Thursday, April 15, 2010

Congrats to Jason Karp: Research Expo Grand Prize Winner

Congratulations to Jason Karp, the electrical engineering PhD student who won the top prize at Research Expo 2010.

His Project: a New Solar Concentrator Design

A new solar concentrator designed by electrical engineering Ph.D. student Jason Karp cuts the number of required photovoltaic cells and could lead to less expensive and more environmentally friendly solar installations. Existing high-efficiency solar cells incorporate optics to focus the sun hundreds of times and can deliver twice the power of rigid solar panels. But these systems typically use arrays of individual lenses that focus directly onto independent photovoltaic cells which all need to be aligned and electrically connected. In contrast, the new solar concentrator collects sunlight with thousands of small lenses imprinted on a common sheet. All these lenses couple into a flat “waveguide” which funnels light to a single photovoltaic cell. The engineers from the Photonic Systems Integration Laboratory led by electrical engineering professor Joseph Ford built a working prototype with just two primary optical components, thus reducing materials, alignment and assembly. This solar concentrator is compatible with high-volume, low-cost manufacturing.

It's Poster Judging Time! Research Expo 2010 poster session has begun!

I interviewed a bunch of students while they were setting up their posters this morning. Here is part of the first interview (30 seconds on YouTube)...more later...but now I'm off to the actual poster session. Hot posters are here...but who will win for best research poster this year???

Robot: Toy Potential

When a robot has "toy potential" you know it's gotta be cool.

Today at Research Expo, Mechanical engineering students from the Jacobs School will unveil a new and improved iFling, a fun, remote-controlled robot vehicle that can, among other tasks, pick up and throw ping pong balls. iFling was designed using a new 3D printer and has potential commercial use as a toy, according to professor Thomas Bewley.

Bewley's students will also showcase Switchblade and four other student-designed robots TODAY April 15 at the Jacobs School’s annual Research Expo April 15.