News from around CEAS

Student team launching NASA competition dream

The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ Advanced Rocketry Club will compete in the NASA Student Launch competition – the only Michigan school accepted into the prestigious contest. Western Michigan University’s team will join 42 college teams in the April 2020 competition.

The team is busy designing their mission system, after which they will build it and test it. The goal of this year’s mission, "Lunar Ice Recovery," is to launch a rocket to a target altitude determined by the team. The team will deploy a mission vehicle that will be capable of navigating to target drill sites, drill 10 milliliters of simulated lunar ice from two inches below the surface and drive 10 linear feet carrying the simulated ice sample. WMU’s preliminary rocket body design is 7.5 inches in diameter and close to 12-feet tall. To learn more about the competition, visit NASA's website says smart bandage will ‘change the world’

An innovative bandage created by a team of Western Michigan University engineers is being hailed as one of “5 Manufacturing Innovations that will Change the World” by Dr. Massood Atashbar, Dr. Binu Narakathu, and Ph.D. student Dinesh Maddipatla, along with partners at Purdue University and the Indiana University School of Medicine, are testing a “smart bandage” which treats chronic non-healing wounds. The bandage senses and controls oxygen flow to wounds to speed up healing. Now in the testing phase, the bandage could reduce the more than $25 million annual costs associated with treating chronic non-healing wounds. For more information, visit


Published article sets Engineering Management Journal record

An article authored by Ph.D. graduate Nolen Akerman and professors Larry A. Mallak and David Lyth is receiving a great deal of attention since its publication in Engineering Management Journal. The article, “Sense-Making of Critical Incidents with Sentiment Analysis and Data Visualization,” has received more than 8,574 click-throughs – the most of any promoted EMJ article since January 2018. 


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Computer science chair Steve Carr judges student app challenge

Steve Carr, chair of the Computer Science Department, is serving as a judge for the Sixth District’s Congressional App Challenge. Carr and the other judges will select the winning app, and the winner will be eligible to have their apps featured in a U.S. Capitol exhibit, on the U.S. House of Representatives’ website, and on the Congressional App Challenge website. Winners will also meet with Michigan’s Sixth District Representative Fred Upton and will be invited to #HouseOfCode, a springtime computer science fair and reception held in Washington, D.C.


Patent granted for location, sensor technology

Two Western Michigan University professors and a Ph.D. candidate have been granted a patent for a revolutionary new technology, flexBeacon. Computer science professor Ala Al-Fuqaha, Lori J. Brown, associate professor with the College of Aviation, and Ihab Mohammed, computer science Ph.D. candidate, created flexBeacon. The technology combines location and context awareness, physical and virtual sensory data, and hardware and software components with an intuitive user interface. flexBeacon shows promise for use in multiple situations including in hospitals to allow physicians to check patients’ vital signs remotely and warehouses to precisely locate stock. It could even be used to warn drivers of a cyclist in their blind spot. To learn more about the patent issued for flexBeacon.


Paper Technology Foundation celebrates banquet, honors

The Paper Technology Foundation celebrated its 60th annual banquet recently, joined by Western Michigan University President Edward Montgomery, his wife Kari, and the WMU Advanced Jazz Ensemble. The Foundation honored Richard Hartman, Ph.D. ’77, the chief financial officer of New-Indy Containerboard for his dedication, contributions, and leadership as Foundation president with the Hall of Fame Award and PTF Presidential Gavel Award. Two paper engineering seniors, Geoffrey Mallett and Stephen Bussa, were presented with Outstanding Senior Awards for their exceptional contributions to the Ts’ai Lun student organization and paper students. Finally, a surprise Robert A. Welborn scholarship award was presented to Australia Weatherall by the department chair, Kecheng Li, Ph.D. and Chris Welborn.


Custer Lecture Series – November

Darren Schaaf, systems engineer for Stryker Medical, will speak on “Systems Engineering Overview” on Friday, November 22 at 1:30 p.m. in Floyd Hall’s Parkview Room (D-132).

Systems are rapidly becoming more complex due to new technologies like smart devices, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. Systems engineering is a rapidly expanding discipline that aims to tackle this complexity and develop integrated solutions to work within the technological environment to deliver desired outcomes. Systems engineering, first developed in the aerospace industry, has evolved as a multi-industry discipline since it’s emergence in the 1950s but is still most widely used in aerospace. This presentation will help answer:

  • What is systems engineering?
  • What does it mean to engineer systems as opposed to developing products?
  • Why should I become a T-shaped engineer?