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The DukEngineer magazine is an undergraduate engineering student tradition dating back to the 1940s. Each year, a volunteer team of student editors and writers prepare a magazine that chronicles their experiences and perspectives. Students write about engineering club activities, study abroad, their research, opinions and Duke campus life. An alumni updates section is also included to help the Duke Engineering community stay in touch.

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Published by Duke Pratt School of Engineering, 2017-04-19 17:13:43

DukEngineer 2017

The DukEngineer magazine is an undergraduate engineering student tradition dating back to the 1940s. Each year, a volunteer team of student editors and writers prepare a magazine that chronicles their experiences and perspectives. Students write about engineering club activities, study abroad, their research, opinions and Duke campus life. An alumni updates section is also included to help the Duke Engineering community stay in touch.

Drone Submarines and Robot Nurses
Reinventing the Toilet

Edmund T. Pratt Jr. School of Engineering at Duke University | 2017

Student-written since 1940

Environmental engineering
fieldwork in Bolivia, page 6

Keep up with the lastest from Duke Engineering on Facebook,
Twitter and Instagram at @DukeEngineering

dukengineerEdmundT.Pratt Jr.School of Engineering at Duke University | 2017

Editors-in-Chief Letters
Efe Aras and Amy Xiong
2 Letter from the Dean
Associate Editors 3 Meet the Editors
Ashish Vankara 4 Letter from the ESG President
Petek Sener 5 Letter from the EGSC President
Claudia Dantoin
Faculty Focus
Consulting Editors
Minnie Glymph 6 From Bolivia to India: Of Our Air, Our Environment and Our Health
Ken Kingery 10 Trapping Light to Enhance Material Properties

Designer Global Impacts on Health
Lacey Chylack
14 Engineering Change in the Developing World
16 Engineering the Toilet

Tomorrow’s Technologies

18 A 3D Manufacturing Revolution: From Dreams to Reality
22 MEDx: An Engine for Collaboration and Innovation
24 Envisioning the Future of Robots
27 A Leviathan Lurking in the Foundry
30 From Entrepreneurs to Encapsio


34 Meet the Pratt Research Fellows

Alumni and Giving

38 Classnotes
46 Honor Roll

Cover: Students scale the
mountains of Bolivia to

test air and water quality
(page 6)


Dear friends, You’ll also read about how Duke Engineering Dean Bellamkonda
is leading the way toward exciting emerging tech-
When our students published DukEngineer nologies, ranging from new optical properties
last year, I had not yet begun my role as harnessed from the phenomena of plasmonics
Vinik Dean of the Pratt School of Engi- to building and programming the autonomous
neering. But in an interview in the pages of that robots of tomorrow’s streets and industries. And,
magazine, I offered my initial insights into what you’ll hear the stories of many Duke Engineering
makes Duke Engineering an attractive destination students participating in impactful research, en-
for world-class students and faculty alike. gaging in hands-on design and even starting new
Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity
to engage more deeply with our talented and In 1984, Duke President Terry Sanford fa-
ambitious students, faculty, university colleagues mously described the “outrageous ambitions”
and strong network of supporters and friends. propelling Duke University’s rise and rapid ad-
DukEngineer is a tradition that makes a statement vance along the path of excellence. Our goals for
about Duke Engineers—creative, entrepreneurial Duke Engineering are very much in this dynamic
reseachers and leaders—since 1940! What a plea- Duke spirit. In undergraduate and graduate
sure and joy it has been to become part of this education, in research, in entrepreneurship and
dynamic community, this tradition of excellence in service, we’re committed to leading boldly
in everything we do, and experience firsthand to shape this technological era by creating an
how truly special Duke Engineering is! environment that enables our community to
achieve great things, and yes—be outrageously
As a leading engineering school set in one of ambitious!
the world’s top research universities, we have an
incredibly collaborative spirit. Here, faculty and I have enjoyed every minute of my first year at
students work together across disciplines to solve Duke, and hope you’ll enjoy reading more about
global challenges and make the world a better just a few of the outstanding things our students
place—whether by improving human health, and faculty have done in 2016-2017 in this issue.
working toward a more resilient and sustainable
environment, discovering new materials or ad- Prof. Ravi V. Bellamkonda
vancing data analytics, computing and intelligent Vinik Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering

Our award-winning faculty care not only
about what they teach, but also how they teach
and what they teach to fuel student curiosity and
open new horizons. Nearly 60 percent of our un-
dergraduate students conduct faculty-mentored
research, while our graduate students are routine-
ly recognized at a national level for their collabo-
rative and original work. In the rich environment
of Duke Engineering, students can also discover
and develop their passions for entrepreneurship,
global outreach, team leadership and more.

As you read through the articles our students
have written for this edition of the DukEngineer,
I believe you’ll see these strengths for yourselves.
Our students and faculty are engaging the world
through efforts to develop new biomedical de-
vices for the developing world, provide access to
proper sanitation to billions who lack it, and help
improve air and water quality across the globe.

2 2017 dukengineer


Claudia Dantoin is a senior from Mequon, Wiscon-
sin. She is currently juggling classes in the electrical
and computer engineering, chemistry and French
departments. She enjoys exploring the interaction
of technology and medicine and is excited by the
many possibilities that the future holds in these
fields. She has interned at both Google and at
Microsoft and loves to solve interesting problems. In
her free time she enjoys cheering for the Green Bay
Packers, needlepoint and all things Duke.

Efe Aras is a senior studying ECE/CS with a Petek Sener is a junior majoring in biomedical
engineering, with focus on tissue engineering.
heavy interest in mathematical understanding of She is also interested in neuroscience. She
the world around him. He has been involved with enjoys working out at the gym, traveling and
DukEngineer since his freshman year, and has met trying different kinds of food.
with incredible people throughout the process. He
is also involved with Grand Challenge Scholars and
Pratt Fellows and appreciates the academic flexibil-
ity Pratt provides. In his free time, he can be found
talking with people or solving brain teasers.

Ashish Vankara is a sophomore biomedical engi-

neering major who is also on the medicine track.

Amy Xiong is He was born in India and raised in Columbus, Ohio,
as a huge OSU Buckeyes fan. In his free time, he

a senior studying enjoys lifting, running, reading and watching Netflix.

BME/ECE from On campus, he is involved with Duke Diya, Happy

Maple Grove, Kids Healthy Kids, Sigma Chi fraternity, the Duke

Minnesota. She Center for Genomics and Computational Biology,

has worked with and the Duke peer tutoring program.


since her fresh-

man year and

has had a blast

both as a writer and an editor and is looking forward Anika Radiya-Dixit is a senior electrical/computer

to receiving issues in her mailbox as an alumna for engineering and computer science double major

the years to follow. Amy is also involved with the who enjoys combining design and technology. Her

Baldwin Scholars Program, the Career Center, and love for science and its integration with constantly

Grand Challenge Scholars on campus. In her free changing electronic devices has propelled her to

time she enjoys photography, playing (and attempt- seek a deeper understanding of technology—both

ing to sing to) ukulele and watching movies with in theory and practical applications. Throughout col-

friends. Next year Amy will be returning to Minnesota lege, she has also explored her pastimes of RAAS

to work as a hardware engineer in the medical (Indian dance group), table tennis, figure skating,

painting, and writing for the Duke Research Blog!
device industry and will miss Duke—and Durham

2017 dukengineer 3


burn trash efficiently to con- “[This class] of locals in La Paz, the capital
vert the waste into energy for helped to of Bolivia, to particulate
communities. validate my matter and other substances
decision during their local commute
Where Did Our to pursue to work. Another group col-
Glacier Go? this degree lected water and fish samples
As few as 10 years ago, in the first at rivers and lakes near gold
Chacaltaya in La Paz was the place.” mining sites to measure levels
highest-elevation ski resort in of mercury back at the Duke
the world. Owing to global DANIEL HOLT, laboratories. The students’
warming, however, the glacier sophomore in research found that the air
has now disappeared. Profes- environmental was five to ten times the
sor Bergin’s work regarding limits set by World Health
global warming spurred him engineering Organization air quality
to investigate how climate standards, while the fish and
change, air pollution and water contained moderately
glaciology intersect. elevated levels of mercury—
definite areas of concern for
Over a past spring break, the city dwellers.
Professor Bergin led students
to Bolivia to investigate its air “[This class] helped to val-
and water quality in the class idate my decision to pursue
CEE 292: Environmental this degree in the first place,”
Engineering Field Methods. said sophomore Danielle
Students took air quality sam- Holt, who is majoring in en-
ples to measure the exposure vironmental engineering. “I

8 2017 dukengineer

FAR LEFT: Bergin. Believing that every
Professor Bergin day is an adventure, he looks
led students on forward to spending time with
a trip to Bolivia his family and working with
to investigate his students on novel projects.
its air and water On a personal note, he strives
quality in the to meet his hardest goal yet: to
class CEE 292: make a huge difference in the
Environmental world.
Engineering Field
Methods. “I’m in a position where I
should be able to do things that
TOP, MIDDLE: make the world a much better
Professor Bergin place,” said Professor Bergin,
in Greenland, as he continues his lifelong
where he studied mission to ensure clean air for
how air pollutants everyone to breathe. “Every day
affects its pristine I wake up I can’t believe that I
environment. have been so lucky to have such
a great job at a place like Duke
BOTTOM LEFT with amazing students and fac-
AND TOP RIGHT: ulty. And I know that the sky is
More scenery from the limit, so I better get going
the CEE 292 trip to do some amazing things!”
to Bolivia.
Daniel Kai Sheng Boey is
realized that I did in fact enjoy Of Success and the Future from the Class of 2020 and is
this field very much—it’s one I “The way to lead a joyful life currently pursuing a major in
could see myself working in for is to find something you love environmental engineering. He
years to come.” to do,” encouraged Professor
enjoys exploring new places
through running and going on

gastronomic adventures.

2017 dukengineer 9

FACULTY FOCUS | ECE . Electrical and Computer Engineering

Trapping Light
to Enhance Material Properties

Q&A with Maiken Mikkelsen, Nortel Networks Assistant Professor of Electrical
and Computer Engineering and assistant professor of physics

Recent winner of the esteemed Cottrell Scholar Q: What sparked your interest
and Maria Goeppert Mayer Awards, as well as a in optics and photonics?
“triple crown” of Young Investigator Awards from I was really excited about doing hands-on re-
the Air Force, Army and Navy, Professor Maiken H. Mik- search where you could actually probe nanoscale
kelsen uses optics to tailor material properties to make and quantum phenomena from optical exper-
them brighter and faster than found naturally. As Profes- iments. I started out looking into condensed
sor Mikkelsen teaches my ECE 340: Optics and Photonics matter and quantum information science and
course, I had the wonderful opportunity to ask her more currently observe delicately designed nanostruc-
about her research and experience at the Photonics Asia tures. Optics is, to some extent, a tool to modify
conference held in China in October 2016. She is a dis- the properties of materials.
tinguished researcher who has received numerous ac-
colades and has various publications on her research in Q: What does your lab do and how
Science, Nature Photonics and Nature Physics, to name a do students contribute?
few. Professor Mikkelsen enjoys hiking, gardening, playing During the last few years, my students and I have
tennis and traveling in her free time. Below is an edited been structuring materials on the nanoscale to
transcript of the interview. modify the local electromagnetic environment,
which makes these materials behave in new ways.
Students play a key role in all aspects of the re-
search, from nanofabrication, to performing the
optical experiments and presenting the results to
the scientific community at conferences all over
the world. The lab uses tiny metal structures to
concentrate the incoming electromagnetic field
of light to very small volumes—a research area
known as plasmonics. Placing other materials in
the near field of this modified environment caus-
es electrons to behave completely differently.

By controlling how these electrons behave and
modifying the geometry of the material, we can
gain a deeper understanding of the light-matter
interactions. By combining these techniques with
our optical experiments, we’re able to show mod-
ifications to material properties that are much

10 2017 dukengineer Illustration by Gleb Akselrod

“I believe you often achieve the biggest Platform based
technological breakthroughs when you’re not trying on metal
to solve one particular problem, but creating new that allows the lab
materials that could lay the groundwork for to dramatically
a wide range of new technologies.” enhance the
radiative properties
of emitters and
other materials.

2017 dukengineer 11

stronger than have been seen before. It’s been THE MIKKELSEN Cristin Paul
very exciting! RESEARCH GROUP.
Back row, left scales and how can this interaction be lever-
Q: And this research is what to right: Qixin aged to achieve useful properties. I believe
you presented at the Photonics Asia Shen, Andrew you often achieve the biggest technological
conference? Traverso, Maiken breakthroughs when you’re not trying to
Yes. With this knowledge, we can enhance the Mikkelsen, Guoce solve one particular problem, but creating
properties of materials significantly which in Yang, Jon Stewart, new materials that could lay the groundwork
the future could lead to ultra-fast and much Andrew Boyce. for a wide range of new technologies. For
better LEDs, more efficient photodetectors, or Front row, left example, semiconductor materials, with a set
more efficient solar cells and sensors. In Bei- to right: Wade of properties that are found naturally, are the
jing China, I gave an overview of this research Wilson, Daniela cornerstone of most modern technologies.
at the leading meeting for the photonics and Cruz, Jiani Huang, But if you imagine that you now have an en-
optics industries in Asia, as well as at several Tamra Nebabu. tirely new set of building blocks with tailored
other conferences and universities. It was very properties instead, they could revolutionize a
fulfilling to see how research I do in a dark lab lot of different technologies down the road.
actually gets noticed around the world and
it is always deeply inspiring to learn about By improving or completely changing the
recent research breakthroughs from other fabrication technique of these light-mat-
research groups. ter interactions, new properties begin to
emerge. Generally, there’s always a big desire
Q: What is the main purpose of trying for having something that’s lighter, smaller,
to find these improved materials? more efficient and more flexible. One of the
I am motivated by furthering our fundamen- applications we’re targeting with this research
tal understanding, such as how do light and is ultrafast LEDs. While future devices might
matter interact when we get to really small not use this exact approach, the underlying
physics will be crucial.

About a year ago, Facebook contacted me
and were interested in utilizing our research

12 2017 dukengineer

An up-close look geography for researchers to consider
at the technology when implementing a new technology
used in the waste and assessing its success in the new
disinfection community.
Given the complexity of the global
sanitation crisis, a single approach
is impractical,” said Dr. Stoner. “It
requires a multidisciplinary approach
that develops a suite of options to
address the engineering challenges in
context of diverse social, economic
and political landscapes.

As this project continues to develop
and be deployed, it will surely impact
the lives of millions in all walks of
life and further advance the human
condition. n

Rachael Lau is a first-year Pratt
student hoping to double major in
biomedical and electrical engineering,

with a minor in German studies.


A 3D Manufacturing Revolution:
From Dreams to Reality

Duke Engineering becomes one of the first places in the nation
to host a new production 3D titanium metal printer

“This gives Design plays a vital part in engineering solutions
limitless to today’s problems, but a major obstacle facing
this trade is converting a design into a com-
freedom for plex, functional product in the most time- and
any designer to cost-effective way possible. Beginning 30 years
innovate without ago with the first item to ever be 3D printed by Chuck Hull,
compromising on father of 3D printing and co-founder of 3D Systems, additive
manufacturing has soared into the market, revolutionizing
the limitations the healthcare industry in orthopedic and spinal applications.
of traditional Several new products with unique features and functionalities
are being introduced worldwide thanks to the freedom of
manufacturing design enabled by advances in 3D printing technology. Now,
processes.” Duke has become a major player in this innovative movement,
having acquired the ProX DMP 320, 3D Systems’ state-of-the-
art metal production printer. Printed parts on a
titanium printing
Located in The Foundry makerspace under Gross Hall, the platform. From left to
ProX DMP 320 metal printer has 1000 in3 (10”x10”x10”) right, impeller, spinal
of workspace for transforming one’s imagination into reality. fusion cage, brain
According to Gautam Gupta, vice president of healthcare electrode holder,
applications for 3D Systems, the printer uses “pure metal ultrasound trans-
powder (e.g. titanium alloy) and a high-energy source that ducer electrode and
melts and consolidates the metal into a final shape,” enabling metallic sphere with
small, complex designs to be produced with high quality and hexagonal mesh.

A powerful program used by the ProX DMP 320 is 3D
Xpert, which, according to Gupta, “combines the experience,
expertise, and knowledge of 3D printing into a simple tool
that optimizes the build parameters, including the orientation
of the design, and minimizes the amount of support structures
needed to make the part.” Users who are new to the technology
can take advantage of this software to optimize the functional-
ity and design of the parts being produced.

Gupta discussed the significance of the ProX DMP 320
printer and how, originally, 3D printing was primarily used as
a prototyping tool to analyze design structures, which would
then be produced using traditional manufacturing methods.

18 2017 dukengineer

2017 dukengineer 19

Today, 3D printing has tran- toward now that the ProX into the printer and pay for
sitioned from a prototyping DMP 320 is finishing its final the material costs, where
technology to a full produc- stages of installation. Some titanium, being the only
tion process by combining examples from Professor Gall’s material, is $100/lb. And, with
multiple manu-
facturing methods
into one machine. Only small, complex designs utilize the full capacity of the printer.

A final product the printer’s recycling ability,
can be made straight from the mentoring of current senior

design. design groups include “print- RIGHT: Kyle Dhindsa which takes unused titanium

“This gives limitless freedom ing scaffolds for large bone (Mechanical Engi- powder and sifts the material

for any designer to innovate defects specific to each patient, neering ’17), Patrick back into the machine after

without compromising on and building spinal fusion McGuire (Senior a print, all users will only

the limitations of traditional cages.” Lab Administrator), pay for the weight of the

manufacturing processes,” said But this printer does not and Professor Ken items they make. This process

Gupta. This powerful tool, the only hold promise for or- Gall stand beside makes it relatively cheap and

ProX DMP 320, is unleash- thopedic engineering. “It is the ProX DMP 320 time-effective to produce vital,

ing innovation in design and something for the entire Duke Printer. complex parts—if people heed

generating a lot of excitement community, for all students Gall’s advice.
in the industry. and faculty in all fields of “Only small, complex
Ken Gall, professor and study, to utilize in designing designs utilize the full capac-
chair of mechanical engineer- their next breakthrough,” said ity of the printer,” explained
ing and material science, who Professor Gall. Professor Gall. “Larger, less
headed the project of acquir- Professor Gall plans on complicated designs can be
ing the printer, commented on setting up a print week where printed but are often cheaper
the projects Duke is working people can queue their designs and faster to produce using

20 2017 dukengineer

Sam Morton

conventional machining A series of 3D printed in the Technology Engage- nology that is unleashing
methods.” biomedical devices ment Center (TEC) located innovation, Duke is empow-
on the new 3D in the Telecommunications ered with the tools to create
There are still hurdles in printer’s build plate. building. This “engineering some of the most complex
integrating this metal 3D sandbox” houses over 60 3D design systems. From the
printer into a community of printers of varying materials resources available to Duke’s
solution-seeking students and and sizes. “The Innovation community in the Co-Lab
professors. With only one 3D Co-Lab is the perfect place Studio, and now with the
metal printer, availability may to start to refine and perfect ProX DMP 320 printer, it
become a limitation, especial- ideas,” said Professor Gall. is not a question of what
ly since the 3D Xpert soft- “The metal printer is the can be done at Duke, but a
ware is currently on only one place to finish if you need a question of when Duke will
desktop. Chip Bobbert, me- high-quality, high-strength dream, design and produce
dia & emerging technologies component.” the answers to our toughest
engineer and father of Duke’s problems.
Innovation Co-Lab Studio, Duke is a thrilling place to
offers a streamlined process be. This university has been Samuel Lester is a first-year
where the entire Duke com- at the forefront of breaking Pratt student in mechanical
munity can conduct heavy new barriers of change, and
prototyping for their design with adopting this tech- engineering.

2017 dukengineer 21

smooth-running team. there are thousands of TOP: Yilun Zhou works is to have breadth in order
“As much as I lecture about possible objects to recognize with the team’s picking to understand how to talk
rather than a few dozen, robot at the Amazon to people in different fields,
these topics in class, they and they are packed five to Picking Challenge in and also have one area of
usually need to be learned the ten times more tightly than Leipzig, Germany. depth that they specialize
hard way, and it’s better to in the challenge. Humans in.”
fail in class than later on in are also many times faster BOTTOM: The Amazing Guangshen Ma is a master’s
the workplace,” said Professor than even the robots from Picking Team: Haden
Hauser. the top-placing teams. It is Bader, Yilun Zhou, student in mechanical
anyone’s guess as to wheth- Hyunsoo Kim, Bernard engineering.
Beyond the competition, er these challenges will be Amaldoss, Wes Hill and
the Amazon Picking Chal- cracked in the next few Giseok Choi
lenge reflects recent trends in years, or even the next few
the field of robotics, where decades.
techniques once seen only in
academic research—like object That said, the robotics
recognition, motion planning field is in strong need of
and grasp planning—are being experts from many areas, in-
used in industrial applications. cluding mechanical engineers,
The process of designing and electrical engineers, computer
building robots for the APC programmers, artificial intel-
is already making significant ligence specialists and more.
contributions to the develop- The interdisciplinary nature
ment of autonomous ware- of the field can be difficult for
house robots. students to navigate, but Pro-
fessor Hauser has some words
There are many practical of advice. “The ideal profile of
problems, however, still un- a robotics engineer or student
dergoing research. For exam-
ple, in Amazon’s warehouse,

26 2017 dukengineer


A Leviathan Lurking
in the Foundry

Duke’s first student Robosub in nearly a decade competes
in an international competition

Logan Rooper E’17 On a sunny July day, Austin McKee to complete such an obstacle course and the
and Austin McKee E’17 frantically types out code under challenging design constraints of an underwater
E’17 load Leviathan a towel that keeps the glare of the vehicle make it one of the foremost college-level
bright San Diego sun off of his laptop technical challenges in the world.
into the pool at screen. Will Stewart E’18 has just reassembled
Taishoff Aquatics the aluminum and plastic robot that McKee now Preparations at Pratt

Pavillion. programs in a tent next Saturday mornings and Wednesday nights, the
to a pool larger than a Foundry is bustling with budding roboticists.
football field. This is the While the club’s lab in the Foundry is almost
U.S. Navy’s TRANS- twice as large as the lab it was housed in before
DEC facility, home of kicking off RoboSub in 2014, the room is still
the annual Association packed with people, machines and tools. The
for Unmanned Vehicle hardware teams’ work spans the entirety of the
Systems International space, and the software teams overflow into the
(AUVSI) RoboSub com- Foundry’s shared work area downstairs. Duke
petition. Meanwhile, Robotics Club has become an opportunity for
Kelsey Evezich E’17 students all across Duke—Pratt, Trinity, ME,
works out the final piec- ECE, CS and Math—to innovate the future of
es of a sonar algorithm, unmanned vehicles and AI.
while Sameer Khan E’19
designs and 3D prints The club is split up into four teams—mechan-
some parts that have ical, electrical, software and deployment—each
broken and need replac- contributing a vital component to the final
ing. All in a day’s work at RoboSub. product. The mechanical team is responsible
AUVSI RoboSub is a robotics competition for designing and building the robot’s chassis:
in which student-designed robots try to best its frame, waterproof capsules and actuators.
complete an underwater obstacle course. These At this meeting, Nikhil Ravi E’20 is designing
robots take on underwater obstacles ranging from and simulating parts for a future design with
navigating through a field goal, to opening a box CAD software, while Trishul Nagellani E’20
underwater and dropping a payload inside, to files down an aluminum bracket that he has just
locating an object emitting ultrasonic pulses. Ro- finished machining. Over at the electrical team’s
bots in the competition are fully autonomous— lab benches, the work is similarly varied, as the
there are no drivers. Once the competition has Electronics team is responsible for all sensing,
begun, the robots must rely on their sensors and computation and power delivery systems. Jeremy
programming to complete the course, with no Morgan E’20 solders resistors onto a protoype
human input allowed. The difficulty of imple- board, carefully inspecting his workmanship after
menting the artificial intelligence (AI) required each solder joint is completed. Neil Dhar E’20
has one of the robot’s several cameras hooked up

2017 dukengineer 27

Efe Aras

Preparing for Driverless Cars
Efe is a triple major in electrical and computer en-
gineering, computer science, and mathematics,
working in the lab of ECE assistant professor Galen
Reeves. His research is on the topic of driverless
cars in Durham, and he will soon be submitting his
work to a scientific journal.

Tell me about your project.
“I tried to understand what would happen to traffic once
driverless cars were on the road. There are a couple of
innovations going on right now [to prepare for that], like
changing the infrastructure, but what we wanted to check
was whether driverless cars could provide innate advantag-
es by themselves.”

Why did you choose this topic?
“As an engineer, I feel like one of the most important skills
that we learn is how to be aware of the trends. Self-driving
cars will presumably be a ‘thing,’ so I thought understand-
ing their behavior was important.”

What are the next steps for this project?
“We have a couple more things to do. There are map
features that we can download so we can simulate driver-
less cars on real networks as opposed to more theoretical
ones. These features include different grid layouts and
street structures, [which will enable us to] simulate it on
Durham, one of our initial goals.”

Future plans?
“Right now, I’m still thinking! I’m exploring the options of
either going to graduate school or going into industry. The
cool thing about the challenges I faced with this project
was that they were not specific to driverless cars, but in-
stead related to data generation and research in general. So
do I want to do something specifically with driverless cars?
I haven’t decided yet.”

2017 dukengineer 35


Gautam Chebrolu

Signal Processing for Brain-Computer Interfaces

Gautam is a double major in biomedical engineering and electrical and
computer engineering. He did his Pratt Research Fellows project with
BME/ECE professor Leslie Collins in signal processing for an EEG-based
brain computer interface, which has applications in predictive technolo-
gy for seizures.

Tell me about your project. it was going anywhere, so they just
“Essentially, there are a bunch of dropped it. But then I joined because
electrodes inside your brain, and they I wanted to apply both my biomed-
produce voltages during brain activity. ical and electrical engineering back-
These voltages can be picked up and grounds, so the project I’m working
on is an extension of the original.
recorded, and we’re Right now, I’m trying to make better
taking that data and algorithms using two different types of
seeing whether we can biomarkers, EEG and ECG.”
apply some machine
learning on it to pre- What was the most challenging
dict seizures. There’s a aspect of this project?
supposed state called “I think it was mostly getting up to
the preictal state, speed with everything. Even though
which is when things I was technically qualified because I
change in the brain had taken a ‘signals and systems’ class,
and you’re supposed to I didn’t know anything about how to
be able to predict a sei- conduct the statistical analysis on the
zure. The preictal state algorithms’ performance. The entire
could be anywhere summer, I actually spent the entire
between 10 to 30 min- summer replicating a previous paper
utes before a seizure, and getting up to speed on MATLAB.”
and that’s when pa-
tients report that they Future plans?
feel a little different, “I’m applying to many different things!
but they can’t actually pinpoint it. So One of the biggest problems with
we assume that there’s a preictal state, this topic is that devices have already
and we compare that to the interictal been created for it, and they use a very
state. The interictal state is the state crude algorithm. So I do not think
between different seizures, or normal I’ll work in this specific space, but I
brain function. By using time gaps in will definitely use the skills I gained
our recordings of data, we were able to because they’re applicable to so many
more accurately distinguish between different situations.”
the preictal and interictal states.”

What was your inspiration for
this project?

“It was something that my team had
worked on years ago. They didn’t think

36 2017 dukengineer

William Floyd-Jones

Robot Motion Planning
William is double-majoring in electrical and computer engi-
neering and computer science. His Pratt Research Fellows
project, mentored by ECE professor Daniel Sorin, was about
special-purpose computer processors for robotics, specifical-
ly focused on how to accelerate the process of robot motion

Tell me about your project.
“There’s a problem in robotics called robot motion plan-
ning, which is a computationally difficult problem in that it
traditionally takes on the order of seconds to find solutions.
So you have your robot—in this case, let’s just say it’s a ro-
bot arm. The robot arm sets some start configuration where
all the joints are at specific angles, and you hope to get it to
an end configuration so you can perform some task. That’s
what robot motion planning is: moving around your envi-
ronment without bumping into things. The issue is that this
takes a long time, so we work on building special computer
chips to make this happen faster. We do it by pre-comput-
ing as much as possible; we basically solve the problem as
much as we can ahead of time and ‘bake’ that into the logic
of the chip. We found a way to accelerate the process by
four to five orders of magnitude, so now it’ll run in tens or
hundreds of microseconds instead of seconds.”
Have you always been interested in robotics?
“I don’t know if I’ve always been interested in robotics, but I’ve defi-
nitely developed a keen interest in robotics since I started working on
this project.”
What was the most challenging aspect of this project?
“There are lots of hard parts about this project. There have been a
couple of times when we’ve had to devise algorithms to solve challeng-
ing sub-problems, and a lot of these algorithms are computationally
Neither I nor the graduate student I work with are algorithms peo-
ple—we’re systems people—so those problems are difficult for us.”
Future plans?
“My professor, the graduate student I work with, a professor at Brown
University, and I are going to launch a spin-off startup company. We
hope to design and fabricate chips for the purpose of robot motion
planning and supply them to robotics companies.”

2017 dukengineer 37

Annual Fund Campaign

CLASS “GOAL 2016-2017” “Dollars Raised 2015-2016” PARTICIPATION 2015-2016 % Participation Goal 2016-2017
HCC $275,000 $273,841 46% 56%
1967 $50,000 $39,369 54% 40%
1968 $11,500 $11,358 51% 64%
1969 $15,000 $14,930 40% 49%
1970 $11,500 $11,104 39% 37%
1971 $87,000 $86,310 63% 40%
1972 $12,000 $11,795 47% 37%
1973 $68,000 $67,953 49% 40%
1974 $7,500 $7,215 48% 36%
1975 $16,900 $16,686 36% 41%
1976 $48,700 $48,606 40% 40%
1977 $50,000 $47,980 37% 36%
1978 $47,900 $47,776 37% 36%
1979 $46,000 $45,514 36% 36%
1980 $121,000 $120,925 36% 30%
1981 $186,000 $185,390 40% 40%
1982 $78,000 $74,807 33% 37%
1983 $151,500 $151,072 35% 40%
1984 $180,000 $179,420 36% 35%
1985 $63,000 $62,836 40% 39%
1986 $175,000 $107,300 39% 54%
1987 $115,000 $109,401 36% 41%
1988 $68,500 $68,425 42% 37%
1989 $77,000 $76,630 35% 31%
1990 $66,500 $66,302 40% 33%
1991 $43,000 $42,980 35% 50%

1992 $65,000 $61,734 39%

1993 $37,300 $36,825 35%

1994 $82,000 $81,922 31%

1995 $21,000 $20,816 28%

1996 $30,500 $29,547 40%

1997 $39,000 $36,246 36%

1998 $20,000 $17,709 34%

1999 $27,000 $25,088 36%

2000 $40,000 $39,390 36%

2001 $22,000 $21,699 38%

2002 $30,000 $27,867 40%

2003 $7,500 $7,308 31%

2004 $8,200 $8,159 33%

2005 $15,000 $14,086 36%

2006 $17,800 $17,277 40%

2007 $12,000 $10,931 50%

2008 $9,000 $8,913 41%

2009 $19,600 $18,963 39%

2010 $8,500 $8,220 40%

2011 $8,000 $7,578 36%

2012 $7,300 $6,468 38%

2013 $6,600 $6,479 30%

2014 $4,000 $3,546 29%

2015 $4,300 $3,943 32%

2016 $2,000 $3,846 40%

2017 $2,000 $0 0%

Alumni $2,617,100 $2,500,485 40% 41%
Parents and Friends
Total $1,082,900 $1,219,515
$3,700,000 $3,720,000

44 2017 dukengineer

  Annual FundDollars Raised$250,000
  2015-2016 (By Class) 1969
  Annual FundClass Participation 1981
  2015-2016 (By Class) 1983
 2017 dukengineer 45 1999

Honor Roll 2015-16

Recognizing Leadership Giving a number of leadership gift clubs. Membership is renewable an-
nually and is based on Annual Fund gifts made or facilitated by
Each year, leadership contributions represent more than 75 percent the individual and his/her spouse. Corporate matching gifts count
of the Annual Fund’s cash total. These gifts provide the university toward membership if received or verified within the fiscal year.
with flexible resources to support a wide range of important needs.

In recognition of these generous donors, Duke has established

Duke Annual Fund Leadership Giving Societies

President’s Society $100,000+ Washington Duke Society Young Alumni Leadership Society
• Executive Cabinet $50,000-$99,999 • Partner - $5,000-$9,999 • $500-$999 for undergraduates 5-9 years out
• Cabinet Member $25,000-$49,999 • Fellow - $2,500-$4,999 • $250-$999 for undergraduates 1-4 years out
• Executive Council $10,000-$24,999 • Member - $1,000-$2,499
• Council Student Leadership Society
• $100+ for current undergraduate students

President’s Society Executive Cabinet - President’s Society Executive Council - Mrs. Beverly Anne Wilkinson 1988 Michael Anton Harman
$100,000+ P’98, P’00, P’03#*^ 1989 Susan Green Daniel
1981 Jeffrey N. Vinik#*^ $25,000 - $49,999 Robert Rudolph Wahl Jr.#
1984 Kenneth Thomas Schiciano#*^ 1960 Alan L. Kaganov#*^ 1990 Alfred Winborne Mordecai
1967 Jerry C. Wilkinson#*^ Robert L. Seelig#
Parents and Friends 1973 William Joseph Hanenberg# President’s Society Council - 1992 Robert James Stets, Jr.#
Mr. and Mrs. David Eklund P’18# 1973 Fred Mehlert Fehsenfeld Jr.#^ 1993 Tiberio R. Alfonsi
Mr. Elizabeth Pixley Schiciano#*^ 1980 James Drury Heerwagen# $10,000 - $24,999 1994 John Christopher Dries#
Mr. Gordon Sondland and Stefan Alexander Dyckerhoff
David S. Taylor# 1948 Gordon L. Smith Jr.# Valerie Marx Love#^
Ms. Katherine Durant P’20 1982 Thomas Anthony Natelli#^ 1950 Robert Willis Chapman Alan Lee Whitehurst#
Mrs. Penny Vinik P’13#*^ 1985 Stephen Ray Bolze# 1956 William John Swartz#*^ Yin Yin
Nelson Elbert Matthews Jr.# 1961 Robert Allen Garda#*^ 1996 Clement David Pappas
President’s Society Cabinet - 1987 George N. Mattson II#^ 1964 David A. Coolidge 2000 Herbert Frederick Bohnet IV
$50,000 - $99,999 James F. Rabenhorst#*^ Stacy Lynn Pineles
1962 William Walter McCutchen, Parents and Friends 1970 R. Keith Harrison Jr.#* 2002 Alyssa Fanelli#
Mrs. Alicia Ann Bolze P’15# 1971 David W. Erdman 2006 Qahir Madhany
Jr.#*^ Mr. and Mrs. James C. Buie P’17 1976 Robert E. Donaho# 2009 Sahil Pankaj Patel
1971 John T. Chambers#*^ Mrs. Suzanne White Fehsenfeld P’16#^ William A. Hawkins III#*^
1981 Martha Lee Monserrate#^ Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey L. Gendell T’81 1977 Robert L. Galloway Jr.# Parents and Friends
1983 Daniel M. Dickinson#*^ Mrs. Patricia L. Hanenberg#* Janis J. Rehlaender#*^ Mrs. Letitia U. Alfonsi
John Martin McDonald, III# Mrs. Carol M. Kaganov#*^ 1978 Herman Cone III# Mr. Rodolfo A. Baquerizo Sr. P’15, P’17
1986 Mr. Alexander L. Dean, Jr.# Dr. Bradley Lewis Miller T’81 and Ms. Charles A. Tharnstrom# Ms. Penny A. Bennett P’14, P’16#
1987 Lawrence D. Lenihan, Jr.#^ 1980 Christopher Martin Relyea# Mr. and Mrs. D. Theodore Berghorst
1994 Mr. Michael James Bingle# Kathryn Anne Hollister T’81#*^ 1981 Amjad Bseisu
Mrs. Jennifer R. Matthews P’19! Jeffrey C. Conklin# P’04, P’09#
Parents and Friends Mrs. Holly Melissa Laningham James Christopher Daues# Mr. David Todd Bolno T’00
Mr. and Mrs. Tony Barra P’19 Mattson#^ Armando Alejandro Tabernilla Mrs. Suha Riad Tawfiq Bseisu
Mrs. Eryn Ament Bingle# Mrs. Karen Marie Natelli P’10#^ 1982 Russell A. Fadel Mr. Barry Norman Bycoff P’06, P’09#
Mrs. Constance E. Chambers#* Mr. and Mrs. Biggs Cunnungham John Craig Hausman III Dr. Karen E. Campbell#
Mrs. Catherine Dean# Porter T’76, P’14# 1983 David McDowell Bennett# Mrs. Cordylia Crook Chapman WC’50
Mrs. Gina Dickinson P’15#*^ Ms. Hilary A. Schneider P’19# Eric James Schiffer# Mrs. Donna M. Cone#
Estate of George A. Lillie Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Shannahan 1984 James Kelly McGowan# Mrs. Teri Kaye Conklin T’82#
Mrs. Irene Lilly McCutchen WC’62#*^ 1985 David Lloyd Pratt# Mrs. Georgia Young Coolidge
Mrs. Dawn Renee McDonald P’17# P’18 Michael F. Yoh#* Mr. Aaron Scott Daniel T’89
Mr. Herbert Hardinge McDade III Mr. and Mrs. Seymour Sternberg 1986 Scott Jay Arnold Mrs. Karin J. Dell’Antonia#
John C. Lindgren Mrs. Wendy G. Dyckerhoff
T’81#^ P’08#^ 1987 Cameron Harold Fowler#
Marsha H. Taylor P’16
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Tracy P’19 Suzanne M. Gregory#
Mr. Dennis and Mrs. Sheryl H. Michael George Rhodes#^
Ting Wang P’16

46 2017 dukengineer

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