Tag Archives: computer science

Tennessee State University Engineering Students Participate in “Hack Nashville”

Myron Sallie, a junior Architectural Engineering mojor, conducts a soldering experiment during Hack Nashville, an event that brought computer programmers and coders together to collaborate on innovative products during the course of a weekend.
Myron Sallie, a junior Architectural Engineering major, conducts a soldering experiment during Hack Nashville, an event that brought computer programmers and coders together to collaborate on innovative products during the course of a weekend. (courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Students from Tennessee State University recently had the opportunity to hunker down with other like-minded “techies” and programmers from throughout the city to build products, share coding skills and participate in real-world programing exercises.

Billed as Hack Nashville, the event drew more than 300 participants who took part in the gathering November 7-9 where computer programmers and coders came together to collaborate on innovative products during the course of a weekend.

“So much innovation is coming out of these events,” said Dr. Sachin Shetty, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and one of the team leaders. “This was a great opportunity for our students to apply concepts they learn in the classroom to real-world applications. It was a tremendous boost to show the students exactly what they are capable of accomplishing.”

Hackathons have been around since the late 1990s and have sometimes been called a hackday or codefest where “hackers” meet other hackers, team up according to skill and interest, then collaborate and show off their final product. This is the sixth event hosted in Nashville since 2012 where organizers provide developers and designers a place to come together in a completely organic, unrestricted environment to create.

Shetty and co-team leader, Dr. Tamara Rogers, associate professor of Computer Science, helped prepare the engineering and computer science students compete in the cognitive exercise to develop solutions to real-world problems.

“We worked with other universities in the area to garner more student participation and interest in the event that has traditionally not been opened to students,” added Shetty. “Our students then came up with some unique concepts to demonstrate.”

A 10-member team of TSU students developed two projects at the event.  One project dealt with addressing the problem of controlling any software on a computer without using a keyboard or mouse, called a gesture-free recognition system.

The solution involved using the hands to interact with software on the computer. The team developed a system that used an armband to act as a sensor to control any program.

For example, the armband could enable hands-free audio mixing by altering pitch and volume of musical tones in any type of computer software by simply waving the hands.

Another team developed a low-cost mobile robot that teaches design principles, simple machines, and energy transfer to students in 5th and 6th grades.

“This opportunity was important to our students because it showed them what they are learning in the classroom has real-world applications and can be used to benefit and impact society,” said Shetty. “It also boosted their confidence knowing they have the skills, knowledge and ability to use this experience and take it to the next level and become marketable in any industry.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, agrees, noting the hackathon itself offered a taste of real-world experience to students who are just used to specific assignments from instructors.

“It is important we continue to challenge our students in the classroom and laboratory to enhance their critical-thinking skills, and, at the same time, promote team-based learning while they are students,” Hargrove said. “This will make them more competitive when they graduate and enter the workforce.”

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Engineering Students Take Part in Annual Air Force Design Competition

AFRLChallenge
A team of engineering students from Tennessee State University representing the fields of mechanical design, electrical and computer engineering, and computer science joined 15 other universities and three service academies at Arnold Air Force Base recently for the annual Air Force Research Laboratory Collegiate and Service Academy Engineering Design Competition. This year’s challenge centered on a problem routinely faced by Air Force pararescuemen and other military units — lifting up of heavy armored vehicles to rescue fellow soldiers pinned or trapped inside, similar to the vehicle pictured. (courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A team of engineering students from Tennessee State University joined 15 other universities and three service academies at Arnold Air Force Base recently to find a solution to a problem routinely encountered by members of the military…designing a portable one-man heavy lifting device capable of lifting 45,000 pounds.

The teams came together April 14-17 at Arnold Engineering Development Complex in middle Tennessee for the annual Air Force Research Laboratory Collegiate and Service Academy Engineering Design Competition. TSU fielded a 12-person team and joined forces with Prairie View A&M University. Students represented the fields of mechanical design, electrical and computer engineering, and computer science.

Now in its third year, the competition revolves around a single engineering challenge aimed at fostering innovative and creative solutions. This year’s challenge centered on a problem routinely faced by U.S. Air Force pararescuemen and other military units. The weight of armored vehicles and frequent encounters with improvised explosive devices or damage from combat operations occasionally require these up-armored vehicles be lifted to rescue fellow soldiers pinned or trapped inside. These heavy lift devices are also routinely used in rescue operations of collapsed structures or downed aircraft.

The challenge this year was to design a lifting device that was portable, lightweight, and could lift a structure, aircraft or armored vehicles at least 24 inches high that would effectively lift a 45,000-pound vehicle sufficient to retrieve trapped personnel.

“The current constraint is the inability to make kits available in small enough volume and weight factor,” said Dr. Fenghui Yao, professor of Computer Science and the team’s leader. “A successful rescue is a controlled operation that is immediately deployed to prevent crushing or further damage to equipment and personnel. Our mindset was to ‘lift an inch, shore an inch’ for stability of lifting the heavy load.”

Devon Parker, a senior Air Force mechanical engineer at AEDC, was the host and manager for the national competition on behalf of the Air Force Research Laboratory. In addition to managing the competition, he provided regular feedback to the design teams throughout the academic year during design reviews. While this was designed principally to ensure the teams fully understood the problem, it also allowed him to ensure the trial phase conducted at AEDC could safely accommodate all of the various design entries during demonstration.

“The challenge was a 40,000-pound bulldozer resting on an deep incline deep within the Tennessee Guard Volunteer Training Site,” said Parker. “The competition and the teams were supported by a number of experienced Air Force pararescuemen from around the country – who performed work under the load for the student teams, as instructed by the respective student team leader.”

The team from Tennessee State University developed and designed two solutions to the problem. According to Yao, the first solution was entered and competition along with the solution provided by the Prairie View students. Both were able to execute the required lifting task successfully.

Ultimately, the team from Auburn University delivered a design solution that met the objective while also achieving significant progress in many of the additional design constraints. Their solution consisted of a mixed air bag system, built of Kevlar and Vectran in their own laboratory.

Regardless of their performance on the field trial, there were portions of each entry that offered further opportunity for creative development. There were mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, and hybrid solutions developed and demonstrated, said Parker.

“Engineering designs and team creativity were all put to the test,” he said. “Regardless of individual results, every team came away with a more profound understanding of why it is essential that engineers leave their office desks and get their hands dirty when working on a problem.”

Even though the joint TSU/Prairie View A&M team did not win the competition, it provided valuable design experience for the students.

“It is this type of first-hand experience that enables engineers to fully comprehend the scope of any problem,” said Yao. “It allows them to work more effectively as part of any product development or problem solving team.”

Dr. Landon Onyebueke, professor of Mechanical Engineering; and Dr. Saleh Zein-Sabatto, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, assisted Yao and the Challenge team.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.