In Memoriam: Dr. H. Robert Farrah

dr_farrahThe LTU ECE Department remembers with gratitude the life and career of Dr Harry Robert Farrah, Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who passed away on Wednesday, January 14th, 2015.

Dr Farrah earned the BSEE degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the MSEE, MBA, and PhD degrees from Wayne State University. Before joining LTU, he worked as Project Manager at  Bendix Corporation in Southfield. He served as Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department from 1990 to 2001.

“Bob Farrah welcomed me warmly to the LTU Family and was always ready to help in any way possible,” said Dr Phil Olivier, ECE Chair. “His contributions to the electrical and computer engineering programs cannot be overstated.” Prof Ben Sweet observed that “Dr Farrah may have been the only ECE Chair to have hired two generations from the same family. My father also served as an adjunct under his leadership.” Dr Kun Hua, Assistant Professor,  recalled Farrah as a joyful mentor: “So many moments with him I cannot forget … he was the first person I talked with from Lawrence Tech … full of encouragement and suggestions.” These sentiments, echoed throughout the ECE Department, were summed up by Prof Riyadh Kenaya: “He was a great friend, mentor, and a man of principle.”

Dr Farrah will be profoundly missed. He is survived by his wife Deanna, three children, and grandchildren.

Read About This Year’s Formula Hybrid Activities

Lawrence Technological University incorporates the Society of Automotive Engineer’s Formula HybridTM competition into its engineering curriculum as a year-long project each year. This year’s competition is April 28 – May 1, 2014 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The competition provides students a unique and wonderful opportunity to combine the University’s signature blend of theory and practice with the challenge of a real-world problem: creating a high-performance racing vehicle that is also fuel-efficient. The students design, build, test, and race a Formula hybrid vehicle in competition with other student engineering teams from around the world.

ECE undergraduate students Don Henderson and Peiyue Xu are critical components of this year’s project. Team Leader Adam Tallman and Electrical Lead Eric Onan have worked far beyond the normal hours with team members Jim Cass, Jake Ball, Jonathon Vitale, Mohamed Albira, Matt Moyer, Kingman Yee, and Nick Tallman to bring the vehicle to a level that will seriously challenge the pack for first place.

Featuring 17MJ expanded battery capacity, 35Kw electric motor, 250cc gas power plant and sophisticated dual mBed processor controllers, adding LCD touch screen energy and performance monitors, WiFi wireless telemetry and new CV transmission, this year’s team feels confident.


The Great Warrior Peiyue Xu brings the Formula SAE Hybrid Display subsystem to life

The display expert from China has been hard at work on the LCD display for the vehicle.  The team finally has it up and running with communication to the controller, months before the competition!





Finished PCB’s after power trace buildup:

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Here are some more pics, showing various stages of build:











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ECE Professor Presents Paper at ASEE Conference

DR_LISA_M_ANNEBERG_1COLDr Lisa Anneberg presented a paper at the 2014 American Society For Engineering Education North Central Section Conference, held on April 4 and 5. The ASEE NCS was hosted by Oakland University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science in  Rochester, MI. The paper, entitled “Sustainable Global Engineering Education Program with the USA and China,” details a ten-year collaboration between LTU and SUES (Shanghai University of Engineering Science). Anneberg’s coauthor is Suyun Luo, Assistant Dean of the Automotive College at Shanghai University of Engineering Science, in Songjiang, Shanghai, China.

LTU’s Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering Departments also had a paper in the conference:  “Using NFPA-Funded Capstone Project to Teach Fluid Power and Mechanical Design.” The authors include James Mynderse, Liping Liu, and Selin Arslan. For more information, see

Professor to Present Conference Paper

JABER_Nabih Dr Nabih Jaber has had a paper accepted for publication in the IEEE NTMS’2014 – the Sixth IFIP International Conference on New Technologies, Mobility and Security. The conference will be held from March 30th to April 2nd at Zayed University, Dubai, UAE. The abstract of the paper entitled “Efficient Home Energy Management System” is as follows:

Consumer domain energy management systems or home energy management system (HEMS) is largely neglected in existing practical smart grid EMS studies. This paper presents a practical HEMS that supports various existing and emerging actors. Some of the proposed features include the support of automatic and manual scheduling and control of the devices, continuous monitoring and efficient notification. The goal of the design is to achieve optimized performance under dynamic situations. For better understanding and implementation of the concepts behind our proposed design, detailed Use Case diagrams of the various actors and their functionalities are presented. A substantial amount of peak shaving/shifting is observed using the proposed application.

Announcement: Call for Papers

huaDr. Kun Hua is serving as the chair of Mobile Multimedia Networks Workshop, in conjunction with the 14th IEEE International Conference on Computer and Information Technology (CIT 2014), which will be held in Xi’an, China, Sep 11-13, 2014. Dr. Nabih Jaber is serving as a Program Committee Member.

Call for Papers
IEEE CIT 2014 Workshop on Mobile Multimedia Networks
(MMN 2014)

We have witnessed the rapid development of wireless sensor networks over the past decade, with advancements in network communication protocols, system design, signal processing, controls and other aspects. Especially, there has been increasing interest on Mobile Multimedia Networks (MMN) in recent years. Such mobile multimedia networks are extremely valuable in situations where traditional deployment mechanisms fail or just not suitable, and where sensors cannot be manually deployed or air-dropped. Such areas include underwater or airborne sensor networks, robotic sensing, structural health monitoring, advanced health care delivery, video surveillance, traffic enforcement and control systems, etc.   Many challenging and interesting topics will be involved in research of mobile multimedia networks, (e.g., energy-efficient multimedia source coding, MIMO techniques for multimedia delivery, cross-layer optimization, secure multimedia streaming, network localization, coverage and deployment, and cooperative transmission for multimedia delivery, etc.).

The MMN 2014 workshop aims to provide researchers who share similar research interests to meet and address various aspects of analysis, design, optimization, implementation, and application of mobile multimedia networks. In this workshop, we solicit research papers with respect to all aspects of mobile multimedia networks. Particularly, we are interested in the research submissions focusing on the following aspects, but not limited to:

(1)    Capacity modeling, performance analysis, and theoretical analysis
(2)    Experimental and test bed studies, simulation tools
(3)    Joint multimedia processing and communication solutions
(4)    Real-time and reliable multimedia streaming
(5)    Mobile multimedia network architectures, deployments, and heterogeneous applications
(6)    Semantic annotation for mobile multimedia streams processing and management
(7)    Energy-efficient mobile multimedia networks
(8)    Cross-layer optimization for effective communications
(9)    Context/content aware approaches for facilitating multimedia streaming
(10)    Secure multimedia streaming transmission and QoS
(11)    Cooperative transmission for multimedia delivery and collaborative in-network processing
(12)    Energy-efficient multimedia source coding
(13)    Topology control and synchronization protocols
(14)    Distributed source coding and multimedia encoding techniques
(15)    Network localization, coverage and deployment techniques
(16)    MIMO techniques for multimedia delivery

Submissions and Publishing

Papers submitted to MMN2014 should be written in English conforming to the IEEE Conference Proceedings Format(8.5″ x 11″, Two-Column). The length of the papers should not exceed 6 pages + 2 pages for over length charges. The paper should be submitted in PDF format through the EasyChair paper submission system at the workshop website (EasyChair submission link:

Accepted and presented papers will be included into the IEEE Conference Proceedings published by IEEE CS Press (indexed by EI). Distinguished papers accepted and presented in MMN 2014, after further extensions, will be published in special issues of several SCI/SCIE Indexed Journals.

Submission Deadline:        April 10st, 2014
Author Notification:            May 20th, 2014
Camera Ready:                  June 20th, 2014
Registration Deadline:         June 20th, 2014

Workshop Chairs

Kun Hua, Lawrence Technological University, USA
Tao Ma, Xidian University, China

TPC member list:

Qiang Duan, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Jiancun Fan, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China
Jun Huang, Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications, China
Nabih Jaber, Lawrence Technological University, USA
Yanqing, Ji, Gonzaga University, USA
Tigang Jiang, University of Electronic, Science and Technology of China
Honggang Wang, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, USA
Wei Wang,  South Dakota State University, USA
Yin Wang, Lawrence Technological University, USA
Jianjun Yang, University of North Georgia, USA
Liang Zhou, Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, China
Ruonan Zhang, Northwestern Polytechnical University, China

A Dozen NSF Power Engineering Scholarships Awarded; More Available

huaScholarships have been awarded to seven students at Lawrence Technological University and five at Monroe County Community College (MCCC) under a scholarship program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to address the need for more engineers for the power industry.

The five MCCC scholarship recipients are expected to enroll at Lawrence Tech within the next year.

As a result, the full five-year grant of $598,000 for the Scholarship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program has been approved based on the results during the first year under the leadership of Assistant Professor Kun Hua of the Department of Electric and Computer Engineering.

Thanks to the NSF grant, Lawrence Tech is offering $10,000 scholarships for two years to community college graduates to complete a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with a power engineering concentration. Community college students working on their associate degree in this area also qualify.

Responding to an impending national shortage of power engineers needed for the nation’s electricity production plants and distribution system, last year NSF awarded LTU the five-year grant to provide scholarship assistance to students in this field.

Power engineers develop, maintain, and modernize “the Grid,” the vast network of transformers, generators, motors and electronics that supply electrical power.

LTU’s S-STEM scholarship recipients gain additional knowledge about the power industry from outside speakers, field trips and participation in professional organizations. Internships and job placement are also part of the scholarship program.

“LTU is leveraging its network of local and regional partnerships to aid in the recruitment, retention, and job placement of the S-STEM scholars,” said Hua, the S-STEM advisor.

One of those partners is DTE Energy, which has a specific need to hire more nuclear engineers for its Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station near Monroe. DTE Energy worked with Monroe County Community College in developing the associate degree in nuclear engineering technology, and graduates of that program are eligible for the scholarship program to continue their studies at LTU.

ECE Professor Authors Journal Paper on Image Segmentation

Dr Umasankar Kandaswamy and colleagues from Washington University St Louis have had a paper accepted for publication in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods. The paper, entitled “Automated condition-invariable neurite segmentation and synapse classification using textural analysis-based machine-learning algorithms”, describes a fully automated machine-learning approach to high-resolution live-cell imaging studies. The present lack of such tools, which can handle varying image acquisition conditions, represents a challenge in biomedical image analysis (which must otherwise be performed manually by physicians, at great cost). The new algorithm is shown to be accurate and to maintain its performance levels under a wide range of image acquisition conditions. Congratulations to Dr Kandaswamy on an interesting and significant publication!

Smart Blood Glucose Meter

Students Kevin Mason and Zeran Gu collect data from different test strips. Photo by Michael Hall (LTU College of Architecture).

Article and graphics submitted by Dr. Umasankar Kandaswamy.

On a certain level, almost everyone is acquainted with the fact that self-blood-glucose measurement is an intrinsic and important part of a diabetic patient’s healthy life. However, only 17 million of us fully understand how heavily “living a near normal life” for a diabetic patient depends on “how effectively one can control and regulate” his or her blood glucose level. In other words, nearly 6% of the US population must self-measure the blood glucose level on a regular basis — in most cases several times a day — and adjust the insulin therapy accordingly (click here for further information on diabetes and its impact).

Since its introduction in 1970, the concept of self-measurement has grown from an obscure visual evaluation method requiring a large volume of blood (up to 25 microliters), to the use of fast and reliable electronic systems, referred to as blood glucose meters, that use electrochemical test strips to quantify blood glucose levels. Even though several types/brands of meters are commercially available for self-measurement — with options ranging from “smallest volume of blood needed” to “least amount of time taken” — no existing meter supports the option of interoperability. Simply put, if we buy a particular brand of test meter, we are forced to buy that brand’s test strips all the time. In most cases patients must endure an extensive period of trial and error before figuring out which meter/test strip combination is cost effective, easy to use, reliable, long lasting, and portable. To solve this problem, my students Kevin Mason (Electrical and Biomedical Engineering) and Zeran Gu (Mechanical Engineering) are working with me to develop a next generation smart blood glucose meter that is highly interoperable and convenient. In addition, the smart blood glucose meter is designed for compatibility with all types of mobile devices (e.g., iPad, iPhone, Android, Tablets).

The heart of the Smart Blood Glucose Meter is an electronic system called a transimpedance amplifier, which senses the electrochemical current (70 – 120 microamperes) produced by the glucose-induced reaction in a test strip and converts it to a readable voltage output (0 to 2.5V). Figure 1 shows a typical response of a transimpedance amplifier constructed in our LTU lab.

Figure 1. Quantifying glucose variation using One-touch-ultra test strip.

T1 instant (shown in Figure 1) is when the glucose is introduced at the test strip. After a so-called incubation period (the time period between T1 and T2), the output voltage of the amplifier starts to change in proportion to the rate at which gluconolactone (a resultant of the reaction between glucose and a mediator) is produced, thus relating the rate of change of the output voltage to the glucose concentration present in the test strip. Figure 2 shows the rate of change of the output voltage from the transimpedance amplifier for glucose concentrations ranging between 10 mg/dL to 400 mg/dL.

Figure 2. Change in glucose concentration impacts the rate of electrochemical reaction.

It can be observed that different glucose concentration levels produce output responses with distinct rise times, establishing a strong correlation between the glucose driven electrochemical reaction and the observable output voltage. Figure 3 shows the change in rise time (in seconds) for different values of glucose concentration and for three types of commercially available test strips: One-touch Ultra, Agamatrix, and Accu-Check. Experimental data shown in Figures 2 and 3 are average responses of three different sets of data collected by Kevin Mason during Spring and Summer 2012 using Electronic Explorer Kit and the Diligent-Waveforms software package.

Figure 3. Variation in rise time measured in seconds for different values of glucose concentration. (A) One touch ultra, (B) AgaMatrix, (C) Accu-Check.

Starting this Fall, students will be working on Phase II of the project. Phase II would involve finalizing the communication protocol (through which the transimpedance circuitry and mobile devices will communicate with each other), and developing an android/iPhone app through which the user will be able to access the device. Figure 4 shows the 3D rendering of the Smart Blood Glucose Meter designed by Natalie Haddad (student of College of Architecture, makeLab).

Figure 4. 3D rendering of the proposed smart blood glucose meter.


Robust Adaptive Software Radio Communication System

Dr Kun Hua and student Robert Reichel in the LTU Wireless Communication Lab.

Article by Dr Kun Hua

The Wireless Communication Lab is now available for undergraduate senior projects and graduate class projects involving Software Defined Radio.

I am using seed grant funding to develop an adaptive and robust software radio communication system with my undergraduate and graduate students. The aim is to generate an automotive embedded system to scan commercial radio stations and automatically select a station that is currently playing music, sports, a talk show, weather information, etc. This would allow users to skip commercials and listen to preferred content continuously without having to manually scan for stations. The system is designed to perform real time analysis of an audio stream through pattern recognition, data mining, nonlinear optimization, signal processing, and embedded techniques. Features and more advanced adaptation algorithms can be implemented at a later stage. In the future, with just one click, you will be able to listen to all live local games — Red Wings, Lions, Pistons, Wolverines, Spartans — whether you are driving along the coast of California or skiing in rural Colorado.