for Digital Learning: Customized and Contextualized Asynchronous Learning (Principal Investigator)

The project focuses on restructuring, developing, and expanding experiential learning modules for the three-part course series in the biosignals and systems analysis and experimental design that include my courses: Biomedical Signals and Electrical Circuits and Quantitative Experimentation and Design. This project aims to enhance them with asynchronous adaptive learning modules in order to: pinpoint student weaknesses and allow students to receive immediate formative feedback. We expect that the feedback, knowledge, and modules generated from this project will benefit curricula in other areas of engineering and build linkages of concepts to facilitate knowledge transfer and holistic problem solving.


NSF I-Corps L: nScope- a Lab for Every Laptop (Principal Investigator)

This I-Corps L project from Northwestern University (NU) will focus on scaling and sustaining of an educational innovation, nScope, one of the centerpieces in the parent NSF project funded under the “Engaged Student Learning” track in the IUSE: EHR program. The nScope system is a USB-powered device that plugs into an electronics prototyping breadboard. The nScope is equipped with an oscilloscope, power supply, two function generators and two pulse generators. The hardware is accompanied by a graphical interface and an open application program interface (API) for custom control from any platform – PC, Mac, and Raspberry Pi. The current version is easy and safe for beginners, yet powerful enough for experts. The versatility makes nScope a potent educational tool for all types of STEM learners. This I-Corps for Learning project will investigate ways to increase the impact of this innovative project so that more STEM students can benefit from the capabilities of nScope. Possible paths to be explored include partnerships and collaborations with universities, community colleges, and engineering licensure boards. Tutorials or modules will be tailored to the user needs. The scaling of the innovation will investigate means of sustaining the project including potential commercial outlets.


NSF IUSE: Collaborative Research: Enhancing and Expanding Experiential Learning Modules across Disciplines and Institutions (Principal Investigator)

This project will study the adaptation, implementation, and dissemination of best practices in experiential learning in the core middle years of the engineering curriculum where students take the bulk of technical fundamentals. The study will involve two series of junior-year fundamental core engineering courses; one taught at Northwestern University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and the other taught at the University of Florida’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The course sequences use similar tools and teach similar topics geared towards building skills needed for success in the engineering workplace or graduate school. The differences are in methods of delivery and the types of experiential learning modules employed. the main goals of this proposal are to 1) assess each course sequence in terms of How People Learn and assess how student experiences and outcomes are linked to those attributes of each course and 2) enhance and expand effective experiential learning modules for broader adoption and implementation. The project will evaluate student learning preferences, student engagement, retention of material in subsequent courses in their respective sequences, transferrable skills between courses and learning of course concepts.