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York College of PA Engineering students earn IEEE Susquehanna Section Capstone Award

October 31, 2023
IEEE Capstone Award
About the image: from left, Ryan Black, Riley Gartrell, and Harold Underwood, Susquehanna Section Chair

A team of York College of Pennsylvania Engineering students were named joint winners of the Susquehanna Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers 2023 Capstone Award.

Local universities and colleges that require their undergraduate students to participate in Capstone project activities as a requirement to receive a degree submit the best Capstone project that represents their school to the IEEE Susquehanna Section.

York College’s winning team is comprised of August 2023 graduates Riley Gartrell (Computer Engineering) of New Freedom, Ryan Black (Computer Engineering) of Hanover, Kyle Bush (Computer Engineering) of Waynesboro, and Josh Gilbert (Electrical Engineering) of Coatesville. The team won for its work on the “Optical Wireless Communication” project, which was begun in Summer 2021 and is in its third year of activity. The team was supervised by Dr. James Moscola and Dr. Mahmudur Khan, who worked on this topic for his doctoral dissertation and has several publications in this area.

According to Dr. Khan, optical wireless communication (OWC) can enable much higher data rates compared to traditional radio frequency or RF-based wireless technologies. A highly useful feature of OWC is its inherent signal security, as well as its capacity to provide connectivity in unfavorable conditions, e.g., the presence of RF jamming or interception.

“In this capstone project so far, students have designed and developed an OWC module equipped with multiple optical transceivers,” he said. “They have also developed different line-of-sight (LOS) discovery algorithms that multiple mobile robot cars (equipped with these OWC modules) can establish and maintain wireless communication links with each other.”

This year (2023-2024), the students are modifying the OWC module design by incorporating cameras. They are developing LOS discovery and maintenance methods that utilize Computer Vision/Machine Learning algorithms. The developed system will enable optical wireless communication among multiple robot cars. The students will also implement a security feature where the robot cars will use beam-nulling techniques to filter out signals coming from adversarial nodes.

A paper prepared using the results achieved from this project was submitted to the IEEE Military Communications Conference in Boston. The paper was accepted for presentation at the conference after peer review and was presented by Gartrell, Black, and Dr. Khan.

Black accepted a position developing acoustic measurement systems for the Department of Defense and plans to pursue a master’s degree in electrical engineering focusing on Signal and Image Processing. Gartrell accepted a modeling and simulation position at Aberdeen Proving Ground and hopes to pursue a master’s degree in artificial intelligence.