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Central Texas Section Celebrates National Engineers Week - February 23, 2016

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National Engineers Week (EWeek) is an annual event established by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951 to promote an increased understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers.  The event is held during the week that includes George Washington’s actual birthday (February 22nd) honoring the first U.S. President also as the nation’s first engineer for his early survey work.  Today EWeek is celebrated by a coalition of over 70 professional societies to raise public awareness of engineers’ positive contributions to quality of life.

In 2016, the IEEE Central Texas Section (CTS) celebrated EWeek (February 21-27) with a series of events culminating in an Innovators, Engineers & Entrepreneurs Workshop at the University of Texas in Austin.  See http://sites.ieee.org/ctx/engineers-week/ for a complete listing of these events.  To promote activities, CTS offered to pay for the meal expenses for any chapter that conducted a meeting during EWeek.  As part of these events the Joint Systems, Man, and Cybernetics and Aerospace and Electronic Systems (SMC-AES) Chapter held a lunchtime meeting at Southwest Research Institute on Wednesday, February 23rd.

The featured speaker for the Joint SMC-AES Chapter meeting was Ms. Crystal Parrott of Southwest Research Institute, who spoke on “Supersized Robots” and their applications to large-scale surface processing (painting, depainting, polishing, etc.), inspection, and other maintenance, repair and overhaul activities.  These applications typically have requirements (reach, payload, hazardous environment, etc.) that preclude the use of standard commercial robots.  Ms. Parrot described a series of programs from the 1990’s to the present that resulted in fielded systems for painting and/or depainting of F-15, F-16, F-22 and C-130 aircraft and also tactical wheeled vehicles such as the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV).  She also described various enabling technologies such as the ability to use high-powered laser scanners to remove surface coatings, localization techniques that allow robots to operate in more unstructured workspaces, and mounting robots on mobile platforms in lieu of fixed scaffolding or gantries to facilitate access around large objects.  These technology enablers have led to an ongoing program to develop the world’s largest mobile robot to remove surface coatings from commercial aircraft as large as the A380.  She concluded with a vision of the future for large robotic systems in other applications such as applying coatings with ink-jet type technology in order to create complex paint patterns and images on large surfaces.

22 people attended the presentation and remained to enjoy free pizza and sodas afterwards.  Another 7 people participated by webcast.  The webcast was also recorded and can be accessed at the following website.

IEEE Central Texas Section Joint SMC-AES Chapter eWeek Presentation-20160223 1802-1 
Tuesday, February 23, 2016 
10:43 am | Pacific Standard Time (San Francisco, GMT-08:00) 

PLAY RECORDING (39 min) 
https://intercall.webex.com/intercall/ldr.php?RCID=6a70134c17516b113f37baa23484a1fd 

Field of Interest

“The field of interest shall be the organization, systems engineering, design, development, integration, and operation of complex systems for space, air, ocean, or ground environments. These systems include but are not limited to navigation, avionics, mobile electric power and electronics, radar, sonar, telemetry, military, law-enforcement, automatic test, simulators, and command and control."

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