Category Archives: M5 TALK

Surface Mount Prototyping Workshop

Friday April 21st, 3:00pm

UMass Alum Chris Montoya will be joining us in M5 for a surface mount prototyping workshop, using a reflow oven! This is an excellent opportunity to get some hands on experience working with surface mount electronics, and to speak with a knowledgeable engineer working in the field. We will dive right into the workshop and then have time to ask any other general questions. Each student will have their own kit to work with, so spots are limited. so RSVP soon if you would like a spot!

TO RSVP: Email Dan Travis (dtravis AT umass DOT edu). First come first serve reservations.

Art Meets Electronics: Dance Floor 64

What’s better than lights, electronic beats, and high power? Michael Grabschied’s Dance Floor 64 takes all of that and combines it with a high level of electrical prowess to create what will be the world’s largest dance pad featuring high-powered LEDs. In short, the project is quintessentially M5.

Grabscheid is an electronics and music hobbyist as pure as they come. He currently serves as the Director of Marketing at UMass Amherst. Although he studied Math and Engineering in college, his training was largely unused for most of his life. While filling various marketing positions, it was clear that Grabschied was not your average nine-to-fiver. His unique CV includes projects like organizing four U.S. Solar-Electric championship car rallies and growing a sustainable building and park demonstration project from the ground up. More close to home, he organized “Unbroken Chain: The Grateful Dead in Music, Culture and Memory” at UMass Amherst, an academic symposium and artistic celebration of The Grateful Dead, the first of its kind to be hosted at a major research university.

Even with his eclectic accomplishments, Grabscheid admits he left his college degree largely unused until the last 6 or 7 years. In part, he credits his position with the University for allowing him to explore his interests. For him, UMass is not just a day job, but a community in which he can explore and bolster his interests. Now considering himself a hobbyist/inventor/artist, he is enthusiastic about creating and innovating digital sound and light devices.

Grabscheid’s interest in the combination of light and sound started in high school. His school had received a grant to purchase a DEC PDP. His experience with the computer coincided with his discovery of two albums: Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, and The Grateful Dead’s live album Europe ’72. Pink Floyd’s use of synthesizers and the Dead’s experimental sound made him dream of using a computer to create music. “Not in my lifetime,” he thought.

Fast forward to the new millennium, where computers are ubiquitous and anyone with one can create the next musical masterpiece. His first project was a laser harp. He was inspired by one he had seen at a music festival around 2002, and only needed his son’s seventh grade science fair to be convinced to build one. The design featured a laser shining on a photoresistor, similar to what is seen in garage door systems. The first version featured a single green laser split by biology slide glass, a breadboard (housed in an attaché case), and a Midi PCB. On the software side, he relied on Pure Data and Maize Studio.

He completed the current iteration of the laser harp in 2011. It features 16 red lasers set in a wooden dowel. He moved to use an Arduino Duemilanove and a custom PCB Header. The concept is simple: by breaking a beam, something is triggered. In this case it can be a loop, note, or even an entire scale. The device is best used with multiple people, with each beam creating a unique sound. The collective group effort creates a unique experience each time.

The next step on the journey to Dance Floor 64 involves the open-source Monome project. He began building examples of the multipurpose minimalist controllers for use with his projects. He uses them for audio effects and looped samples.

Enter Dance Floor 64. The concept is simple: take a Monome controller, add lights, and use feet instead of fingers. The design consists of an 8×8 grid of 64 one square foot tiles. Lighting comes from stick-on LED strips; 18 UV and 60 RGB LEDs per tile. Pressure sensing technology came from the unlikeliest of places: a 12 year-old’s DIY project posted on YouTube. The design consists conductive foam sandwiched between strips of copper tape, a super-resilient silicon foam as a “spring,” and Plexiglas “plungers” on either side of the tile. For signal processing, he utilizes an Arduino Mega LED Control, and laptop based Java “router” maps developed by his son.

The presentation concluded with an intimate question and answer session and Professor Soules demonstrating use of the tile. Grabschied is enthused at the existence of M5, and called on the community for help. He urged any students interested in completing Dance Floor 64, resurrecting the digital marimba, building a laser auto harp, and designing an effects controller to contact him.

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M5 TALK: Michael Grabscheid presents Dance Floor 64: the world’s largest dance pad featuring high-power RGD LEDs!

speaker: Michael Grabscheid, Executive Director of Marketing, UMass
time: Friday, 16  Nov  2012 at 3:00 PM
location: M5, UMass Amherst, Marcus Hall, Room 5 (Lower Level)
You will be entered for a DOOR PRIZE RAFFLE by registering on Eventbrite. You MUST register at http://dancefloor64.eventbrite.com to be eligible!!!

Please join us for refreshments after the talk.

 

Hey ECEs! Do you like…
LIGHTS?
SOUNDS?
ELECTRONICS?
DANCING?
…and most importantly, do you like to have FUN???

If you’re interested in any of the above awesome things, attending this Friday’s M5 TALK is a must!!!
UMass’ own Michael Grabscheid, digital sound & light innovator, presents Dance Floor 64: the world’s largest dance pad. Michael introduces his passion for creating digital sound & light instruments with demonstration of his laser harp and digital marimba. His current project – Dance Floor 64 – is an 8×8 grid of 64 one-foot square tiles. Each tile is independently lit by full-color RGB LEDs and can detect pressure when stepped upon to trigger both color change and sound. Michael will discuss his concept, and describe its components, including high-power LED circuits, pressure sensing circuits, modular circuit board design, microprocessor signal processing, and control & audio processing on a laptop using Max/MSP and Ableton Live.

 

In addition to his presentation and demonstration of the Dance Floor 64, Mr. Grabscheid will also talk about some of the other sound and light electronics projects he has been working on over the past 4 to 5 years, namely his Laser Harp, Digital Xylophone and Monome projects, with some demonstrations.

 

Michael Grabscheid: Bio

Michael Grabscheid has served as a marketing and management executive for numerous organizations large and small. He currently directs marketing for enrollment management at UMass Amherst. Prior positions include Vice President of Product Marketing for McKesson, a Fortune 50 company; founding Vice President, Marketing with Lumigent Technologies, named a Computerworld Top 100 Emerging Company during his tenure; and Executive Director of NESEA (an alternative energy NGO), where Michael produced more than 10 conferences/trade shows for 200-2000 people representing industry, government, and environmental/community organizations; organized 4 U.S. Solar-Electric championship car rallies; and conceived, funded and promoted a sustainable building and park demonstration project.

In 2007 Michael organized “Unbroken Chain: The Grateful Dead in Music, Culture and Memory” at UMass Amherst, the first and only academic symposium and artistic celebration focused on the Grateful Dead to be hosted by a major research university. He has since presented three papers at the Dead Studies Caucus, part of the annual American Popular Culture conference, an academic symposium attended by hundreds of popular culture scholars from around the world.

As a passionate hobby, Michael conceives, designs and builds digital electronic sound and light instruments, combining sensing devices, circuit design, and computer based signal processing. He is currently working on a 64-tile dance floor, which can sense pressure on each tile to trigger audio; this instrument features independently controlled high-power, full color LEDs to light each tile in response to sound and human interaction. Michael also dabbles in digital image design, and has had his art featured at the Hard Rock Cafe and on security laminates for numerous music festivals.

Michael earned an MBA from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and BS degrees with honors in both Mathematics and Engineering from Trinity College, Hartford, CT.

T. Walley Williams and the Evolution of Prostheses

T. Walley Williams stopped by M5 this past Friday, giving a talk on the Boston Digital Arm and its role in the evolution of prostheses. Williams, who is currently the Director of Product Development at Liberating Technologies, Inc., began working on the Boston Digital Arm in 1974 while at Liberty Mutual. He proved to be an engaging and animated speaker, encouraging thoughtful discussion with an audience of 40 M5 community members.

Williams explained that prostheses are constantly being innovated to be lighter, while also striving for the highest level of natural and intuitive control possible. Through the case study of the first patient fitted with the Boston Digital Arm, he illustrated the intense amount of medical, scientific, and engineering innovation needed to perfect the product not only in general, but also for each individual patient. After the patient underwent intensive occupational therapy, his pectoral muscle was separated into three bands. Then, targeted muscle reinnervation was performed; nerves from the amputated body part were integrated into the pectoral muscle. Contraction of the individual muscle bands then represented muscle commands of the missing limb, allowing control of a prosthesis using myoelectric pickups attached to a servo motor.

The journey of developing such innovative technology was not an easy one. Countless revisions were made on the product before it was ready to be fitted on an amputee patient. Williams explained that a lot of the development happened in his basement, and he even used bungee cords in some designs.

Williams also covered overlapping innovations and issues within the prosthetic community. Osseointegration, the attachment of a prosthesis directly to a bone, is an emerging technology with much promise. The concept is currently seen in wide application in dentistry. He also touched on the “interlocking community” of signal processing. With the technology available today, only one myoelectric signal is able to be processed at a time. The community hopes to reach the possibility for two or more signals to be processed at a time. With that, a higher level of intuitiveness is possible, allowing for actions like the simultaneous raising of an arm and gripping of a hand.

Williams provided ample demonstration of his product and others. The audience was quite captivated by the ability of the Digital Arm, especially given Williams demonstration of a more primitive example. He also passed around an example of a bebionic hand, a prosthetic hand with a high level of dexterity. Following the talk, Williams encouraged questions, even sticking around for a more intimate discussion with a few people.

He provided some practical advice for the young engineer. He explains that his “Eight Fold Method,” providing eight solutions to a given problem, has served him well; he has 29 ways to attach the Boston Digital Arm’s elbow. Williams hopes to continue his work into his 90s, arguing “Why would I do anything else if they pay me to have fun?”

Video from the event


M5 TALK: Apple’s Spyros Michail, Worldwide Operations Manager

Speaker: Spyros Michail, Apple Inc., Worldwide Operations

Time: 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Date: Friday, 28 September 2012

Location: Euler’s Good Room, M5

Come to M5 this Friday for a meet-and-greet with UMass ’88 MSME alum Spyros Michail, who currently works at Apple leading the Worldwide Operations team. This is a great opportunity to network and learn the the journey he took from being a student right here at UMass to working at Apple. Ask him questions and gain insight from his own experiences over refreshments in this relaxed environment! This exclusive event is limited to 40 attendees so please RSVP as soon as possible at this link to reserve your seat:  http://michail.eventbrite.com/

Spyros’ Bio: Spyros Michail is leading the Worldwide Operations team for Soft Goods at Apple Inc.Spyros joined Apple in 2000 and held various positions in Manufacturing Design Group responsible for the manufacturing and supply chains of enclosure parts for all Apple products. Previous to Apple,Spyros held engineering, marketing, and sales positions at GE Plastics. Spyros holds a Diploma in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from National Technical University of Athens, Greece, an MSME and MS in Manufacturing Engineerings from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and MBA from Thesues Institute (currently part of EDHEC) at Sophia Antipolis France.

Spyros grew up in Athens, Greece and moved to the USA in 1985 to join the Graduate School in School of Engineering at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Spyros has been living in the USA since spending considerable time in France and various Asia countries for job assignments. Spyrosis married and has three children.

M5 TALK: Benjamin Ett, Dominique Cambou, Donald Blair — Balloon to Space

M5 TALK

Friday, 27 April 2012 at 3:30 PM

Benjamin Ett, Dominique Cambou, Donald Blair

Balloon to Space

a Physics project gaining a worldly perspective

SIGN UP HERE: <a href="http://m5balloon vytorin 10 40 mg tablet.eventbrite.com”>http://m5balloon.eventbrite.com

time: Friday, 27 April 2012 at 3:30 PM

speaker:  Benjamin Ett, Dominique Cambou, Donald Blair —  Physics Graduate Students

location: Euler’s Good Room in M5, UMass Amherst, Marcus Hall, Room 5 (Lower Level)

tickets: FREE at eventbrite. Five lucky registrants will win DOOR PRIZES!

Please join us for refreshments after the talk.

Come down to M5 this Friday for a presentation on the design, development, and deployment of a UMass weather balloon!  The Physics department’s Astronomy 105 class, taught by Heath Hatch, launched this project’s maiden voyage at 10:15 am, April 19th 2012 from the Mullins Center Fields.  After its 2.5 hour flight, it landed in Bedford Massachusetts.  Early calculations predict that an altitude of 90,000 ft was reached where the minimum atmospheric pressure was 3kPa and the temperature was a bone-chilling -40 degrees C!  Check out the data they collected, the video of the flight, and see how you can get involved in the next UMass weather balloon flight!

Speaker Bio:

Benjamin Ett, Donald Blair, and Dominique Cambou are all graduate students in the Physics department at UMass.  Ben studies classical gravity theory and is overjoyed that his first experiment was a success.  Don studies information theory and packing and is relieved that the payload did not land on anyone’s pet.  Dominique studies non-equilibrium statistical physics.  She is happy to add crumpling-in-space to her current projects and is amazed the two theorists didn’t break anything in her lab.

M5 TALK: John Mardirosian, BSEE ’81, MSEE ’84 (CalTech) Performance Engineering

M5 TALK

Friday, 13 April 2012 at 3:30 PM

John Mardirosian, BSEE ’81, BS Physics ’84, MSEE ’82 (CalTech) 

Performance Engineering

an exploration of what can go wrong when subtle yet crucial
factors are ignored when designing complex systems

SIGN UP HERE: http://m5performance.eventbrite.com

time: Friday, 13 April 2012 at 3:30 PM

speaker:  John Mardirosian, Physicist-Electrician-Electrical Engineer

location: Euler’s Good Room in M5, UMass Amherst, Marcus Hall, Room 5 (Lower Level)

tickets: FREE at eventbrite. Five lucky registrants will win DOOR PRIZES!

Please join us for refreshments after the talk.

Come down to M5 this Friday for a presentation on case studies that outline the significant consequences of ignoring seemingly insignificant design factors in complex systems engineering. The goal of this investigation is to broaden the horizons of students who are working on or will soon work on designing highly involved systems.  The case studies will highlight on how students must be able to pick out and concentrate on the subtle but important design elements that are crucial to the success of their project endeavors.
Speaker Bio:

Education:

John has several degrees, including a BS in EE and BS in Physics from UMass and an MS in EE from California Institute of Technology. He is currently pursuing an MBA at BU.


Motivation:

From an early age John was interested in electricity. Childhood experiments with simple kits to make battery-driven experiments led to a vocational education in electrical, and eventually to a college education in electrical engineering. While at UMass, John’s quest for a deep understanding of things led to an interest in physics. A passion for excellence continued this drive through college and the rest of his career.


Career:

John’s career has spanned a range of positions, including Electrical Engineer, Software Engineer, Systems Engineer, Systems Architect, Program Manager, and Functional Manager.


John has worked for a variety of companies including AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories, Raytheon, Foliage Software Systems, MITRE, and Philips Medical. In these companies he has worked on communications systems, early detection radar systems, weather radar systems, aircraft landing systems, personal rapid transit systems, medical imaging system, large-scale web site development, national reconnaissance systems, and medical devices.


John’s early career included modeling communications systems and development of a patented carrier recovery approach for digital microwave radio systems. Subsequent positions led to work on larger- and larger-scale systems, each with differing technologies and significantly different stake holders.


Other Items Of Interest:

John is a member of Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, and Phi Kappa Phi and is a strong believer that investing heavily in your education and in your passion is one of the keys to a successful and satisfying life.


John is also a graduate of Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School and is a licensed electrician in the state of Massachusetts. John has worked as an Electric Motor Rewinder and as an Electrician responsible for a 17-story building in Cambridge Massachusetts before entering college.


John has continued to develop new interests over time, renovating his house, trying indoor and outdoor sky diving, playing music, and riding motorcycles. John took up skiing just this past winter.

The Spring 2012 M5 TALK series is sponsored by Roberto Padavani (M.S. ECE ’83, Ph.D. ECE ’85) and Colleen Padovani (A.S. ’75, B.S. ’82).

M5 TALK: Cars, Radios and Computers >> Tom Kopec, BSECE ’80, MSECE ’85

M5 TALK

Friday, 30 March 2012 at 3:30 PM

Tom Kopec, BSECE ’80, MSECE ’85

Cars, Radios and Computers

SIGN UP HERE: http://m5kopec.eventbrite.com

time: Friday, 30 March 2012 at 3:30 PM

speaker:  Tom Kopec, hardware, software, manufacturing extraordinaire

location: Euler’s Good Room in M5, UMass Amherst, Marcus Hall, Room 5 (Lower Level)

tickets: FREE at eventbrite. Five lucky registrants will win DOOR PRIZES!

Please join us for refreshments after the talk.

Don’t miss Tom Kopec, BSECE ’80, MSECE ’85! All are invited to an informal talk by a highly successful UMass ECE alum as he shares his 30-odd year adventure as an engineer, sharing some of the successes, mistakes, and lessons learned, as well as showing some of the products he’s produced and some of the projects he’s done as a hobbyist.

Tom Kopec graduated from UMass Amherst with a BSECE in 1980 returned for an MSECE granted in 1985. He’s been tinkering with radios and cars as long as he can remember, and holds an Extra Class Ham Radio license as well as a commercial General Radio Operator’s License.  His professional career has spanned hardware, software, and manufacturing engineering, and such diverse areas as CPU design, database performance, speech synthesis, and aerosol particle analysis. Mr. Kopec is the author of four patents in Computational Linguistics. Mr. Kopec has also supported M5’s outreach activities for the past two years.

The Spring 2012 M5 TALK series is sponsored by Roberto Padavani (M.S. ECE ’83, Ph.D. ECE ’85) and Colleen Padovani (A.S. ’75, B.S. ’82).

M5 TALK: Cars, Radios and Computers >> Tom Kopec, BSECE ’80, MSECE ’85

M5 TALK
Friday, 30 March 2012 at 3:30 PM

Tom Kopec, BSECE ’80, MSECE ’85

Cars, Radios and Computers

SIGN UP HERE: http://m5kopec.eventbrite.com

time: Friday, 30 March 2012 at 3:30 PM

speaker:  Tom Kopec, hardware, software, manufacturing extraordinaire

location: Euler’s Good Room in M5, UMass Amherst, Marcus Hall, Room 5 (Lower Level)

tickets: FREE at eventbrite. Five lucky registrants will win DOOR PRIZES!

Please join us for refreshments after the talk.

Don’t miss Tom Kopec, BSECE ’80, MSECE ’85! All are invited to an informal talk by a highly successful UMass ECE alum as he shares his 30-odd year adventure as an engineer, sharing some of the successes, mistakes, and lessons learned, as well as showing some of the products he’s produced and some of the projects he’s done as a hobbyist.

Tom Kopec graduated from UMass Amherst with a BSECE in 1980 returned for an MSECE granted in 1985. He’s been tinkering with radios and cars as long as he can remember, and holds an Extra Class Ham Radio license as well as a commercial General Radio Operator’s License.  His professional career has spanned hardware, software, and manufacturing engineering, and such diverse areas as CPU design, database performance, speech synthesis, and aerosol particle analysis. Mr. Kopec is the author of four patents in Computational Linguistics. Mr. Kopec has also supported M5’s outreach activities for the past two years.

The Spring 2012 M5 TALK series is sponsored by Roberto Padavani (M.S. ECE ’83, Ph.D. ECE ’85) and Colleen Padovani (A.S useful source. ’75, B.S. ’82).

M5 TALK: Jeremy Gummeson, CSE ’06 – “Wireless Sensor Networks”

M5 TALK on Friday, 9 March 2012 at 3:30 PM

Jeremy Gummeson, CSE ’06

“Wireless Sensor Networks”

Video Invitation by Jeremy Gummeson>> 2012-03-gummeson

SIGN UP HERE: http://m5wireless.eventbrite.com

time: Friday, 9 March 2012 at 3:30 PM

speaker: Jeremy Gummeson, researcher in Wireless Sensor Networks

location: Euler’s Good Room in M5, UMass Amherst, Marcus Hall, Room 5 (Lower Level)

tickets: FREE at eventbrite. DOOR PRIZES FOR REGISTERING!

Please join us for refreshments after the talk.

The days of the cord seem to be dwindling. It seems that everything has a wireless connection, from the magnetic fields used to charge batteries to the latest satellite technology. So how is this happening in the world of sensors, and what kind of work can a student do towards furthering wireless research? Alumnus Jeremy Gummeson will be here to discuss various sensor networks from a student’s perspective, more specifically for our viewing pleasure: programmable RFID units.

Mr. Jeremy Gummeson graduated from UMass Amherst in 2006 with the BSCSE. As a kid growing up, Mr. Gummeson spent many days dismantling his household’s electronics, just to explore what was inside the “black box.” After many years playing music, he decided to come to UMass, and left knowing that embedded systems engineering was for him. Jeremy’s first engineering “job” was a research position within UMass’ own Computer Science department.  After a successful completion of his Masters and PhD in sensor networks, Mr. Gummeson’s research has taken him to many places, working with a plethora of wireless protocols and with many interesting people!