This grant will support planning and development of a cross-department joint undergraduate senior design course in computer science, computer engineering, and electrical engineering at City College of New York. In the course, students will develop multimodal and unobtrusive techniques for helping the blind and visually impaired.
The course will be a two-semester sequence for seniors. In the first semester, students will learn the basics of sensors, actuators, visual navigation algorithms, and assistive technologies, as well as business and social issues. In the second semester, students will form into teams and study the needs of blind users, create designs of new assistive technologies, prototype them, and perform usability studies in collaboration with NYS Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped and the Computer Center for Visually Impaired people at CUNY Baruch College.
Heavy payload demands for airfoils require the use of new devices, which can improve lift characteristics. The idea of adding kinetic energy to the boundary layer (formed along the surface of a wing), as a means of increasing the maximum lift has been obvious since the basic mechanism of boundary layer separation was first understood. Mechanisms of backward-directed slats on the leading edge of the wing and vortex generators located on the top of the wing are in current usage. This E-Team introduced a novel design for a vortex generator mounted on the leading edge of the wing. This device was tested in CCYN's wind tunnel and showed a sixteen percent reduction in the coefficient of drag. The location on the leading edge appears to offer the largest increase in drag reduction, and in time could become the device of choice for drag reduction in fuel consumption. Using a Boeing 777 standard aircraft long range configuration, the projected fuel savings is $250,000/aircraft annually. This project initiated the development, testing and commercialization of this device for use in aircraft.
Laser Doppler Vibrometers (LDVs) are sensors capable of detecting very small amounts of vibration from far away (100 meters or more). LDVs are used in bridge and building safety inspections, since structural defects give out small vibration signals, as well as in the automotive, aerospace, medical and industrial testing industries. The problem is that all current LDVs are manually operated, and it can take some time to find an appropriate reflective surface, focus the laser beam and get a vibration signal. This E-Team is developing a method to automate LDVs. The team's system, which involves hardware, software, and a web component, automatically selects a surface, tracks and focuses. The web component allows users to control the system remotely.
The team has filed a provisional patent and partnered with Polytec, an LDV company. With NCIIA funding they will build and test a working prototype, file for more patent protection, and look to pursue licensing with Polytec or other LDV manufacturers.