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New York City Research Initiative

Research Projects at the Stevens Institute of Technology

Go to projects in: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004

Stevens Institute of Technology — 2015

Analysis, Design and Construction of Autonomous Robots
Team Members

Principal Investigator/Mentor: Dr. Siva Thangam

Educator: Prof. Joe Miles

Undergraduate Intern: Mohammad Fardos

High School Intern: Sandeep Singh

Final Research Presentation
Summary

The usage of autonomous robots in the pursuit of space exploration has developed dramatically, recently, by complex autonomous robots such as RAVEN and the Mars Rover. However, complexity arises from simplicity. The Arduino Microprocessor is a common robotics platform capable of integrating the operations of the robot via light sensing photo sensitive resistors. This basic level of innovation is applicable to a more complex autonomous robots. The objective of this research is to develop a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of an Arduino based autonomous robot by extinguishing two target lights in a 4'×8' arena in under thirty-five seconds. The stadium consists of two territories, white and black, which contain unique obstacles that challenge the capabilities of a simple autonomous robot.

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Stevens Institute of Technology — 2014

Urban Search and Rescue Robots (USRR)
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam
Prof. Joseph Miles

Team Members:
Vivek Jain and Pranav Subramanian, High School Students

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: A rescue robot is a robot that has been designed for the purpose of aiding rescue workers. Common situations that employ rescue robots are mining accidents, urban disasters, hostage situations, and explosions. The benefits of rescue robots to these operations include reduced personnel requirements, reduced fatigue, and access to otherwise unreachable areas. This particular urban search and rescue robot (USRR) had one specific purpose, to rescue in the most efficient possible. For a burning building, a small robot is required to get to a trapped human, which is represented by an infrared light. Once the human is found, a health package or medicine is dropped off to assist them.

The goal was to construct an urban search and rescue robot capable of dropping a cube 12 inches from an infrared beacon while avoiding obstacles in its path and adapt to a dynamic environment. The robot had to utilize various pieces of equipment to accomplish its task. Such equipment included various sensors to detect distance and light and a drop-off mechanism consisting of an arm and funnel. Other than rescue operations, this project demonstrated that such a design has great potential for applications in space as well. Some include creating a marker on different planets for future explorers.

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Read research paper (PDF)

Surviving Mars: In-Situ Production of Oxygen and Water
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam
Prof. Joseph Miles

Team Members:
Ryan Belfer, Undergraduate Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: For decades, Mars has been a target for manned space exploration. However, surviving on Mars takes oxygen, water, and food. Transportation of oxygen from Earth would be a detriment to the mission at $440,000/kg, so performing in-situ resource utilization on Mars would cut the cost greatly. Because evidence of water has been discovered at the surface of Mars, it is possible to use water extraction techniques and electrolysis to produce oxygen.

A mission overview has been analyzed to determine appropriate processes and rates for producing enough oxygen for a 1.5-year mission, including the use of the Sabatier methanation reaction and the reverse water gas shift (RWGS), by using experimental data of these two processes. By sending a microwave rover that extracts water, connected to a machine running these processes one synodic period in advance, the most cost-efficient method — which frees up space for return fuel — is achieved.

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Read research paper (PDF)

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the New York Terminal Area
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam
Prof. Joseph Miles

Team Members:
Christopher Kennedy, Undergraduate Student
Anthony Peri, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: The New York City area is home to the busiest airspace in the world, with 4000 daily scheduled arrivals and departures of the five major surrounding airports (Newark Liberty International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Teterboro Airport, and Westchester County Airport). With an expected spike in commercial aviation, the airspace above New York will become increasingly congested and strenuous on the air traffic controllers. To ease traffic, the FAA is adopting NextGen, a new satellite based navigation system that increases operation, reduces delay and cost, and creates more efficient continuous landing approaches. The rise in unmanned aerial systems makes their integration into domestic airspace inevitable, particularly the surrounding New York airspace. By determining where UAS flight will cause the least interruption of current operations, the integration of UAS in the tri-state area may open new markets while still allowing the existing transportation network to operate safely and efficiently, uphold current aviation regulations, and utilize current and future airspace technologies, such as NextGen. By analyzing current traffic flow patterns around New York City, the design of more efficient routes and the possibility of future UAS integration become achievable objectives necessary for continued smooth operation of all aircraft.

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Read research paper (PDF)

Stevens Institute of Technology — 2013

Autonomous Robotics
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam
Prof. Joseph Miles

Team Members:
Tahir Omar, Undergraduate Student
Vivek Jain, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Autonomous robots can perform a variety of operations without human guidance in a particular environment. These robots can evaluate their surroundings and receive data from sensors via hardware and process it using software. Autonomous robots are most prominently used in factories, industries, space exploration, and UAVs'. Being one of the leading technologies in today's industry, these robots can carry out a plethora of civilian purposes. The goal was to construct an autonomous robot capable of detecting various different lights while avoiding obstacles in its path and adapt to a dynamic environment. The robot was then engaged in a competition where it would have to extinguish the enemy target lights before its opponent. Hence, a system of light sensors and bumpers were used so the robot may properly navigate itself through the arena.

Aerial Firefighting: Today's Design, Tomorrows Future
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam
Prof. Joseph Miles

Team Members:
Abraham Aviles, Undergraduate Student
Christopher Kennedy, Undergraduate Student
Anthony Peri, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to successfully create an acceptable conceptual design for an unmanned aerial vehicle that has cost and functional effectiveness in combatting wildfires. The basis of this project is to eliminate the risk to human life, have faster and task optimized aerial firefighting aircraft, and to create a more cost effective operation. In the last century, the amount of acres burned by wildfires has been on an exponential rise, the financial cost of wildfire suppression is increasing, and unfortunately, the cost of human life has also risen. As of July 8th, 2013, almost 2 million acres have been burned, billions of dollars in damage have been caused, and far too many lives have been lost. Even with one of the most tragic and destructive fire seasons in history, the United States is continuing federal budget cuts which restrict the U.S. Forest Service aerial firefighting spending. Through theoretical analysis, a conceptual design which met the necessary specifications was conceived. Preliminary performance calculations have confirmed that the UAV design selected would be capable of performing the necessary tasks applicable to a firefighting mission.

Stevens Institute of Technology — 2012

Discovering Lava Tubes on Mars: The Red Planet
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam
Prof. Joseph Miles

Team Members:
Justen Garner, Undergraduate Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: The focus of this project is to build an autonomous rover that will be sent to Mars to map and explore lava tubes. The name of this rover is Magma. Magma will have to decide whether the lava tubes area a livable place for humans and also determine the length, diameter and safe areas of the lava tube. The project will also explain the dangers of humans researching lava tubes and explain how the rover will eliminate those dangers. The rover will be equipped with many tools. One special tool that the rover will contain is a sonar system. The sonar will be used to help Magma map the lava tubes on Mars effectively. If the lava tubes prove to be a livable area for humans, there can be a possibility of having a space colony on Mars. This project is for the CIPAIR NASA program. Most of the research was done on the Steven's Institute of Technology campus.

Trenching and Laying Cable on the Lunar Surface
Team Members

Principle Investigators (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam
Prof. Joseph Miles

Team Members:
Mehrdad Hooshmand, Undergraduate Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Beginning in the early 2000s, NASA vowed to ramp up its space exploration programs, seeking to land rovers on Mars, return to the moon, and explore the stimulating space frontier. Return missions to the moon are especially intriguing, as recent technological developments have suggested the possibility of permanent lunar bases. The moon's environment is capable of providing the resources necessary to produce a faux-atmosphere, and perhaps even water. As such, development efforts have begun to focus on rovers and spacecraft that would facilitate the construction, expansion, and maintenance of lunar base stations. Perhaps the most important aspect of this endeavor is the need for power, typically derived from solar or nuclear sources. Furthermore, it becomes necessary to route power from power generating stations to other lunar outputs; and the protection of power-carrying cables is a concern. We focus here on the conceptual design of an excavating rover capable of autonomously trenching on the lunar surface, burying power cables in the trench, and backfilling the trench providing the cables with protection from the harsh lunar environment. The excavating rover is comprised of three main components: the bucket-wheel excavator, the regolith transport conveyor, and the cable laying mechanism. These components are analyzed to derive preliminary power requirements to determine the feasibility and cost-efficiency of such a design. The focus of this paper is the excavator, which is predicted to require the highest peak and operating power input. By analyzing the penetration and digging forces on the bucket-wheel excavator given a set of parameters, it is approximated that nearly 10 kW of peak power and 9 kW of operating power is required for the excavator. In addition, with a conservative estimate of a 2.6 square kilometer lunar base requiring a maximum trenching distance of 900 meters, roughly 103 kWh of energy must be delivered to the rover for the bucket-wheel excavation mechanism. In addition to power requirements, solid models and technical drawings of the conceptual design are included to aid in the visualization of the proposal. Future work on this project would focus on the power requirements of the other components, along with the possible mounting of this design on current NASA rovers such as MSL's Curiosity or the ATHLETE.

Autonomous Robotic Design with Software Applications Towards Conceptual Avionics
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam
Prof. Joseph Miles

Team Members:
Christopher Kennedy, High School Student
Mehrdad Hooshmand, Undergraduate Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Autonomous robotic design is the process of creating a robot which can complete a predefined task without human intervention. The robot accomplishes this feat with technology that can analyze its surroundings and provide data to a preprogrammed software routine. This system allows the robot to operate on its own within a variable environment without any human interface. The benefits of an autonomous system include the ability to operate in hostile environments without the need for a human controller. These systems, however, require an understanding of the possible environment the robot may encounter and available sensory technologies which are integrated into the software code, the brain of the robot.

This project is based on the creation of a small autonomous robot capable of detecting and extinguishing target lights while avoiding obstacles which obstruct direct paths of motion. Therefore, a system of light sensors and bumpers are required to accomplish this task. With the concept of autonomous systems, unmanned aerial system avionics function as a more advanced version of the small autonomous robot. The improvement of UAV avionics integration is the next step toward the safe integration of UAV systems into commercial airspace. Autonomous robotics have a variety of applications from sensory robots to UAV avionics.

Robotics: Autonomous Devices
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam
Prof. Joseph Miles

Team Members:
Sharif Abdelbaky, High School Student
Justen Garner, Undergraduate Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Autonomous Robots are robots that can perform desired tasks in unstructured environments without continuous human guidance. Many kinds of robots have some degree of autonomy. Different robots can be autonomous in different ways. The current generation of autonomy is particularly desirable in fields such as space exploration, cleaning floors, mowing lawns, and waste water treatment. There are hundreds of applications for autonomous technology in the civilian market, from home and community applications to cameras at intersections. Autonomous robots are a very versatile field. It currently exist for civilian, commercial and research purposes.

The objective of the robot project was to create a fully autonomous battle robot able to adapt accordingly to a dynamic environment. The robot's mission was to navigate, take corrective courses of action in the presence of obstacles, locate, identify and extinguish the "enemy" territory's target lights before the enemy robot extinguishes the Battle Roach's home target lights.

Stevens Institute of Technology — 2011

The Battle Roach Robot
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam

Co-Principle Investigator:
Prof. Joseph Miles

Team Members:
Carla Araile, Undergraduate Student
Anthony Francis, Undergraduate Student
Bill Carroll, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Robotics is becoming a leading technology in the modern world, encompassing integrated computer controlled systems that are capable of interacting with their environment in order to carry out specific tasks. The objective of the robot project was to create a fully autonomous battle robot able to adapt accordingly to a dynamic environment.

The robot's mission was to navigate, take corrective courses of action in the presence of obstacles, locate, identify and extinguish the "enemy" territory's target lights before the enemy robot extinguishes the Battle Roach's home target lights.

Stevens Institute of Technology provided their custom-made PIC microcontroller and a pre-assembled chassis to serve as the foundation for the robot. The Battle Roach's design and construction used a set of requirements and guidelines which allowed modifications on the Stevens equipment to comply with the physical needs required for a successful mission. Once completed, the Battle Roach must compete against a champion battle robot on the battlefield to test its effectiveness. Multiple disciplines, such as mechanical, electrical, and programming software were involved in the process of the creation of the fully autonomous battle robot.

UAV Systems for Civilian Applications
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam

Co-Principle Investigator:
Prof. Joseph Miles

Team Members:
Kristen Brown, High School Student
Christopher Kennedy, High School Student
Bill Carroll, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are the logical successors to modern aircraft and advancements in automated technology. The current generation of UAVs is focused on wartime capabilities and reconnaissance, leaving an existing market untapped by UAV technology: the commercial field. There are hundreds of applications for UAV technology in the civilian market, from emergency response applications and media outlets to communication technicians and horticulturalists.

However, a versatile UAV does not currently exist for civilian purposes. A UAV of this capability should be compact, lightweight, and have the ability to carry a multitude of interchangeable instruments to suit its application. The concepts of UAV technology combined with interchangeable parts can become a powerful tool for commercial applications and can shape the future of aviation.

Collaborative Robotics with Space Applications
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam

Co-Principle Investigator:
Prof. Joseph Miles

Team Members:
Michael Creech, Undergraduate Student
William Carroll, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: The focus of this project is theoretical research into applications for collaborative robotics in space and the simulation of the missions in a simplified environment utilizing equipment available at Stevens Institute of Technology. Mission profiles for collaborative robotics covered in this project include rescue and recovery missions as well as Lava Tube exploration missions. The simulations of collaborative robotics systems using Stevens equipment utilize two robot systems that communicate with each other via a tethered connection. The robots in each of the simulations are in a leader/follower setup, where one robot is responding to assist the other. The first two profiles to be tested are rescue/recovery and payload transfer. Additional profiles to be tested will be determined once these mission profiles have been refined in simulation. The programs developed for the simulations can later be modified for full-scale testing with minimal effort.

Stevens Institute of Technology — 2010

Optimization Model for a Future Lunar Colony
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam

Co-Principle Investigator:
Prof. Joseph Miles

Team Members:
Marina Dawoud, Undergraduate Student
Michael Creech, High School Student
Bill Carroll, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: The objective of this project is to develop an optimization model for lunar colonization that would account for current technology as well as emerging technology. The model uses the returns from the mission to compute an efficiency of the colony as well as other useful statistics to compare the different configurations. To aid in the evaluation of the financial, scientific, and future mission infrastructure returns the lunar colony's objectives were broken down into six parts. Once completed, the missions were compared on the revenue, cost, scientific return, and future mission savings to calculate a mission cost-time ratio and mission efficiency.

Going Up: Modes of Space Travel
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam

Co-Principle Investigator:
Prof. Joseph Miles

Team Members:
Younus Ahmed, Undergraduate Student
Vanshil Shah, High School Student
William Carroll, High School Teacher

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: With President Obama's initiative for space travel, research for new technologies can be pursued. The mode of space travel that will be chosen has to be configured to make space travel more frequent, less costly, and more efficient by implementing reusable resources. Modes of travel thus far have incurred payments of billions of dollars, with the Apollo Program costing $145 billion and the Space shuttle program costing $173 billion. New innovations in space travel will allow NASA to reach its full potential in the near future with programs that are recyclable, incurring less cost, and rendering greater efficiency. In addition, theses programs will foster deep space explorations to the moon, Mars and beyond, reinvigorating the amazing space age.

Stevens Institute of Technology — 2009

Going Green: A Step Forward
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam

Co-Principle Investigator:
Prof. Joseph Miles

Mentor:
William Carroll, High School Teacher

Researchers:
Christopher Brown, High School Student
Anthony Scalzo, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract: Inspired by Al Gore's plan for a Unified Energy Frid by 2020, this project researched the many renewable energy sources and their ability to create electricity. The goal was to find the best type of green source to power a city of approximately 30,000 people. The chosen location was the Borough of Princeton and Princeton Township. Design matrices and calculations determined the best energy source. After renewable energy sources were researched, the transmission systems and their certain capabilities and problems were investigated, especially with their acceptance of renewable evergy.

Another step in the team's research was done regarding a hybrid energy system. Hybrid systems are often a synergy, and this would be most beneficial for electricity production in the future. A conceptual design was based on current systems, while integrating current research and ideas and leaving room for improvement in the future. The ultimate goal was to find the best electricity provider while reducing the maximum amount of greenhouse gas emissions that are currently endangering the atmospher and increasing global warming.

One Giant Leap For Mankind: Utilizing Valuable Lunar Resources for Further Space Exploration
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam

Co-Principle Investigator:
Prof. Joseph Miles

Mentor:
William Carroll, High School Teacher

Researchers:
Kelly Blumenthal, High School Student
Michael Creech, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Abstract:

Space exploration has been severely curtailed since 1969, when NASA first sent a man to walk on the moon. An entrepreneurial enterprise to re-energize the space program in which lunar resources would be mined and processed is conceptualized in this research project.

This project involves the methodology consisting of the three components of lunar exploration: i) Earth-to-Moon cargo and personnel transport, ii) assembly of a sustainable lunar colony, and iii) the processing of minerals from lunar soil.

The lunar soil or regolith is comprised of many minerals. Various product outputs from processing regolith will be analyzed to determine the most profitable resource combination after twenty-five years of operation. Ilmenite (FeTiO3), a mineral in regolith, would be processed to yield solid titanium for spacecraft manufacture and oxygen to be used as breathable air for present or future exploration. Quartz, another mineral in regolith, would be refined into silicon for use in solar energy. In addition, Helium-3 would be separated from the regolith for use in nuclear fusion reactors.

Stevens Institute of Technology — 2008

From Earth to the Moon: Conceptual Design of a Lunar Colony/Lunar Transport System
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Joseph Miles

Researchers:
William Carroll, High School Teacher
Alyssa Barlis, High School Student
Michael Creech, High School Student
Marina Dawoud, High School Student

Final Research Presentations
Summary

Design a system capable of transporting materials needed for a lunar colony from the earth to the moon. Keeping in mind the economical and practical aspects of such an undertaking, compare and contrast this design with NASA's proposed Constellation program and two alternatives.

Using current and emerging technological developments, design a system capable of transporting materials needed for a lunar colony from the earth to the moon.

Stevens Institute of Technology — 2007

Expandable Deployed Lunar Base for the Purpose of the Establishment of a Lunar Colony
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam

Team Members:
Joseph Miles, High School Teacher
Rebecca Vecere, High School Teacher

Jason Jayanty, High School Student
Christopher Bussetti, High School Student

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Main Objective: To design a Lunar Colony that will be cost-effective, durable, and expandable. This will provide the foundation for a permanent Lunar Colony.

Background Information:

Geography: Radioactive equator, poles with constant sunlight and frozen resources

Soil: Mostly basalt type rocks, composed of Iron, Silicon, Titanium, Oxygen, Helium

Atmosphere: Very thin layer of 90% Nitrogen, Trace Helium, Hydrogen

Temperature Range:
* -150° to +100° C at equator
* -50° to +50° C at poles

Stevens Institute of Technology — 2006

Earth to Orbit and in Space Propulsion Systems: ION Drive Technology
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam

Co-Principle Investigator (Co-PI):
Mr. Joseph Miles

Researchers:
Randy Parilla, SHARP Apprentice
Jason Jayanty, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Major Objectives:
* Advance the ION Drive System
* Create a new tile system for the shuttle
* Find a method of cooling the tile system for the shuttle
* Construct a model of the hybrid design
* Enter our design into different competitions (held in Langley, VA)

Stevens Institute of Technology — 2005

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam

Mentors:
Dr. Kishore Pochiraju
Mr. Joseph Miles

Researchers:
Yasha Okshtein, NJSGC

Robert Brown, SHARP Apprentice
Randy Parilla, SHARP Apprentice
Emanuel Towns II, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Purpose:

Design a plane that can be used for both scientific purposes and for the military. The plane must be: Flexible; Adaptable; Capable of performing reconnaissance work; Geo-Mapping ready; Able to collect samples of various pollutants; Ready to conduct "Search and Destroy" missions; and Prepared to research in general.

Modeling and Analysis of a Wind Turbine Blade with Active Profile Control Using a Shape Memory Alloy
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam

Mentors:
Dr. Kishore Pochiraju
Mr. Joseph Miles

Researchers:
Jeffrey Mensch, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentation
Summary

Development of triple rotor blade wind turbine:

10-100 kW range

Choose blade design

Use active profile control

Choose shape memory alloy (SMA)

Compare efficiency of new model with current designs

Stevens Institute of Technology — 2004

Variable Data Collection Nexus Using a Wireless Radio Network to Improve Efficiency in a Sensor System
Team Members

Principle Investigator (PI):
Dr. Siva Thangam

Researchers:
Professor Kishore Pochiraju
Professor Zhenqi Zhu

Manuel Garmendez, SHARP Apprentice
Nikhil Srivastava, SHARP Apprentice
Yasha Okshtein, SHARP Apprentice
Robert Brown, SHARP Apprentice

Final Research Presentations
Summary

The NASA SHARP Summer Program students will be offered the following options for their summer research.

1) They can select from a variety of current research within in the NASA core enterprises (of Aerospace Technology, Space Science, Earth Science, Space Flight, Biological and Physical Science) that are suitable for the NASA-NSIP competition. NASA SHARP participants will work with a faculty mentor during this summer and continue the project during the next Fall/Spring to submit an entry for the NSIP competition.

2) Revolutionary Vehicles: Personal Air Vehicle Systems and Technologies. There is a separate category for high school juniors and seniors. A letter of intent to participate in the 2005 competition is required by December 31, 2004. New Jersey Space Grant will be happy to sponsor successful applicants.

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