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Technology Company Brings Innovation Legacy to ECE Students

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Ashley Schwartz

Since 1933, Omron Global has provided products and services critical to improving the lives and supporting the safety and health of people around the world. Omron’s innovative products and technologies range from automated traffic signals and the first digital thermometer to the first smartphone facial recognition technology.

Now, the Omron Foundation is supporting the education of UH Cullen College of Engineering students in the electrical and computer engineering department through the establishment of the Omron Senior Design and Robotics Laboratory. The company’s donation will fulfill the cost of construction of the laboratory, which will be stocked with Omron equipment and tools that will be used by students working on robotics and Capstone Design, a course for senior engineering majors.

The lab will consist of two main areas, the senior design area and the robotics area. The senior design area will primarily serve as a workshop for students in the senior design program. The Omron Laboratory will give senior design students access to a variety of state-of-the-art equipment, as well as the capability to view demonstrations and educational videos. The robotics area will be largely devoted to students enrolled in “Microprocessor Systems” and “Embedded Systems” courses, providing them with a space for completing lab assignments and hands-on demonstrations associated with the class.

Omron has a long history of supporting the Cullen College and its electrical and computer engineering students. In 2010, the Omron Foundation established the endowed Omron Scholarship in electrical engineering. The company also sponsored a team of students in the Capstone Design course, which requires senior students to apply their engineering knowledge by solving real-world problems faced by those working in industry. Omron’s engineers have worked closely with UH electrical and computer engineering students since then, sponsoring several more Capstone Design projects and providing one-on-one mentoring to UH Engineering students.

“The department of electrical and computer engineering is extremely appreciative of this latest gift from Omron,” said Badri Roysam, chair of the department of electrical and computer engineering. “This laboratory will provide an invaluable experience to the students and allow them to learn about the very real challenges and ultimate payoff all engineers experience.”

Intended to be a showcase laboratory for the electrical and computer engineering department, the Omron Senior Design and Robotics Laboratory will feature a glass wall so those walking through the Cullen College’s hallways can watch students and faculty conduct research and work on projects inside of the lab.

Omron will also donate the equipment needed for the laboratory. The company provided a five-day training session for three ECE faculty members and two students at their headquarters in Chicago so that faculty could evaluate which pieces of equipment would be the most useful to current and future ECE students. Future courses in the electrical and computer engineering department will be designed around the state-of-the-art equipment donated to the laboratory by Omron.

“At Omron we focus on innovation and quality, and recognize the importance of supporting the community and contributing to a better society. The University of Houston, with its continued growth, diversification, and commitment to excellence, is an institution that shares those same values. We at Omron are pleased to support the Cullen College of Engineering and the Omron Senior Design and Robotics Laboratory,” said Robert Bost, President and COO of Omron Oilfield and Marine, Inc.

Omron Oilfield and Marine is a leading manufacturer of AC and DC drive systems and custom control systems for the international oil and gas industry. More specifically, they provide power distribution equipment and automated control systems for offshore and mobile drilling rigs.

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