The newly developed Sensors and Actuators Laboratory was recently highlighted in The Daily Texan. Funding for the lab came from a variety of sources. Dr. Robert Bishop, Department Chairman, has developed a strong relationship with National Instruments (NI) which led to the development of the Controls Laboratory last year. This successful collaboration enabled Dr. Bishop to secure a grant and equipment donations from NI for the Sensors and Actuators Lab. Together Dr. Bishop and Dr. Lightsey have designed the new lab to provide our students with a “hands on” facility which will enrich their learning experience.

Both professors dedicated a graduate student to take the lab concept and turn it into reality. Renato Zanetti (supervised by Dr. Bishop) and Cinnamon Wright (supervised by Dr. Lightsey) have spent the past year coordinating all aspects of developing the lab, from ordering tables and chairs to unique hardware, which now accompanies the equipment donated from NI. The result is a state of the art facility.

Dr. Lightsey developed and taught the first course in the lab during the Spring 2007 semester. Graduate students taking the course for the first time were (supervising professor is in parentheses): Kyle DeMars (Bishop), John Hatlelid (Akella), Brian Hawkins (Buckley), Sebastian Munoz (Ocampo/Lightsey), Ronit Patel (Lightsey), Eric Rogstad (Lightsey), Tyler Summers (Akella), Karla Vega (Ocampo), and Jessica Williams (Lightsey).

The department is honored that Dr. Truchard, President and CEO of National Instruments, took time from his busy schedule to tour the lab with several other NI executives. During his visit, Dr. Truchard stated that “Engineering is about finding new and better ways to do things.”