Are you a community college student interested in pursuing engineering? Are you interested in participating in engineering research? Would you like to gain a competitive-edge amongst your peers in applying to the UCLA School of Engineering? If so the Transfer Student Summer Research Program may be the right choice for you.

2017 TSSRP Application is now closed
The Henry Sameuli School of Engineering & Applied Science and the Center for Community College Partnerships (CCCP) in collaboration with local community colleges is accepting applications for our Transfer Student Summer Research Program (TSSRP). Selected participants will have an opportunity to participate in an 8 week research internship, working with an UCLA Engineering faculty in their lab. Students will be hand-selected and assigned to one of our labs working on projects related to one of the engineering disciplines offered here at UCLA: 1) Mechanical Engineering 2) Aerospace Engineering, 3) Bioengineering, 4) Chemical Engineering, 5) Civil Engineering, 6) Computer Science, 7) Computer Science & Engineering, 8) Electrical Engineering, and 9) Material Science Engineering. For more details on our engineering programs please visit our website at: and visit the UCLA Engineering Faculty Expertise Directory for information on research conducted at UCLA Engineering.

Program Components

Academic Research

Academic Research

Scholars can expect to work independently or on small teams, along-side other undergraduate and graduate students, in a UCLA Engineering faculty’s lab.  Each intern will be provided a research mentor who will help to identify a research topic or question that can be accomplished in the short 8 weeks.  Participants should use this opportunity to challenge themselves to contribute new knowledge to the academic community.  TSSRP hosts students across all engineering disciplines at UCLA.

Immersion Activities

Immersion Activities

Orientation Welcome (meet and greet) Lab Safety Training Campus Tour

Professional Development Workshops

Professional Development Workshops

Scholars will have an opportunity to participate in  number of workshops designed to aid in their educational and professional pathways.  One set of workshops will focus on engineering pathways.  An additional series, designed to provide information on the transfer process and foundations of success once participants matriculate, will be offered through the UCLA Center for Community College Partnerships.

Engineering Professional Development Workshops Getting acclimated to research Effective presentation & communication skills Engineering Design Process Pathways to graduate school Statement of purpose workshop Preparing an academic research poster workshop

Transfer Process & Success Workshops Transferring to HSSEAS Financial aid & resources for AB 540 students Dealing with transfer shock

Faculty Talks

Faculty Talks

Participants will have an opportunity to hear from UCLA Engineering faculty about research conducted at our world-renown institution.  Scholars are invited to ask questions and network with our speakers.

Tech Talks

Tech Talks

Scholars will have an opportunity to hear presentations from our industry partners.  Past Tech Talk series have included presentations from Disney’s Imagineering, Two Bit Circus, Broadcom, and Northrop Grumman.

Weekly Progress Reports

Weekly Progress Reports

Scholars will hone their presentation skills and prepare for fielding questions at the Final Poster Symposium by presenting a bi-monthly progress report on their research.  Participants will generate a slide set and present to the mentors and other interns on their progress and next steps.  A short question and answer session following the presentation should generate dialog about the project.

Final Poster Symposium

Final Poster Symposium

All participants are expected to present the final results of the work at the Final Poster Symposium.  Scholars are encouraged to demonstrate prototypes and/or systems.  Scholars, mentors, family, and friends are encouraged to attend.  RSVP required.



Each scholar will have their work submitted and published in our annual Summer Undergraduate Scholars Program journal.

Post-Program Mentoring

Post-Program Mentoring

Continued guidance from Education staff on applying for transfer to UCLA Engineering.

How to Apply

 Program Requirements

Who Should Apply?
  • Those who plan to apply for transfer to the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering & Applied Science.
  •  Participants in their final summer before applying for transfer.
  • Under-represented minorities, women, 1st generation to college, and low-income are highly encouraged to apply.
  •  3.5 GPA minimum.
  •  Full-time status (current & in the fall)
  •  Transfer-ready – 60% of required courses, as published on, to transfer to UCLA HS-SEAS must be completed.
  •  Specific course work, units, and any additional criteria is determined by collaborating program manager at your community college (see below for contacts).

Application Process & Deadline: March 1, 2017

  1. Contact the program manager at your respective community college (see below).
  2. Complete the UCLA Summer Undergraduate Scholars Program online application and submit your supplemental materials.
  3. View the status of your application via the Application Tracker Page.

Participating Community Colleges & Contacts:

  1. Los Angeles Mission College, Mike Fenton, 
  2. East Los Angeles Community College, Armando Rivera-Figueroa, 
  3. El Camino Community College, Arturo Hernandez, 
  4. Pasadena Community College, Melva Alvarez, 

Important Dates


March 1, 2017 | Application deadline


June 25, 2017 – August 17, 2017 | Program duration
June 24, 2017 | Housing orientation & move-in (mandatory for on-campus residents)
June 25, 2017 | Program orientation & Welcome (meet and greet with UCLA mentors)
August 17, 2017 | Summer Undergraduate Scholars Program Final Poster Symposium

For More Information

  • Please contact the program manager at your respective community college for information about eligibility.
  • Please contact Wes Uehara, Community College Outreach Coordinator, UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering & Applied Science for questions about the program & completing our application.
  • Our program flyer is available for those who would like to help us advertise this opportunity.

Program Flyer

Previous Projects

2017 Abstracts

Click to view the abstracts of previous participants.

Characterizing Gripping Force and Actuator Haptics of an MR Compatible Needle Advancing Device

Malik Smith, Michael Evans, Yu-Hsiu Lee, Tsu-Chin Tsao

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines are great devices for finding tumors, aneurysms, strokes, etc., but they fall short when it comes to performing procedures. Such interventional applications include laser ablations and biopsies. Although a MRI machine is capable of capturing real-time images for doctors to perform procedures, the design and bore size of the machine leads to tedious operations. Researchers have found ways to automate the procedures, but most of them either utilize electronic motors secured at a safe distance or piezo/ultrasonic motors, which are undesirable within an MRI machine. Pneumatics holds promise, but suffers from lower bandwidth and loss of haptics. Acknowledging this, a MRI-guided and hydrostatic needle insertion device is proposed to ensure safety during operation and no distortion to image quality. Our current focus has been characterizing the gripping force on the needle and characterizing the haptics of the proposed device. Various grommet sizes will be used to find if using various diameters will increase the gripping force on the needle. To characterize the haptics of the actuator we studied the effect of using linear guides in the system to reduce friction.

The Fate of Antibiotic Resistant Genes in Fertilizers

Megan Oliveros, Cristina Echeverria, Jennifer Jay

According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance has caused a growing number of infectious diseases to become less susceptible to antibiotics. An increase in resistance results from a variety factors, including the overuse of antibiotics in livestock. Antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) are present in fertilizers, but quantities can change under various conditions, such as amount of sunlight. In order to investigate which factors can cause ARGs, sul1 in particular, to proliferate or decay, a series of microcosms using popular garden soil and fertilizers were created to test each condition. One set of microcosms was left in a light-intensive environment and a separate set was left in a setting with no sunlight at all. Over time points that stretched throughout two weeks, DNA from each microcosm was collected, extracted and analyzed for ARGs via qPCR. When analyzing the sul1 gene copy count, it was found that only one sample decayed, with all of the other samples proliferating in both the day and night settings. ARGs in fertilizer were found to proliferate more often than decay following store purchase. This raises important questions concerning ARG accumulation in gardens that may use store-bought fertilizers.

Characterizing Gripping Force and Actuator Haptics of an MR Compatible Needle Advancing Device

Malik Smith, Michael Evans, Yu-Hsiu Lee, Tsu-Chin Tsao

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines are great devices for finding tumors, aneurysms, strokes, etc., but they fall short when it comes to performing procedures. Such interventional applications include laser ablations and biopsies. Although a MRI machine is capable of capturing real-time images for doctors to perform procedures, the design and bore size of the machine leads to tedious operations. Researchers have found ways to automate the procedures, but most of them either utilize electronic motors secured at a safe distance or piezo/ultrasonic motors, which are undesirable within an MRI machine. Pneumatics holds promise, but suffers from lower bandwidth and loss of haptics. Acknowledging this, a MRI-guided and hydrostatic needle insertion device is proposed to ensure safety during operation and no distortion to image quality. Our current focus has been characterizing the gripping force on the needle and characterizing the haptics of the proposed device. Various grommet sizes will be used to find if using various diameters will increase the gripping force on the needle. To characterize the haptics of the actuator we studied the effect of using linear guides in the system to reduce friction.


Earthquake Databases for Subduction Zones

Craig Sugiyama, Sean Ahdi, Victor Contreras, Professor Jonathan Stewart

Subduction zones are boundaries between tectonic plates where the denser oceanic crust subducts, or dives beneath, the continental crust.  The series of subduction zones located along the edge of the Pacific Ocean is particularly seismically active.  Our lab is working on an international research project called Next Generation Attenuation – Subduction (NGA-Sub) that focuses on this region.  The project’s goal is to develop a database for subduction-zone earthquakes and create ground motion models (GMM’s), which are used to predict the amount of shaking that can occur at any given location based on the size of the earthquake and its distance to the site.  Although humans cannot predict when an earthquake will happen; the goal is to enable design companies to use GMM’s to make their structures strong enough to withstand the expected earthquake at that site.

My task within this project was to find and collect data from online earthquake catalogs that will eventually help produce GMM’s. Eventually, the data from NGA-Sub on the speed of the seismic waves as they travel to a certain site will be made public in their own database. I contributed to this database, called the Community Shear Wave Velocity (VS) Profile Database, by storing site information for California bridges, hospitals, and dam sites, into digital file formats.  When the VS Profile Database is complete, it will provide easy access to earthquake data for many researchers and industry practitioners.

Small Molecule Drug Delivery to the Central Nervous System via Protein Nanocapsules

Zi Wang, Jesse Baucom, Yunfeng Lu

With the population of elderly individuals in the world set to rapidly increase in the foreseeable future, the burden of central nervous system (CNS) diseases becomes a growing problem. Achieving sufficient blood-brain barrier (BBB) penetration has been one of the biggest challenges in developing therapeutics for CNS diseases. In this present study, we demonstrate the potential for phosphorylcholine polymer nanocapsules to serve as a platform for the delivery of small molecule drugs across the BBB for the treatment of CNS-related diseases. Using zidovudine (AZT) as a model drug to target the latent reservoir of HIV that persists in the CNS, we demonstrate that by conjugating small molecule drugs with an acid-cleavable linkage, phosphorylcholine polymer nanocapsules can traverse the BBB and gradually release the small molecule drugs into the CNS.

2016 Abstracts

Click to view the abstracts of previous participants.

3D Printer Extruder for Building Habitats on Mars

Chico Baber, Samuel Lidzbarski, Matthew Gerber, Tsu-Chin Tsao

For humans to colonize Mars, habitats and buildings must be constructed. Current manufacturing processes would be unfeasible on Mars because of multiple challenges such as the cost of transporting materials. For this reasons, we have investigated a unique additive manufacturing process that primarily utilizes indigenous materials. This process consists of creating a woven sleeve from Martian basalt and infusing it with a fast-curing epoxy to form a composite shell to be used in structural applications. The composite material would be formed inside a 3D Print Nozzle secured to a robotic arm. Our research focused on the curing section of the 3D Print Nozzle where the sleeve would be saturated with the epoxy and allowed to cure in a continuous mold. To accomplish this, a novel extruder was designed and materials were found that are resistant to adhering to the epoxy. We have utilized an elongated toroid “conveyor belt” that is actuated by an external structure to provide a curing surface for the sleeve which moves with the belt as it is extruded. This design allows for continuous extrusion of the composite shell and an efficient method to 3D print structures.

Analysis of Cubic Equations of State

Keith Inouye, Patricia Pichardo, Vasilios Manousiouthakis

The behavior of molecules at any given state can be difficult to understand depending on the state conditions, but through continual optimization of the state equations, the degree of accuracy we can predict a molecule’s behavior has dramatically increased. Understanding more about the behavior of a molecule, opens opportunities for the improvement of chemical processes. These improvements can lead to lower operating costs, less pollution, and increased production.  In this work, the cubic equations of state are analyzed to create useful Liquid Vapor Equilibrium graphs (LVE graphs). The equation is modified to become dimensionless which can allow a more general application of the equation to different species. The creation of these LVE graphs can give rise to important information on thermodynamic, volumetric, and state behaviors of different molecules. Moving forward, different types of equations of state can be analyzed and similar methods can be applied to create a non dimensional equation from which LVE graphs can be developed and applied to the better understand of these molecules’ behavior at varying states.

Analysis of Energy Trends in Plasma Wakefield Acceleration

Elizabeth Abramyan, Navid Vafaei-Najafabadi, Chandrashekhar Joshi

Plasma wakefield acceleration experimentation techniques continue to advance the possibilities for more powerful, more efficient and smaller particle accelerators. The particular technique of using ionization injection performed at the FACET facility of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has shown to accelerate injected electrons to energies up to 30 GeV. In this paper we study the nature of electron bunches gaining and losing energy during its course in the interaction and how this change in energy is affected by other parameters measured during the experiment, such as the initial drive beam charge and the accumulation of excess charge as the electrons pass through the plasma. Our results on the analysis confirm our prediction that increased charge leads to decreased energy gain. This newly confirmed knowledge contributes to our understanding of beam loading physics in ionization injection of plasma wakefield acceleration and ultimately the advancement of this field of particle accelerator research.

Analysis of Stimulation Artifact Rejection Algorithm

Mignon Huang, Nicole Wong, Sina Basir-Kazeruni, Sam Barclay, Dejan Markovic

Certain chronic diseases are caused by irregular activity from neurons in the brain, such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and dystonia. To aid the treatment of such diseases, deep brain stimulation uses neural implants that record neural activity and electrically stimulate neurons. Closed loop neuromodulation is the process of stimulating the neurons with electrical signals to block neuron misbehavior or increase neuron activity while recording neural activity. Because of this, the recorded signal contains a stimulation artifact signal that must be removed to obtain the patient’s neural recordings. An implementation of a least mean squares filter to clean the signal was previously developed at UCLA, and we evaluated the performance of the algorithm through various means. We calculated the attenuation and power of the unfiltered signal compared to that of the clean signal to analyze the signal reduction. Furthermore, a synthetic signal was generated and filtered to determine the accuracy of the filter.

Convolutional Neural Networks and the Influence of Momentum

Gabrielle Robertson, Kun Yuan, Ali H. Sayed

Huge advances in Machine Learning are happening now because of the realization of Neural Networks and the increased processing power of modern computers. Convolutional Neural Networks (ConvNets) are a special type of Neural Network for learning features of images. In training, layers of filters are randomly initialized. Each filter within a layer learns a feature from the previous layer. Together, the layers learn the hierarchy of features that are important to recognizing objects in images. When evaluating classifiers in an image classification task, ConvNets provide a significantly higher Validation Accuracy than can be achieved with Linear Classifiers or Fully-Connected Nets, with an appropriate training algorithm. One aspect of training algorithms is the choice of Update Method. Two types of Update Methods are Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD), and SGD with Momentum. It is assumed in the Deep Learning community that using SGD with Momentum as update method provides better convergence rates and accuracies than can be achieved with standard SGD. (Kun, Ying, Sayed, 2016) recently showed in the case of convex optimization problems that training with SGD Momentum with step size µm is equivalent to training with SGD using a larger step size µ under a certain relation to µm. This report aims to illustrate that SGD and SGD Momentum systems that satisfy the same relation yield approximately equivalent convergence rates and accuracies also in the case of Convolutional Neural Networks.

Dynamic Data Trends for Real-Time Asthma Health Evaluation App

Stacey Chao, Christine King, Majid Sarrafzadeh

Asthma is the most prevalent chronic illness is the United States, especially among young children. To alleviate asthma attacks and emergency room visits among children within the community, the Los Angeles PRISMS Center has developed the Biomedical REAl-Time Health Evaluation (BREATHE) platform, a sensor-based wireless health system that monitors and assesses asthma attack risk through a smart watch, smartphone, and cloud server in real time. In order to allow caregivers to monitor their child’s potential asthma exacerbations, the goal of my project was to develop was a dynamic graph user interface that displays wireless sensor data from the available physiological and environmental sensors. The caretakers and asthma patients could then track their activity and condition within the community over time to help them make decisions about their daily routines and avoid potential asthma exacerbations. Since the targeted audience of the platform is young children and their caretakers, the user interface and methodology of the graphing activity was designed to be easy to understand. Through the use of application programming interface (API) requests sent from the smartphone to obtain data from the cloud server, wireless sensor data was plotted in real time and saved throughout the day so that the user could review their prior history. The data was plotted in separate respective sensor graphs using AndroidPlot, a graphing library for Android applications, to allow the information to be easily interpreted. Future versions of the application will include more direct feedback to the users, such as including the risk level alongside the labeled sensor data so that they can understand how each type of physiological and environmental exacerbation contributes to their risk of an asthma attack

Global Minimization of Total Annualized Cost (TAC) For Compressor Sequences

Walther Villatoro, Ibubeleye Somiari, Masih Jorat, Vasilios Manousiouthakis

In this study, the global minimization of Total Annualized Cost (TAC) for compressor sequences is presented. The mathematical formulation as presented by Connor and Manousiouthakis (2014) is expressed in terms of actual compressor exit temperatures and the resulting optimization problem is solved to determine exit temperatures and TAC as a function of overall pressure ratio. The solution method entails a case by case evaluation of an n-compressor sequence to determine cases that meet the necessary conditions for optimality. An example is presented for a hydrogen gas, 4 no. compressor sequence when only operating cost is considered. A plot of temperature and compressor work versus overall pressure ratio for the optimum cases provides insight into the solution method.

Internet of Things, Heart Rate and Speech Recognition

Vasiliki Tasouli-Drakou, Pranshu Bansal, Xu Zhang, William Kaiser

The greatest health problem that our current generation faces, depression, does not only impact the psychology of an individual, but at the same time it affects various factors such as heart rate, the ability to talk and participate in activities, and the overall mental health of that individual. Depression symptoms are both psychological and physiological. Thus, the need to incorporate technology to combat depression has become greater than ever.

Taking into consideration that depressed individuals suffer from higher heart rates and are more likely to use negative words, there is a need to monitor heart rate and speech patterns. This project implements biometrics and speech recognition applications, using pulse sensors and a microphone, on an Intel Edison chip. The research that took place during a period of seven weeks by the Wireless Health Institute, does not try to directly draw a correlation between speech and heart rate, but it rather tries to achieve means that can find the correct calculation of heart rate, speech processing and the wireless transmission of data, the latter of which constitutes the foundation of Internet of Things.

Finally, additional research was conducted on how to successfully filter high sound frequencies that appear in voltage values coming from the pulse sensor, as well as on how to use speech recognition in order to find whether the user mentioned specific negative words or first person pronouns.

2015 Abstracts

Click to view the abstracts of previous participants.

Bridging Real-Time NDN-CXX Based Applications with the Named-Data Network Simulator

Erick Quintanilla, Alex Afanasyev, Spyridon Mastorakis, Yingdi Yu, Lixia Zhang

Unlike the current Internet, NamedData Networking (NDN) is a format that is built to handle and manage today’s large demand of data transactions. In order to examine and test the robustness and versatility of NDN, researchers of the Internet Research Laboratory at UCLA created a simulator called ndnSIM. What the simulator currently lacks is a method of emulating real-time applications that are constructed with an NDN foundation, which is why this project is a priority for continuing the growth and expansion of NDN. The task at hand involves creating a bridge between the various NDNbased applications and the simulator itself.

Composition – Stiffness Relationship in Silicate Glasses

Zin Win (Sandra) Maw, Bu Wang, Yingtian Yu, Mathiew Bauchy

In modern society, glass has become essential for touch-screen devices, fiber optics and television screens because of its strength and transparency. Nonetheless, stronger glasses are yet to be discovered and thus, we need to first understand the relationship between the compositions and the mechanical properties. Calcium aluminosilicate, a very commonly used material for touch-screens and television screens, is simulated using molecular dynamics and subsequently compared with experimental values. Specifically, the elastic properties were calculated, where we find molecular dynamics reproduce high level of agreement in both magnitude and slope to that of experimental data. On the contrary, conventional models resulted in having larger error than simulations did although conventional models also succeeded in reproducing same trend. From this observation, the next goal would be building more accurate model to reduce dependence on simulation, which is more time consuming than the models.

Design, Modeling, and Control of a Hydrostatic Actuator for MRI

Francisco Gomez, Jonah Hephzibah, James Simonelli, Tsu-Chin Tsao

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are widely used as a diagnosis tool with various advantages such as high soft tissue contrast, high image resolution, and a three-dimensional representation of the patient’s anatomy. Since MRI is the ideal diagnosis tool for detecting malicious tumors, designing an MRI-compatible robot for doctors to perform accurate, yet simple, biopsies can be implemented in the MRI bore. Since the robot has to have non-ferrous material, we created the frame from Polyoxymethylene (Delrin) due to Delrin’s low coefficient of friction and ease of machining the desired shape. Moreover, instead of waterjet cutting the movement arm, our team decided to 3D print the pieces due to its precise and accurate procedures. Once the prototype robot was complete, controlling the robot developed into a master-slave hydrostatic actuator by using glass syringes to transfer liquid and force from the master (actuator) to the slave (robot). Once we decided on hydrostatic actuation, the next step was motorizing it. The method the team took was turning rotary motion into linear motion. Therefore a simple but efficient Whit Worth mechanism was attached to a rotary motor by a timing belt. The system can now have the potential to be controlled by a doctor, alongside a radiologist, to perform quick and efficient biopsies.

Developing a Software Platform for a High Throughput, Cost-Efficient, and Portable Computer Aided Sperm Analysis (CASA) system

Chengzong Ou, Kiran Sivakumar, Steve Feng, and Aydogan Ozcan

Analysis of sperm characteristics is typically performed for animal husbandry, to analyze and resolve human conception difficulties, and to examine the result of a vasectomy operation. Initially, sperm samples were manually examined under a microscope by lab technicians to determine an individual’s sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm morphology. Computer Aided Sperm Analysis (CASA) systems were originally proposed in the 1980s to reduce labor and time cost from manual analysis. Modern CASA systems typically consist of a light microscope platform used to digitally capture images of processed sperm samples, which are sent to an attached computer for image processing to determine sperm characteristics of interest using custom-developed software. These systems, albeit accurate, can only image a subsample of the sperm inside the sample due to the reduced field-of-view from the microscope’s high magnification optics. They are fairly large, has a low throughput, and due to being reliant on lens-based methods, remains very costly. By using a lens-free imaging approach, we are developing a low-cost, high throughput, and portable CASA system. Our system consists of an imaging sensor where samples are loaded directly above the sensor in a tray, along with a LED light source directly overhead the sensor without any lenses involved. Previously, we developed a lens-free approach that replaces the light microscope platform and it was proven successful in analyzing images captured. However, the new system will be delivered with a custom developed software platform for automatically capturing images from the system, analyzing the captured images for sperm characteristics, and in displaying results to the user. The upcoming objective is to optimize the software to create a simple recommendation program for the portable device for at-home use. Alternative versions of the software that provide detailed analysis and statistics for clinical and industrial applications are also one of our future development objectives.

Impact of Image Format on Flash Storage Efficiency

Eduardo Chavez, Shaodi Wang, Puneet Gupta

In today’s electronic market, flash based memory device, such as Solid state drives (SSD), USB drives, micro-SD and SD card, are replacing traditional magnetic based memory (e.g. hard disk drives) due to the performance advantage of flash devices. However all flash based memory devices are subject to failure due to the endurance of a memory block. Endurance is the end-of-life parameter that vendors use to measure the maximum program-erase cycles that a memory block can afford before functional failure (i.e., a SDD may lose the stored information when its flash devices are programmed and erased more than the limit times). In this research, I was to observe a video feed, capture images in one second intervals, write a C++ program to store the image’s information into blocks, and make a linear comparison between the blocks of the adjacent images. The purpose of this method was to observe the way information was stored in memory blocks in order to discover a way to minimize the program and erase cycles which could contribute to maximizing the endurance of flash based memory devices.

Low Power Receivers

Giovanni Magana and Babak Daneshrad

Signal Processing is used to summit sound, images, or information as signals. Currently it enables us to transfer information as signals to represent techniques for modeling, recovery and analysis for applications in wireless communications. When a signal is produced a transducer coverts the signal into an electrical current. The current is later processed by a transmitter into an electromagnetic wave received at a frequency by the receiver. The receiver than converts the original signal into a new frequency and finally converted by another transducer into final structure. Receivers are composed of a local oscillator along with a mixer. Both components are used to change the frequency of a signal when detected. However, receivers consume power whenever they are active; it would be most efficient to only wake up the receiver when it is needed. A dedicated low power receiver can be used to detect a series of tones needed to signal user activity within a network so that nodes can be woken up. Within this research we attempt to minimize power drawn and produce self-mixing architecture and investigations in delays within the signals.

Strain Rate Behavior and Modeling of UCLA Foam

Jesse Villalobos, Brian Ramirez, Professor Vijay Gupta

Elastomeric foams of varying densities are of great interest for the reduction in structural damage and injuries generated by dynamic forces. However, the impact mitigation properties of foams depend largely on the rate at which the material is strained. In the present work, the stress-strain behavior of newly developed UCLA foams are investigated under low (10-2 s) and medium strain rates (102 s). Additionally, the force-time response of UCLA foams at an impact energy of 5J are compared to Finite Element simulations based on the stress-strain results previously obtained. Modeling the impact behavior of strain rate sensitive foams can be used to design new materials for emerging impact applications.

2014 Abstracts

Click to view the abstracts of previous participants.

MRI – Hydraulically Actuated System

Gabriela Lopez, Samuel Ross, Michael Chui, James Simonelli, Tsu-Chin Tsao

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is used by the doctors to detect tumors or malformations as well as a tool for guidance in performing biopsies. Currently doctors perform biopsies by taking the patient out of the MRI bore, placing the biopsy needle inside the patient and using the MRI for real time imaging of the soft tissues to verify that the needle was accurately placed. However, this process can be lengthy and uncomfortable for the patient. Previous research includes devices actuated by motors in a master and a slave configuration using hydraulic or pneumatic transmission. However, the MRI environment is very restrictive in the materials allowed. Instead of using motors, we manually control a three degree of freedom hydraulic system, which was previously created at the Mechatronic and Controls Lab (UCLA), for biopsy needle positioning inside an MRI. We construct the device with MRI-compatible materials like polypropylene, Delrin and ABS plastic. In this research, we examine the input-ouput efficiency of the device when using different fluids in the transmission lines and the efficiency of the control mechanisms on operating the device.

Theory Behind Plastic Waveguide for High Speed Data Link

Maurilio Cendejas-Cardenas, Frank Chang, Rod Kim

The theoretical aspect of increasing the bandwidth covers concepts and practices related unidirectional plastic waveguide. It explains some of the terminology applicable to electromagnetism and telecommunications systems because it is necessary to understand the processes that go on behind waveguides. In addition, understanding this theoretical aspect will help me tremendously as I am looking to going into the specific field of communications within the electrical engineering field. I expect to learn to a lot of new terminology and some of the basic fundamentals behind communications systems.

Data Analysis of Seismic and Environmental Effects on Watts Towers

Sergio Herrera, Robert Nigbor

The Watts Towers are a National Historic Landmark located in Los Angeles, California and consist of 17 interconnected structures. The Watts Towers were built between 1921 to 1954 by Simon Rodia. Overtime, there has been numerous cracks that have formed in the cement mortar. There have been efforts in repairing the towers but their deterioration has continued. As efforts led by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), to preserve the site, they founded necessary in better understanding the behavior of these towers. To do this, LACMA contacted the UCLA Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, to help with the monitoring of the towers. UCLA engineers have performed experimental testing and studied how the environmental factors have affected the structural behavior of the towers. Several different monitoring devices have been installed throughout the structure in attempt to better understand the thermal, wind and seismic effects the structure experiences. Since its construction, earthquakes and windstorms have damaged the Watts Towers.

Effects of Fluorinated Microporous Active-Carbon in Capacitance of Electrochemical Double-Layer Capacitors

Jesus M. Lopez Baltazar, Huihui Zhou, Yunfeng Lu

Carbon based electrochemical capacitors, also named supercapacitors, together with fuel cells and batteries represent types of electrochemical energy storage devices. Compared with batteries and fuel cells, supercapacitors deliver their stored energy in a few seconds, offering higher power densities and long cycling life. However, supercapacitors based on the electrochemical double-layer capacitance (EDLCs) have lower energy density compared to batteries and fuel cells, which limits their application as energy storage devices. In this project, in order to improve the energy density of EDLCs, fluorination of the carbon-based electrodes was attempted to enhance the wettability between electrode materials and the electrolyte and to fully utilize the carbon surface area, thus enhancing the overall capacitance of carbon-based supercapacitors. Two types of commercialized active carbon (named as CAC and SAC, respectively), used as electrode materials, were fluorinated with HF by sonication at room temperature and prepared for electrochemical tests. Although similar electrochemical responses were obtained from CAC and fluorinated CAC (F-CAC-RT), the capacitance value for fluorinated SAC (F-SAC-RT) was found to be 121.42 Fg-1, which is slightly higher than the capacitance value of 116.91 Fg-1 found for SAC, showing a trend of improvement in the capacitance value of fluorinated carbon-based EDLCs. Fluorination of the carbon materials CAC and SAC still needs further experimentation to confirm the possibility of promising features in the application of portable electronic devices and electric vehicles.

Developing a Low-cost, High-efficiency Syringe Pump using an Arduino Microcontroller

Kyrollos Yanny, Lisa Sobajian, Jacob Schmidt

Syringe pumps are common devices needed in most hospitals and laboratories to administer fluids at a precise rate to either a patient or a reaction chamber. Despite the simplicity of the functionality of syringe pumps and the continuous need of precise administering of fluids, syringe pumps’ prices are unjustifiably high. This unjustifiable high cost increases all syringe pump related healthcare services and prevents community colleges, high schools, and limited funded university laboratories from performing experiments including syringe pumps. Thus, focus in the Schmidt laboratory at UCLA was directed to designing a low cost, high-efficiency syringe pump that works as an infusion and withdrawal syringe pump, is easy to use and modify, and accommodates different syringe sizes and different functionalities. This was done using a stepper motor, a stepper motor driver, and an Arduino micro controller. The proposed syringe pump costs about $130 and does the same functionality as the $3000-$4000 currently available syringe pumps with a percent accuracy of 97%. The percent accuracy can increase significantly if a correction factor is implemented in the software.