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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Innovations in Blockchains, Intelligent Machines, Undersea Vehicles and More from Draper Fellows

Draper Fellows present technology and engineering breakthroughs at thesis celebration day

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Innovation was on the agenda recently at Draper when new research was presented by 21 graduating master’s and Ph.D. students whose graduate study has been supported by the Draper Fellow Program. The research was wide-ranging, and the applications were real-world: finding your way in GPS-denied environments, detecting undersea vehicles meant to be stealthy, protecting blockchains from hacking and putting intelligence into human-machine teams.

The event was the Graduating Draper Fellow Highlights Poster Session, in which graduating Fellows present their thesis research in addressing and solving some of the most challenging technology and engineering problems.

The 2018 poster session did not disappoint. Kevin Ligonde, an MS student at Tufts University, presented technology in support of a brain wave detector in a cap that would make taking certain measurements much easier than using MRI for blood flow, magnetoencephalography (MEG) or electroencephalography (EEG).

Kristen Railey, a Ph.D. student at MIT, explained a new approach to passively detecting and tracking unmanned underwater vehicles—a method that may prove useful to protecting against autonomous undersea vehicles operating with malicious intent. And Brown University Ph.D. student Christopher Picardo developed a technique for processing imaging data that overcomes a deficit in cameras operating in low-light environments—an advance that could help aircraft succeed in search and rescue missions.

The 2018 Draper Fellows graduating class includes 21 students from Boston University, Brown University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University and Tufts University. Each year the program typically supports 55-65 graduate students.

Sheila Hemami, Director of Strategic Technical Opportunities at Draper, said the program, which she directs, provides an 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. “Draper’s technical depth and expertise provides synergy with each Fellow’s university research laboratories, and the Draper Fellow alumni network provides additional networking and mentoring opportunities. Draper is proud to support the world’s future technical leaders.”

Alumni of the Draper Fellow Program, founded in 1974, comprise more than 1,200 Draper Fellows from both civilian and military backgrounds who are excelling worldwide in technical, corporate, government, academic and entrepreneurship sectors. Notable alumni include military officers, executives at Fortune 500 companies and five NASA astronauts.

Details about the program, including how to apply, are available at Draper.

Twenty-one Draper Fellows graduated in 2018. Members of the 2018 graduating class studied at Boston University, Brown, MIT, Northeastern and Tufts. Draper Fellows present technology and engineering breakthroughs at thesis celebration day. Alumni of the Draper Fellow Program, founded in 1974, comprise more than 1,200 leaders from both civilian and military backgrounds. Draper typically supports 55-65 graduate students each year. Draper Fellows presented research in blockchains, intelligent machines, undersea vehicles and more at the 2018 Graduating Draper Fellow Highlights Poster Session.
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Human-Centered Solutions

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.

Image & Data Analytics

Draper combines specific domain expertise and knowledge of how to apply the latest analytics techniques to extract meaningful information from raw data to better understand complex, dynamic processes. Our system design approach encompasses effective organization and processing of large data sets, automated analysis using algorithms and exploitation of results. To facilitate user interaction with these processed data sets, Draper applies advanced techniques to automate understanding and correlation of patterns in the data. Draper’s expertise encompasses machine learning (including deep learning), information fusion from diverse and heterogeneous data sources, optimized coupling of data acquisition and analysis and novel methods for analysis of imagery and video data.

Biomedical Solutions

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.

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