Putting our students first
At NYU Tandon, our students work right alongside our faculty members, conducting their own important research, founding companies, taking on leadership roles in national organizations, and encouraging others to follow in their footsteps. From the time they enter our doors, they’re making major strides on their paths to becoming the engineers, innovators, makers, and doers the world needs.
The dentist will see you now
There are an estimated 950,000 people in New York City with some form of disability, and an enormous number of them face steep barriers to getting adequate dental care: those with autism spectrum disorders or sensory issues, for example, can find the harsh lighting and cacophony of sounds in a conventional office disturbing. NYU’s recently opened Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities (OHCPD) was designed to provide state-of-the-art dental services with dignity, respect, and patient comfort foremost in mind, and thanks to Tandon’s Integrated Digital Media (IDM) students, it also features an innovative waiting room, designed specifically to calm anxious patients, especially those on the autism spectrum. Among their creations are an enclosed “egg” chair, which cocoons nervous patients and bathes them in lights that gently change color; color-changing “cloud” light fixtures; and a projection wall that provides visual stimulus.
A paper by Arun Parthasarathy, a doctoral student in Tandon’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, recently made the cover of the Journal of Applied Physics. In his peer-reviewed piece, he details a method of modeling thermal effects in magnetization dynamics — important because silicon-based complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology, which has thus far experienced incredible exponential growth, is approaching its fundamental limits, and finding other building blocks for computing is vital.
The journal also recently published a second paper by Parthasarathy in which he analyzes the speed and energy limits of the spatial mechanisms governing electrically controlled domain switching in antiferromagnetic insulators and provides valuable insight into their performance. While the average computer user may not grasp the physics involved in his work, everyone benefits from increasingly more efficient and cost-effective methods of computing.
Detoxing your grass and grapes
Doctoral candidate Andrew Olsen is a co-founder of Brooklyn Bioscience, a start-up company that is engineering proteins to remediate and detoxify organophosphates (OPs), which cannot easily be removed by conventional means.
Brooklyn Bioscience’s work is of particular interest to cannabis farmers, because OPs, when vaporized and inhaled, are exponentially more toxic than when ingested by mouth, and with the domestic wine industry now worth more than $20 billion annually — and with enzymes already ubiquitous to the wine-making process — it also counts vintners among its early adopters. Tea farmers, as well, have expressed interest, since the prevalence of excessive OPs has negatively impacted the $46 billion global tea market in recent years, particularly in the highly lucrative green tea sector.
Olsen and his co-founders, who include Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Jin Kim Montclare, recently won a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Partnership for Innovation program.
Robot swarms to Mars and beyond!
NASA's Mars Exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity proved the vast capabilities of robots in hostile environments, including those far from Earth. But could there be a less costly, more efficient means of deploying robots to extraterrestrial realms that could also lower the risks involved with surface activities while eliminating the need for time-intensive human supervision from Earth? The answer could lie with multi-robotic systems using so-called “swarm intelligence,” a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that focuses on the collective behavior of decentralized, self-organized systems. Sai Prasanth Krishnamoorthy, a doctoral student in mechanical and aerospace engineering, has found a route to swarm intelligence via blockchain-inspired ledgers that would allow teams of robots to divide and conquer, enabling them to perform such tasks as surface mapping on, say, Jupiter’s moon Titan, which is nearly an hour away from Earth at light speed, making human intervention in real-time impossible.
Greener chemical manufacturing
Daniela Blanco, a Ph.D. candidate and co-founder of a startup dedicated to greener chemical manufacturing processes, recently won the top prize in the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) Competition in Macau, China, besting dozens of fellow students from universities around the world.
Her company, Sunthetics, which she founded with Tandon alum Myriam Sbeiti (‘18) and the help of NYU Tandon Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Miguel Modestino, offers a way to make one of the most-often-used synthetic materials, nylon, in a clean, sustainable way: Sunthetics uses water, plant waste, and solar power to create a nylon intermediate that takes 50% less energy and smaller amounts of raw material, while producing less waste and removing 20% of carbon emissions.
Sunethics has proven to be an entrepreneurial juggernaut; in addition to Blanco’s GSEA prize, it took first place in the hotly contested University Startup World Cup.
See you at CSAW
CSAW, among the world’s largest student-led cybersecurity competitions and held every November at NYU Tandon and in six global hubs, including France, Israel, India, and Canada, features a wide range of events including competitions in areas that only recently became part of the threat landscape.
This year the event added two brand-new challenges:
The HackML competition, the first of its kind, challenges teams both to design new, powerful backdoor attacks on machine learning systems and to develop novel defenses and detections.
Logic Locking Conquest
This National Science Foundation-funded competition centers on a revolutionary technique for protecting the Intellectual Property of integrated circuits from myriad security threats, such as reverse engineering, overbuilding, piracy, and hardware Trojan insertion.