A Student Member Prepares a Robot for Mars and Fellow is Featured in Vogue

These and other members made headlines this month

23 November 2016

IEEE Student Member Sarah Hensley was featured in MIT News for her work in preparing an android for a trip to Mars.

NASA selected MIT, Northeastern University, and the University of Edinburgh to develop software that would enable the android to perform space-related tasks such as opening airlock hatches, attaching and removing power cables, repairing equipment, and retrieving samples. The android, named Valkyrie, is almost 2 meters tall and weighs about 136 kilograms. Hensley spent much of her time during the past few weeks analyzing the movements of Valkyrie’s arms.

Hensley is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from MIT next year. She already has been accepted to the school’s master’s degree program, where she plans to continue working on Valkyrie.


IEEE Fellow Hamid Jafarkhani is part of a team of researchers from four universities that received a US $1.2 million grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to enhance the public’s access to radio frequencies—the part of the electromagnetic spectrum used to facilitate telecommunications and modern information systems essential for public safety, transportation, and national defense.

Increased smartphone use and demand for wireless broadband access have intensified in recent years, contributing to shortages in available radio frequencies. Jafarkhani, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, and researchers from Boise State University, California State University, and the University of Wisconsin are hoping to address the issue by developing technologies to access millimeter-wave frequencies. Those frequencies are currently not used for commercial applications such as cellular wireless networks because of propagation challenges, but the team hopes to develop sophisticated reconfigurable antennas that can overcome the challenges.

Jafarkhani is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science and director of the UC Irvine Center for Pervasive Communications and Computing. He is a member of the IEEE Communications, IEEE Information Theory, and IEEE Signal Processing societies.


IEEE Fellow Danica Kragic was featured in the Vogue magazine “I Am” campaign—a series of videos spotlighting extraordinary women. Her video focuses on her cutting-edge research in robotics.

Kragic is vice dean of the School of Computer Science and Communication at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, in Stockholm, and director of the school’s Center for Autonomous Systems. She is also a model and fashion designer.

She is a member of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society.


IEEE Member Jeyavijayan Rajendran received a $480,000 grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation to develop more secure integrated circuits through split manufacturing. Companies can divide the manufacturing process into different production lines, alleviating some security concerns by hiding critical or copyrighted design information and making it easier and safer to outsource the chips’ production.

Rajendran, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Texas, Dallas, is a member of IEEE Young Professionals.


IEEE Senior Member Bob Zavadil received the Wayne E. Knabach Award for Excellence in Power from South Dakota State University, in Brookings. The award is given annually to an individual or a company that contributes to the advancement of the power industry. Zavadil was recognized for his contributions to electric power and wind generation systems.

He helped found EnerNex, an electric power research and consulting firm in Knoxville, Tenn.

He is a member of the IEEE Industry Applications, IEEE Power Electronics, and IEEE Power & Energy societies and is vice chair of the Power & Energy Society’s wind and solar power coordinating committee.

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