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Engineering department collaborates with major companies

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Semih Aslan, associate professor of engineering, conducts research on solar panels with his students.
Semih Aslan, associate professor of engineering, conducts research on solar panels with his students.

Photo Courtesy Semih Aslan

Research is expanding resulting in technological innovations going from Texas State into the hands of major corporations.

Companies and government organizations are collaborating with the engineering department to sponsor the development of the newest innovative technology. Professors are guiding their seniors and graduate students in their senior design and graduate thesis projects to create work for companies.

Companies such as NEC Corporation, NASA, Intel and government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education have partnered with professors and students in efforts to gain access to the most accurate, innovative research.

Forms of sponsorship may include funds, equipment or time to support the needs of the projects. Often, students are able to meet representatives of the companies and network for post-graduation.

Engineering professors and students work closely with one another to build relationships among themselves and the company sponsoring their project. Not all senior design projects or thesis projects are sponsored.

Semih Aslan, associate professor of engineering, has been working with 12 graduate students to complete the research they need for their thesis projects.

Multiple projects can be sponsored by different companies and agencies and still all lead back to a single concept to learn about.

“One area (of study) can be theses for ten different people,” Aslan said.

Sensory technology is one area of study heavily used by the engineering students to collect data.

Sensors are used to detect the values of all kinds measurements, such as the temperature of water and stores the information or processes the data. Then, engineers are able to collect the data and decide what to do with it and in the students case decide what is in the companies best interest.

The sensory technology used in the engineering department has allowed Aslan through eight different projects with students to learn about the relevance of clean solar panels. Aslan said a dirty solar panel can reduce solar energy up to 70 percent or more. He is currently working with several companies to create the technology to eliminate dirt on the solar panels.

Aslan said this is the first time some students are getting hands on experience with this technology.

Md Syadus Sefat, electrical engineering graduate student, is completing his thesis project with Aslan’s guidance. He is using field programmable gate arrays to try to accelerate faster than normal through matrix operations.

“I knew most of the sensors and other equipment, but I had to learn some new technology,” Sefat said. “Working on the research is a combination of previous experience and new knowledge.”

It is thanks to the companies that Texas State students and staff are able to gain a better understanding of how certain things work.

NEC Corporation is sponsoring a project being worked on by Md Toufikul Islam, engineering graduate student from Bangladesh. Islam’s thesis project is a water leakage detective system to be used underground. His simulation will be able to detect water leakage in pipes through sensors. The project is expected to be completed by this summer.

“I’m getting so many resources here that I didn’t get back in my country,” Islam said.

These partnerships are wins for both the companies and students. Aslan said it has proven to be beneficial for students by helping them land jobs at major companies or allowing them to further their research to pursue doctoral degrees while simultaneously providing relevant, innovative research to companies.

The engineering department is giving students a chance to engage in real world work and preparing them for their next step after college.

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