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Lawrence Technological University | Office of Admissions 21000 West Ten Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075-1058 800.225.5588 | |



Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Donald E. Goodwin (left), with his family­—including ESD Board Member Malik Goodwin— at the ESD Annual Dinner. Read more on page 14.


Fall 2016

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CIVIL ENGINEERING U.S. News & World Report®



CIVIL ENGINEERING U.S. News & World Report®



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18 Get In, Relax, Ride...Are Autonomous Vehicles the Wave of the Future? 22 Galaxies, Art, Water Quality, Sports... It’s All in the Realm of Smart Systems 24 Color-Coded Smart Health MichTech Engineers Create Sensors for Detection BY ALLISON MILLS

26 Wired Health Care... Smart Systems Touch on Physical, Mental and Emotional Needs 28 Your Personal Intellectual Property in the Information Age

BY MICHAEL STEWART | The Engineering Society of Detroit | 1

“The Master’s of Engineering Management and Advanced Electrical Vehicles program opened the door for several opportunities as well as expanded my knowledge base on manufacturing, systems engineering, and product development; all things directly related to my current role as a Product Design Engineer.” Tamika D. Donaldson, Product Design Engineer Ford Motor Company

University of Detroit Mercy’s College of Engineering & Science offers flexible Professional and Graduate programs that prepare engineers to become industry leaders and executives in Fortune 500 companies. Working professionals can obtain a respected, high-caliber education that is conveniently offered and with your company’s tuition reimbursement plan.

Advance your career with one of our Professional and Graduate programs: Advanced Electrical Vehicles (AEV), Master of Engineering Management, Master of Science in Product Development (MPD) and Six Sigma Certification.

Our students envision a better future – and build it.

College of Engineering & Science 4001 W. McNichols Road Detroit, MI 48221-3038 800-635-5020

techcentury V.21 I N.3  FALL 2016

20700 Civic Center Drive, Suite 450  •  Southfield, MI 48076 248–353–0735 • 248–353–0736 fax • •

Technology Century Editorial Board

CHAIR: Thomas M. Doran, PE, FESD, Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc. (Retired) Nuha Alfahham Sandra Diorka, Delhi Charter Township Utpal Dutta, PhD, University of Detroit Mercy William A. Moylan, PhD, PMP, FESD, Eastern Michigan University Mark A. Nasr, Esq., Plunkett Cooney John G. Petty, FESD, General Dynamics (Retired) Matt Roush, Lawrence Technological University Filza H. Walters, Lawrence Technological University Anne Williams, Baker College Yang Zhao, PhD, Wayne State University

ESD Board of Directors

PRESIDENT: Douglas E. Patton, FESD, DENSO International America, Inc. VICE PRESIDENT: Daniel E. Nicholson, General Motors Company TREASURER: Steven E. Kurmas, PE, FESD, DTE Energy SECRETARY: Robert Magee, The Engineering Society of Detroit IMM. PAST PRESIDENT: Kouhaila G. Hammer, CPA, Ghafari Associates, LLC MEMBERS AT LARGE: Larry Alexander, Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau

Katherine M. Banicki, FESD, Testing Engineers and Consultants Michael D. Bolon, FESD, General Dynamics Land Systems (Retired) Patrick J. Devlin, Michigan Building Trades Council Robert A. Ficano, JD, Wayne County Community College District Farshad Fotouhi, PhD, Wayne State University Alec D. Gallimore, PhD, University of Michigan Lori Gatmaitan, SAE Foundation Malik Goodwin, Goodwin Management Group, LLC Marc Hudson, Rocket Fiber Alex F. Ivanikiw, AIA, LEED AP, Barton Malow Company Ali Jammoul, Ford Motor Company Leo C. Kempel, PhD, Michigan State University Scott Penrod, Walbridge Bill Rotramel, AVL Powertrain Engineering, Inc. Kirk T. Steudle, PE, FESD, Michigan Department of Transportation William J. Vander Roest, PE, ZF TRW Lewis N. Walker, PhD, PE, FESD, Madonna University Terry J. Woychowski, FESD, Link Engineering Company

Technology Century Staff

PUBLISHER: Robert Magee, Executive Director CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Nick Mason, Director of Operations EDITOR: Susan Thwing GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Keith Cabrera-Nguyen

Technology Century (ISSN 1091-4153 USPS 155-460) , also known as TechCentury, is published four times per year by The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD), 20700 Civic Center Drive, Suite 450, Southfield, MI 48076. Periodical postage paid at Southfield, MI, and at additional mailing offices. The authors, editors, and publisher will not accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may be made in this publication. The publisher makes no warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein. Advertisements in TechCentury for products, services, courses, and symposia are published with a caveat emptor (buyer beware) understanding. The authors, editors, and publisher do not imply endorsement of products, nor quality, validity or approval of the educational material offered by such advertisements. Subscriptions to TechCentury are available to nonmembers for $25 per year. ©2016 The Engineering Society of Detroit


NOTES Thomas M. Doran, PE, FESD Editorial Board Chair Retired, Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc. Smart systems is the theme of this issue of TechCentury. When it comes to smart systems, there are two paths we can take: one focusing on rapidly developing technology that allows cars to drive themselves, makes sense out of unimaginable quantities of data, and predicts how athletes will perform based on often obscure metrics; the other, determining an appropriate balance between privacy, security, liberty, and the responsibility we have to each other. Smart systems are value-neutral in themselves, as is all technology. How technology is applied determines whether it’s helpful or harmful, a blessing or a curse. The balance between privacy, security, liberty, and responsibility is a debate where people can reach different conclusions depending on their priorities, and will continue to be a dynamic discussion as the world changes and technology advances, so perhaps balance is the most important thing. In this issue, we also explore ideas to help prepare young people for tomorrow’s careers in engineering, technology, and the sciences. How can we spark their interest or offer new perspectives for kids who are apprehensive about math and the sciences? We’d like to hear from you, including interest you may have in serving on ESD’s Editorial Board. You may contact Susan Thwing at or me at | The Engineering Society of Detroit | 3


With great technology comes great responsibility


e are living in a world of incredible advancement in technology that is growing and expanding by leaps and bounds on a daily basis. Smart Systems touch on every aspect of our lives—home, energy, health care, neuroscience, automobiles and transportation, manufacturing, diagnostics, even genetics. For our grandparents’ generation, the world of advanced technology was a fairly simple place. Improvements were made, new contraptions devised to make our lives more convenient, but essentially, the world at the end of one’s life was relatively similar to the world at the beginning. Not so any longer. As futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts, “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century—it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).” As leaders in the age of this expanding technology, it is important for us to take a step back and assess—to ensure that the proper balance is addressed as we move forward at lightning speed. In this issue of TechCentury we are taking a look at the intersection of ethics, technology, and competence in the world of healthcare, automotive/transportation, sports and diagnostics, and education as well as meeting the privacy and ethical needs of our community. Every day,companies are balancing the growth of Smart System technology with dealing 4 | TechCentury | Summer 2016

with complicated ethical and privacy issues. These include information security, employee privacy, file sharing, and copyright infringement. Even though everyone may not fully understand that their location can be monitored through their cell phone, it is still our responsibility to use or not use that information responsibility and ethically. So while we are making business meetings more expansive via global conferencing, healthcare more efficient and exacting, and automobiles safer, we must—as leaders—be cognizant of the responsibilities that come with the growth and advancement of Smart Systems. I hope you enjoy this issue of TechCentury. And as you read about Mcity, Sabermetrics, innovative healthcare advancements, and student educational programs—all using Smart System technology—please take a moment to also engage in the discussion which will ensure that every step forward is studied, tested, and examined for betterment of our consumers.

DOUGLAS E. PATTON, FESD ESD President Executive Vice President & Chief Technical Officer, Engineering Division DENSO International America, Inc.


ESD is the ideal place for your next meeting or event. ESD rents over 4,500 ft² of flexible meeting space to members at very affordable rates, sometimes complimentary with membership. For details, contact Mary Sheridan at 248-353-0735, ext. 222, or | The Engineering Society of Detroit | 5


With the intention of providing a true minority-owned business to meet the construction demands of the automotive industry, Ideal Group Contracting was established in 1998 as a partnership between Frank Venegas, Jr., chairman and CEO, and Barton Malow. Headquartered in the Hispanic Manufacturing Center, within Southwest Detroit, Ideal Contracting has developed a respected reputation for quality, safety and service in the construction industry. “Our expertise lies in design build and general contracting capabilities with an emphasis on self-performing a major portion of our disciplines including, steel erection, civil, concrete and interiors

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is a not-for-profit institution with a mission to provide quality higher education and training that enables graduates to be successful throughout challenging and rewarding careers. Founded in 1911, Baker College grants doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degrees, as well as certificates in diverse academic fields including engineering/ technology, business, computers, education, health, and human services. 6 | TechCentury | FALL 2016

work,” explains Ideal Contracting Vice President, Nick Luxon. Ideal recently answered the call on a major restoration project. The company was single-sourced to assist General Motors in the recovery of water damage to the Warren Tech Center (WTC) campus. “We called in Union Trades employees from all over the area to work in a moment’s notice. Employees worked around the clock to return the facility back to operation. Ideal Contracting’s scope of work for Phase 1 was approximately $33 million,” says Luxon. Phase 2 of the project was dedicated to making the WTC better than ever before. Scheduled for one year from start to finish, and priced at approximately $57 million, Phase 2 consisted of 10 different bulletins and six different buildings. The renovation was completed on

schedule in December, 2015. “This incredible amount of work resulted in more than 300,000 man hours being worked,” Luxon explains. In addition, Ideal works to benefit the community and also the environment. For example, the company combined an empty GM parking lot and unused shipping containers to create a vibrant and thriving urban community garden called Cadillac Urban Gardens. To view more about Ideal, visit

Baker College’s engineering programs are designed to meet the needs of employers today and into the future, and include advanced manufacturing; civil, electrical, industrial and mechanical engineering; CNC machinist; computer aided design; construction management; mechanical technology; mechatronics; and photonics and laser technology. The Dean of Engineering at Baker College, Anca Sala, Ph.D., was named 2016 Educator of the Year by HI-TEC, the High Impact Technology Exchange Conference.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Baker College has on-ground campuses in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and offers online programs that can be completed 100 percent online without ever visiting a campus. In 2016, the Online Learning Consortium recognized Baker College Online with the OLC Quality Scorecard Exemplary Endorsement, the highest ranking for online higher education programs. For more information on Baker College, visit


Ford Motor Company



AKT Peerless Environmental Services Altair Engineering American Axle Manufacturing American Center for Educational & Professional Services American Society of Employers Aristeo Construction AVL North America The Bartech Group Baker College of Allen Park Barton Malow Company Brightwing Central Michigan University Chrysan Industries Citizens Insurance Clark Hill, PLC CMS Enterprises Comfort Engineering Solutions, LLC Construction Association of Michigan Cornerstone Environmental Group, LLC CPCII Credit Union ONE CulturecliQ Danlaw, Inc. DASI Solutions DENSO International America, Inc. Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau Detroit Transportation Corporation Dow Chemical Company DTE Energy DTE Energy Gas Operations Dürr Systems, Inc. Eastern Michigan University Education Planning Resources, Inc. Electrical Resources Company Electro-Matic Products, Inc. Energy Sciences Experis Farbman Group Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Financial One, Inc. FirstMerit Bank Fishman Stewart Yamaguchi PLLC Ford Motor Company Fusion Welding Solutions

Gala & Associates, Inc. Gates Corporation GDH General Dynamics General Motors Company Gensler George W. Auch Company Ghafari Associates, LLC Glenn E. Wash & Associates, Inc. Golder Associates Inc. Gonzalez Contingent Workforce Services GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. Harley Ellis Devereaux Hartland Insurance Group, Inc. Hindsight Consulting, Inc. Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc. The Hunter Group LLC IBI Group Ideal Contracting Integrity Staffing Group, Inc. ITT Technical Institute Canton ITT Technical Institute Dearborn IBEW Local 58 & NECA LMCC Jervis B. Webb Company JNA Partners, Inc. Jozwiak Consulting, Inc. Kettering University Kitch Drutchas Wagner Valitutti & Sherbrook, PC Knovalent, Inc. Kolene Corporation Kostal North America Kugler Maag CIE North America Lake Superior State University Lawrence Technological University LHP Software Limbach Company, Inc. Link Engineering Co. LTI Information Technology Macomb Community College Maner, Costerisan & Ellis, PC Makino McNaughton-McKay Electric Company Meritor MICCO Construction

Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters Michigan State University Michigan Technological University Midwest Steel Inc. Monroe Environmental Corporation Myron Zucker, Inc. Neumann/Smith Architecture Newman Consulting Group, LLC NORR Architects Engineers Planners Northern Industrial Manufacturing Corp. NTH Consultants, Ltd. O’Brien and Gere Oakland University Optech LLC Orbitak International, LLC Original Equipment Suppliers Association Pure Eco Environmental Solutions R.L. Coolsaet Construction Co. ROWE Professional Services Company Rumford Industrial Group Ruby+Associates, Inc. SEGULA Technologies Saginaw Valley State University Special Multi Services Talascend, LLC Testing Engineers & Consultants Thermal-Netics TRANE Commercial Systems Troy Chamber of Commerce Trialon ZF TRW Turner Construction Co. UBS Financial Services—Lott Sheth Farber Group Universal Weatherstrip & Bldg. Supply University of Detroit Mercy University of Michigan University of Michigan-Dearborn US Farathane Corporation voxeljet America Inc. Wade-Trim Walbridge Walker-Miller Energy Services, LLC Wayne State University Western Michigan University Whitehall Industries

MEMBER PROFILE ESD Member Rebecca Spearot inspiring girls to love STEM.

INSPIRED and INSPIRING Long-time ESD member shares love of science with new generation


o you want to know how to get young girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math? Send them to a camp where they can build catapults, create ‘goop,’ develop balloon-powered cars and devise their own mood rings, that’s how. And that’s exactly what Rebecca Spearot,an ESD Fellow and member since 1977, has been involved in to inspire the next generation of female engineers. Spearot’s 40-year work history includes serving as a Senior Consultant with the Bureau Veritas office in Denver as well as Director of Environmental Management for Lear Corporation and teaching at the University of Detroit-Mercy in the Engineering Department. Since moving to Colorado and becoming involved in the Keystone Science School STEM program and Colorado Science Fair, she has shared her love of science as well as her understanding of how an interest in science and math can initially be difficult for girls. “Sometimes girls can worry that it’s nerdy or geeky,” she explains. “When I was a young girl growing up in England, I was very shy. My math skills were very good and my interest was in science, but there really wasn’t a lot of discussion about girls becoming engineers. It was a challenge at first, but I was encouraged and eventually able to pursue a career in what I love.” By volunteering at Keystone Science School, she is able to make sure other young women can, too. 8 | TechCentury | FALL 2016

“The Girls in STEM program explores not only the STEM concepts in an empowering girls-only environment, but also highlights real women, like Rebecca, currently working in STEM careers. This program builds leadership and collaboration between the girls as they engage in fun, hands-on activities that impart new skills and confidence in science, tech, engineering, and math - areas in which girls are inclined to be wallflowers,” explains Ellen Reid, Executive Director of Keystone Science School. During the camps, volunteers like Spearot work to promote positive growth feedback. This includes reflective conversation and journaling to stimulate inward thought and consideration of leadership and academic potential, Reid says. Spearot says the ability to give back is exceedingly rewarding, “I’m finding a wonderful place in retirement where I continue my love of math and science. It’s good to be able to work with these enthusiastic young people and build a supportive place for them to grow.” Editor’s note: STEM programs are an important and growing opportunity throughout the country. Here in Michigan, ESD has many opportunities for members to volunteer at the middle school, high school and college levels. Please call 248-353-0735 or email for more information.

IN MEMORIAM ESD mourns the passing of the following members: CARL J. ADAMS

Retired, Project Manager, Teng Corporation Vice President, Property Management, Great Lakes Bancorp. Project Manager, Schonsheck Inc. Member since 1981

Chuck Ayers at ESD’s Annual Dinner in 2005.

JOHN J. ANDREWS PE, FESD Retired, Vice President, Smith, Hinchman & Grylls College of Fellows Distinguished Service Award Senior Engineers Council Facilities Committee Member since 1954 CHARLES M. AYERS

FESD President, C. Ayers Limited Director Business Development, Walbridge Aldinger Marketing Director, Colasanti N.C. Inc. Marketing Director, Darin & Armstrong Inc. Director of Marketing, K-Krete Inc. ESD President, 2002-03 Rackham Engineering Foundation Board ESD Foundation Board College of Fellows Executive Committee Distinguished Service Award Lifetime Achievement Award Numerous ESD Committees and Councils Member since 1971

DUGALD CAMERON FESD Retired, Manager, Advanced Transmission Dev., Chrysler Motors Associate, Klarich Associates International College of Fellows College of Fellows Board of Advisors Education & Professional Activities Board Member since 1956 DAVID D. CAMPBELL FESD Retired, Vice President & Group Director of Operations, General Motors Corp. Member of the College of Fellows College of Fellows Executive Committee Member since 1967 JOHN DONDANVILLE Principal, D5 Group, LLC Member since 2008



Environmental Rep, Foyteck, Ltd. Chemical Engineer, Mogul Corporation Member since 1971


Retired, Cylinder Head Engineer – Manager, Ford Motor Co. Member since 1977


Applications Engineer, Dürr Inc. Manager, Project Engineer, Salem Industries Project Engineer, Holcroft Member since 1981


Retired, Director Facility Engineer, General Motors Corp. Member since 1980

ROY P. TROWBRIDGE FESD Retired, Director Engineering Standards, General Motors Corp. Member of the College of Fellows Member since 1950

Charles M. Ayers, FESD Engineering Society of Detroit Past President, Fellow and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Charles “Chuck” M. Ayers, FESD, passed away on July 25, 2016, at the age of 77.

“Chuck Ayers was an important figure in the engineering community in Michigan and an active leader on the boards of both ESD and the Rackham Engineering Foundation,” says Robert Magee, ESD Executive Director. “We will miss him greatly.” Ayers joined ESD in 1971, taking on many leadership roles during his years of service, including as ESD President in 2002-03. He was a distinguished member of the ESD College of Fellows and former College of Fellows Executive Committee member. He also served on the boards of the ESD Foundation and the Rackham Engineering Foundation. He was awarded both the Distinguished Service Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society. “Mr. Ayers was a great change agent in the history of ESD,” adds Donald E. Goodwin, Retired/ Vice President of Global Service, Chrysler LLC and ESD Past President. “He performed a very critical situational analysis in 2002, while he was President, which led to a total restructuring when I followed him as President in 2003.” That sentiment is seconded by David Meynell, Chairman and President, Dürr, Inc., also a former ESD President: “In the ESD dark days, Chuck kept us all moving forward, he was a strong cornerstone of the organization, and his efforts were beyond the call of duty. He will be forever in our thoughts.” In addition to his business acumen as the owner of C. Ayers Ltd., Ayers was known as a good friend and devoted husband, father and grandfather to his wife Carolann; his sons, Gregory and Douglas; and his grandsons, Joshua, Jordan, and Jeremy. | The Engineering Society of Detroit | 9



PE Continuing Education Classes Now through October 25

Need to earn continuing education by October 31? ESD provides Michigan PEs with opportunities to meet their requirements through ESD’s instructor-led, three- and four-hour review course classes. Details: Evening and weekend classes available through October 25 at ESD in Southfield. Costs range from $75-125 per course. Visit www. for complete details and to register. You may also call Elana Shelef at 248-353-0735, ext. 119, or

PE Palooza: A One-Day, Multi-Topic Program Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Looking to earn additional hours for your PE license renewal? Attend this one-day program and learn valuable information from a variety of subject-matter experts covering current engineering topics. Details: 8 a.m.–5 p.m. at ESD in Southfield. This full-day course counts for 8 continuing education credits. To register, please visit our website at For more information, please contact Elana Shelef at 248-353-0735, ext. 119 or 10 | TechCentury | FALL 2016

FE Exam Review Course January 31–April 6, 2017

Pass on your first try! ESD’s FE Exam Review Course provides small-class instruction for those taking the CBT Exam. Details: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-9 p.m. and on Saturdays (time based on discipline) at ESD in Southfield. Visit to register or contact Fran Mahoney at 248-353-0735, ext. 116, or

PE Exam Review Course February 18–March 25, 2017

Since 1941, The ESD has successfully prepared thousands of candidates for the Michigan PE licensing exam. The Principles & Practice of Engineering Review Course consists of 24 hours of instruction focused on problem solving techniques. Details: Saturdays at ESD in Southfield. Civil engineering meets 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Electrical, mechanical and environmental meet 1–5 p.m. To register, visit or contact Fran Mahoney at 248-353-0735, ext. 116, or To register for the April 17, 2017, PE Exam: pre-approval application is due January 15, 2017. Then, register at NCEES by February 23.


Engineering & Technology Job Fair Monday, October 10, 2016

Employers: ESD’s job fair is tailored for engineers and technology professionals at all levels of expertise. Job Seekers: Whether you’re a seasoned professional, a recent graduate or in-between careers, find your next position at ESD’s job fair. Meet one-on-one with representatives from leading engineering and technology companies. Details: 2–7 p.m. at Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi. To exhibit, contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at 248-353-0735, ext. 152, or Register to attend at

Social Security: Making the Most of Your Options October 18, 2016

Social Security is one of the most valuable and least understood benefits available to retirees today. Advance planning is essential. The decisions you make now can have a tremendous impact on the total amount of benefits you receive over your lifetime. Details: 6:30–8 p.m. at ESD in Southfield. No charge for members, preregistration required. Register at or 248-353-0735, ext. 222.




Fall Networking Event at DENSO

Future City Mentors & Judges Needed

Get your business cards out and join us on October 27th for refreshments and great conversation at our Fall Members-Only Networking Event. Our host location is DENSO International America, Inc. headquarters in Southfield. It’s a great opportunity to get to network with industry leaders and professionals including ESD’s President, Doug Patton, Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of DENSO’s Engineering Division. Attendees will also have the opportunity to tour DENSO’s North American Technical Center test chambers and labs which simulate a variety of real-world driving conditions that allow engineers to develop real-world, practical solutions. The event will take place from 5:30–7 p.m. and is complimentary for ESD members. Space is limited and preregistration is required. We expect this event to fill quickly, so please sign up early to secure your ticket! To register online, please visit You may also call 248-3530735, ext. 222, to register by phone.

Help us inspire middle school students in STEM through real-life, hands-on activities. In the Future City program, students work as a team with an educator and mentor to design a city of the future. Mentors spend an hour or two per week between now and January advising their team. Mentors make connections and help students translate the academic to the real world of engineering. Judges are needed for three deliverables of the project: Virtual City Design, City Description, and Model and Team Presentation. Those judging the Model and Presentation must attend on competition day on January 23. To volunteer as a mentor, register at Choose Michigan as your region. For more information on mentoring, contact Allison Marrs or 248-353-0735, ext. 121. To be a judge, register online at Choose Michigan as your region. For more information on judging, contact Leslie Smith, CMP at lsmith@esd. org or 248-353-0735, ext. 152.

October 27, 2016

Now through January

CONFERENCE Experts from Across the Globe

North American Best Practices International Cyber Emerging Trends Summit 2016 Monday, October 17, 2016 Thought Leaders

The North American International Cyber Summit 2016, hosted by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, will bring together experts HOSTED BY from across the globeMICHIGAN to address a GOVERNOR SNYDERthe variety of issuesRICK impacting world of business, education, information technology, economic development, law enforcement and Detroit, MI personal use. Highly respected speakers from the public and private sectors will address emerging trends, technology and best practices. Details: Cost is $74. ($49 for students and members of several organizations). At COBO Center in Detroit. To register, please visit | The Engineering Society of Detroit | 11



ESD College of Fellows

Nomination Deadline: January 20, 2017 Election to the rank of Fellow is one of the highest recognitions that ESD can bestow on one of its members. Criteria include: technical achievement, professional achievement, and ESD service/leadership. Please help us seek out and recognize the true engineering leaders within ESD by submitting applications by January 20, 2017. Instructions can be found at For more information contact Heather Lilley at or 248-353-0735, ext. 120.

ESD Construction & Design Awards Entry Deadline: February 24, 2017

ESD’s Construction and Design Awards are unique in that they honor the three primary members of the building team—owners, designers, and constructors— and recognize outstanding team achievement and innovative use of technology. For more information on submission criteria and how to submit entries, visit or contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at or 248-3530735, ext. 152.

TechCentury Image Award

Nomination Deadline: February 24, 2017 This TechCentury Image Award honors those who have promoted, publicized, and enhanced the engineering to the public-at-large through public engagement, mentoring, public speaking, authoring articles, and other publicly visible activities. Nominees need not be ESD members. Nomination forms available at or by contacting Susan Thwing at The deadline for nominations is February 24, 2017. 12 | TechCentury | FALL 2016

ESD Honor Awards & Scholarships Submission Deadline: February 19, 2017

Each year, ESD awards our brightest young engineers and engineering students. Core to ESD’s mission is creating a strong pipeline of future engineering talent. One way you can help is by nominating someone. Applicants must be members of ESD or children of ESD Members. Awards will be presented at the ESD Annual Dinner held in June. Applications and additional criteria can be found at For more information, contact Sue Ruffner at or 248-353-0735, ext. 117. OUTSTANDING YOUNG ENGINEER OF THE YEAR This award recognizes a young professional under the age of 35 who has best distinguished him/herself in the engineering and scientific communities. Criteria include education, work experience, and professional and community activities. OUTSTANDING STUDENT ENGINEER OF THE YEAR This award recognizes an undergraduate student who has best distinguished him/herself in the engineering and scientific communities. Criteria include academic background, extracurricular activities, and employment experience. The winner(s) will receive a $1,000 scholarship. OUTSTANDING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT OF THE YEAR This award recognizes a graduating high school senior. To be considered, applicants must have a least a 3.0 GPA, plan on pursuing a career in the field of engineering or the life sciences, and participate in volunteer activities. The winner(s) will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

SAVE THE DATE IN 2017 March 15 & 16: 27th Annual Solid Waste Technical Conference (3/15) and Training Day (3/16) May 1: Engineering & Technology Job Fair May 9: DTE/ESD Energy Conference & Exhibition June 5: ESD Annual Golf Outing Visit for more info on upcoming programs.

ESD Hosts MSU Interns

On July 13, ESD hosted a group of engineering student interns from Michigan State University at the ESD offices in Southfield. The evening was part of EGR 393, “Experiential Education,” and focused on the topic of careers in Detroit. ESD board member Marc Hudson, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rocket Fiber, presented on his company and about entrepreneurship. David Palmer, the Director of Business Partnerships at Workforce Intelligence Network, talked about statistical trends in engineering employment, helping to make the case that Detroit is a great place for a career in engineering. ESD provided students with dinner before the presentations. Roughly 25 students attended the session, which was available as one of four options in the course, which has an enrollment of 65 students. University partnerships are key to ESD’s mission of keeping our state top in engineers per capita in the United States.

They said we couldn’t, so The D did it anyway — made our own future — and the now-complete $279 million Cobo Center expansion is just the beginning. World-class in every way, this premier meeting facility features all the latest technology including free Wi-Fi throughout, an in-house TV broadcast studio and outdoor, high-tech video messaging walls. A champion of manufacturing and innovation, Detroit has taken back its belt, fueled by billions recently invested in retail, restaurants, residential properties and hotels. So come see it all for yourself. We can’t wait to show off.


Cobo Center and boxing legend Joe Louis.





he Engineering Society of Detroit hosted its Annual Dinner on June 22, 2016 at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. ESD presented its highest honor, the Horace H. Rackham Humanitarian Award, to Kirk T. Steudle, PE, FESD, Director, Michigan Department of Transportation. The award is given for outstanding humanitarian achievements as exemplified by meritorious technical accomplishments for the benefit of mankind or by recognition on either a local, national or international level for extraordinary achievements in civic, business, public-spirited or humanitarian endeavors. During the evening, guests experienced the U.S. premiere of The Magical History Tour: A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition. It is the most comprehensive Beatles exhibition ever assembled. Access to the exhibit was generously sponsored by ITC.

14 | TechCentury | FALL 2016

Above: Distinguished members of the ESD College of Fellows gathered at the Annual Dinner to welcome their newest members.


Kirk T. Steudle, PE, FESD, Director, Michigan Department of Transportation


Donald E. Goodwin, FESD, Retired Vice President of Global Service, Chrysler


Sol P. Baltimore, Retired/Director, Environmental Communications Keith W. Cooley, President & CEO, Principia, LLC George E. Hubbell, PE, BCEE, President, Hubbell, Roth & Clark Harold A. Ladouceur, Retired/Multifastener Corp. David A. Lomas, PE, QEP, D.WRE, PMP, Principal Engineer/Associate, NTH Consultants, Ltd. Joseph F. Neussendorfer, President & CEO, U.S. Construction Research Michael F. Ryan, Senior Vice President, Ghafari Associates, LLC

ESD President Douglas E Patton, FESD (left), presents the Horace H. Rackham Humanitarian Award to Kirk T. Steudle, PE, FESD, Director, Michigan Department of Transportation.


Richard E. Marburger, PhD, FESD, President Emeritus, Lawrence Technological University William A. Moylan, Jr., PhD, PMP, FESD, Associate Professor, Construction Management, Eastern Michigan University Raymond Okonski, Chairman, Excellis Matthew N. Roush, Managing Editor University News Bureau, Director of Media Relations, Lawrence Technological University Robert A. Stevenson, PE, LEED AP, FESD, Senior Vice President, Ghafari Associates, LLC Matthew Stone, Director, Business Development, Commercial Contracting Corporation


Gene D. Dickirson, PE, President, Gene Dickirson Engineering Jeffrey J. Hausman, AIA, LEED AP, Detroit Office Director, SmithGroupJJR Randy G. Paquette, Director of Design & Construction Services, Wayne State University


Ashley P. Lesser, PE, LEED AP BD+C, Staff Engineer, Environmental Assessment, Testing Engineers & Consultants, Inc.


OUTSTANDING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS OF THE YEAR: Arsha Ali, Athens High School, Troy Kayla Dobies, Dakota High School, Macomb Alexi Rathi, Novi High School, Novi Emily Veenhuis, Comstock High School, Kalamazoo Jennie Yang, Troy High School, Troy

George E. Hubbell, PE, BCEE, FESD, President, Hubbell, Roth & Clark (center), was inducted into the ESD College of Fellows. He’s shown here with Filza H. Walters, FESD, and ESD President Douglas E. Patton, FESD.

ESD Executive Director Robert Magee (center) pauses for a photo with Outstanding College Student Engineer of the Year Andrew Alisa from Oakland University, Rochester, and Sandra Alisa. | The Engineering Society of Detroit | 15

ESD CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN AWARD RECIPIENTS: University of Michigan, Munger Graduate Residence Hall Owner: Regents of the University of Michigan Designer: Hartman-Cox Architects + Integrated Design Solutions Contractor: Walbridge Lake Trust Credit Union Headquarters Owner: Lake Trust Credit Union Designer: SmithGroupJJR Contractor: The Christman Company Wayne State University, Integrative Biosciences Center Owner: Wayne State University Designer: Harley Ellis Devereaux Contractor: Barton Malow


Donald E. Goodwin, FESD (right), received ESD’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Detroit Medical Center Heart Hospital Owner: Detroit Medical Center Designer: Harley Ellis Devereaux Contractor: Skanska The Globe Building—Outdoor Adventure Center Owner: Michigan Department of Natural Resources & The Roxbury Group Designer: Hobbs+Black Architects & Strategic Energy Solutions, Inc. Contractor: Walbridge



College of Engineering



Arsha Ali from Athens High School in Troy was named an Outstanding High School Student of the Year. 16 | TechCentury | FALL 2016



he 5th Annual ESD Golf Outing was the most successful to date, achieving over $100,000 in revenue in support of student outreach to keep Michigan #1 in Engineering. The event took place on June 6 at Oak Pointe Country Club and was held in memory of David A. Skiven, PE, and his devotion to the Society. Team Walbridge won the Honors Course this year, with Team Ghafari taking second place. The winner of the Champs Course was Team Design Systems, with Team Advanced Capital Management placing second. Closest to the Pin winners were Mary Kay Scott and Craig Dahl on the Honors Course, Bob Parcell on the Champs Course. Mary Kay Scott also won the Longest Drive on the Honors Course, along with Craig Duprey. The Longest Drive award on the Champs Course went to Debbie Bishop and Vince Vitale. For photos of the event, please visit Next year’s golf outing is scheduled for June 5, 2017, once again at Oak Point Country Club. We sold out both sponsorships and foursomes this year, but we are keeping the outing the same size to preserve the quick pace of play. Registration priority goes to previous participants and sponsors; however, if you are interested in participating next year, please contact Mary Sheridan soon at 248-353-0735, ext. 222, or to secure a spot.





Dedicated to Building Excellence


Team Walbridge won the Honors Course.



• Tom Blakeslee • The Bradley Company • Karen Skiven


• TMI Climate Solutions | The Engineering Society of Detroit | 17




n automobile with a “mind” of its own. For some, visions of Stephen King’s Christine come to mind. And that’s not a good thing. But for others, the idea of a selfdriving—or autonomous car—is the best thing since sliced bread. An autonomous car is a vehicle that is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. Able to detect surroundings using a variety of techniques such as radar, GPS and computer vision, the cars can identify appropriate navigation paths, as well as obstacles, signage, and other cars on the road. These features can lead to greater safety, convenience, and possibly lower insurance premiums, according to experts. Scott Shogan, PE, PTOE, Vice President and Senior Project Manager at WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, says “the biggest thrust with the connected vehicle is safety and convenience. There’s also another layer of opportunity, including increased mobility, and enhanced traffic flow. In addition, there are environmental benefits, such as less idling.” Automated technology isn’t new, per se. In the early 80s, antilock brakes began to perform a function that drivers used to have to do themselves: pump the brake pedal to keep the wheels from locking up. With anti-lock brakes, the system does the pumping for the driver, much

18 | TechCentury | FALL 2016

By Susan Thwing

faster, too, thanks to speed sensors in the wheels. Now in the 2010s, automakers are developing complex systems that allow cars to drive themselves. They’re also furthering existing technologies such as selfparking and pre-safe systems. “We are still in the early stages, however with driverless systems a societal change can happen, including self-parking cars that can also be used as a taxi when not in use by the owner,” Shogan says. Autonomous and connected car systems are being tested and defined at locations such as The University of Michigan’s Mcity, the world’s first controlled environment specifically designed to test the potential of connected and automated vehicle technologies. Mcity is a simulated urban and suburban environment with a network of roads and supporting infrastructure, including intersections, traffic signs and signals, streetlights, building facades, sidewalks and construction obstacles, that cover 18 acres of a 32-acre site on U-M’s North Campus. “We believe that this transformation to connected and automated mobility will be a game changer for safety, for efficiency, for energy, and for accessibility,” said Peter Sweatman, founding director of the U-M Mobility Transformation Center said in a news release when Mcity opened in July 2015. “Our cities will be much better to live in, our suburbs will be much better to live in.

These technologies truly open the door to 21st century mobility.” There, researchers can simulate the environments where connected and automated vehicles will be most challenged, including sensorrelated and visual things like road

signs defaced by graffiti and faded lane markings. In addition to Mcity, MTC is working with its partners to develop three on-roadway connected and automated vehicle deployments to serve as test beds, or “living laboratories.” With the help of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, MTC is building on a nearly 3,000-vehicle connected technology project launched three years ago by the U-M Transportation Research Institute to create a major deployment of 9,000 connected vehicles operating across the greater Ann Arbor area. MTC is also partnering with industry

and the Michigan Department of Transportation to put as many as 20,000 connected vehicles on the road in Southeast Michigan. The third piece of the plan calls for deploying a mobility service of connected and automated vehicles in Ann Arbor by 2021. MTC is also partnering with industry and the Michigan Department of Transportation to put 20,000 connected vehicles on the road in Southeast Michigan. The third piece of the plan calls for deploying a 2,000-vehicle mobility service of connected and automated vehicles in Ann Arbor. What does this means to the future of the automotive industry, education and jobs? “The path of software development for autonomous vehicles is off the charts. Silicon Valley and Detroit are now in competition. It used to be if you were interested in the automotive industry, you’d follow a mechanical engineering path—now it’s increasingly robotics, artificial intelligence—it’s a huge time of transformation for the industry,” Shogan says. “Does it mean more jobs? I think so.” But the most important aspect, is that it is making leaders in other fields revise their thinking. “It’s forcing companies like mine to look at the big picture. We have to look at how automotive technology will require changes in roads, signage—the whole thing. It’s stretched me as a civil engineer from focusing on brick and mortar to looking at the possibilities technology.” Shogan adds that there is much progress to be made before connected or autonomous vehicles are 100% error-free, and so the world of free driving vehicles is a ways off. And as long as that means the autos won’t take on the persona of Christine, it will be worth the wait.


The automotive and technology industries are full of opportunity and hungry for talent, but historically, the insufficient number of students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)focused careers, and the practical resources to help them get there at an early age have been an issue. The Square One Education Network’s goal is to change that. The Square One Education Network, a Michigan-based 501(c)(3) educational foundation, got its start by providing funding to stimulate a passion for STEM programs. By the early 2000s, Square One saw a greater need for creating programming that utilized STEM learning in conjunction with hands-on experiences for students, and switched its focus from grant maker to that of an operational organization. Today, Square One actively develops its own strategic, advanced vehicle engineering and technology-focused programs for Michigan’s K-12 students. The programs are designed to give students the necessary skills in order to meet the ever-evolving needs of the automotive industry, as they move toward college and their careers. In order to achieve long-term program success, Square One also understood it needed to educate and equip teachers who are engaged in the programs. According to Square One Executive Director Karl J. Klimek, “If teachers are given the training and resources they need to succeed, their efforts to ignite a passion in students and impact the future industry talent | The Engineering Society of Detroit | 19

pool can happen in a much more significant way.” Square One’s programs provide students with real-word experiences in the classroom, where they work with the trained teachers and industry mentors over the course of the school year to bring their projects to life. The programs Include Full Scale Innovative Vehicle Design, where students build drivable cars, and Mini Innovative Vehicle Design, where students modify R/C cars, with similar technology objectives; and an Underwater Innovative Vehicle Design program, where

said Klimek. “There are plenty of programs for college students, but the tremendous talent at the high school level gets largely overlooked. These students had little opportunity to be exposed to advanced technology or have the right tools to participate. We had the ability to address that gap, so we did.” By maintaining an open line of communication with industry leaders, Square One is able to continually evolve the focus of its programs to meet the needs of the industry. For example, to answer the industry’s ongoing call for connected vehicle technology talent, Square

with some of the top software process engineers in the country. Unlike many programs that can be costly to implement, Square One makes its resources affordable and accessible. Says Klimek, “Our mission is to focus resources on building well-equipped teachers and keeping materials cost effective, so we can help as many students as possible, while continuing to provide a unique approach to technology education.” Collaborations with industry partners provide technical and professional resources, and support from organizations including the Michigan Department of Transportation and the

students design for the marine environment. As connected vehicle technology gained traction, Square One introduced their Autonomous Innovative Vehicle Design program, where existing motorized small platform vehicles are modified to incorporate autonomous features. To give students the opportunity to put their designs to the test, Square One holds competitions at the end of the school year, including the Innovative Vehicle Design Challenge. “We see our role as the innovative, entrepreneurial developer of K-12 talent in Michigan schools,”

One developed their V2X (Vehicle-toEverything) Connected Vehicle Lab Schools – the only program like it in the world at the K-12 level. This past summer, along with partners Mobile Comply and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s ‘Planet M’ mobility initiative, four Square One students and two teachers taught a connected vehicle technology workshop to 20 San Jose, California students as part of the ITS America Conference. So impressed was one major automotive industry leader that all four of the Square One students were offered summer internships, working

MEDC also have greatly contributed to program success. What’s next? Square One has been invited to be a partner for a three-year National Science Foundation Grant program with Washtenaw County Community College, studying advanced vehicle lightweighting science and materials. Square One’s track record of program success, and its ability to be nimble and adapt new programs, made its participation possible. This fall, ten schools will participate in the program, and will expand to 15 schools next year. For more information, please visit

20 | TechCentury | FALL 2016

When you invest in people, you get a return every time you walk in the door.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network offers the complete insurance solution to protect the overall health and well-being of your employees. Contact the Engineering Society of Detroit for more information at (248) 353-0735. GROUP HEALTH PLANS





Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.





mart system: a system that incorporates the functions of sensing, actuation, and control in order to describe and analyze a situation, and make decisions based on the available data in a predictive or adaptive manner, thereby performing smart actions. Technology…it takes us to the moon, creates bigger-better-faster products, makes our lives more convenient and effective. Smart Systems, defined above, are reaching into all aspects of our lives: solving problems we could never have addressed otherwise. From art to music to sports to the very galaxies in which we reside, Smart Systems make an impact. Here’s an overview of some of the research being done and the progress being made with Smart Systems:

a computer was able to organize artwork in a way similar to the way art historians organize them. “This can be useful in the world of art forgery, among other areas,” Shamir explains. “I have been able to teach computers to use fractal analysis to distinguish between real art—specifically Jackson Pollock—and imitations.” With a success rate of 93 percent, computers are now smart enough to spot fakes no matter how well they are crafted, he explains. However, the same ability to spot a fake could translate in creating imitation artwork. Shamir believes that computers will eventually be able to create artwork indistinguishable from a traditionally created painting.

movement, position, and situation for every pitch thrown, making the game less of a mystery. “It’s a system of predictive performance that team managers and owners can use when determining draft picks and where to expend greater efforts,” Shamir says.

Water quality question? Check your smart phone

A biotech company in the Upper Peninsula has created a portable, handheld device to test for agricultural nutrient runoff in soil and water. NECi Superior Enzymes developed the device in conjunction with Michigan Technological University and Joshua M. Pearce, who holds assistant professorships in both materials science and And then there’s baseball… Who’s on first? Look to Sabermetrics engineering and computer science for the answer. Sabermetrics, derived and engineering at the university. Can computers understand art? from the acronym SABR (Society for Pearce is also a 3D printing expert, “There is no evidence so far that the American Baseball Research), is the and the photometer is manufaccomputer actually ‘understands’ art, evidence-based analysis of baseball tured on a 3D printer. The company also got off the and baseball statistics. Pioneered by but there are results showing that Bill James, it was the focus of a 2011 ground with government research the computer analysis of art is very movie “Moneyball,” an account of the grants. The U.S. Department of similar to the way an art historian Agriculture awarded the firm a Oakland Athletics baseball team’s analyzes it,” says Lior Shamir, use of a sophisticated approach professor of Computer Science, at towards scouting and analyzing Lawrence Technological University. players to build a competitive team. In one of his many research Player averages including home studies, Dr. Shamir and co-author runs, RBI, etc—used in conjunction Evan Kumanski, created a learning with today’s advanced computer algorithm called WndChrm. The technology—can be combined system was able to categorize images based on data in their pixels. with weather data or even more statistics that record the velocity, Shamir, in one instance, found that 22 | TechCentury | FALL 2016

Small Business Innovation Research grant in 2011 to develop the portable soil phosphate test kit. More recently, the National Science Foundation awarded Superior Enzymes and MTU a $225,000 grant in 2014 to develop the photometer using opensource technology. The product was developed in response to a serious concern over agricultural nutrients fouling water. Algal blooms in Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico are caused by excess nutrients in those waters. Nitrates and phosphates are essential for plant and soil health. Fertilizers rich in these nutrients increase crop yield and ensure food security. The problem comes when excess nutrients run off agricultural fields into local watersheds. This wastes valuable crop nutrients, contributes to harmful algal blooms, and causes unmanageable levels of nitrate at drinking water processing plants.

Is grandma okay?

A new WiFi system may soon be able to alert you that it’s time to check on her. A grant from the National Science Foundation will allow Michigan State University to explore whether home WiFi systems can preserve the privacy of our aging loved ones while detecting abnormal events in their homes. Mi Zhang, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in the MSU College of Engineering, has been awarded a two-year, $171,600 grant from the NSF Computer and Information Science and Engineering Research Initiation Initiative (CRII) program. The CRII grant will support the project: WiFi-Based Human Behavior Sensing and Recognition System for Aging in Place. “As baby boomers age, the United States will experience considerable growth in its elderly population over the coming years,” Zhang said. “Current aging in place technologies

are typically based on cameras, smartphone and wearable devices, or ambient sensors. Their fundamental limitations–invasion of privacy and a burden to users–prevent them from being widely deployed.” This project will try to monitor activities of daily living and detect abnormal events using existing home WiFi signals. “The central idea is that different activities cause different changes in WiFi signals,” Zhang explained. “By analyzing these changes, the activity that caused the change can be recognized. For instance, if an older adult isn’t moving around as much as usual, it may indicate that his or her health is deteriorating.” Shelia Cotten, a professor of Media and Information at MSU whose research focuses on using technology to enhance the quality of life among older adults, said this technology could help keep senior citizens in their homes longer. “The majority of older adults want to grow old in their own homes. If this new system is effective, it will provide a non-intrusive, device-free, low-cost and privacy-preserving technology that can enhance the quality of life for those who wish to age in place in their homes,” she said. “It may also be useful to retirement communities.” Zhang’s other research interests include mobile health, ubiquitous computing, and wearable sensing systems. He has been working on HeadScan, a technology to monitor a person’s eating, drinking, coughing, and social habits for treatment of obesity, diabetes, asthma, or depression.

The universe and beyond

Smart System technology is taking us much further than Gramma’s house. Shamir’s more recent work delves into what he terms “galaxy morphology analysis.”

It’s a system where robotic telescopes acquire hundreds of millions of galaxy images. “Due to their size it is not practical to analyze these databases manually, and automatic tools are needed,” he explains. “The purpose of the project is to develop methods for automatic galaxy image analysis, but also to apply these methods to create catalogs that can be used by others, and to mine the important discoveries that are hidden inside these huge mountains of data.” Using the Wndchrm system, again, Shamir is part of an extensive network of global scientists classifying elliptical galaxies from spiral. What does it mean? Scientists are using new, smarter technology to analyze how fast the universe will thin out as is expands.


With progress in any field or technology comes the need for reflection and study. In the past decades, Smart Systems have migrated into the way we work, play, travel, and communicate. This onslaught and preponderance of shared data must be balanced with discretion, says Shamir. “People today are born with a willingness to share personal data— it’s the norm,” he says. “We live our lives online and often the computers and programs can know more about you than you know yourself.” Should we go off the grid? “Every email we write is read by something. Everything we research online is a piece of data for advertisers. Health insurance companies may collect data on when we research a certain disease, or visit a certain webpage,” he says. “It comes down to being concerned, cognizant and aware of what you share.” | The Engineering Society of Detroit | 23



ed is angry. Red is passionate. Red is happy, lively, spicy and soothing. Wait, soothing? Well, for someone it might be. And one person’s chill-out cyan could be another’s jealousy trigger, while green can be neutral, enlightening or nauseating. Our emotional and physical responses to color are as varied as the paint chip selection at the hardware store. Instead of deterring Michigan Tech engineers Sarah Sun and Shiyan Hu, that variety helps inspire their research on wearable medical tech that uses color and music to respond to a patient’s physical and emotional status. Sun, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Hu, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, are pushing the edges of the spectrum in this new technology field.

Beyond the Hospital

Imagine treating a bout of the blues with green lights and cello music, for example. The vision for top-grade wearable tech started as a project that Sun and Hu wanted to do to help new mothers deal with post-partum depression. Once they started, they 24 | TechCentury | FALL 2016

realized the devices could have broad applications for a number of medical conditions, spanning both mental and physical illnesses. “Many people live with chronic diseases,” Sun says, pointing out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledges that nearly half of the US population live with at least one chronic illness like diabetes or cardiovascular disease and one in four adults have multiple chronic diseases. On top of that, Sun adds, “In 2010, 86 percent of all healthcare expenditures was spent on chronic diseases.” The cost is high, estimated to be more than $320 billion for

Sarah Sun and Shiyan Hu

heart disease and stroke alone in 2015, and annually about one in every six US healthcare dollars is spent on cardiovascular disease. Add hundreds of billions more for obesity, smoking, excessive drinking, arthritis and cancer. To lower those costs, Sun says we need a transition from traditional in-hospital healthcare to preventative, proactive, out-of-hospital care. Monitoring devices that pick up on the telltale signs of chronic diseases—such as rising blood pressure or low blood sugars—could help people be more independent, too. “They could wear this hardware without having it influence their daily life and they could drive, walk, run,

swim and do what they want to,” Sun says, adding that the tech helps people become more aware in the moment of what their body is doing. This kind of real-time intervention could prevent more expensive and invasive treatments later.

Heartbeats and Brainwaves

A lot of people already have some sort of health-related app, wear Fitbits and digitally track their wellbeing. But good health is more than 4,000 steps per day. To meet hospital standards, the tech needs to precisely replicate diagnostic tests like an electrocardiogram (ECG—heart health) or electroencephalogram (EEG—brain health). It needs to reliably read blood pressure, blood sugar, temperature and a number of other physiological factors. There is no silver bullet, although one method that Sun designs around shows promise: Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) sensors. GSR shows that people don’t wear their hearts on their sleeves, but rather on their skin. The sensors measure electric conductivity through moisture and tension on the skin—a nice way of saying nervous sweat. With GSR and other wearable devices, Sun and Hu act as a hardware-software team and are taking health monitoring to the next level by increasing accuracy, personalizing the tech, and refining the algorithm models. “However, there are a lot of uncertainties,” Hu cautions. “That’s what makes this a pioneering field.” The challenge is rooted in the device itself and the data models. A major obstacle is the huge variability in individual responses—one person’s mellow yellow is another’s disgust trigger, and not everyone loves Bach. But even trickier can be figuring out the ideal location for the sensors:

Suzie Q can get away with a GSR wrist sensor, but Jane Doe needs the accuracy of armpit sweat. The data also have to account for environmental factors like room temperature and humidity. The challenge makes Sun and Hu a perfect research pair. Sun focuses on the hardware—ensuring that the heartbeat is getting picked up accurately, for example—and Hu focuses on the software—making sure that heartbeat gets interpreted correctly. The next challenge is what to do with all those heartbeats and brainwaves, getting the right colors and songs to play.

To constrain the myriad possibilities of individual preference, Hu and Sun selected several basic colors and five different songs to start connecting people’s emotional and physical state to a GSR device prototype. The machine doesn’t just have to respond—it has to learn. Eventually this model will predict each individual’s behavior, Hu says.

“We have to think, what benefit does a hacker get from obtaining health data?” he asks, pointing out that although people squirm at the thought of someone peeping at their doctor’s records, being able to hack someone’s pacemaker could be lethal. Less fatal, but more lucrative, could be selling the data. To prevent these kinds of attacks, Hu designs algorithms to patch existing software and strengthen new software. The tech itself can be made safer as well by embedding secure communication chips that encode data transmitted from wearable sensors. And he says medical tech is not alone: Similar kinds of tweaks need to happen across industries, from automobiles to power grids to phones. Together, Hu and Sun are ensuring that wearable medical tech is as safe to use at home as standard equipment is at a hospital. They key is making this new technology accurate and secure. After that, there’s a whole rainbow of possibilities.

“Then the software will know what’s your favorite music—it can adapt and think like you.” Hu’s work on the algorithms is pushing the device to better predict mood and physical wellbeing. He also considers cybersecurity.

Allison Mills works as a science and technology writer for Michigan Tech. She earned her master’s in environmental science and natural resource journalism at the University of Montana and studied geoscience as an undergrad at Northland College.

Connecting Colors, Music and Medical Tech | The Engineering Society of Detroit | 25


heating blanket that allows a paraplegic to enhance his independence… an alarm system that reminds a wheelchair-bound patient to shift… wearable medical devices that use color and music to respond to a patient’s physical and emotional status (see article, page 24)… and interactive programs for more effective employee mental health services… cell phones to identify mystery pills… it is all part of the new Smart Systems technology providing better services in the health care field.


Snuggle up

At University of Detroit Mercy, interdepartmental research collaboration is allowing for new technology to be developed to assist patients gain independence and better care. The Department of Mechanical Engineering teamed with Biomedical Engineering and Nursing to help a 51-year-old male, who sustained a spinal cord injury due to a gunshot wound, improve independence and safety. “He is an active grandfather who drives and lives alone. He also flips houses as business and frequently works in houses with no heat,” explains Darrell Kleinke, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering. “We collaborated with biomedical engineering and nursing students in an effort to deliver our client a product that will provide comfort to his life while making it safer.” The result: a portable personal heating device similar to a “Snuggie”. “This gentleman is active and his lifestyle has him outside often. Being paraplegic, it is difficult for him to generate his own warmth. In addition, being cold could be a 26 | TechCentury | FALL 2016

catalyst to debilitating pain for him,” Kleinke says. The final result was a blanket with an Arduino board embedded into it that regulates his temperature. The board is maintained via a simple battery. “Arduino boards are able to read inputs - light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message - and turn it into an output,” Kleinke says. “You can tell your board what to do by sending a set of instructions to the microcontroller on the board.” In the blanket system, the Arduino is programmed to shut off when an embedded tape reaches a

set maximum temperature and also to turn on again when the temperature of the tape goes below the set minimum temperature. This ensures that the individual does not burn himself while proving an extended battery life, he explains. The Snuggie is just one of a diversity of projects U of D Mercy departments have collaborated on using smart technology. They have also worked together to investigate the parameters of pressure sores and develop sensor devises to alert patients and caregivers if an individual has been prone in a particular position for too long.

The business of maintaining health

Mystery pills no more

Researchers from the Michigan State University College of Engineering have created an easy way to use a cell phone to recognize prescription pills – often a major problem for the elderly and one that can have deadly consequences. Mi Zhang, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is the first-prize winner of the National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine Pill Image Recognition Challenge. Zhang and his colleagues were among many teams that created software and algorithms that will contribute to the creation of a system that can match photos taken by a smartphone to high-resolution images of prescription pills. This new system can give consumers a simple way to recognize mystery pills, help prevent medication errors and reduce waste by identifying pills that otherwise might be discarded.

Smart technology reaches much farther than devices in health care. In the business world, interactive programs can ensure needed care is received. Just recently, Health Management Systems of America (HMSA), a Detroitbased national provider of technology-enhanced Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), announced new technology-based services targeting highlystressed employee groups. The technology meets employees “where they are” by offering clinical text chats, video counseling, app-based support and other interactive online services. “It’s time for behavioral health providers to meet the expectations of patients who have had access to physicians online to diagnose basic ailments for several years,” said HMSA Technology Director Glenn Boyd. A recent research report from the Employee Assistance Society of North America (EASNA) showed an increase in the percentage of clinical consultations when an online counseling request option was available versus just telephone requests for counseling. Adults younger than 40 years of age were the largest adopters. “We initially developed this technology to meet the needs of our college campus clients and quickly realized the applications for our millennial workforce business partners,” said Dennis Rice, president of HMSA. “The complex challenge we overcame was to maintain strict HIPAA compliancy through encryption and ensure our CARF International accreditation standards were upheld.” Through the program, employees can access qualified,

licensed professionals online for text messaging or video conferencing. In video counseling, employees use a webcam, microphone and high-speed Internet connection on a desktop computer, laptop or tablet, allowing for face-to-face communication eliminating the need to travel to a clinician’s office. “We found that employees are much more apt to take advantage of counseling services if it’s convenient and doesn’t take large portions of their day,” says Rice. “With this technology, they don’t need to drive across town. They can simply text, chat or talk over the phone.” Pangi Thomas, clinical team member, adds that the “veil of protection or sense of anonymity can help individuals feel more comfortable about talking to counselors about important issues.” In one example, HMSA, was selected to provide a chat and text help line for the Michigan State Lottery. Within the Michigan State Lottery’s smartphone app, participants who feel they may have an issue with gambling can directly access HMSA’s counseling services. At the time of launch, Michigan was the only state in the nation offering support in this way. Over the past year, HMSA’s trained clinicians have responded to more than 250 users in this fashion. | The Engineering Society of Detroit | 27


Your Personal Intellectual Property in the Information Age WELCOME TO THE INFORMATION AGE By Michael Stewart


n the 70 years since Chester Gould introduced Dick Tracy’s two-way wrist radio, we have witnessed the birth of the electronic computer, the invention of the integrated circuit, the development of the personal computer, the rise of the Internet, the establishment of a digital ecosystem, and now the transition to the “Internet of Things.” Indeed, we have perhaps come full circle—the Internet of Things includes “wearables,” much like the famed Dick Tracy wrist radio. What are the ramifications of the new Information Age to your personal intellectual property? At the outset, a definition: Intellectual property (IP) refers to information that the law protects from unauthorized use by others, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, IP-intensive businesses contributed more than $5 trillion to the US economy in 2010, or one-third of the U.S. gross domestic product— and that percentage is even higher today. Intellectual property has literally become a currency. We are trading in that currency and many of us do not even know it. Digital providers cull for their own benefit the data created by our daily activities, from fitness trackers to online searching for new products or services of competitors. Indeed, companies now process more data daily than humanity had previously created in its entire history. If you were to review the terms and conditions of virtually any digital provider, you would be surprised at the level of ownership you have given up. Collecting and analyzing your data and the data of millions of 28 | TechCentury | FALL 2016

others is incredibly lucrative, and is the likely reason why services you may depend on daily are offered at no-cost. They are actually not free—instead, you have paid for the services with your intellectual property. Do not assume that you actually control your personal information after it is shared digitally, whether it be a photograph or song, a new idea, a physical attribute or location, or the types of clothes you buy online. Even a search strategy and the resulting reviewed articles are analyzed. There are, fortunately, steps you can take to regain control. First, become informed and determine what a particular digital provider will do with your information. There are digital providers that will limit their collection and usage activities (e.g., the search engine at Second, there are anonymity mechanisms available that restrict the sharing of personal information. Third, limit what information you readily share by opting out of default contractual selections in terms and conditions. Valuable opt-outs are available even with your favorite digital providers. Finally, utilize available IP protections before publicly sharing information. In short, through increased awareness you might indeed control your intellectual property. Michael Stewart is a founding member of Fishman Stewart PLLC (formerly known as Rader Fishman & Grauer), which is celebrating its 20th year. Michael works in a wide range of technical areas and his practice includes prosecution, information technology, evaluations/due diligence as well as drafting and negotiating technical agreements.

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TechCentury v.21 n.3 Fall 2016  

The Engineering Society of Detroit TechCentury magazine

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