Students from seven universities selected for the prestigious Draper Fellow Program
CAMBRIDGE, MA—This summer, 32 scholars hailing from a cross-section of seven prominent United States universities will be welcomed to the Draper Fellow Program, which supports graduate study in engineering and the sciences at select universities. The Draper Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for students to benefit from not only immersion in their university’s academic research environment, but also from Draper’s facilities, collective knowledge and experience. With this latest round of Fellows, the program has now selected a total of 1,200 students to collaborate with universities to conduct research.
Since 1974, the Draper Fellow Program has supported exceptional graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in engineering and the sciences. Draper Fellow Alumni are from both civilian and military backgrounds and excel worldwide in the technical, corporate, government, academic and entrepreneurship sectors.
“One of the main goals of the Draper Fellow Program has been to engage one of the nation’s most important assets, its engineering and science graduate students,” said Sheila Hemami, Director of Strategic Technical Opportunities at Draper. “Given the caliber of our incoming class of Fellows, we are looking forward to their contributions across a broad range of problems and to working with them as they apply their skills in scientific inquiry and innovation.”
Draper Fellows work closely with Draper technical staff to develop state-of-the-art technologies in world-class laboratories, and their scholarly outputs often go beyond top-tier journal papers and conference presentations to include prototypes, testbeds and field implementations. Each Draper Fellow conducts research under the supervision of both a university faculty advisor and a Draper supervisor who is a member of Draper’s technical staff in an area of mutual interest.
Those areas at Draper include organ-on-a-chip devices and microfluidics (in Biomedical Solutions); aerospace engineering, human spaceflight and celestial and spaceflight mechanics (in Space Systems); 3D printing, mechatronics and additive manufacturing (in Materials Engineering and Microfabrication); and wearable sensor systems, assistive devices and exoskeletons (in Human-Centered Solutions).
“The Draper Fellowship empowers these outstanding young people with the freedom to innovate and explore their talents in collaboration with leading technical experts,” Hemami added. “We look forward to what they will accomplish.”
Draper develops novel PN&T solutions by combining precision instrumentation, advanced hardware technology, comprehensive algorithm and software development skills, and unique infrastructure and test resources to deploy system solutions. The scope of these efforts generally focuses on guidance, navigation, and control GN&C-related needs, ranging from highly accurate, inertial solutions for (ICBMs) and inertial/stellar solutions for SLBMs, to integrated Inertial Navigation System(INS)/GPS solutions for gun-fired munitions, to multisensor configurations for soldier navigation in GPS-challenged environments. Emerging technologies under development that leverage and advance commercial technology offerings include celestial navigation (compact star cameras), inertial navigation (MEMS, cold atom sensors), precision time transfer (precision optics, chip-scale atomic clocks) and vision-based navigation (cell phone cameras, combinatorial signal processing algorithms).
Draper combines mission planning, PN&T, situational awareness, and novel GN&C designs to develop and deploy autonomous platforms for ground, air, sea and undersea needs. These systems range in complexity from human-in-the-loop to systems that operate without any human intervention. The design of these systems generally involves decomposing the mission needs into sets of scenarios that result in trade studies that lead to an optimized solution with key performance requirements. Draper continues to advance the field of autonomy through research in the areas of mission planning, sensing and perception, mobility, learning, real-time performance evaluation and human trust in autonomous systems.
Draper has continued to advance the understanding and application of human-centered engineering to optimize the interaction and capabilities of the human’s ability to better understand, assimilate and convey information for critical decisions and tasks. Through its Human-Centered Solutions capability, Draper enables accomplishment of users’ most critical missions by seamlessly integrating technology into a user’s workflow. This work leverages human-computer interaction through emerging findings in applied psychophysiology and cognitive neuroscience. Draper has deep skills in the design, development, and deployment of systems to support cognition – for users seated at desks, on the move with mobile devices or maneuvering in the cockpit of vehicles – and collaboration across human-human and human-autonomous teams.
Draper’s Biomedical Solutions capability centers on the application of microsystems, miniaturized electronics, computational modeling, algorithm development and image and data analytics applied to a range of challenges in healthcare and related fields. Draper fills that critical engineering niche that is required to take research or critical requirements and prototype or manufacture realizable solutions. Some specific examples are MEMS, microfluidics and nanostructuring applied to the development of wearable and implantable medical devices, organ-assist devices and drug-delivery systems. Novel neural interfaces for prosthetics and for treatment of neurological conditions are being realized through a combination of integrated miniaturized electronics and microfabrication technologies.