As Ralph Waldo Emerson observed, “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.” Now, some 150 years later, somebody has finally built one! On Friday, April 25, not only will a better mousetrap be on display, but also 22 other creative, useful, and socially conscious electronic inventions. The Electrical and Computer Engineering Department (ECE) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will host its 24th annual Senior Design Project Day on campus, when 23 teams of ECE students will unveil a high-tech floor show for the electronics of the future. This year’s senior design projects include a smart, have-a-heart, mouse trap, a virtual mountain bike, an electronic scarecrow, an ID bracelet that exchanges contact information with just a handshake, an electronic child reporting device, and much, much more. For full descriptions of all these projects, go to

Qiangfei Xia of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department was one of five researchers from UMass Amherst who are sharing $100,000 in technology grants from the university system’s Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property (CVIP) Technology Development Fund to assist in accelerating the commercialization of their inventions. Eight $25,000 grants to faculty at the Amherst, Lowell, and Worcester campuses were announced by President Robert L. Caret. “Every year, we identify game-changing research with commercial promise in laboratories on UMass campuses that speak to the major role that the university plays in advancing scientific discovery and improving and saving lives in the Commonwealth and around the world,” Caret said. See News Office article:

Professor Don DeGroot traveled to Boston to deliver an invited lecture for the Boston Society of Civil Engineers. His lecture, "Geotechnical Engineering Site Investigation Practice for Design of Offshore Energy Systems," described the exceptional challenges faced by civil engineers involved in the design of offshore oil and gas exploration infrastructure, pipelines, and wind farms. Energy exploration and installation activities are now approaching water depths of 5,000 meters, and plans for renewable energy systems continue to intensify. Design loads include complex combinations of wind, wave, ice, and current forces requiring development of innovative foundation systems. The presentation discussed gee-engineering site investigation solutions for characterization of offshore sediments, assessment of offshore geohazards, and design and installation of offshore energy infrastructure.