June 2013 Newsletter

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Greetings from West Lafayette

Last month, I joined our faculty and staff in congratulating ECE's newest group of alumni as they set off to begin their lives after Purdue. Most will start careers, others will choose to pursue advanced degrees - I hope that all have enjoyed time spent at Purdue and will be well prepared for Head of ECE Ragu Balakrishnanfuture success as a result.

The end of the spring semester, highlighted by graduation ceremonies, brings with it a sense of excitement as we look forward to the fall. Each summer is a chance to recharge and plan for the return of students in August. Special to this summer, we are in the midst of planning celebration events in observation of our 125th anniversary in 2013-14. I hope to see many of our alumni and their families at our fall event - an inaugural ECE tailgate on October 12, 2013.

Please visit our website regularly for research news and construction updates of our much-anticipated third building, the Wang Hall of Electrical and Computer Engineering. We appreciate your interest in ECE at Purdue and enjoy hearing from you - your feedback, questions, news, and information updates may be sent to andream@purdue.edu

V. Ragu Balakrishnan
Michael and Katherine Birck Head
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Join us this fall for an ECE tailgate: Saturday, October 12

The School of Electrical and Computer Engineering will host a tailgate event on Saturday, October 12, three hours prior to kickoff of the Purdue vs. Nebraska football game (TBA). All alumni and their families are welcome to attend this free event. Discounted football tickets will be available for purchase. Invitation and RSVP information will be sent in the coming weeks.

'Temporal cloaking' could bring more secure optical communications

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Researchers have demonstrated a method for "temporal cloaking" of optical communications, representing a potential tool to thwart would-be eavesdroppers and improve security for telecommunications.

"More work has to be done before this approach finds practical application, but it does use technology that could integrate smoothly into the existing telecommunications infrastructure," said Purdue University graduate student Joseph Lukens, working with Andrew Weiner, the Scifres Family Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Other researchers in 2012 invented temporal cloaking, but it cloaked only a tiny fraction - about a 10,000th of a percent - of the time available for sending data in optical communications. Now the Purdue researchers have increased that to about 46 percent, potentially making the concept practical for commercial applications.

Read the whole story.

IEEE Spectrum: Roach-Net Radio

You're pinned under the rubble of a collapsed building. Hundreds of roaches scuttle toward you, but you're unable to move. You can only watch as a great brown swarm closes in. But there's something different about this approaching army of bugs. Each one hefts a coin-size sensor that's glued to its back. The troop of roaches has been sent to rescue you.

That's the scenario a team of Purdue University engineers has been working toward. This week at the Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits, in Japan, the group unveiled a new high-sensitivity, low-power wireless transceiver meant for insect-based wireless sensor networks. The transceiver can link to a variety of sensors. The researchers have already tested the technology using microphones, but it's compatible with all sorts of other sensors as well, including those used for heat, light, position, acceleration, vibration, weight, pressure, humidity, and more.

"We can deploy these insects in areas that are contaminated by nuclear [waste] or by toxic chemicals," says Byunghoo Jung, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue, in West Lafayette, Ind., who oversaw the group's research.

"Then those insects equipped with sensors and wireless communications can detect the toxic chemical levels and report that back to the base station. But the process takes some energy, because they need to use some wireless communications. The radio that you can put on top of these insects has to be very power efficient. That is why we designed such a radio that consumes ultralow power but still has very high sensitivity."

Read the whole story.

ECE research at the forefront of agriculture pest monitoring technology

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Crop producers and consultants could have more energy-efficient, versatile tools to use for integrated pest management processes, thanks to an agriculture technology firm that received grants from the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Johnny Park, research assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and president and CEO of Spensa Technologies, Inc., based in the Purdue Research Park, said integrated pest management is an ecological approach to managing pests in agriculture crops.

"The main goal is to reduce the amount of pesticide applications by providing precise information as to when, where, and how much pesticide should be applied while keeping pest damage to a minimum," he said.

Spensa Technologies has developed the Z-Trap, an insect trapping device that automatically detects the number of target insects captured and sends the data wirelessly to a grower's mobile phone or computer.

Read the whole story.

Did you know?

From 1891 to 1895, students graduating from the School of Electrical Engineering received a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering in Electrical Engineering (BME in EE). The first Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering was awarded in 1896.


Boiler Up

Wang Hall

The Wang Hall of Electrical and Computer Engineering in June 2013.


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