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Congratulations RISE Winners

April 14, 2017

A showcase of Northeastern’s research, prototypes, and innovative ideas

RISE, Northeastern’s Research, Innovation, and Scholarship Expo, is an annual event that showcases the breadth and depth of the university’s research and entrepreneurial spirit. More than 120 judges from industry and academia circulate among the 400-plus solution-oriented research projects of all students, from undergraduate to doctoral students, on display at RISE:2017. Intently, they listen to the presenters, ask questions, evaluate the poster contents and designs.

Congratulations to this year's engineering students who won the 2017 RISE Outstanding Student Research Awards.

  • Engineering and Technology
    Graduate: Harsh Engineer (MS Energy Systems'19), "Portable Thermoelectricity Generating Kit"
    Undergraduate: Justin Hynes-Bruell (BS Computer Engineering'17), "Augmented Reality for Parkinson’s: An Assistive Tool Based on Visual Cues"
  • Health Sciences
    Undergraduate: Gilbert Yap (BS Electrical Engineering'18), "Motion Capture-Based Robotic Interfaces to Enhance Engagement and Adherence In Pediatric Rehabilitation"


Extracts from News @ Northeastern

Award-winning research 

Greg St. Martin | April 13, 2017

RISE:2017 wrapped up this afternoon with the annual awards ceremony, where undergraduate and graduate researchers across the university were honored in multiple categories.

Tracey Dodenhoff, director of the Center for Research Innovation, underscored that RISE continues to reach new heights each year and that it’s inspiring to witness students’ passion, commitment, and professionalism at the annual research, innovation, and scholarship expo.

"One of the biggest things I notice consistently, but even more so this year, is the real commitment to social impact," Dodenhoff said. "There are so many research projects that have real objectives that will changes people’s lives."

Dodenhoff read the names of the winners, as College of Science Dean Kenneth Henderson presented the winners with their awards.

Here are this year’s winners:

Outstanding Student Research Awards

Computer and Information Sciences     

Graduate: Bryan Koch, "Detection and Mitigation of Malicious Modifications on the Minnowboard Turbot"

Undergraduate: Benjamin Trapani, "A Fast Parallel Level Set Segmentation Algorithm for 3-D Images"

Engineering and Technology

Graduate: Harsh Engineer, "Portable Thermoelectricity Generating Kit"

Undergraduate: Justin Hynes-Bruell, "Augmented Reality for Parkinson’s: An Assistive Tool Based on Visual Cues"

Health Sciences

Graduate: Amirah Aly, "Focused Ultrasound Enhancement of an Intranasal Gene Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease"

Undergraduate: Gilbert Yap, "Motion Capture-Based Robotic Interfaces to Enhance Engagement and Adherence In Pediatric Rehabilitation"

Humanities and Arts

Graduate: Cyrus Dahmubed, "Rising with the Tides: Saving Boston from Sea Level Rise with a New Eco-District"

Undergraduate: Evan McEldowney, "Kleo: User-Centered Art Tours"

Interdisciplinary Topics, Centers and Institutes

Graduate: Michael Gargano, "Cancer Publication Portal: Identifying Gene-Cancer Associations from Biomedical Literature"

Undergraduate: Emily Navarrete, "A Student-Designed Curriculum: Developing a Project-Based Introductory Chemistry Laboratory Course"

Physical and Life Sciences

Graduate: John de la Parra, "Discovering Novel Biomarkers for Women’s Health: A Robust Platform for Disease Detection in the Menstrual Blood Proteome"

Undergraduate: Michael Nelson, "Exploring Hydrogel Potential in Football Helmets"

Social Sciences, Business and Law

Graduate: Yian Xu, "Cognitive Bias in Legal Decision-Making: New Evidence from Psychological Studies"

Undergraduate: Alaina Baker, "What’s in a Headline? Framing of Mass Violence Impacts Social Perception"

Best Video Pitch

Elikem Tettey-Tamaklo, "Redesigned Bubble CPAP to Effectively Curtail Preterm Infant Mortality in Low Resource Areas"

Graduate Innvovator Award

Liam Timms, "New Insights into the Brain, Consciousness and More with QUTE-CE MRI-Based Quantitative Vascular Mapping"

RISE AWARDS

Excellence in Research

Alaina Baker, "What’s in a Headline? Framing of Mass Violence Impacts Social Perception"

Excellence in Innovation

John de la Parra, "Discovering Novel Biomarkers for Women’s Health: A Robust Platform for Disease Detection in the Menstrual Blood Proteome"

Excellence in Scholarship

Yian Xu, "Cognitive Bias in Legal Decision-Making: New Evidence from Psychological Studies"

Excellence in Entrepreneurship (People’s Choice)

Brian Phillips, "Sentiment Driven Market Modeling"


What makes a winner?

Thea Singer | April 13, 2017

More than 120 judges from industry and academia circulate among the 400-plus solution-oriented research projects on display at RISE:2017. Intently, they listen to the presenters, ask questions, evaluate the poster contents and designs.

Each carries an iPad with an electronic rubric that rates the displayed innovations in categories from originality to significance and impact to the overall presentation.

We wondered: In addition to the issued guidelines, what drives their decision-making? Here is a sample of responses.

Kevin Papierski, senior designer, National Amusements, Inc.

"I am a graphic designer, and so first and foremost I look for clarity: What are you trying to tell me? I want to see how the researchers take these brilliant ideas and distill them into something that can be communicated clearly, avoiding information overload."

Greg Dalle-Molle, director of operations, Northeastern University Center for Entrepreneurship Education

"Some researchers have developed specific products, others have a specific value proposition. I am most interested in understanding what is special about the technology and how it applies to people and businesses."

Michael Draper, senior director, Sanofi, a multinational pharmaceutical company

"I’m probably more focused than some on application-oriented innovations. I want to see something that is not only innovative but that also has a direct application. Sometimes that is a commercial application, other times it is furthering a societal value. In other words: Innovative ideas acted on and implemented."

Susan Watts, research contracts officer, Office of Research Administration and Finance, Northeastern University

"I am not a technical wizard. I look for passion. I want to be able to see that the presenter can speak in the vernacular and approach those not in the field, translate the significance of the research. I want to see its degree of applicability, what impact it can have."


Engineering Student Story Highlights at RISE:2017

Collision avoidance, by land and sea

Greg St. Martin | April 13, 2017

Two undergraduate research projects being presented at RISE:2017 both feature sensing technology to detect and potentially avoid nearby objects—but these projects’ applications are quite different.

One team of five students in the College of Engineering students designed their senior capstone project for an 18-year-old with cerebral palsy, who has difficulty not only controlling his wheelchair but also perceiving distance between him and objects. This challenge, the students said, is particularly difficult as he navigates the hallways of his high school. "So we tried to design a system to help with that," says Kyle Jones, BSEE’17.

The students dubbed their project "The Aware-Chair." They have outfitted a donated wheelchair with an elaborate sensor system that can detect when objects are within inches on the front and sides and that stops the wheelchair to avoid collisions. They also equipped the wheelchair with an LED board that is lit green when there are no objects nearby, yellow when something in its path is close, and red when it needs to stop.

After RISE, in fact, they were scheduled to meet with the teenager to discuss their progress.

Another RISE project grew out of professor Joseph Ayers’ lab, where researchers are developing autonomous robotic lobsters that mimic the animals’ behavior and are designed to locate underwater mines. Jaimie Spahr, S’17, has worked in Ayers’ lab for the past two semesters; her research, which serves as her Honors thesis, focuses on developing an antenna for the robotic lobsters. "The antenna will help the robot investigate the environment and determine if there are objects in its surroundings, and if it can interact with or must avoid certain things," she says.

Spahr is a behavioral neuroscience major, and says through this project she’s immersed herself in engineering concepts that are entirely new to her—for example, designing a circuit to work with the antenna. Bolstering her skill set, she says, has been very rewarding.

"The engineering skills I was lacking, but I now have a basic understanding of electrical engineering design," she says.


‘Keeping Parkinson’s patients moving’

Thea Singer |

In the U.S. alone, approximately 60,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease every year. A student team led by Justin Schwartzseid, BSEE’17, who has an uncle with the disease, wants to do something to help them deal with its effects—tremors, stiffness, gait changes, loss of balance, and cognitive impairment

Enter StartGait, a wearable device aimed at, as Schwartzseid puts it, "keeping Parkinson’s patients moving."

Parkinson’s stems from the loss of brain cells, or neurons, in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra, which is located in the limbic system, a part of the brain that deals with emotions and memories. These neurons produce dopamine, a brain chemical involved in movement control. Hence patients often experience what’s called a "freezing of gait," or FOG, where they have difficulty initiating movements.

"StartGait provides a visual and rhythmic cue to help people break out of that freezing," says Schwartseid.

Resembling a large can of tuna measuring 4.5 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches thick, StartGait attaches at the hip with a clip. Packed with sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers, the device uses algorithms to predict FOG episodes. When one registers, it shoots out a laser beam on the ground for the user to walk toward as well as a metronome-like sound to spur his or her forward progress.

"Such external cues have been found helpful in bringing about movement in people with Parkinson’s," says Schwartzseid. "We want to help those with the disease live as normal a life as possible."