Thomas receives Professional Award in Electrical Engineering

October 26, 2018

Tim Thomas, 2018 Professional Award in Electrical Engineering Award WinnerTim Thomas was presented with the 2018 Professional Award in Electrical Engineering during the annual Speed School homecoming dinner held October 26 at the Brown Hotel.

He is the co-founder of T2 Labs, a local contract engineering firm that specializes in short range communications.

In the days since his graduation from the University of Louisville’s Speed Scientific School (’86), Thomas started his career in the late 80’s in Dallas, working at Texas Instruments.  This was the time when the IBM PC was the newest tool to advance productivity.  Being at the forefront of this technology, Tim was able to use this platform to differentiate himself from the other employees.  While others were using the PC to handle the day-to-day activities, Tim was working on the low-level functions to bring new capabilities and enhance the performance to the platform.

In 1990, after leaving Texas Instruments and returning to Kentucky, Tim was fortunate to work for Key Communications, a small company in New Albany, IN that was working with a number of new and upcoming technologies.  This not only included modems, that allowed remote devices to connect and communicate, but also Flash memory technology, 2-D barcodes as well as Smart Cards.  All of this occurred before PC networking, Windows OS or the Internet.

In the mid-1990s, Tim worked for local companies such as Universal Four Pair and VideoLan Technologies, which were startup companies working on Desktop Video Conferencing.  At that time, the technology was not cost prohibited for the home user and struggled to find its place in the corporate world.  Despite the failure of this endeavor, these jobs provided him experience with digital video switching networks, T1’s and ISDN.

After leaving the failing Video Conferencing companies, Tim started developing new communication technologies for the railroad when he joined Safetran Systems in 1997.  This work involved digital audio processing and transport as well as RF communications. 

In 1999, Tim joined Stonestreet One, which was founded by a college classmate, to develop for a new wireless communication platform called Bluetooth.   Not realizing it, all of his work after Texas Instruments had involved some type form of communication.  Bluetooth would be the technology to solidify Tim’s place as an embedded communication developer.  Working with Bluetooth has allowed Tim’s work with companies such as Bose, Garmin, Nike and GoPro has contributed to the success of their products.  In 2014, Stonestreet One was acquired by Qualcomm, where Tim continued his work with Bluetooth, as well as working with 802.11.

In 2018, Tim co-founded a contract engineering company called T2 Labs, where he continue to work on the latest advancements in Bluetooth to enable companies to create great products.  Other wireless technologies, such as Zigbee, 802.15.4 and Narrow Band IOT, are also being developed to compliment Bluetooth in the ‘Smart Home’.  This has led to work with Mesh Networking, IOT-Hub development and the management of multi-technology communication systems.

Tim has always been interested in solving problems using new technologies.  What’s next?

Helping anemia patients with their optimal dosage

September 26, 2018

Headshot of Dr. Tamer InancFinding the right dosage for a patient can be difficult. Dr. Tamer Inanc who recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation for $286K, believes that advances in engineering and computational intelligence can help.

Inanc and his team are first turning their attention to patients suffering from anemia, which due to the nature of the disease affords a unique test-bed.

“In the short term, we will apply the proposed research to anemia patients,” said Inanc. “In the long run, we hope to be able to apply the proposed methodology to other diseases which require careful monitoring of dosing of drug(s).”

Working with a former student, Inanc developed a new optimal control algorithm. The purpose of the algorithm is to quantify the best path based on the available criteria. For example, this method is employed if you want determine the best route from one point to another or the least energy intensive.

“Optimal control takes into account this objective function,” said Inanc. “We are trying to maximize the benefits for the patient while trying to minimize the amount of drug(s) through a personalized, patient specific optimal drug dose regimen.”

The National Kidney Foundation offers recommendations on how to maintain appropriate hemoglobin levels for anemics, but no guidelines on how to balance that with the strategies in dialysis facilities who have determined their own Anemia Management Protocols. The price associated with outpatient erythropoiesis stimulating agents has steadily increased since 1994, according to the United States Renal Data System.

That value is not only the literal pricing of the medication, but economy of time and effectiveness as well. To satisfy these interests, Inanc will have to walk a narrow path that balances each.

“The cost is going to be trying to keep the patient's hemoglobin levels at the desired output levels,” said Inanc. “At the same time, when you do that, you cannot just maximize the amount of the drug. They have a very narrow therapeutic range, and side effects, so you’re trying to avoid those as well.”

Additionally, Inanc and his team help to offset the associated morbidity and mortality costs connected with poor anemia management stemming from optimal dosing. Physicians often rely on trial-and-error to establish appropriate dosing, which can lead to sub-therapeutic results.

To combat this, Inanc is investigating an approach to individualized drug dosing using a new modern control method based on radial basis functions and robust patient-specific models.

Unlike classical dosage identification techniques for patients, Inanc’s research uses a dynamic modeling system that employs noisy patient-specific clinic data.

“Robust system identification takes into account system uncertainties, unmodeled dynamics and model complexity, i.e., there is no assumption on the model order, uncertainties and noise affecting data,” said Inanc. “Based on these predictive individualized models, we propose development of a patient-specific dosing approach using a novel radial basis function-based controller to generate optimal dosing sequence and expected response adapting to temporal changes in patients’ dose-response characteristics.”

Inanc is aided by Drs. Michael Brier, Adam Gaweda and Alfred Jacobs are from School of Medicine, and Dr. Jacek Zurada from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Inanc and Zurada are collaborating to develop the proposed methodology in coordination with their co-principal (co-PI) investigators from the medical school.

While Inanc’s approach focuses on a narrow path to optimize patient treatment, he is optimistic that these techniques will be applicable to other drug regimens.

“This is the beginning. This approach, we are going to be applying it to anemia patients, but it has the potential that it can be applicable to other patients and other drugs,” said Inanc. “If the drugs they use have a narrow therapeutic range, side effects, this methodology could be applicable to those. I would love to see this applied to other fields, especially cancer or diabetic patients.”

The grant began on August 15, 2018 and is estimated to end on July 31, 2020.

Amini recognized for contributions to photo-optics

August 23, 2018

Dr. Amir Amini

Dr. Amir Amini was recently promoted to a senior member of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Amini has taught at the J.B. Speed School since August 2006, where he is the director of the Medical Imaging Laboratory. Founded in 1955, the SPIE has worked with researchers, educators, and industry to advance light-based research and technologies. Senior Members to the organization are distinguished for their professional service and contributions to the optics community. Since joining SPIE, Amini has chaired the SPIE Medical Imaging Symposium in 2007, and has continued to research advancements in the field of optics and imaging technologies.

When did you first join and where did you hear about the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers?

I became a member in the mid-1990s, though I first attended SPIE conferences back in 1991. I heard about SPIE through colleagues and became interested in participating.

Can you tell us a little about the organization? What is organizations mission objective? How long have you been a member?

The SPIE organization is quite broad and disseminates technological information in the area of optics and photonics. However, my own interest specifically is in the field of medical imaging -- I have been an author and/or participant at SPIE Medical Imaging Symposium for numerous years. I Co-Chaired the SPIE Conference on physiology and function from medical images for 4 years in the early 2000s in San Diego, and in 2007 I Co-Chaired the SPIE Medical Imaging Symposium.

Why were you elevated to senior member status? What does that mean to you?

I was elevated for contributions to the field of medical imaging and for service and leadership in the SPIE organization. It is a great honor for me to be recognized for my contributions to my field by the SPIE organization.

What does it mean to have an active profile in the organization? How do you engage with the SPIE community? How do you feel that you’ve most contributed to SPIE?

My students and members of my lab regularly present at the SPIE Medical Imaging Symposium – through the years my students have benefited from attending the symposium, presenting, and listening to presentations and reading papers published in the conference proceedings.

I engage at a number of levels with the SPIE community – at conferences and symposia, in the review process and for evaluation of submitted abstracts and papers as a member of scientific program committees, chairing sessions, and leading conferences and symposia.

Has your relationship with SPIE evolved since chairing their symposium in 2007?

SPIE Medical Imaging Symposium has a special place amongst all medical imaging conferences for me. The breadth of the meeting which covers physics of imaging, image processing, visualization, computer aided diagnosis, Ultrasound, and now digital pathology with first rate oral presentations and robust poster sessions has only grown over the years. I or my students have consistently attended the meeting and benefitted from the Oral and poster sessions, pre-conference courses and tutorials, and workshops. I treasure the camaraderie and friendships that I have formed with SPIE colleagues over the past 25 years.

What do you see as the next step in your relationship with SPIE? How do you hope to grow the organization?

I am committed to SPIE as a first rate technical organization and community. Throughout the years and through my affiliation with three institutions (Yale, Washington University School of Medicine, and University of Louisville), my students have attended SPIE conferences and meetings and I am hopeful that this will continue into the future.

Where can interested members go to learn more?

Attending the SPIE Medical Imaging Symposium is a good place to start!

UofL student scores big with paper on tiny robots

July 16, 2018

By Baylee Pulliam

It might be about tiny robots, but Ruoshi Zhang’s paper is getting big attention.

The University of Louisville doctoral candidate just won best student paper at the IEEE Conference on Manipulation, Automation and Robotics at Small Scales (MARSS 2018), held in Nagoya, Japan in early July.

His paper, “Design, analysis and fabrication of sAFAM, a 4 DoF assembled microrobot,” focuses on research conducted at UofL’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering. He’s studying how to build a better AFAM micro-robot — one small enough to manufacture nanotechnologies, or even manipulate cells to cure disease.

Zhang’s paper was chosen from among eight finalists, a list that included students from University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, and University of California Berkeley, among others.
“Winning the conference is a great matter to me,” he said. “I didn’t realize this idea was worth any award when I came up with it; it was only a small modification to make AFAM (robot) better.”
The bottom line is that, in order to make tiny things, the workers themselves need to be tiny. It’s an idea Zhang became enamored with after he was introduced to the tiny bots by a fellow student.

“The small size, the mechanism, the intriguing design and exquisite structures took my heart,” he said.

As a doctoral student at UofL, Zhang works under Dr. Dan Popa at the Next Generation Systems robotics lab in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. There, Zhang was introduced to the AFAM, a micro-robot created by Dr. Popa and colleagues 10 years ago.

Zhang’s paper focuses on his research into how best to resolve issues with the AFAM, including its difficult assembly and failure rate. Popa said he was very proud of Zhang’s work and award.
“He worked hard on all aspects of the paper, conducted both simulation and experiments, and wrote down his results,” Popa said.  “I think it speaks well for the research dedication of our students and for the quality of engineering graduate programs here at Speed School.”

As for Zhang, he’s now working on a way to direct the bots using lasers. After he finishes his PhD at UofL, he’s planning to continue his research, either working with industry or at a university.
“This field is very active and there are new developments everyday,” he said. “I’m excited about it.”

Electrical & Computer Engineering Capstone Recap

April 27, 2018

 The capstone event for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering was featured in the Henry Vogt Building this last Tuesday morning, showing off a number of student led initiatives. The projects on display were primarily visual in nature, with students delivering the poster presentations about how each operated. As with other such capstone projects, there was a limited budget employed for the majority of the presentations, creating a further obstacle for each student to operate within.

Projects varied from the personal to the interpersonal, often correlating the link between the engineering and business applications for the final product. A few projects, including a toilet seat weight scale and a 'friendly reminders' technology system for dementia patients, offered passive means of patient intervention to aid caregivers and the clients alike. The Redbird Robotics team were fortunate to use their year long drone building project as their final presentation, with each member explaining their roll in the process, from machine learning to the actual flight logistics and navigation features. 

The Heat flow sensor system team was primarily comprised of former LG&E interns, which provided some valuable insight as to how potential customers might employ their creation. Working with Dr. Shamus McNamara as a client, their project involved a crafted a device that could help quantify the savings relative to the installation of new insulation. The device uses outside and inside temperatures to calculate the most effective solution to heating and energy efficiency from an electrical perspective, accounting for total kilowatts consumed.

The complete list of projects including the developers and clients follows:

Power electronic system for assembled micro robots

  • Madison Beuchler
  • Jordan Klotz
  • Logan Ouellette
  • Justin Tran

Technology for those living with dementia – friendly reminders


  • David Bender
  • Mason Kratt
  • David Langner
  • Dan Nguyen

Cyber Physical system for the Phoenix house


  • Joseph Costello
  • Adam Dauenhauer
  • David Dunaway
  • Jacob Estes

3-Axis motorized gimbal with active tracking


  • Mark Doninger
  • Bradley Harbeson
  • Matthew Hutcheson
  • Anthony Loflin

Toilet seat weight scale

  • Brandon Adams
  • Caleb McIntosh
  • Gabriel Pantess
  • Erik Rieger

Solar powered automatic irrigation system


  • Kari Bertram
  • Andrew Garrett
  • Jason Kinn
  • Daniel Stadelman

Heat flow sensor system

  • Kyle Baldwin
  • Nicholas Brandel
  • Stanley Doerger
  • Cameron King

Vehicular wireless communications


  • Samuel Bibelhauser
  • Michael March
  • Tyler McLemore
  • Joseph Urda

Baby car seat monitor and alert system

Timothy Jones
Levi Mays
Kristian Meyer
Zachary Scott
Travis Velkly

Wireless sensing of athlete data 


  • Collie Crawford
  • Dylan Ford
  • Jacob Guhy
  • Hung Nguyen
  • Thomas Ryan

Redbird robotics

  • William Funke
  • Stephanie Hart
  • Alex Rickert
  • Ben Stringer

Amini serves as co-chair for conference on biomedical imaging

February 20, 2018

Dr. Amir AminiA prestigious international conference is being co-chaired by Amir Amini, Ph.D., J.B. Speed School of Engineering professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging, a scientific conference dedicated to mathematical, algorithmic, and computational aspects of biological and biomedical imaging, across all scales of observation, will be held in Washington, D.C., April 4-7, 2018, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. The conference features tutorials, and a scientific program composed of plenary talks, invited special sessions, challenges, as well as oral and poster presentations of peer-reviewed papers.

"The steering committee for ISBI which is made up of top international imaging scientists approached me some two years ago and asked me to lead this meeting," said Amini. "So I feel proud and consider this as testament to the quality work that is carried out at the medical imaging laboratory at the University of Louisville."

Click here to visit the symposium website for more information.

Amini elected to board position of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society

December 3, 2018

Dr. Amir AminiDr. Amir Amini, professor and Endowed Chair of Bioimaging in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, J.B. Speed School of Engineering, has been elected Vice President of Publications at the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS). With 12,000+ members in 97 countries, IEEE EMBS is the world’s largest international society of biomedical engineers. As VP for Publications, he will oversee 11 of the highest impact factor journals in the field of biomedical engineering and bioimaging.

Since 1999, Dr. Amini has served on the editorial board of the Journals IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging. Most recently he has served on IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering since 2015, and the IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics since 2017. Dr. Amini also chaired the 2017 IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical Imaging (ISBI), the flagship meeting in the field of Biomedical Imaging held in Washington, DC. Dr. Amini was elected Fellow of the AIMBE in 2017 and of the IEEE (EMBS)  in 2007.