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Monday April 6, 2020


Thank you for joining us as we celebrate the accomplishments of our student innovators. This year, teams have raised funds for mental health, visited children in hospitals, or taught science through video games. Others created a virtual STEM lab, a dissolvable hand sanitizer capsule, or a helmet that can translate thought into action. All of these projects were completed while the students managed their demanding work and school schedules. We’re proud to celebrate the 2019-2020 FAU Wave student innovators!


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS FAU Wave would like to thank the Division of Research, FAU Tech Runway and the Division of Academic Affairs’ Office of Community Engagement, for funding FAU Wave and helping the students develop their innovative ideas. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry was also a huge help in connecting students with specialized faculty mentors and resources that foster the growth of their projects. The FAU Wave team with a strong focus on community engagement will receive a cash prize from the Division of Academic Affairs’ Office of Community Engagement. A special thanks to the FAU Wave program alumna Abigail Howard for continuing to make a difference educating others on human trafficking while fundraising for safe houses in Miami and Mexico. Each Wave student displays unbridled ambition and inspiration, which allows them to continue having an impact on their community. Thank you to the families, mentors and the Division of Research staff who make this program possible.


FAU WAVE ALUMNA FAU WAVE ALUMNA SPOTLIGHT: ALUMNA SPOTLIGHT Abigail Howard is educating her community on human trafficking and changing the world. This all started in 2017 when Howard visited a safe house for victims of sex trafficking in Tijuana, Mexico, that changed her life forever. There, Howard developed an emotional connection with Guadalupe, a 4-year-old survivor, of human trafficking. That relationship prompted Howard to kickstart a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping others like Guadalupe, known today as Project Micah 6:8. When Howard, now 21, is not in class studying criminology, she spends her time visiting safe houses across the globe with volunteers. Her objective is to ensure the rescued victims of sex trafficking are receiving care at reputable houses and guarantee all donations from Project Micah are directed to the cause. Howard’s overall goal is to create a global network of trusted safe houses where survivors of human trafficking can receive the resources and care they need. To increase awareness of Project Micah 6:8, Howard recently wrote and directed a play titled “Only One,” with the help of Regina Thompson, student entrepreneurship manager in the Division of Research. More than 700 people, including faculty, staff, students and members of the FAU community attended the gripping play based on true stories of how three victims were lured into sex trafficking, leaving a lasting impression on the audience. Afterward, an expert panel gave a brief discussion on the importance of survivors speaking out.



(alphabetized by project title)

3D Spatial Sampling of Tumors to Assess Genomic Heterogeneity Students: Devin Willis

Mentors: Ania Knapinska, Ph.D., and Gregg Fields, Ph.D.

Project: Great progress has been made in large scale genomic sequencing of tumors and it has become clear that tumor heterogeneity provides an evolutionary advantage that requires multiple-drug combinations to extend patient survival. Recent advances in single-cell sequencing and spatial genomics have advanced the understanding of the tumor microenvironment but only provides a snapshot of the mutational landscape in a 2D section. This research aims to develop an automated device that will sample a tumor on a 3D grid, providing a comprehensive landscape of the evolutionary history of the tumor. This device would allow cancer patients to receive personalized combination therapy to minimize the chance of relapse and create a treatment plan that can target every subpopulation of cancer cells present in the tumor.


40sNotFeelings Students: Vassili Georgakopoulos

Project: This swimbait was designed specifically for snook, redfish, tarpon and grouper. The jig head’s unique rigging and design allows anglers to fish the bait weedless or exposing the hook. This allows the swimbait to have a greater range of motion and action. Since the hook can pivot, it lowers the chance of fish throwing the hook. The square tail and the pivoting hook makes significant amounts of disturbance in the water and swims like no other lure on the market. Also, there is no more worrying about losing fish on a small profile bait, on the smallest size lure, we incorporated a 6/0 Mustad Kaiju Inline hook meant for giant trevally, yellowfin tuna, and dogtooth tuna. This mitigates the chance of straightened hooks. In addition, the large hook is almost completely hidden inside the body of this small bait, never possible with an ordinary jig head.


Addison Gilbert Foundation Students: Taylor Gilbert

Project: In 2010, Addison Gilbert lost his battle to depression and anxiety. He was a father, husband, golfer, drummer and teacher. The depression took away his passion and love for life. His severe anxiety created fear and worry in areas that should be of low concern and were partly delusional. His life became unbearable, and since mental illness has a negative stigma, he never reached out for help. The goal of the Addison Gilbert Foundation is to bring attention to mental health issues and encourage people to seek help. Through a Putt Putt Golf Tournament fundraiser in Addison Gilbert’s memory, the foundation donated to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Anxiety and Depression Association of America and Families for Depression Awareness.


AerLogs Students: Viktor Knurov

Mentors: Richard Blazer, Erik Graff and William Hahn, Ph.D.

Project: The aviation sector supporting infrastructure used for compliance, recordkeeping, operations, etc., is out of date. For example, in 2019, 80 to 90 percent of all aircraft related records were stored in paper format, which means only the remaining portion is digitized. AerLogs aims to create Enterprise Distributed Ledger, a cloud-based platform, offering the aviation industry the ability to store, retrieve, and leverage digital data for their own benefit. This reduces the risk of losing or damaging paper-based records. Benchmarks include: Developing the platform into a commercially viable product by end of March 2020; onboarding the first beta customers by end of June 2020; and establishing a full-scale system by the end of 2020.


Auto Tab Students: Austin Beard, Aaron Haim and Abbey Kress

Mentors: William Hahn, Ph.D.

Project: When musicians want to learn a song, they typically read sheet music. Specifically, guitarists and bassists use a form of sheet music known as tablature (tab). The difference between tab and standard sheet music is the idea of finger placement, since timbre makes an important difference in sound. When musicians write a song, they either transcribe the music themselves, or pay to have it done professionally. The main issue with transcription is that it is very arduous and time-consuming. This project aims to use video and audio recording technologies for music transcription. Specifically, our goal is to develop a machine learning model to use video and audio input to automatically transcribe guitar music to tablature. The goal is that this technology would help musicians save time and money when writing songs.


BarberAssistant Students: Duane Hill

Mentors: Edwin Reynoso

Project: BarberAssistant is a web application that manages barber customers’ needs and helps grow barbers’ businesses through marketing and easy shop location access. According to survey data collected, this application could save consumers up to three days a year of searching for great quality barbers in their area and making appointments. This application connects customers to the best barber according to their style needs and/or the nearest barbershop. The customer can also view potential wait times and schedule appointments. For the barber, they can view and manage appointments, which could increase their client base and daily sales. This is an inexpensive solution with no need to sacrifice phone storage to download the application. Our users interact with chatbots to determine their needs, which makes the entire process quick, simple and stress free. With BarberAssistant, there is no need to wait 30 minutes or more for your barber.


Convolutional Neural Networks for Kitchen Accessibility Students: Mary Rasura

Mentors: William Hahn, Ph.D., and Elan Barenholtz, Ph.D.

Project: The kitchen can present challenges for individuals with disabilities such as visual impairment or cognitive disabilities, for example, knowing when the tomato soup has finished boiling or finding the location of a kitchen utensil. While individuals may be able to rely on muscle memory in familiar settings or an aide, it can be a challenge navigating new or changing environments. A solution is creating a computer vision model that can be integrated with a wearable augmented reality device, such as a Magic Leap, that can identify and direct the wearer in performing kitchen tasks. The model will identify boiling liquids from a visual approach instead of thermometers or kitchen timers, improving decision making in boiling liquids with an unknown boiling point. Using machine learning models, these efforts will continue to identify kitchen utensils and actions from a first-person live video feed.


Drone-based Quantum Communication Students: Alexandra DeCesare, Daniel Carvalho and Robert Snyder

Mentors: Warner Miller, Ph.D.

Project: In the wake of quantum computers, much of the personal and military security will be vulnerable to devastating breaches. Conventional computing based on a simple binary concept happens when information is translated into a sequence of zeros or ones. In quantum computing, information can be in a state of zero and one simultaneously, allowing them to work on millions of computations in parallel, taking one second to process what would take a classical computer 10,000 years. Utilizing quantum mechanical characteristics to implement new security protocols allows homeland security to remain immune to breaches. However, secure quantum key distribution becomes limited by Earth’s horizon, weather and atmospheric turbulence. This project focuses on the design and establishment of a mobile, ad-hoc, reconfigurable quantum communication network, that can open new links, result in substantial reductions in a turbulence-related loss and avoid local weather interruptions such as fog, smog, rain or snow.


Eswatini Bridge Students: Alexander Hintze, Brandon Caniff, Esther Mitchell, Samantha Robinson and Matthew Maracallo

Mentors: Fred Bloetscher, Ph.D.

Project: Many isolated communities in the world suffer from a lack of infrastructure, which blocks their connection to resources. Access to education, employment and markets connect communities with opportunities to prosper. In Eswatini, a country in Southern Africa, a community of about 2,000 people struggle due to a river blocking their resources. That is where five civil engineering students have teamed up with the non-profit group, Engineers in Action, to develop a solution to Eswatini’s lack of infrastructure. The solution is to design and build a suspended cable footbridge. The students successfully designed the footbridge and traveled to Eswatini in March 2020 to help with the construction. This simple solution will provide the Eswatini community with decades of safe, year-round transportation across the river and connect them to vital resources. The goal is to encourage everyone to take steps toward creating a brighter future and inspire others to solve the problems facing their communities.


Lionfish Solutions Students: Alexis Base, Victor Zauder, Miguel Cruz Santos and Isaiah Phillipe

Mentors: Elan Barenholtz, Ph.D.

Project: The invasive lionfish has been growing exponentially in population, destroying the marine ecosystem in the southeastern United States. The problem is that capturing lionfish using standard fishing methods is difficult and often costly. Lionfish Solutions proposes the development of an underwater vehicle that will have the ability to capture lionfish, which will aid in controlling their population in Florida. To accomplish this goal, Lionfish Solutions developed a unique machine learning algorithm that enables the robot to identify Lionfish in real-time. This will be coupled with an inexpensive computer module that can carry out the motion control of the vehicle underwater. This system will have the ability to capture the lionfish for the potential application to sell for consumption. Further development of this underwater system will help protect the ecosystem’s native species and control the explosive growth of the lionfish population.


NeuroSynch Health Students: Milly J. Reyes

Project: NeuroSynch Health is an integrative and complementary healthcare approach for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Several proven methods that slow degeneration are combined to increase mental and physical functions, and help our clients and families develop coping mechanisms to improve overall life-quality. The NeuroSynch Health professionals will develop a personalized treatment plan for each client and a tailored set of objectives, as well as work with patients and caregivers to accomplish these goals. The mission is to support clients and their loved ones beginning with a comprehensive analysis and then developing a program specifically designed for the individual’s specific needs. Training for at-home caregivers will be offered along with the online application, which can be used to provide visual, sound and neurofeedback therapy. This allows health professionals to collect the data through the application and then analyze the results and modify any future therapy sessions as required.


Paragon Transwing AI-UAV Students: Robert McGee, Alex Mayorga, Monika Spasovska, Richard Santiago and Kevin Lewitzke

Mentors: John Praleston and Hanqi Zhuang, Ph.D.

Project: The Paragon Transwing Artificial Intelligence (AI) Unmanned Ariel Vehicle (UAV) is an experimental unmanned aerial system. The Paragon utilizes a custom airframe capable of performing a fullswing wing transition in flight to dynamically convert between multi-rotor and fixed-wing flight. The technology incorporated into the wing transition system utilizes U.S. Patent: 010252798B2 which was licensed to the student project for development and use in the International AUVSI Student Unmanned Aerial Systems Competition by PteroDynamics. The computer’s control system monitors the flight environment and manages aircraft navigation. Utilizing modern embedded AI modules and airborne cameras, the Paragon can perform image detection and analysis suitable for surveying, infrastructure analysis, scientific research, or search and rescue operations. The Paragon also features a flexible payload management system capable of delivering up to eight pounds of cargo, ideal for small package courier service or scientific research equipment.


PEACE: Protecting the Elderly with AI for Clinical Emergencies Students: Vivek Sreejithkumar, Mariam Rizvi and Isabella Grande

Mentors: William Hahn, Ph.D.

Project: Senior citizens often suffer from medical emergencies, including falling episodes. The main concern is reacting quickly and efficiently so seniors can receive the necessary treatment to protect their well-being. Current life alert systems have various levels of efficiency and reaction timing. A difference of a few minutes could cost a life. The objective of this project is to employ artificial intelligence pose-tracking technology as an improved method in detecting patterns of atypical movement and to provide a faster forewarning for potential medical incidents in seniors; expediting reactivity to such emergencies. We anticipate this innovation being implemented throughout nursing homes as well as individual households as life alert detection systems to ensure caretakers’ peace of mind. This technology has the potential to successfully impact the lives of 74.1 million senior citizens. The technology aims to be low-cost, with high efficiency rates, and reduce anxiety caused by potential medical emergencies.


Polka Box: Role-playing Adventure Games for Problem Solving and Mastery of Science Among Students in the Classroom Students: Adi Devendra

Mentors: Lindsay August, Josh Flores, Henry Herzfeld and Elan Barenholtz, Ph.D.

Project: The default method of teaching science can bore students and may fail to offer a holistic, immersive understanding of science. This project consists of an adventurous role-playing game where students collect clues, work with different characters throughout their journey and work through challenges using knowledge of science and problem-solving skills. The goal is to improve education for individuals and institutions across the nation as an educational technology startup. The results allow students to gain the motivation and the drive to apply science towards real-world problems.


Princesses Against Cancer Students: Elizabeth Pino and Sarah Hemmen

Project: Princesses Against Cancer is a local nonprofit that focuses on bringing smiles to children suffering from life threatening illnesses. Children suffering from chronic health conditions often spend long periods in hospitals isolated from their friends, their toys, and even their families – sometimes leading to depression, loneliness and ultimately hopelessness. Princesses Against Cancer brings a child’s favorite character to life to play, sing and dance with the child a couple of minutes to a couple of hours at no cost. This precious time puts smiles on a child’s face, and helps alleviate some of the stress that comes with being stuck in a hospital for such long periods of time.


Robotic Prosthetic Haptic Feedback System Students: Wen-Yu (Marty) Cheng

Mentors: Erik Engeberg, Ph.D.

Project: The sense of touch is critical to a person’s ability to interact with their surroundings to perform everyday actions or activities of daily living (ADL). The ADL is important as it allows for texture and pressure detection when gripping fragile objects and detecting slippage. However, for amputees wearing prosthetics, the sense of touch becomes even more important. Without it, performing ADL’s become exponentially more difficult, as amputees can only rely on visual cues to know how much pressure they are applying. With current prosthetics on the market, there are no practical haptic feedback solutions available without investing in invasive implants. This design offers a fully portable pneumatic soft robotic haptic feedback solution designed to help amputees regain their sense of touch, provide proportional pressure sensation, and is comfortable over long periods of usage.


Satori Helmet Students: Joan La Rosa Ferre and Daniel Minasi

Mentors: Hari Kalva, Ph.D. and Hanqi Zhuang, Ph.D.

Project: Satori is a helmet that retrieves electrical signals from the user’s scalp to process and analyze brain waves. This information is sent to a computer that uses artificial intelligence to train models. For this project, models can recognize the small differences in the signals. These signals are associated with what the user is thinking, feeling or doing. A “left-right� trained model can predict if the user is thinking left or right. The computer can then perform an action according to the output of the artificial intelligence model. This concept can be used for an array of different situations that include improving prosthetics, enhancing quality of life for those with disabilities and high-tech entertainment. For purposes of this project, the focus will be on the improvement of quality of life for those with disabilities.


Smart Student Travels Students: Laura Camargo

Mentors: William Hahn, Ph.D.

Project: It’s important for students to understand and respect diverse cultures. One of the best ways to do that is to experience other cultures firsthand. But traveling is expensive and time consuming. The goal of the Smart Student Travel’s (SST) website and app, provides students with inexpensive and customizable travel plans. SST aims to develop partnerships with a variety of travel outlets such as airlines, hotels and tour companies, in an effort to make plans increasingly affordable. The project will also guide students in the quick and efficient creation process of a fully personalized trip. SST will provide students an opportunity to travel by allowing them to build a trip of their own and finance it over time through a website and potentially an app.


Society of Physics Students Outreach Program Students: Wayne Robinson, Grant Morris and Miguel Mattis

Mentors: Luc Wille, Ph.D.

Project: There are an estimated 50 physics majors at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). This is a small number of the student population of 30,808. So why aren’t more students engaging in physics? The purpose for the Society for Physics Outreach Program is to recruit and inspire more students to join the physics program at FAU. Through the program, the goal is to show students demonstrations, such as the pendulum wave and the tesla coil, to spark their curiosity on the manifestations that physics encompasses. The most reassuring feeling is seeing their reactions and smiling faces during these events. This program inspires students who are thinking about pursuing physics, and plays a crucial role in taking students’ daily worries and replacing them with curiosity and enjoyment.


SPod – Sanitizing Pod Students: Paris Prince

Project: Sanitation in developing countries is an ongoing issue that leaves more than 8.4 million people without access to clean water. Companies such as Deb Group, have donated more than 18,000 bottles of Deb InstantFOAM hand sanitizer to countries like Burkina Faso in West Africa. However, due to the lack of waste management, the accumulation of these plastic bottles impacts the environment. This project’s goal is to create sanitizing pods (SPod), with a torus shape as a squeezable bioplastic spherical ball which contains clean water. When force is applied to the sphere, the liquid will pass through the water-soluble film double-membrane technology to allow the membrane to degrade upon the liquid contact. This creation allows for sanitation to be easy and accessible while benefiting the environment. SPods offer the ability to distribute to developing countries that lack accessible sanitation without adding pollution.


STEM-Labs Students: Dalmo Schwarz and Jose Sanchez

Mentors: Maria Petrie, Ph.D.

Project: Remote laboratories have been under development for more than 20 years. Today’s remote learning environment lacks the ability to provide students hands-on experience, such as using a physical electronic solderless breadboard – which is critical for engineering students. But STEM-Labs creates a virtual platform to test their physical breadboard remotely on a real lab. STEM-Labs also helps educational institutions reduce costs related to equipment purchases, maintenance and personnel, and reduces the campus space needed for the laboratories. With STEM-Labs, physical laboratories are accessible, monitored and controlled through a network remotely. Currently, there are four working prototypes and two under development, with the goal to implement activities with courses and analyze areas of improvement with real user feedback. This will improve the skills of engineering students who primarily study remotely.


Unsunk Inc. - Made Not to Sink Students: Luis Pollon

Mentors: Keith Jackee, Ph.D.

Project: Have you ever thought high schools should teach practical applications needed for real life situations? That’s the goal of Unsunk, Inc., a nonprofit organization that aims to bring students real-life value by offering tips on topics like reading body language, emotional intelligence and financial management. Using content in videos, workshops, podcasts, personalized public speaking and free tutoring, Unsunk teaches and educates students on real-world subjects, creating lifelong value. Content is presented in both English and Portuguese. And, despite the differences in the educational systems in the United States and Brazil, students learn the same topics.


Using Machine Learning and Dual-Task Gait Assessment to Diagnose Cognitive Impairments and Early Cognitive Decline Students: Lillian Boettcher

Mentors: Behnaz Ghoraani, Ph.D.

Project: More than 30 million people are affected by Alzheimer’s disease (AD) worldwide. That number is predicted to triple by 2050, unless further discoveries help facilitate early detection of the disease. Computerized walkways for simultaneous assessment of motorcognitive performance, or dual-task assessment, have shown changes in gait characteristics for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with early-stage disease. However, since methods to detect MCI using analysis of these gait characteristics are currently unknown, the goal is to develop a machine-learning approach to analyze gait data from dual-task assessment to detect cognitive impairment. The dual-task gait data is collected from a computerized walkway using subjects diagnosed as hemoglobin C disease, MCI, AD and dementia. Using a support vector machine (SVM), a classiďŹ er is developed to differentiate subject diagnoses and compared to results when using a Montreal Cognitive assessment score. The results indicate the potential of a SVM with a dual-task assessment to enable early diagnosis of cognitive decline, allowing early intervention strategies to be initiated.


Visualize Victimization Students: Sydney Seeley

Mentors: Calli Cain, Ph.D. and Gabriel Cesar, Ph.D.

Project: Visualize Victimization is an organization created to raise awareness of the patterns surrounding sexual harassment. Sexual harassment has been an ongoing humanitarian issue in the female culture for years, yet little has been done to formally educate the population about its detrimental effects. Visualize Victimization educates the community by providing visual aids through human exhibits to allow individuals to get a firm understanding of the vast impact of sexual harassment. The use of human subjects in the advocacy process is essential to portray the message of Visualize Victimization because often community engagement projects tend to lose their humanity in the conglomerate of statistics, facts and theories. In the future, Visualize Victimization will expand human exhibits to college campuses around the country, allowing all college-aged populations to gain the valuable, and under-provided, information on sexual harassment.


Wolfy Students: William McKeon

Mentors: Maria M. Larrondo Petrie, Ph.D.

Project: Wolfy is a robotic companion that mimics the movement of a realistic medium-sized dog. It moves around on four legs and, using artificial intelligence (AI), is able to interpret its environment, including interacting with a variety of terrains. This ability enables Wolfy to assist the visually impaired who may be unable to look after a live support dog. In addition, AI allows Wolfy to learn and adapt to daily encounters, including identifying a companion in a crowd of people, understanding vocal interactions and physically interacting with a human partner. Wolfy’s body and mechanisms are built from scratch using 3-D printing to make 3-D CAD design prototypes come to life.



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FAU Wave Competition Awards Ceremony 2019-2020  

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