May 29, 2014
By Matt Hawkins
Three senior electrical engineering majors turned the spotlight on the radio frequency track with an innovative senior project. The project, a wireless battery charging system, set the foundation for future RF-track research.
In collaboration with Dr. Prasad Shastry, Sergio Sanchez, Tyler Hoge and Elie Baliss designed a system that could wirelessly charge low-power batteries for equipment such as insulin pumps, pacemakers and fitness bands. Unlike recharging pads that require the battery-operated device to connect to the pad, wireless systems charge batteries within a short distance of a charging device.
The system, as one of the first with practical capabilities, could help people like Hoge’s 5-year-old cousin, who wears an insulin pump.
“An insulin pump for him is a daunting task,” Hoge said. “One less thing he has to do makes it less confusing for him. Then, you can get something like this to a lower age group sooner instead of doing the normal injection.”
Because of the pilot project’s limited capabilities, it will remain at Bradley as an enticing project for future RF-track students. The seniors hope their work strengthens interest in the track and draws more students into the program.
“There are endless opportunities for applications of this,” Baliss said. “We’re glad to get it started. I’d like to come back as an alumnus and see what students do with it.”
The work linked years of theoretical work with the product development process they will expect in the professional world.
“I’m a fan of the process from concept to design,” Hoge said. “It was enjoyable to have a system that worked and had real-world applications.”
They also took advantage of regular meetings with graduate RF students. Those meetings helped the undergrads work through complex issues they hadn’t encountered in their studies.
“It was a great experience,” said Hoge, who hopes to continue in Bradley’s graduate program. “I’m looking forward to help undergrads because I’ll be able to contribute enough to make a big difference in their work.”
The trio also recognized the significance of tackling a graduate-level project as undergrads.
“Many other engineering programs wouldn’t have allowed us to do something like this,” Baliss said. “Once we got the idea, we were going to figure it out no matter how hard it was.”