Engineering

Mark Husted, a Ph.D. candidate in operations research, is training for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team trials in track and field. Known as the “fastest person in the history of Mines,” Husted broke the track record for 800m earlier this year at 1:51.54. Husted has been racing for the Mines track and field team since 2005 and has earned honors along the way.

“When I won a national title, I couldn’t stop smiling for three months,” Husted said. “If I won a gold medal in the Olympics, I would probably be smiling for about three years.”

Between 2006 and 2010, Husted received several Second Team All-RMAC honors and an ESPN The Magazine Athlete of the Year (College Division) and ESPN First-Team Academic All-American. His 2010 team finished 12th at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field National Championships and Husted won a national title in the 800m.

In 2013, Husted was ranked 49th in the world for the 800m indoors. He has competed multiple times at the USA Indoor and Outdoor Championships placing in the top five with a career best of 1:47.

This past spring, Husted traveled to New Zealand, where he placed third in both the NZ National Championships and the Queen Street Mile.

Husted has come a long way since high school, where he considered himself a “mediocre” runner, running 2:04 in the 800m. He was disheartened after his high school team didn’t make it to the state championships and wasn’t sure if he wanted to run in college.

“I wanted to be an engineer and ski. I didn’t know I signed up for track until it was on my schedule,” Husted said, who started on the Mines track and field team as a walk on.

Mines track and field coach Scott VanSickle, has watched Husted improve and become more confident and consistent in his racing.

“If he continues to train and stay healthy, he can run in the 1:45 range and be competitive at the USA Championships this season once again and at the Olympic trials in 2016,” VanSickle said.

Husted received his undergraduate (’09) and masters (’10) degrees in electrical engineering at Mines. Husted started working for Ulteig in 2011 and currently works as a substation design engineer while balancing his research studies at Mines.

“At Mines, we have intense classes and I have to manage my time well – I have to be aware of lots of things happening at the same time. Being a student at Mines helps make me a successful runner,” Husted said.

Follow Husted on Twitter and Instagram @markahusted. Through a sponsorship with Brooks, Husted receives gear and earns money through bonuses for certain achievements.

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / kmorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / kgilbert@mines.edu

Eleven students are part of a humanitarian engineering course that is designing plans to relocate a village displaced by mining operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. The course “Projects for People,” taught by corporate social responsibility and Human Centered Design professor Benjamin Teschner, is geared toward students interested in the social challenges associated with the extractive industries and how engineering helps address these problems.

During the first class, Teschner gave each student $20 to design a prototype that would act as a tool to explain to someone living in the village how their lives would change after relocating.

“Commonly, students think of prototypes only as something they build to test their idea or to help themselves as engineers refine a design. What this assignment does is force them to think about how to design a prototype that will show someone else how their idea works so they can engage non-engineers in their design process,” Teschner said. “Students will immediately lay their assumptions about the problem out on the table for everyone to see—assumptions that they didn’t even know they were making.”

Aina Abiina is one of two graduate students in the class. The course is not required for Abiina’s Liberal Arts and International Studies degree, however she chose to enroll because she wanted to learn about the interaction between multi-national companies and people that are affected by these companies’ activities.

“In order to minimize a negative impact on the environment of those people and to optimize the production of the mine, a proper assessment is needed,” said Abiina. “Designing solutions to this complex engineering and social challenge will help students gain valuable skills in human-centered design methods, research techniques, brainstorming tools and approaches.”

Over the next few months, teams in two groups will have three phase gate reviews that will explore problem definition, design exploration and design analysis. The unique thing about this course is that the grades and passage of the phase gates are not linked. Grades are determined instead by how the team works within these phase gates.

“I hope students are able to develop empathy for people who use the things they design and that they recognize by bringing these people into the design process, they can create better, more sustainable engineering outcomes,” Teschner said.

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering student Karyn Burry hopes to end the course with better design flow skills.

“I am a super organized person and that usually is really helpful in a group, but this class is pushing me out of the organizer position into a position where I am forced to think outside the box in attempt to find a solution to this relocation project,” Burry said.

To better understand the village and relocation process, students are working with Thabani Mlilo, manager of sustainability for the America region at AngloGold Ashanti, who is acting as the ‘client’ on the project. Mlilo’s goal is to catalyze a paradigm shift early enough in an engineer’s education so that it is “part of their DNA” and a natural part of how they approach problems or solutions wherever there is a sustainability aspect to their work.

“In the sustainability field, one of the biggest challenges we have is shifting the paradigm of professionals in technical and scientific disciplines to the changing landscape of the business-society interface,” Mlilo said. “My impression of Mines students is that they don’t shy away from a challenge and are not afraid of treading unknown waters.”

For questions about the course, please contact Benjamin Teschner at bteschne@mines.edu.

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / kmorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / kgilbert@mines.edu

We spend 90 percent of our time indoors (according to the EPA) without realizing that the air we breathe could be potentially dangerous to our long-term health. Civil and Environmental Engineering professor Tissa Illangasekare has spent the last five years researching how volatile organic compounds, which are commonly entrapped as non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPLs) or dissolved into groundwater to produce plumes, affect our indoor air concentration.

“We drink so many liters of water a day, but we inhale so many thousands of liters of air,” Illangasekare said. (According to the EPA, the average American inhales close to 3,000 gallons a day.) “Sometimes we go to a contaminated site, test the water and we find it’s clean but later we go inside the building and find the vapor is contaminated.”

In 2009, Illangasekare and his research group, including a collaborator from the U.S. Air Force Academy, received funding from the Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program Office. The funding allowed the researchers to improve their understanding of the processes and mechanisms controlling vapor generation from entrapped NAPL sources and groundwater plumes, their subsequent migration through the subsurface, and their attenuation in naturally heterogeneous vadose zones under various natural physical, climatic, and geochemical conditions.

As the director of the Center for Experimental Study of Subsurface Environmental Processes, Illangasekare has an advantage. In his lab, he works with students to control experiments in multiscale test systems, studying vapor and airflow through unsaturated soils. The tanks are instrumented with soil moisture, relative humidity and temperature sensors. Using computation models, Illangasekare can predict how various climates affect soil concentrations expected to be found in a building. 

Their hypothesis was that some of this variability could originate from weather and hydrologic cycle dynamics, such as surface heating, rainfall and water table fluctuation.

“We learned how contaminant vapors move preferentially through the ground and make their way into people’s basements or crawl spaces,” said Kathleen Smits, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who has worked with Illangasekare for the past five years. “We also discovered how this is influenced by changes in climate (e.g. temperature, wind conditions and precipitation).”

In April 2014, Illangasekare received the 2012 European Geosciences Union's Henry Darcy Medal for his scientific contributions in water resources research and water resources engineering and management. Two months later, he was one of the coauthors on a report to the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program on “Vapor Intrusion From Entrapped NAPL Sources and Groundwater Plumes: Process Understanding and Improved Modeling Tools for Pathway Assessment.”

“Our research has contributed to fundamentally understanding what’s happening to this system, which will help decision makers and regulatory agencies give better guidelines on how to manage these sites,” he said.

Illangasekare’s research will impact closure decisions on waste sites based on vapor intrusion risks.

“There’s a need for this science to exist. We are training a new generation of scientists and engineers to look at these kinds of problems.”

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / kmorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / kgilbert@mines.edu

Sabré Cook, a sophomore mechanical engineering student at Colorado School of Mines, is the only female with a professional kart racer license and is one of four finalists (out of 15,000) who have been named to the inaugural Mazda Road to Indy and MAXSpeed Group Driver Advancement Program.

“As a driver, my engineering studies give me an advantage because I can relate things better to my team about how my car is functioning,” she said.

Cook took a year off school last year to focus on kart racing. She traveled to several countries, and was never in one place for more than two weeks at a time. Despite experiencing some of the most amazing things in her life, she said she missed Mines.

“At one point, during the summer, I went to the library and checked out an AP Calculus book. On the plane I would work through calculus problems just because I missed math."

Balancing her schoolwork with racing is difficult, but she is happy to be back at Mines. Most days of the week, she can be found at the gym where she works on strengthening her core and balance to increase her reaction time. After class or on the weekends, she trains in a racing simulator that allows her to drive life-like tracks.

She will be test-driving cars at the USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda Jan. 28 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“This will be my first time on an oval track. I’m excited for that. This is one step closer to racing the Indy 500,” she said.

Cook has been trying to move from kart to car racing since she was 16 years old. But to race cars, she needs more sponsors or more money.

“If you don’t have enough money, it doesn’t matter how good you are, you can’t really move up.”

Cook grew up in Grand Junction in a racing family. Her father, Stacey Cook, professionally raced motocross and supercross, but didn’t want his daughter exposed to the physical risks that came with that type of racing. Karting and cars were the compromise.

At age 8, she was go-kart racing against her cousins and spun out. After that incident, she drove slow for a while, receiving the family nickname, “Driving Miss Daisy.”

“One day, I was tired of getting beat by all the boys and some little boys teasing me. I went to my dad and asked for a faster kart so that I could win. After my dad gave in and I raced in a new kart, I won by 10 seconds.”

She started competitively racing at 10 years old, two years later than most of her fellow racers. Since then, she has become a six-time Colorado State Champion, a 2012 Superkarts USA S2 Semi-Pro Stock Moto champion, won two TAG USA World Championships and received a SKUSA Mountain Region title.

Last year, Cook learned about the less-glamorous aspects of racing as luck was not on her side. During a race over the summer, a driver ran over the side of her car and she was left with a concussion and destroyed kart, unable to race for a few days. In the fall, she participated as the first female in history in the FIA KZ World Cup kart championship in Sarno, Italy. She made it around the first lap before her motor blew up, and wasn’t able to finish.

On the horizon, Cook is looking forward to racing in the 2015 FIA European Championship Series in the spring. She is hoping to qualify for the World Cup in September.

After Mines, Cook would like to pursue graduate school as a F1 engineer at Oxford Brookes University in England. She is also interested in applying for an internship on a Formula 1 Team.

 

 

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / kmorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / kgilbert@mines.edu

Colorado School of Mines Mechanical Engineering professor Xiaoli Zhang and graduate student Songpo Li have developed a gaze-contingent-controlled robotic laparoscope system that can help surgeons better perform laparoscopic surgery.

Laparoscopy is an operation performed in the abdomen or pelvis through small incisions with a camera. Laparoscopic instruments (typically 0.5-1 centimeters in diameter) are inserted through small incisions and then operated inside a patient’s body together with a laparoscope that allows the surgeon to see the surgical field on a monitor. Unlike open surgery, laparoscopic surgeries have reduced scarring, lessened blood loss, shorter recovery times and decreased post-operative pain. But due to limitations of holding and positioning the laparoscope, surgeons struggle with physiologic tremors, fatigue and the fulcrum effect.

Zhang and Li’s attention-aware robotic laparoscope aims to eliminate some of these physical and mental burdens.

“The robot arm holds the camera so the surgeon doesn’t have to,” Zhang said, noting that the camera is controlled effortlessly. “Wherever you look, the camera will autonomously follow your viewing attention. It frees the surgeon from laparoscope intervention so the surgeon can focus on instrument manipulation only.”

Their system tracks the surgeon’s viewing attention by analyzing gaze data. When the surgeon’s eyes stop on a new fixation area, the robot adjusts the laparoscope to show a different field of view that focuses on the new area of interest.

To validate the effectiveness of this procedure, the team tested six participants on visualization tasks. Participants reported “they could naturally interact with the field of view without feeling the existence of the robotic laparoscope.”

Zhang and Li anticipate that their technologies could have more than just healthcare applications, such as being used for the disabled and the elderly, who may have difficulty with upper-limb movements.

“Using this system, the surgeon can perform the operation solo, which has great practicability in situations like the battlefield and others with limited human resources,” Li said.

In mid September, Li received the Colorado Innovation S.T.A.R.S. challenge award for “Best Technical Achievement” at the college level during the JeffCo Innovation Faire. Zhang and Li are working with clinical researchers and industry partners to commercialize their attention-aware robotic laparoscope.

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / kmorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / kgilbert@mines.edu

Colorado School of Mines geophysical engineering student Bradley Wilson does more than study earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. As an avid photographer, he enjoys finding ways to apply scientific concepts to his images.

Last fall, Wilson received the Blackwell Award for Excellence in Creative Expression. He used four of his photos for a “choose your own adventure” project, where he was given the freedom to produce an artistic piece connected to water.

“The photos I've selected for the piece all represent an aspect of water, although many of them in non-traditional ways,” Wilson said. “For example, the flow of the dancer mirroring the flow of water and the carving of a canyon really represent the power of water more than anything else. “

Inspiration for Wilson’s project stemmed from the McBride Honors Program’s elective, “Water in the West,” where he examined water issues in the western U.S. from several angles.  

“One of the things that stuck out to me during the class was how pervasive the water metaphor was in many peoples’ lives. As a universal symbol, the concept of water extended far beyond its physical definition.”

Water also carries a personal context, which inspired the second portion of Wilson’s piece—poems. A series of four haikus carry the reader through a father-son relationship, as the water metaphor links the photos together.

Wilson plans to pursue his Ph.D. in geosciences at the University of Arkansas, working on earthquake risk analysis in the Middle East, focused specifically on understanding hazard mitigation in differing cultural and religious contexts.

Recipients of the Blackwell Award for Excellence in Creative Expression are chosen semi-annually by faculty in the Liberal Arts and International Studies department.  Valued themes for this award include the human condition; humanity’s relationship with nature, technology, and/or science; the essence or spirit of a given culture; globalization.

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / kmorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / kgilbert@mines.edu

Metallurgical and Materials Engineering doctoral student Joseph Grogan has developed an environmental friendly dezincing process that recycles the galvanized steel in its entirety. While the steel component of galvanized steel is mostly recycled nowadays, the zinc component is often not. This technology produces a zinc sulfate that could be marketed as fertilizer and the remaining steel used as an alternative feed material to a foundry.

Due to issues including health and safety concerns at facilities that would recycle this type of steel, Grogan has created a simple hydrometallurgical (water based process) method with lower costs for removing the zinc coating on galvanized steel scrap.

“For reasons including environmental stewardship and sustainability, the reuse of metals in society is a good thing,” Grogan said. “This de-zincing process has zero waste discharge – minimizing environmental impact while completely recycling the zinc and steel.”

Galvanized steel has a lower market price compared to regular scrap metal, but is problematic to recycle as zinc vaporizes at lower temperatures than iron. Facilities that recycle this type of steel require gas and dust collection systems to capture the zinc. The dust can be recycled at a significant cost, but it is often landfilled, dependent on the jurisdiction.

“As commodity prices rise with increased demand and mine supply constraints, resources from recycling are frequently a more viable and significant supply for many metals,” Grogan said. “These increasingly complex recycling streams will require a host of new processes to recycle them economically. Extractive metallurgy is a field which specializes in developing the techniques and technologies needed to recycle these complex materials.”

Grogan’s research was supported through the Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling, of which Colorado School of Mines is an academic partner.

In the fall, Grogan was the recipient of the 2014 National Scholarship from the Recycling Research Foundation for his research supporting scrap processing and the recycling industry.

Grogan began this research in 2011, along with Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering professors Corby Anderson and Gerard Martins. He is studying at the Kroll Institute for Extractive Metallurgy at Mines and will earn his doctorate degree in May.

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / kmorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / kgilbert@mines.edu

John Spear is a Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor at Colorado School of Mines. Step inside his office in Coolbaugh Hall and you might find some strange items, dating back to 1898. Here are seven of Spear's favorite things in his collection.

John Spear
John Spear in his office in Coolbaugh Hall.

1. Canadian Flag

Spear received the flag from a research trip this summer to Nunavut in northern Canada. Nunavut’s flag features the North Star and inuksuk, the universal symbol of greeting for the north and the symbol for the Vancouver Olympics.

Native people of the north would build stone monuments of that shape to say another human had been there and to guide people through the north.

“When you come across a natural one in the wild, it looks like a human standing with their arms out.”

2. Stromatolite Rocks

Since Spear loves microbes, he loves stromatolite rocks. These rocks are laminated and “thought to record fossilized microbial mass.”

This one is 50 million years old. He also owns one that is 3.2 billion years old from Bolivia.

“I have a lot of rocks in my office even though I’m not a geologist.”

3. Gumball Machine

His daughter gave him this gumball machine when she was 7 years old when she was tired of playing with it. It ran out of gumballs a while ago.

4. 1948 Skis & Baby Beads

Skis: These 1948 wooden skis belonged to Spear’s dad. As one of the first metal-edged skis, they are made with bear trap bindings that “used to break people’s legs.”

Beads: Strung across the skis are two sets of beads. One was his daughter’s baby beads and one is his own pair of baby beads.

5. Styrofoam Cup

The once full-sized coffee cup is now one-inch tall after two of his students took it down to the bottom of the ocean in a basket on a submarine last year. They decorated it with an octopus and the words, “Microbes are everywhere,” before submerging it.

As pressures build during descent, the air slowly compresses and the cup shrunk.

6. Typewriter

Spear’s grandmother was a librarian for the U.S. Navy who loved to type notes. “She was a catalogue of information.” She lived to be 104, and would often read 5-10 newspapers a day.

In her lifetime, his grandmother watched major events, from the invention of the light bulb to the space shuttle launch. Her typewriter recorded it all. She even left notes behind for her family to find on items she owned.

“She documented her whole life by that typewriter.”

7. 1898 Coffee Grinder

This 1898 cast-iron coffee grinder weighs more than 200 pounds. Back in the day, it helped wake up the town of Pasadena, California—where Spear grew up. The man who owned the town store gave it to Spear’s father.

Wood handles turn the cranks that can grind about 4-5 pounds of coffee at a time. After dumping beans into the top, you turn the hand crank and then pull powered coffee out at the bottom. The machine can make different grinds from course to fine.

“People were fine and course grinding coffee for 150 years.”

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator, Colorado School of Mines / 303-273-3088 / kmorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines / 303-273-3541 / kgilbert@mines.edu

This story appears in the 2014-15 issue of Mines' research magazine, "Energy & the Earth."

Colorado School of Mines has been known for its prowess in geology since about 1874. Its reputation in biotechnology has taken just a little bit longer to develop – about 130 years longer, give or take.

Mines is making up for lost time. The school’s faculty, researchers and students haVe shed new light on areas as diverse as the nature of blood clots and the microbial role in rust. They have helped make better artificial limbs and developed laser microscopes capable of capturing video of the inner working of cells. They have reengineered algae to produce biofuels and developed scaffolding that could one day give new cartilage a foothold in creaky knees. In short, biological sciences and engineering have arrived at Mines, and in a big way.

The work is diverse, but there are common threads, said David Marr, who heads Mines’ Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

“We are an engineering and technology-focused institution— that’s really where our niche is,” Marr said. “It’s in areas of bioengineering, broadly interpreted, that we have a strong role to play.” Those areas, he added, encompass biomedical applications, biomechanics, biomaterials, environmental biotechnology and biofuels.

Recent hires have bolstered several of these research areas, and curriculum has changed in kind, with courses covering a range of biomedical engineering, biomaterials, environmental biotechnology and biophysics available to undergraduate as well as graduate students. In fall 2013, Mines’ freshman biology course moved to a studio format, where small teams of students sit at workstations equipped with computers, dual monitors, video microscopes, digital cameras and digital balances, as well as with more specialized equipment like micropipettes and oxygen, pH and temperature sensors.

Mines Assistant Professor Nanette Boyle is among the recent arrivals, having signed on in August 2013. Like many at Mines, Boyle considers herself an engineer. But she engineers the genomes of algae and cyanobacteria, microscopic plants using the tools of synthetic biology, systems biology and metabolic engineering.

“The overall goal of my research is to make products that replace petroleum using these photosynthetic organisms,” Boyle said.

In her new Alderson Hall lab, stacked incubator shakers swirled the contents of four beakers, their sloshing fluid of varying light green hues under the bright multispectral light. They were filed with the algae Chlamydomonas and the cyanobacteria Synechococcus. Boyle’s work differs from most algae-based biofuel efforts, which aim to fatten up the algae and then harvest them. Rather, she wants to engineer the algae to produce short chain alcohols, isoprene or other hydrocarbons while they keep photosynthesizing away.

“You can get them to create whatever you want if you can find the genes to do it,” Boyle said.

Mines Professor John Spear, a microbiologist, also focuses on the genomics of tiny creatures. The driving questions of his work, though, are big.

“What are the possible benefits of microbes to make human life and/or the environment better?” Spear asked. “How can we put microbes to work in ways we haven’t done before?”

Genetic sequencing has fostered an explosion in what is known of the tree of life, and Spear and colleagues are discovering new organisms at a dizzying pace. In the mid-1980s, there were perhaps 12 known phyla, or kingdoms, of bacteria. Now there are 130 and counting.

“So when you find 10 or 20 phyla of bacteria as we have found in some environments, that’s like walking out your door and discovering plants for the first time,” Spear said.

On the applied side, Spear has focused on a couple of areas, including wastewater treatment and corrosion. Some corrosion is chemical, but microbes, which feed on the electrons metal has to offer, also contribute, to the point that the oil and gas industry has considered flushing wells with antibiotics. Across industry, the failures and replacement costs associated with corrosion cost tens of billions of dollars annually. More precisely understanding the composition and habits of such microbes can help industry develop better countermeasures and lower costs, Spear said.

Much of Mines’ biology-related work involves the biomedical field. A longstanding collaboration involving Marr and Associate Professor Keith Neeves, recently landed a National Institutes of Health grant to study how microbots – tiny spherical machines each about onetwentieth the diameter of a human hair – might be used to deliver clot-busting drugs straight to the blockage in stroke patients. The idea, Marr said, is to inject a swarm of microbots and steer them to clots using magnets outside the body, “A sort of ‘Fantastic Voyage’ kind of thing,” Marr said.

Marr’s Alderson lab has the markings of an experimental physicist’s haunts, with stainless-steel-topped laser tables rife with grids of screw holes, many anchoring lenses and mirrors. The work there focuses on using light and magnetism to, among other things, test the mechanical properties of cells. A floor below, Neeves’ PhD student Abimbola Jarvis bounced between making microfluidic devices of rubbery silicone and adjusting an Olympus microscope where the screen displayed a fluorescence-enhanced time-lapse of a blood clot forming. Neeves’ main interest is in how blood clots form and dissolve, work that has piqued the interest of clinicians at places such as Children’s Hospital Colorado, where Neeves has helped study hemophilia patients.

“We work where physics and hematology meet,” Neeves said.

Down the hall, Assistant Professor Melissa Krebs is working on where joints meet, among other things. She and her students create biopolymers with applications ranging from tissue regeneration (cartilage being one target) to cancer fighting. The trick, she said, is to create polymers that support cell growth or drug delivery for a prescribed amount of time and then dissolve away.

In Krebs’s lab, PhD student Michael Riederer was creating microspheres for use on the drug-delivery side. Among the inputs were genipin, a chemical derived from gardenias, and chitosan from shrimp shells. As the research progresses, he will work on releasing proteins from the microspheres, controlling the pace and volume of release, Krebs said. These proteins might include growth factors for tissue regeneration or growth inhibitors for cancer treatment, she said.

Mines Assistant Professor Anne Silverman works on joints, too, but from a different perspective. With Mines associate professors Anthony Petrella and Joel Bach, she leads Mines’ Center for Biomechanics & Rehabilitation Research.

“The overall theme is improving walking ability in people who have movement disorders,” Silverman said.

Her team takes experimental measurements on patients using near-infrared cameras, voltage sensors to measure muscle excitations and force plates to measure external loads (such as the heel hitting the ground). They then use this data to develop computer simulations of movement. Amputations below the knee have been a focus, but her team also works with patients who have Parkinson’s disease and cerebral palsy. Collaboration partners have ranged from the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center and the Colorado Neurological Institute at Denver’s Swedish Medical Center.

“We’re creating complex models and simulations of movement to estimate in vivo muscular and joint behavior,” Silverman said. “We’re using an engineering approach to solve biological problems.”

The College of Engineering and Computational Sciences Senior Design Trade Fair is an opportunity for Colorado School of Mines students to showcase projects that they have been working on with a client during the past two semesters. Nine teams presented their work, while judges consisting of faculty and alumni graded them on their ability to define, analyze and address a design problem and to present their work through display and dialogue.

Trade Fair Results

  • 1st Place: CSM FlightLab
    • Client: Mounir Zok, Faculty Advisor: Joel Bach, Consultant: Sam Strickling
    • Team Members: Michael Blaise, Adam Casanova, Andrew Eberle, Ryan Elliott, Kelli Kravetz and Perry Taga
  • 2nd Place: JB Engineering
    • Client: Edge of Seven, Faculty Advisor: Judy Wang, Consultants: Joe Crocker and Juan Lucena
    • Team Members: Matthew Craighead, Steven Johnson, Ali Khavari, Brian Klatt and Jasmine Solis
  • 3rd Place: AutoBots
    • Client: Jered Dean, Faculty Advisor: Judy Wang, Consultant: Jenifer Blacklock
    • Team Members: Arveen Amiri, Dorian Illing, Adriana Johnson, Keeranat Kolatat and Jennifer McClellan
  • 4th Place: SolTrak
    • Client: iDE, Faculty Advisor: Judy Wang, Consultant: David Frossard
    • Team Members: Miranda Barron, Lincoln Engelhard, Oluwaseun Ogunmodede, Brenda, Ramirez Rubio, Eric Rosing and Kevin Wagner

Broader Impacts Essay Results

  • 1st Place: Jace Warren for "The World Cup, It's Not Rocket Science"
  • 2nd Place: Aaron Heldmyer for "The Modern Renaissance Men and Women"
  • 3rd Place: Jennifer McClellan for "Engineering Modern Vehicles for First Responders"

Winning teams will receive plaques at the post-graduation banquet in December.

You be the judge. Listen to two teams present their projects at the Senior Design Trade Fair.

Senior Design Project: SolTrak

Senior Design Project: CSM Outreach Engineering

View more information about the Senior Design Program.

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator, Colorado School of Mines / 303-273-3088 / kmorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines / 303-273-3541 / kgilbert@mines.edu

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