Technology

Students at BGSU robotics camp engineer summer fun

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Games of cornhole are on the summer fun agenda of many young people. Earlier this month, a dozen teenagers from Northwest were looking at ways to make the game more exciting using robotics. The students, one from as far away as Antwerp, attended robotics camp for commuters at Bowling Green State University. It’s the second year BGSU has provided a robotics camp. Last year, one session was held at the Toledo Museum of Art targeting students from the Toledo Public Schools. That program continues, but teacher Mohammad Mayyas, an associate professor of engineering technologies, said he wanted to offer one on campus for other students. They decided to have the camp for students on campus “to help our program to grow,” he said. “We want to expose future students, prospective students, to what we can offer,” Mayyas said. “The university is paying attention to robotics and advanced manufacturing.” Northwest Ohio needs a workforce trained in robotics and automaton, and the state recognizes this. That’s helped BGSU land grants to develop its program. “We have very good equipment,” he said. “It excites them to see the actual equipment used in industry.” Employing open source software, the students learned to integrate hardware with software to make sensors so cornhole is more interactive. That can mean keeping score, or having lights or sounds go off in response to scoring tosses or misses. Maybe it’ll play a song or show a hand waving. Ekumjyot Kaur, from Perrysburg, said she was enjoying the camp. “It’s really in-depth. You wouldn’t think you’d go to robotics camp and learn so much,” she said. “Here they focus on the on software as opposed to the moving parts.” This was her first real exposure to BGSU, she said, and for other interested in engineering she’d recommend the camp. Sisters Chloe and Mia Wegener, from the Anthony Wayne district, were working with Kaur. The work consisting of tossing bean bag toward a cornhole board trying to activate a light. The light should be going on when the beanbag goes…

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Daniel Eisinger: Energy Star program should be maintained

As a business owner, I do not use the term “invest” lightly. As anyone with a mind for business knows, a favorable return on investment (ROI) signifies a prudential investment. Some simple math will illustrate the point. Imagine a program that has saved Americans $430 billion since 1992 at a cost of roughly $50 million per year; the programmatic profit (herein meaning America’s saved capital expenses), is $428 billion. By dividing this profit by the total invest of $1.25 billion, we find that the ROI of said program is 343%, or roughly 13.72% per year. But this ROI is very real, since the above example is actually of the Energy Star Program. Energy efficiency is the driver behind Energy Star’s ROI. Individuals and businesses pay lower utility bills because they are using (or losing) less electricity, water, heat, etc., and my business provides the analyses that illustrate where money can be recouped through greater energy efficiency. To discontinue the Energy Star program would be senseless. The program beautifully models the interplay of efficient free-market economics and effective public policy. Washington must act prudently; continue investing in America by investing in Energy Star. Dan Eisinger Toledo


Astronaut Mark Kelly was guided by the women in his life

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News To hear Mark Kelly tell it he’s lucky to be alive, never mind standing before an admiring crowd speaking. In his Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives talk Tuesday at Bowling Green State University, he spoke glowingly of his wife, former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, and his mother, and spoke with wry self-deprecation of his own failings and how he overcame them. Growing up in New Jersey he lacked motivation, he said. His father was a stereotypical Irish detective who’d come home about once a year cast on his hand. ”Fighting crime,” he would tell his twin sons, Mark and Scott. They would later learn that these were as much the results of bar fights as crime fighting. Kelly’s mother worked as a secretary and waitress before she decided she too wanted to become a police officer. A small woman she would have to scale a seven-foot, two-inch wall in nine seconds to qualify. Unbeknownst to her, her husband made it an inch taller. When it came time for the test, she scaled it in under five seconds, faster than most of the male candidates. She became one of the first female police officers in New Jersey. “That was the first time in my life I saw the power of having a goal and a plan and what it meant to work really hard for something,” Kelly said. “It certainly motivated for me.” He set a goal of becoming a Navy pilot and beyond that a test pilot and beyond that an astronaut. His ultimate goal was to be the first person to walk on Mars. After graduating from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 1986, he headed off for pilot training There were snags along the way. He was not a gifted pilot. After his first go at landing on an aircraft carrier, the instructor pilot asked him: “Are you sure this career is for you?” Still, “I did not give up,” Kelly said. “How good you are at the beginning of something you try is not a good indicator…


Diplomat finds plenty to fear in North Korea’s nuclear build up

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News It took a global community to help North Korea become the international, nuclear-armed pariah it is today. Thomas Snitch, an expert in nuclear armaments and diplomat whose career dates back to the early days of the Reagan Administration, returned to his alma mater, Bowling Green State University, Monday to detail how North Korea became the global threat it is today. His talk was the opening event in the “Seeking Peace in the Nuclear Era: A Peace Symposium” which continues through Thursday. Try as Snitch might, he could offer little solace to those like one woman who said she wouldn’t be able to sleep that night after hearing his analysis. And, after delivering the Nakamoto Peace Lecture, Snitch faced criticism from another distinguished guest at the symposium. Setsuko Thurlow, who will speak Wednesday night with a fellow survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, said Snitch spoke too little of the United States’ responsibility for initiating nuclear war, and too little of how the world can work to eliminate nuclear arms. Impassioned statement Thurlow spoke about her experiences with the horrors of nuclear war. There was a double standard she said with the five nuclear powers having their own arsenals but telling others they should not have them. There are 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world, she said, and 95 percent are in the hands of Russia and the United States. That has a positive side, as Snitch noted earlier in his speech. Those countries, which have reduced their arsenals, are among those who have the best safeguards to prevent accidental launches. Just recently NORAD radar in Colorado picked up a strange mass over the western United States. It wasn’t missiles. It wasn’t birds, like those that almost triggered a Soviet Union missile launch in 1983. It turned out to be butterflies, 21 million butterflies. Would North Korea, or Pakistan, be able to exercise such restraint? Snitch started his talk by mentioning that the front page of that morning’s Washington Post had a story on how to survive a nuclear attack on…


Sheriff Wasylyshyn eyes putting more drones on duty

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As special deputy Larry Moore walked across the lawn in front of the Wood County Sheriff’s Office, the hovering drone caught his every move. Even as he zig-zagged under a group of trees, the infrared camera showed the glowing image of Moore. “It could be pitch black outside and we could see him,” Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said. The new drone purchased by the sheriff’s office is an elite – and expensive – version of the small drones that buzz the skies. This is more of an “industrial drone,” that has an infrared and a regular camera, can withstand high winds, is water resistant, can fly at night, has a range of four miles, is able to fly 40 mph, can fly as high as 400 feet which offers a square mile of coverage, and has a collision avoidance system. The DJI Matrice M210 drone came with a price tag of $23,000. But a donation of $9,000 from Michael McAlear, a special deputy and friend of the sheriff, helped the department purchase the Cadillac of drones. “That made the difference, so we could get an upgrade,” Wasylyshyn said. The sheriff is now considering the possibility of purchasing multiple smaller drones that can be deployed quickly by each shift of the road patrols. “Eventually, drones will be issued with your shotgun,” he predicted. The smaller drones come with smaller price tags – about $1,000 each. They could be used in crises where time is critical, such as a river rescue. The smaller drones, that weigh no more than 1.5 pounds, can be deployed in less than a minute. They can also fly inside buildings, which would allow the sheriff’s office to get an eye on a situation without endangering staff. The small drones can spot someone hiding or someone armed inside a building. By the end of the year, Wasylyshyn hopes to have a couple of the smaller drones on duty. Any of the drones could be used to help in searches for runaways or people with dementia who…


Peace Symposium to address nuclear threat

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS  “Seeking Peace in the Nuclear Era: A Peace Symposium” is the focus of a series of presentations Oct. 16-19 at Bowling Green State University. Four speakers will provide insights on the dangers of nuclear war and threats to peace facing the world today. At the end of the Cold War, the constant threat of nuclear annihilation seemed to be over. Today, though nuclear stockpiles have been reduced, the weapons are still with us. In recent years, new political and military conflicts, especially between western democracies and North Korea and Russia, have revived the specter of nuclear war. Yet the U.S. public, especially young people, are generally unaware of the issues, the nature of nuclear war, the history of Hiroshima, and effective ways to achieve peace. BGSU alumnus Dr. Thomas Snitch ’75, ’15 (Hon.), a scientist and policymaker who spent decades working on nuclear policy for the U.S. State Department, will give the Hiroko Nakamoto Peace Lecture Oct. 16. He will tell the story, based on declassified intelligence, diplomatic history, political intrigue, technology diversions, skullduggery, and his trips to North Korea, about how Pyongyang was able to successfully build, test, and now, possibly deploy a thermonuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile. His presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater (Room 206). Gwynne Dyer, a renowned journalist, military historian, author, and filmmaker, will provide an overview and analysis of an array of current threats to peace, with a focus on nuclear issues and North Korea. His Oct. 17 lecture at 7:30 p.m. in 228 Bowen-Thompson Student Union, titled “Don’t Panic: Threats to Peace in this Nuclear Age,” will explain how people and governments can effectively deal with threats from North Korea, ISIS, the rise of populism, and climate change. Two presentations – an on-campus talk and an event in the community – will feature a discussion with two Japanese survivors of the Hiroshima bomb. Ms. Keiko Ogura and Ms. Setsuko Thurlow will speak on campus at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater, and at 4 p.m. Oct. 19 in the Wood County District Public Library’s Carter House, 307 N. Church…


BG students make the most of manufacturing day

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There were robots scooting across the floor, fresh packaged green beans and a guinea pig named “Lil Poundcake” – all part of National Manufacturing Day. Nine Wood County manufacturers set up shop in the Bowling Green Middle School on Friday to show students that manufacturing could be a great career choice. “We want to get this age to consider a career in manufacturing,” said Sue Clark, executive director of the Bowling Green Economic Development Foundation. “When you start in high school, they already have preconceived notions. So you have to start earlier.” This is the first time the middle school has held a manufacturing day, said Jodi Anderson, secondary curriculum coordinator. “There is a crisis in manufacturing for skilled workers,” Anderson said. Friday’s event was intended to help students see that “old school traditional factories” are not the same as today’s manufacturing. Clark agreed. “We need young people in the pipeline” for manufacturing jobs, she said. Many students have archaic ideas of manufacturing jobs. “This is so kids see what modern manufacturing looks like,” Anderson said. “It’s changed drastically.” This manufacturers’ fair had students using virtual reality goggles and turning soap different colors. “I think some of them are surprised,” Anderson said of the students. The manufacturers set up in the gymnasium showed how their professions needed science, problem solving and creative thinking. Apio, the fresh produce processor, showed students how to test the bags of fresh green beans for oxygen and carbon dioxide. “Beans breathe just like we do after they are picked,” Ginger Povenmire, of Apio, said as she showed how to measure the gases in the bags of beans. At another table, students were donning virtual reality goggles used by Rudolph Libbe on construction projects to help people visualize the final product. “It’s easier than an end user who can’t read 2-D drawings,” said Trent Mahaney, virtual design and construction manager for the company. Employees from Lubrizol taught some lessons on hydraulics, air pressure and fluid flow, using a series of water tanks to…