college of engineering

Oregon State professor honored for inventions

CORVALLIS, Ore. - John Wager, a professor in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors for technological advances in consumer electronics products such as televisions and computer monitors.

This professional distinction is made to prolific academic inventors who have created or facilitated inventions that made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society, academy officials say.

Wager, the Michael and Judith Gaulke Endowed Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering in the OSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is a pioneer in the area of transparent electronics - a technology with commercial applications in flat-panel displays being licensed to major manufacturers.

He holds 21 patents and has 17 more pending for thin-film materials with applications to flat-panel displays and thermal inkjet technology.  Wager also co-founded Inpria, Inc., and serves as an advisor to Amorphyx, Inc., companies that are working to commercialize technologies developed in his lab.

Wager has worked with graduate students and colleagues at OSU in the departments of chemistry, physics, electrical engineering, and chemical engineering. He co-authored one book, “Transparent Electronics,” four review articles, three book chapters, and more than 230 studies.


Rachel Robertson, 541-737-7098


OSU to be founding partner in national robotics initiative

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University will be one of the founding academic partners in the newest Manufacturing USA Institute, a $3 billion federal and private company initiative designed to enhance U.S. competitiveness in advanced manufacturing.

This is the latest of 14 institutes that have been announced, and is known as the Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Innovation Hub. It will be supported by $253 million from federal and matching funding. States, local governments, industry, universities, community colleges and non-profit organizations will participate, and the U.S. Department of Defense is directing the federal effort.

American Robotics, Inc., in Pittsburgh will lead the new robotics hub in close collaboration with founding industrial and academic partners across the nation. A primary goal is to better organize the current fragmented capabilities in robotics technology in the U.S. while helping to make the nation better able to globally compete.

Among academic institutions, OSU already has one of the nation’s leading educational and research programs in robotics.

“We'll be leveraging our world-class robotics faculty in collaboration with our colleagues in mechanical, industrial, manufacturing engineering, and electrical engineering and computer science,” said Bill Smart, an associate professor in the OSU College of Engineering and one of the university’s leaders in robotics education and research.

“OSU is perfectly positioned for this institute, since it has strengths in all of the areas, and a long history of actually reaching out to and working with industry. This is squarely in OSU's wheelhouse, given our long history and deep experience of working with Oregon companies on projects that bring real, tangible benefits to the local and national economies.”

The new institute will conduct applied research and development; deliver education and workforce training; and create a nationwide network of “regional innovation” collaborations. OSU will help lead one of those collaboratives in the Pacific Northwest.

In the long term, robotics innovation is expected to help American workers be more productive and stimulate new technological innovations. Advances are expected in robotics control; dexterous manipulation; navigation and mobility; perception and sensing; and other fields. Small, medium and large industrial partners are being sought.

Story By: 

Bill Smart, 541-737-2600


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Robot mimics seahorse

New Startup Showcase is Demo Day 2.0

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Startup Showcase will be presented by entrepreneurs from the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator/ RAIN Corvallis program on Thursday, Oct. 20.

The event will be a celebration of achievements and a new take on a traditional startup graduation event for the program. Individuals will present their successes and companies live on stage at the LaSells Stewart Center, Construction and Engineering Hall; and other researchers will discuss advances in their fields.

The event is free and open to the public, and attendees can choose to attend one, two, or all three sessions. Free registration is available online at http://bit.ly/2dHQSPs

The sessions will include “The Futurists” from 2:30-3:45 p.m., a panel-style event led by selected OSU researchers who will showcase OSU technologies available for commercialization. This will feature “The Future of Robotics,” by Johnathan Hurst; “Advances in Sustainable Materials and Green Chemistry,” by Doug Keszler; “Life Science Innovations,” by Joe Beckman; “Wind Turbine Wildlife Sensor,” by Robert Albertani; “Novel Drug for Type-1 Diabetes and Autoimmune Disorders,” by Siva Kolluri; and “Treatment for Hypertension,” by Patrick Iversen.

A session on “Hot Startups” from 4-4:45 p.m. will include three-minute pitches by “Accelerate” clients, followed by a short awards ceremony. Companies include Hytchr, Julvia Technologies, Coyle, Seiji’s Bridge, Theory Software, and Jitterbug.

The event will conclude with “Growth Stage” from 5:30-7 p.m. “Launch” clients and alumni will give seven-minute pitches, and companies include eChemion, Onboard Dynamics, Bee Certain, Chef Mel’s, Baker Seed Technologies, and Danio Discovery.

Media Contact: 

Anna Walsh



Mark Lieberman, 541-368-520


New initiative will help investigate natural disasters worldwide

SEATTLE, Wash. - A $4.1 million grant was announced today from the National Science Foundation to provide instrumentation and tools for a new Rapid Response Research Facility, which will promptly collect data about how buildings, roads, bridges and other infrastructure are impacted by earthquakes or wind damage from hurricanes, tornadoes and other storms.

The center will be operated by the University of Washington in collaboration with Oregon State University, the University of Florida and Virginia Tech. Scientists say it will provide assistance to teams that can deploy anywhere around the world, and help compile data about damage in a systematic, high-quality way before it’s forever lost to bulldozers, weather, cleanup and repair efforts.

With this information, scientists hope to identify ways to improve building codes, identify weak spots in structures, and take other actions to help mitigate damage from future events. The system will also use the latest and most sophisticated technologies to analyze the landscapes.

“We’re able to learn a great deal now with technologies such as light detecting and ranging, or LIDAR, aircraft monitoring, hyperspectral imaging, and other instruments that can analyze seismic and wind forces better than ever before possible,” said Michael Olsen, an expert in the evolving science of geomatics, associate professor in the College of Engineering at OSU, and one of the co-principal investigators on the project.

“This new center will allow a much better way to coordinate data acquisition efforts, improve its quality and have more confidence in the findings we make. We’ll then work to make that information available to scientists all over the world.”

Joe Wartman, a UW associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and center director, said speed is essential.

"Usually with rescue and response efforts, this very valuable data disappears really quickly," Wartman said. "By collecting this data in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, we can begin to understand what went wrong and why. This allows us to better prepare and take precautionary measures in advance of future events."

The interdisciplinary center will focus on two types of natural hazards: wind hazards, such as tornadoes and coastal storms; and earthquakes, which includes earthquake-induced ground failure and tsunamis. It will also offer training to communities that wish to conduct post-disaster investigations themselves, as well as assess the social costs of disasters.

Findings of this type, Olsen said, will also be of value to the Cascadia Lifelines Program at OSU, which is a university-based initiative supported by private industry to help the Pacific Northwest prepare for the devastating subduction zone earthquake and tsunami expected in its future.

The facility will create new software tools for transmitting, integrating, exploring and visualizing the complex data sets. These include mobile apps to assess structural damage in the field and a platform for mixed-media social data gathering. A computer-automated virtual reality environment will also allow people to walk into a room and “see” the disaster scene in three dimensions as if they were there.

“The idea is that you can use the facility to collect data — either through our staff or our training — and then you can come to the center months later and recreate the field experience by walking through a damaged building or looking at how much a particular area flooded,” Wartman said.

In addition to supporting researchers, the facility will enable citizens to use social media and mobile devices to crowdsource post-disaster data and build awareness about wind- and earthquake-related impacts.

The grant follows the NSF’s larger $40 million NHERI investment, announced in September 2015, which funds a network of shared research centers and resources at various universities across the nation. The goal is to reduce the vulnerability of buildings, tunnels, waterways, communication networks, energy systems and social groups to increase the disaster resilience of communities across the United States.

"Under NHERI, future discoveries will not only mitigate the impacts of earthquakes, but also will advance our ability to protect life and property from windstorms such as hurricanes and tornadoes," said Joy Paushke, program director in NSF's Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation.

Story By: 

Michael Olsen, 541-737-9327


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LIDAR image of tsunami damage
Lidar image after earthquake

Health care systems engineering expert to head OSU school

CORVALLIS, Ore.  – Harriet Nembhard, a professor of industrial engineering and an expert in operations research, process improvement, and quality control, has been named as the new head of the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University.

Nembhard, who comes from Penn State University, will be the Eric R. Smith Professor of Engineering.

At Penn State Nembhard cofounded and directed the Center for Integrated Healthcare Delivery Systems. It became the university’s driving force behind health care delivery research, with holistic solutions that encompass engineering, medicine, nursing, health policy, and information sciences and technology.

Nembhard also served this year as interim department head of Penn State’s Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. She developed a strategy for academic development and faculty recruiting, initiated a master’s degree program and enrolled its first class, and organized teams to respond to major research thrusts in the College of Engineering.

Nembhard has written 46 peer-reviewed journal articles and a new textbook, “Healthcare Systems Engineering.” She has studied visualization methods for communicating healthcare data, statistical methods for the early detection of influenza outbreak, modeling patient adherence to treatment, monitoring mammograms for diagnostic error, and development of a patented manufacturing process for small-scale medical devices.

“We’re delighted to welcome Professor Nembhard to the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering,” said Scott Ashford, dean of OSU’s College of Engineering. “Her ability to serve students, success as an academic leader and researcher, and ability to create and foster productive and collaborative partnerships between academia and industry will be a great asset to our growing engineering community.”

Nembhard has served as a technical consultant for several major companies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Pharmaceutical Science and Clinical Pharmacology Committee, and Penn State’s Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment.

“The School of MIME has a long history of research and teaching excellence,” said Nembhard. “I am looking forward to working with the faculty and staff to further enrich our programs and deliver engineering innovations that address the needs of our society.”

Nembhard received her master’s and doctoral degrees in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan.

Media Contact: 

Steve Frandzel, 541-737-1082


Scott Ashford, 541-737-5232


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Harriet Nembhard
Harriet Nembhard

Cox named director of Cascadia Lifelines Program

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Dan Cox, professor of civil and construction engineering in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, has been named as the new director of the Cascadia Lifelines Program.

The mission of this research consortium, which was begun by OSU, is to implement value- and cost-informed decisions to mitigate damage to Pacific Northwest infrastructure from a major future earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone.

“Dan has a wealth of experience with research focused on community resilience to coastal hazards, a deep understanding of the potential impact of such events, and a steadfast drive to help our communities prepare,” said Scott Ashford, Kearney Professor and dean of the College of Engineering.

“This program was created to provide a means to critical infrastructure improvements by bringing together leaders in the industry, and I’m excited to watch it happen under Dan’s leadership.”

A Cascadia subduction zone earthquake could be catastrophic, and this consortium is working toward infrastructure improvements to provide a safer environment and mitigate damage. OSU researchers are studying soil liquefaction, which can lead to failure of roads, bridges, buildings, and other critical structures; landslide prediction and mitigation; cost-effective improvements to existing infrastructure; evacuation routes; and tools to plan for hazards and anticipate risks.

Consortium members include Bonneville Power Administration, Northwest Natural Gas, Oregon Department of Transportation, Port of Portland, Portland General Electric, Eugene Water and Electric Board, Portland Water Bureau, and Tualatin Valley Water District.

Cox joined OSU in 2002, and was the recipient of the College of Engineering Outstanding Research Leadership Award in 2013. He is the principal investigator on a project that received a $3.8 million award from the National Science Foundation to increase the resilience of the nation’s coastal communities, and is the lead organizer for a new engineering short course titled “Cascadia Resilience.”                 

More information about the program is available online at Cascadia.oregonstate.edu.

Media Contact: 

Krista Klinkhammer, 541-737-4416


Dan Cox, 541-737-3631


Sixth cohort begins work with OSU Advantage Accelerator

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The sixth and newest cohort is beginning Accelerate, a program that helps fledgling or startup companies accelerate their products or services into the marketplace.

The cohort includes companies from across Oregon - in Corvallis, Albany, Newport, Eugene, Aurora and Portland – that will work with the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator/RAIN Corvallis.

“Our ability to draw companies from across the region speaks to our strong reputation in the market, especially within the hard sciences and industrial technology products and services,” said Mark Lieberman, chief startup officer for the Advantage Accelerator.

Accelerate is for community members and OSU students, staff, and researchers who intend to establish a privately held, for-profit organization.

The 12 Accelerate companies, which began their 10-week program last week, represent a wide variety of industries and technologies from medical devices to smart home products. They include:

  • Oregon Automation, from Albany, which makes smart home products such as WattWise and WaterWise;
  • JULVIA Technologies Inc., from Corvallis, which is developing sophisticated wound closure technology;
  • Reactor Safety Consulting, from Corvallis, which develops probabilistic risk assessments to evaluate the safety of nuclear reactors;
  • Holistic Dental Repair, from Corvallis, which manufactures a natural teeth-cleansing powder;
  • Keil Estate Charitable Wines, from Aurora, which sells wines with non-profit organizations;
  • SEIJI'S BRIDGE LLC, from Portland, which sells the world's first flying speaker — built into a flying disc;
  • N-Ovative Technologies, from Corvallis, which gives athletes the opportunity to enhance sports performance through holographic technology;
  • Nano3DSystems LLC, from Corvallis, which makes ecologically clean insulator material to advance green buildings;
  • BipH Cell, from Corvallis, which produces electrical capacitors from plentiful, sustainable materials;
  • Tone Command, from Newport, which has created a smartphone app called "ToneTip" enabling media producers to add audio hyperlinks into nearly any audio or video source;
  • Hytchr, from Portland, which is an on-demand photo messaging service powered by blockchain technology; and
  • WildwoodTowers, from Eugene, which makes wooden-based beer towers for tableside service.

“We are very excited about this new cohort,” Lieberman said. “This is a very innovative group of entrepreneurs.

“All the clients in our program receive access to a number of great resources, including quality mentorship and business advice, a top notch intern program, Executives in Residence and a powerful network. All these assets work to increase the odds of success and accelerate the speed of bringing products to market.”

The OSU Advantage Accelerator is one component of the Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, or Oregon RAIN. With support from the Oregon legislature, collaborators on the initiative include OSU; the University of Oregon; the cities of Eugene, Springfield, Corvallis and Albany; and other economic development organizations.



Anna Walsh, 541-368-5206


OSU robotics program ranked best in West, fourth in nation

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s graduate robotics program in the College of Engineering has been ranked as the best in the western United States and fourth in the nation, according to Grad School Hub.

Organization officials say the rankings are based on the specificity of the degrees offered and the quality of the research programs.

“This is a great acknowledgment of our strong start,” said Jonathan Hurst, OSU associate professor of mechanical engineering and College of Engineering Dean’s Professor.

“We are building our program in a very entrepreneurial way, like a startup company. Robotics is a relatively new field, and our students have the opportunity to conduct truly revolutionary research. They will go on to start new businesses, lead new efforts at established companies, and lead new academic programs at other universities.”

In this ranking, programs offering more focused degrees, such as the one at OSU, scored higher than those favoring comprehensive degrees. The rankings also reflected a school’s research program, which the report called “an extremely important consideration for graduate students — especially Ph.D. students, and especially robotics engineers.” Consideration was given to the number of faculty conducting work in robotics or related fields, and the number of focus areas and major labs included under the robotics program umbrella.

The graduate robotics program at OSU was established in the fall of 2014. It spans several departments in the College of Engineering, with core faculty from mechanical engineering, computer science, and electrical and computer engineering. Students may earn doctoral, master’s, or master of engineering degrees in robotics; or choose an appropriate double major, such as robotics and computer science.

The growing OSU program includes core areas of robotics, including actuation, locomotion, manipulation, dynamics, control, sensing, artificial intelligence, and human/robot interaction.

Grad School Hub officials say their rankings provide the latest information about the top master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees offered by the nation’s best universities, to help students find the programs that fit their needs. To see the complete rankings, visit http://www.gradschoolhub.com/best/robotics-engineering-schools/  

More information about the OSU graduate program in robotics is available online at http://robotics.oregonstate.edu/graduate-program-robotics

Media Contact: 

Steve Frandzel, 541-737-1082

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Walking robot
Walking robot

Explosive noises may originate from west side of OSU campus

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Some loud and explosive noises may come from the Aero Laboratory at Oregon State University, west of Reser Stadium, occasionally during work hours over the next two years or more.

The noises, which could resemble that of an explosion, loud firecracker or gunshot, will be associated with work to test rocket motors and propulsion devices at the university’s propulsion laboratory, on 30th Street just west of Reser Stadium. The noises will usually be heard no more than twice a week, and will be of a short duration during a 1-2 hour period. The testing will occur during daylight, weekday hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The work is related to research being conducted by both undergraduate and graduate students in the OSU College of Engineering. Although propulsion devices are being studied, no rockets are being shot into the air.

University officials and local police have been notified of the potential for the infrequent, but loud noises.

Story By: 

David Blunck, 541-737-7095

After year of work, OSU electric car team places second in inaugural EcoMarathon

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Last summer, a team of dedicated Oregon State University engineering students began work on a brand-new electric racing car named the Beaver Bolt. They worked through the school year to complete the vehicle, which debuted in its first big race April 23-24.

The team placed second in the Shell EcoMarathon in Detroit, Michigan, competing against 13 other teams. The Beaver Bolt traveled with an efficiency of 8600 mpg equivalency (414 km/kWH).

Led by advisor Christopher Hoyle from the College of Engineering’s School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering , the crew was comprised of members of the Oregon State American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) club, led by Chase Jones and Austin Sandifer, as well as Mechanical and Industrial and Electrical Engineering capstone team members.

“This is a great showing for their first year,” Hoyle said. “They worked hard and were well organized, and it paid off.”

The marathon challenges students around the world to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient car possible. There are three international marathons, with the American version taking place in Detroit. The Beaver Bolt team competed in the prototype/battery-electric category.

During the event, team members also gave back to fellow competitors. Senior electrical engineer Brian Bove used his down time during the marathon to assist other competitors with electrical issues, without which help they may have missed the chance to race.

The students’ participation in the competition was made possible by a number of fundraising efforts, as well as round-the-clock work before the marathon to complete the project. The team raised $25,000 in cash and materials from donors. Members of MIME, EECS and the College of Business also worked together to make the event a reality for the students.

“This competition challenges engineering students to design a vehicle that is relevant to the technological needs on the national agenda,” Hoyle said, “green, sustainable and efficient transportation.”

Story By: 

Christopher Hoyle, 541-737-7035; chris.hoyle@oregonstate.edu

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