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Electrical and Computer Engineering

Students create virtual campus to foster sense of community

A screenshot shows the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation students created in Minecraft.

A screenshot shows the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation students created in Minecraft.

The University of Windsor Engineering Students’ Society is bringing campus to the screens of students learning from home.

The society has created a replica of the University of Windsor campus on Minecraft — a video game that allows you to create a virtual world with Java programming. 

Students can explore each floor of the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation and take a stroll through UWindsor’s campus peppered with lush trees, flower beds and even its Promise campaign billboards. 

“Since we are all stuck inside on our computers for the remainder of the semester, it’s important to keep the sense of campus community,” says Theo Sancartier, president of the Engineering Students’ Society.

“With this Minecraft server, we hope to have students interacting in a way no one thought of before.”

Sancartier says the society’s executive committee and other volunteers spent the entire summer creating the server to ensure incoming students had a memorable experience and felt connected to campus. 

Student research focuses on security of 5G devices

Sahereh Sabandabadi, a master's student, poses outside

We live in a world where cars drive themselves, thermostats are set via smart phones, and home security systems can be armed and monitored remotely.

But how can we ensure the tiny components connecting these devices to the Internet are safe from malicious interference?

That’s the problem UWindsor graduate student Sahereh Sahandabadi is probing. As part of a larger research project in collaboration with Canadian telecommunications company Telus on 5G technology, the Master’s student in engineering is looking for ways to build safeguards into Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

“A crucial factor for the IoT devices is security and reliability,” said Sahandabadi. “Since these devices have limited battery power and can’t accommodate complicated processes in their sensors, new algorithms and methods are needed to provide this reliability.”

UWindsor research driving engineering innovation

Dr. Ofelia Jianu’s  working in lab

From cost-effective, electric vehicles with superior torque density and performance to energy-absorbing devices that can save lives in automotive crashes or bomb explosions, more than $3.2 million in federal funding will advance University of Windsor research at the forefront of Canadian engineering innovation.

Seventeen researchers in the university’s Faculty of Engineering received funding through the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s five-year term Discovery Grants and the Research Tools and Instruments Grant program.

Dr. Bill Altenhof, who specializes in mechanical and materials engineering, is developing high performing adaptive structural energy absorbing devices that can adjust force and displacement response as needed. These responsive materials have the potential to mitigate serious injuries or death as a result of falls, automotive crashes, pedestrian impacts, blasts or bomb explosions.

Engineering society honours local chapter

IEEE UWindsor chapter

A University of Windsor chapter of electrical and computer engineers has been recognized for its innovative programs and leadership.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) society for Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC) presented its 2019 outstanding award to the Windsor chapter, composed of students and faculty.

The SMC chapter is chaired by Roozbeh Razavi-Far in the Faculty of Engineering.

The award recognizes exceptional administrative, managerial, and leadership achievement, and meritorious and significant service to any SMC society sponsored activity.

Consortium funds research into cybersecurity of autonomous vehicles

Mitra Mirhassani and Huapeng Wu

Two UWindsor professors have received $383,000 in funding to research how to ensure the cybersecurity of autonomous vehicles.

The research money for Mitra Mirhassani and Huapeng Wu was announced Thursday at the Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre as part of a $1.1 million funding announcement for the National Academic Cluster for Smart Vehicles through the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC).

Drs. Mirhassani and Wu will investigate how to ensure technology used in autonomous vehicles and transit systems doesn’t include Trojan hardware.

“We have to make sure they are safe, secure, and can’t be tampered with,” said Mirhassani. “If any loophole exists, there goes your security.”

Two UWindsor professors have received $383,000 in funding to research how to ensure the cybersecurity of autonomous vehicles.

The research money for Mitra Mirhassani and Huapeng Wu was announced Thursday at the Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre as part of a $1.1 million funding announcement for the National Academic Cluster for Smart Vehicles through the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium (CUTRIC).

Drs. Mirhassani and Wu will investigate how to ensure technology used in autonomous vehicles and transit systems doesn’t include Trojan hardware.

“We have to make sure they are safe, secure, and can’t be tampered with,” said Mirhassani. “If any loophole exists, there goes your security.”

Driving cybersecurity evolution

Meitong Pan, examines an FPGA board used to implement complex digital computations.

Companies are well aware of the environmental benefits of electrifying vehicle fleets, but how much is known about the security of these systems?

A University of Windsor researcher aims to dig deeper through the investigation of cybersecurity issues that arise when using electric vehicle fleets with battery charging infrastructure.

“The environmental, geopolitical and financial advantages of electric vehicles are well-studied and addressed in many research publications. However, security of these systems is not given the full attention that it requires,” says Dr. Mitra Mirhassani, the project lead and associate professor who specializes in electrical engineering.

Amazon announced in fall 2019 the largest order of electric delivery vehicles ever, according to David Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of operations. The world’s largest retailer purchased 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian, a Michigan-based start-up. While companies like Amazon are making the switch to electric fleets, municipalities are preparing with plans to add infrastructure to accommodate the surge in consumer and corporate investments in alternative fuels. The City of Windsor is looking to set up 11 dual-port electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the municipality, according to a 2019 city council report.

A natural changemaker

Pamela Nadin-McIntyre with a drilling team during a visit to Canadian Natural Resources Limited’s

Pamela Nadin-Mcintyre was introduced to the importance of innovation and its role in business at a young age.

As a daughter of a Windsor tool and die business owner, she remembers watching her dad brainstorm and execute countless ideas to drive business and stay competitive.

Decades later and three provinces away, she is the innovation lead — in addition to safety, technical safety, and risk management — for Canada’s largest independent crude oil and natural gas producer, Canadian Natural Resources Limited (Canadian Natural).

“My dad’s the one who really helped push me in this direction,” says Nadin- McIntyre BASc ’86.

In addition to ensuring the right systems are in place to maintain the safety of people across Canadian Natural’s operations, she leads dedicated teams that are focused on improving the company’s environmental performance through technology and innovation. And for someone who is passionate about the environment, it’s more than just a job.

Graduating students tackle real-world problems

Jeff Bilek, Larry Sandhu, Aaron Marson and Connor Holowachuk display their fitness-based wearable

More than 100 industry and community members came to the University of Windsor Friday to learn more about student engineering projects that have real-world applications and the potential to advance technology.

The fourth-year capstone projects ranged from fitness-based wearables, autonomous vehicle technologiesand sensor systems for monitoring greenhouses to the optimization of the Chatham Water Pollution Control Plant and building energy retrofitting.

"Our project allowed us to explore a variety of practical solutions to real-world problems,” says Olivia Byrne, whose team placed second in the Water Environment Association of Ontario's annual student design competition for its optimization of the Chatham Water Pollution Control Plant. “Coming up with a competitive solution required intense dedication and organization.”

Research displays highlight engineering innovation

Doctoral student Faraz Talebpour shows off a remote-controlled underwater vehicle.

Studying engineering at the University of Windsor has shown Faraz Talebpour his potential to make a difference.

A doctoral candidate in electrical and computer engineering, his work on a remotely controlled underwater vehicle can find immediate application on real-world challenges. It was one of more than 30 research projects displayed during an open house Friday in the Centre for Engineering Innovation.

Talebpour says his experience scuba diving has helped him to appreciate how pollution threatens aquatic ecosystems.

“Going under the water you see how we’re destroying that world,” he says. “This project can save the marine life that we have endangered.”

Tiny technology. Giant applications.

Dr. Arezoo Emadi and Jenitha Balasingam working in Electrical Micro & Nano Devices and Sensors.

What if family doctors had access to low-cost, handheld scanners or biosensors that could detect cancer at an early stage? What if they could monitor a patient’s heart activity through a wearable device and detect early signs of cardiovascular disease? How about a sensor that could prevent intoxicated drivers from operating vehicles or a navigation system that could aid the visually impaired indoors?

Researchers at the University of Windsor hope to advance these technologies and more in Windsor’s first state-of-the-art microfabrication facility. The high-tech clean room will be specially designed to facilitate multidisciplinary micro- and nano-scale research by controlling air pollutant levels, pressurization, temperature and humidity. It’s slated to open in 2019 in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation.

“This fabrication facility will provide us with an ideal incubator for academia and industry to foster collaborative research and commercialization of advanced sensors, thus increasing our leadership in the emerging area of the micro nano sensor industry — an area which is rapidly growing,” says Dr. Jalal Ahamed, an assistant mechanical engineering professor who designs and fabricates micro- and nano-systems for a variety of applications, including healthcare, automotive, aerospace and manufacturing.