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Engineering faculty recognized for patents that take research to market

May 10, 2022

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When Mizzou Engineering’s top faculty aren’t teaching the next generation of engineers, they’re busy collaborating with medical, plant science and other researchers across campus to make life better for the rest of us.

Take Assistant Professor Filiz Bunyak and Professor Yunxin Zhao from electrical engineering and computer science (EECS). They were recently awarded a patent for software that helps diagnose speech and swallowing disorders and then tracks the progression of the disease.

Or Yangchuan (Chad) Xing, Cramer W. LaPierre Professor of Chemical Engineering. He developed an efficient process to produce raw materials needed for lithium batteries.

And don’t get us started on Hongbin “Bill” Ma, chair of mechanical and aerospace engineering, who has created everything from temperature-controlled drinkware to a pump that can heat or cool water in one system.

“We have incredible faculty members who are changing the world through their discoveries,” said Noah Manring, Dean and Ketcham Professor. “Our students — at every level from freshman up to graduate students — are fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from and work alongside them.”

Meet a group of researchers, innovators and world-changers from Mizzou Engineering. These faculty members were recently recognized by MU’s Research, Innovation and Impact office for patents and inventions.

Hadi Ali-Akbarpour, Assistant Research Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

  • Startup company created with MU-licensed technologies
    • Imaging company Flux Tensor Corp. licensed software that reconstructs 3D geometric models using 2D images captured from multiple camera views, stitches 2D images to create wide area views and tracks moving objects in real-world environments.

Mahmoud Almasri, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

  • Energy-harvesting device (Patent No. 11,005,352)
    • This device uses cantilever beams to transform low-frequency mechanical vibrations into high-frequency vibrations that are efficiently converted into electrical power.
  • Microbolometer for better thermal camera performance (Patent No. 11,118,981)
    • This improved sensitivity infrared thermal sensor is used in commercial and military imaging, such as surveillance (night vision goggles), threat detection, target recognition, medical diagnostics, firefighting and security.
  • Fabrication method for optical fiber sensors (Patent No. 10,989,867)
    • This versatile, low-cost method for large-scale production of small, fiber- based sensors uses microsphere lithography to create customizable sensors that identify target materials.

Filiz Bunyak Ersoy, Assistant Research Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

  • Software system to assess speech and swallowing (Patent No. 10,959,661)
    • Clinicians can use this software to measure the level of dysfunction objectively and quantitatively in patients with speech and swallowing disorders, enabling earlier diagnosis, disease progression tracking and comparison to control groups.
  • Technologies licensed by a commercial partner
    • A moving-object detection system that can tell the difference between an object of interest and its shadow.
    • A moving-object recognition system that tracks objects with high accuracy and predicts future motion.

Frank Feng, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

  • Thermoelectric dehumidifier (Patent No. 11,209,176)
    • This dehumidifier is more efficient and quieter than compressor-based systems and currently available thermoelectric cooler-based dehumidifiers.

Sheila Grant, Associate Vice Chancellor, MU Research and Strategic Initiatives; Professor of Biological and Biomedical Engineering

  • Injectable bionanomaterial to treat osteoarthritis (Patent No. 11,160,906)
    • This composite material reduces cartilage degeneration after joint or spinal cord injury to prevent or treat osteoarthritis.

Li-Qun (Andrew) Gu, Professor of Biological and Biomedical Engineering

  • More accurate way to capture individual genetic markers (Patent No. 11,034,996)
    • This method enables improved detection of small differences in a person’s genes, which helps predict the risk of developing diseases and response to drugs.
  • Technologies licensed by a commercial partner
    • Nucleic acid platforms that use nanopores to detect genetic diseases.

Raghuraman Kannan, Michael J. and Sharon R. Bukstein Chair in Cancer Research; Professor of Radiology and Biological Engineering

  • Composite nanomaterials and synthesis methods (Patent No. 10,914,734)
    • These targeted gold nanoparticles deliver cancer therapeutics more precisely.

James M. Keller, Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

  • Integrated sensor network to monitor activity patterns (Patent No. 11,147,451)
    • A network of different types of sensors noninvasively detects an older adult’s activity level at home and informs clinicians and families when pattern changes indicate physical or cognitive health issues.

Jae Wan Kwon, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

  • Radiolytic electrochemical generator (Patent No. 10,938,045)
    • Similar to how a battery converts chemical energy to electrical energy, this new device converts radiation energy to electrical energy. Technology licensed by a commercial partner
    • Self-charging nuclear battery.

Hongbin (Bill) Ma, Chair and Glen A. Barton Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

  • Heat-exchanging thermal liquid container (Patent No. 11,142,675)
    • This container quickly cools coffee and other hot beverages to a drinkable temperature and maintains that temperature for an extended period.
  • Thermoelectric dehumidifier (Patent No. 11,209,176)
    • This dehumidifier is more efficient and quieter than compressor-based systems and currently available thermoelectric cooler-based dehumidifiers.
  • Technologies licensed by a commercial partner
    • Thermally driven heat pump that provides efficient refrigeration and hot water in one system.
    • Efficient heat-exchange systems for cooling electronics.
    • A mug that quickly cools hot beverages to the ideal drinking temperature.
    • Drinking container that cools and maintains a beverage at a drinkable temperature.
    • Improved lids for closing drinkware and containing heat.

Kannappan Palaniappan, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

  • Startup company created with MU-licensed technologies
    • Imaging company Flux Tensor Corp. licensed software that reconstructs 3D geometric models using 2D images captured from multiple camera views, stitches 2D images to create wide area views and tracks moving objects in real-world environments.

Chi-Ren Shyu, Paul K. and Dianne Shumaker Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

  • An efficient, top-down approach to big data mining (Patent No. 11,055,351)
    • This new software structure for complex data, such as electronic medical records, takes up less computer memory and greatly reduces runtime compared to other available mining and analytics tools.

Marjorie Skubic, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Robert H. Buescher Faculty Fellow

  • Integrated sensor network to monitor activity patterns (Patent No. 11,147,451)
    • A network of different types of sensors noninvasively detects an older adult’s activity level at home and informs clinicians and families when pattern changes indicate physical or cognitive health issues.
  • Hydraulic bed sensor system to monitor physiological data (Patent No. 11,013,415)
    • This noninvasive bed sensing system detects and monitors a person’s physiological movements, such as pulse and respiration rates, to detect early signs of illness and functional decline.

Yangchuan (Chad) Xing, Cramer W. LaPierre Professor of Chemical Engineering

  • Startup company created with an MU-licensed technology
    • Simple Process Technologies licensed an efficient process for producing raw materials needed for lithium batteries.

Yunxin Zhao, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

  • Software system to assess speech and swallowing (Patent No. 10,959,661)
    • Clinicians can use this software to measure the level of dysfunction objectively and quantitatively in patients with speech and swallowing disorders, enabling earlier diagnosis, disease progression tracking and comparison to control groups.

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