By Rashda Khan
Rose T. Faghih, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UH Cullen College of Engineering, received an invitation to attend the prestigious 2019 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium. The event was held Sept. 25-27 in Charleston, South Carolina.
The symposium, organized by the National Academy of Engineering, brings together 100 of the nation’s promising early-career engineers under the age of 45 from industry, academia and government to discuss pioneering technical advances and cutting-edge research in various engineering fields and industry sectors.
Attendance at the symposium is by invitation only following a competitive selection process.
The 25th annual symposium explored four key topics: Advanced Manufacturing in the Age of Digital Transformation, Engineering the Genome, Self-Driving Cars: Technology and Ethics, and Blockchain Technology.
Faghih expressed her excitement about attending the symposium.
“This is a unique opportunity to learn about new real-world technologies related to three topics highly related to my research (advanced manufacturing in the age of digital transformation, self-driving cars and genome engineering),” she said. “My students and I have been developing algorithms for inferring brain activity from peripheral physiological signals. These methods could potentially be used for intuitive human-technology interactions.”
For example, if a human supervisor detects an error in a technology’s performance (a robot or a self-driving car), the autonomic nervous system becomes activated, Faghih said.
“This activation results in changes in the skin conductance response (such as sweating) and heart rate,” she said. “These peripheral signals from the human can alert the technology to the error and lead it to correct the behavior and adapt to human supervision.”
Faghih also wants to learn more about genome engineering to expand her research by “including genomic information to further personalize my algorithms for decoding brain states.”
The USFOE fosters cross-disciplinary and cross-sector networking and collaboration.
“Not only will I be learning about a broad spectrum of pioneering technical works and advances, I will meet brilliant minds from various engineering fields and sectors,” Faghih said. “I am enthusiastic about the possibility of starting new collaborations. This experience will enable me to formulate research problems that could change the world and improve the lives of individuals across the globe.”
Faghih received an M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2010 and 2014, respectively. She joined the Cullen College faculty in 2017.
IEEE-USA and DiscoverE Foundation selected Faghih as one of the 2016 New Faces of Engineering, an award for engineers aged 30 years or younger.
Faghih was nominated by Kaushik Rajashekara, distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering at the Cullen College and an NAE member. He is also the head of the Cullen College power and energy systems program and director of the Power Electronics, Microgrids and Subsea Electrical Systems (PEMSES) laboratory.