Campus & Community

Nine Stevens Researchers Honored by the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame

As has become habit in recent years, the Stevens community was incredibly well represented among honorees at the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame (NJIHoF). Four faculty members and five graduate students from the Schaefer School of Engineering and Science received awards at the 2012 ceremony, a black tie dinner held Oct. 18 at the W Hotel in Hoboken.

Co-sponsored by Stevens, the NJIHoF is an annual event that honors scientists, engineers, inventors, entrepreneurs and organizations who have contributed to the state’s consistent leadership in innovation, promoting economic growth and improving the quality of life. Eighteen Stevens alumni are past winners at the NJIHoF.

Taking one of the top NJIHoF honors in 2012 – the Inventor of the Year Award, which tributes inventors of groundbreaking, patented, commercialized inventions – was Bruce McNair.

McNair is a distinguished service professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Stevens, program director of the Stevens Computer Engineering graduate program, and founder and chief technology offer of Novidesic Communications. A Stevens Electrical Engineering alumnus, McNair’s work during his 24-year career at AT&T Bell Laboratories helped pave the way to high‐speed wireless communications. He is the author of patented research related to groundbreaking modem development and next generation wireless data communications systems. At Stevens, he serves as an integral member of the Intellectual Property Committee, where he has contributed enormously to Stevens’ technology‐transfer operations and commercialization efforts, and also manages the Senior Design project, which provides real‐world engineering design experiences to students.

“Stevens has always fostered the attitudes that lead to innovation with the rigorous, broad-based engineering education that has always been our standard,” said McNair, who credits Stevens with the preparation that allowed him to succeed as an innovator in industry. “I am glad to be part of recent activities to refocus attention on how Stevens can fully embed innovation and entrepreneurship into the entire undergraduate curriculum. I think it will bring more innovation to New Jersey and more recognition to Stevens through the accomplishments of our faculty, students and alumni.”

Three other Stevens faculty members were also 2012 honorees, each winning the Innovators Award, which recognizes significant scientific achievement.

Dr. Yingying Chen, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was honored alongside co-inventors Dr. Marco Gruteser and Dr. Richard P. Martin from Rutgers University for their innovative research detecting driver phone use to mitigate distracted driving caused by mobile phones. The patent-pending system they pioneered is a key milestone for enabling numerous driver safety and phone interface enhancements.

In addition, Dr. Rajarathnam Chandramouli and Dr. K.P. Subbalaksmi of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering were honored for their patented technologies related to analyzing deception in multilingual text, including gender identification and other malicious media. Most recently they developed a website service which allows users to analyze content in emails, Internet chats, blogs, social media, insurance claims and more for deception, ensuring Internet security.

The five Graduate Student Award winners from Stevens were Jie Yang, Ishan Wathuthanthri, Seyed Babk Mahjour, Linh Le and Xiaoling Fu.

Yang was awarded for participating in Chen’s driver detection system invention process. During his Ph.D. and postdoctoral studied, he worked closely with Chen to innovate solutions to the problem of distracted driving.

Wathuthanthri’s winning research is a patent-pending tunable two-mirror interference lithography system which could pave the way for low cost nano manufactured surfaces.

Mahjour successfully incorporated hair-forming cells into established nanofiber-enabled cell assembly, a process which enables skin grafts with the capability of growing hairs upon wound repair.

Le was awarded for using an inket printer to place tiny graphene oxide droplets precisely and efficiently, enabling the use of graphene electrodes for the printed electronics industry.

Finally, Fu helped use biomimetic nanofibers to regulate skin cell function, thereby optimizing nanofiber-based cell assembly to rapidly fabricate skin grafts for wound repair.

“We are proud to have so many members of the Stevens community honored for their impressive research achievements,” said Michael Bruno, dean of the Schaefer School of Engineering and Science. “Their innovations are practical and enterprising, and will positively impact society in many ways.”