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ONU Electrical and Computer Engineering Team Places Second in IEEE Competition

Three students majoring in electrical and computer engineering at Ohio Northern have won an award in the Region 2 IEEE Students Activity Conference in Youngstown State University for their senior design project titled “A Design of an Impact Monitor Device”.

The team of Thomas Fritz, of Middlefield, Ohio, Michael Sherry, of Defiance, Ohio, and John Weeman, of Wooster, Ohio, won second place in the paper defending competition. The students were awarded certificates and $500. The IEEE region 2 is composed of four geographical areas in the eastern U.S.

"It was exciting to see other universities  from the region presenting at this conference. Also, it was an honor to be acknowledged for our design project," says Sherry.

Papers were evaluated and judged on the basis of 20 equally weighted judging criteria, with 55 percent weight given to the written presentation and 45 percent weight given to the oral presentation. There were 22 universities participating in the event.

"It was a great surprise to see our group do so well. The conference was overall a great experience and I would jump at the opportunity to go again," says Weeman.

The device designed by the team was requested and sponsored by American Electric Power (AEP). It monitors when and where damages occur to items shipped from overseas. The device records multiple impacts as well as the location, date and time of each impact. A timer records when each impact occurs if Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites are not available to pinpoint the location. Collected data is written to a memory card so it can be retrieved using a PDA or laptop.

The monitoring device consists of a Programmable Interface Controller (PIC), an accelerometer, a GPS receiver, a memory card slot and other electrical components. When an impact occurs, the PIC logs the value of the force and activates the GPS device to determine the time and the device’s present location. If the GPS device is unable to receive a GPS signal, the PIC will record the time of the impact. The PIC sends this information to the memory card. A software package developed to work with this device enables the end user to view a map indicating where each impact occurred. The impact data is retrieved by inserting the memory card into a PC or PDA. Based on this information, the device will utilize Google Earth to display the locations of the impacts.

"Our group has put a lot of effort and hard work into our senior capstone project. When we were asked to present our project at the IEEE regional conference we were honored. Presenting at the IEEE conference was a great experience and I hope the electrical/computer engineers have the opportunity to attend next year," says Fritz.

Dr. Khalid Al-Olimat, the team advisor, is appreciative of the support of AEP not only for this project but also for five other projects in the College of Engineering. "This industry partnership gives our students the opportunity to work on real world applications," Dr. Al-Olimat pointed out, and added, "all faculty members in the College of Engineering strive to create opportunities for our engineering students to explore their bright designs not only in regional conferences but also nationwide."   


Design team