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2014 July ABe-Notes

2014 July Alumni News

Dr. Dave Beasley, PE (PhD 1977), retired as the Dean of Engineering at Arkansas State University on June 30. He and his wife, Jan, are looking forward to new adventures and endeavors. Congratulations!

2014 July Faculty News

Dr. Sadegh Dabiri has arrived on campus and is currently occupying the office Nate Mosier had in ABE. Stop by and welcome him to the family.

Dr. Sara McMillan shared a photo of her (now) three children the day Seamus ("Shay-mus") was born. Big Brother Henry and new Big Sister Violet are delighted at his arrival and we look forward to all of them arriving safely on campus.

Seamus John Winnike McMillan, June 26, 2014, 9:20 am, 7 lbs. 9 oz, 19 inches long.

Judges from the Indiana Prairie Framer and the Purdue University College of Agriculture sponsor the Master Farmer program. They have selected Dr.  Bill Field as the recipient of an honorary Master Farmer designation.

Less formal than the applications submitted for the traditional Master Farmer designation, this award is reserved for those who have devoted a lifetime of service to helping farmers, even though he or she doesn’t farm. The award is not given each year; it is only on the recommendation of the judges that a candidate is considered. Congratulations for this recognition of your dedication to the farming profession!


Salah Sommakia*, Janak Gaire, Jenna L Rickus, Kevin J Otto.    "Resistive and reactive changes to the impedance of intracortical microelectrodes can be mitigated with polyethylene glycol under acute in vitro and in vivo settings."  Frontiers in Neuroengineering.  in press. 2014.  

*Ph.D. student co-mentored by Rickus & Otto.


Breaking New Ground/AgrAbility

The National AgrAbility Project staffed an exhibit at the RESNA Conference (The Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America) in Indianapolis, Indiana June 12-14, 2014.  The conference was attended by over 400 individuals from the United States and internationally.  The exhibit provided contact information for State and Regional AgrAbility Projects, AgrAbility services, AgrAbility case studies, National AgrAbility videos, and Tool Box Assistive Technology Database information. 

The National AgrAbility Project also conducted a full-day instructional course on AT and Safety in Agriculturally-Related Workplaces.  The course included a classroom session, a visit to Life Essentials to see their products, and a visit to an AgrAbility client.  Handout materials included Conducting Agricultural Worksite Assessments and Evaluating Agricultural Workplace Assistive Technology for Secondary Injury Hazards.  The class was small but very engaged and had very good comments following the session.


Indiana AgrAbility staffed a display at the 2014 Indiana FFA Convention on the Purdue University West Lafayette campus June 17-18, 2014.   Over 4,000 FFA members, families, advisors, and guests attended the annual convention.  The display included AgrAbility brochures, the Tool pyramid, case studies, and AgrAbility posters.

Indiana AgrAbility presented the Bridging Horizons Community Service Contest awards during the second general session of the 2014 Indiana FFA Convention at Purdue University on June 18, 2014.  This is the 15th year of the contest.  The winners were: 1st - Carroll at Fort Wayne FFA Chapter ($650 prize), 2nd - Jay County FFA Chapter ($350 prize), and 3rd - the Perry Township Wildcat 4-H Club in Tippecanoe County ($200 prize).  This is the second year in a row that Carroll at Fort Wayne has won 1st place in the contest.  

July 2014 Maha Laboratory News

Author: Meike Ernst

Maha Abroad

Early June saw a major exodus from the Maha laboratory as the Ph.D. candidates headed for Finland to share their advances in fluid power at the PhD Symposium on Fluid Power in Lappeeranta. Papers from Maha included work on axial piston pumps, gear pumps, and control strategies for displacement controlled hydraulic systems.  The Maha laboratory is especially proud of Mike Sprengel , who received a very special award known as the Backe Medal  for his excellent paper entitled “Hardware-in-the-Loop Testing of a Novel Blended Hydraulic Hybrid Transmission.” Congratulations Mike!

Maha Graduates

Divya Thiagarajan defended her master’s degree in mechanical engineering on June 24th. She has developed a fully automated numerical procedure for optimizing the axial balance in external gear machines. This developed tool was also shown to have potential in developing novel designs of gear machines with improved efficiencies. Divya will now work towards her Ph.D. at the Maha laboratory, conducting research on water hydraulics in gear machines. Congratulations to Divya for her successful master’s thesis defense, and her exciting new research topic!

On June 19, representatives from John Deere came to see the Maha laboratory. Their visit centered on discussing potential joint research projects geared toward improving the fuel economy and performance of agricultural machines. The students at Maha recognize the ability of advancements in hydraulic systems to substantially drive up the productivity of agricultural machinery and look forward to employing their skills in conducting cutting-edge research together with John Deere.

Mifflinburg Hose Company

Saturday 6/28, Firefighters from the MHC took part in a Grain Bin Rescue Class at Ard's Market. The all-day class was put on by the Mifflinburg Young Farmers. The instruction was presented by Purdue University's Steve Wettschurack. Funding was made possible with grants through Monsanto and the Union County EMA Offices. With the huge farming community in Union County, this class was vital to help protect the communities that the MHC serves.

Qiuju Xie joins ABE as visiting scholar

Ms. Qiuju Xie, Associate Professor of the Department of Computer Science, Heilongjiang Bayi Agricultural University, Heilongjiang Province, China, has joined ABE as a visiting scholar since the beginning of June, 2014. Ms. Xie is a Ph.D. candidate in Agricultural Electrification and Automation in Northeast Agricultural University. At Purdue University, she will be working with Dr. Jiqin Ni and his team for one year on modeling and control of animal environmental systems. Ms. Xie’s office is in ABE Room 107A. Welcome Ms. Qiuju Xie to ABE.

Visiting Scientist Completes Training

Zafer şaben Tunca, a senior Agricultural Engineer at Transitional Zone Agricultural Research Institute-Eskişehir, Turkey, spent six months in ABE studying monitoring and assessment of agricultural drought with vegetation index models created using satellite databases, GIS, and remote sensing. Larry Biehl, ITAP, and Larry Theller, ABE, performed the training and Zafer received his certificate of successful completion (pictured along with Dr. Engel).

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