Student Whitepapers

While STEMBOPS videos offer a fun introduction to scientific concepts and research, students on the STEMBOPS team also write accompanying white papers which allow viewers to take a closer look at video topics that have piqued their interest. These white paper provide both a depth and breadth of information, including a tutorial on robotic navigation, a guide to research on membrane distillation, and a history of the development of WiFi standards.

UAV Traffic Control

Author: Camille Bourquin
Advisor: Dr. Richard Kelly

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UAV Traffic Control
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). UAVs are also commonly known as drones. A drone or UAV is a pilotless aircraft and while sightings of UAVs have become far more prevalent, these multipurpose machines remain shrouded in mystery to much of the public. UAVs have been used for military applications spanning decades, from scoping out battle fields to carrying out dangerous attacks, this technology has provided maximum results by minimizing human risk. As UAV technology has evolved, there has been increased interest for more consumer based purposes. Recently there has been an increase in civilian applications being developed for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). UAV’s are also commonly known as drones. A drone or UAV is a pilotless aircraft and while sightings of UAVs have become far more prevalent, these multipurpose machines remain shrouded in mystery to much of the public. UAVs have been used for military applications spanning decades, from scoping out battle fields to carrying out dangerous attacks, this technology has provided maximum results by minimizing human risk. As UAV technology has evolved, there has been increased interest for more consumer based purposes. Recently there has been an increase in civilian applications being developed for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. These proposed applications range from drone delivery services to surveying crops to search and rescue missions and many more. NASA is anticipating this rise in civilian applications for low altitude UAVs and want to help integrate them into the national airspace. In order for these new UAV applications to flourish in today's busy world, there is an emerging need for a low altitude UAV air traffic management system. A traffic management system for UAVs would organize individual flights to prevent collisions, flights in prohibited areas and notify drones of inclement weather. NASA is in the process of solving this problem by implementing a system called the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM).

Cybersecurity: ELK Stack with GROK

Author: Cayler Miley
Advisor: Mr. Jeff Springer

Cybersecurity: ELK Stack with GROK

Cybersecurity: ELK Stack with GROK
ElasticTM offers a cluster of applications that coordinate in order to analyze the contents of logs, index logs, and provide a graphical user interface (GUI) for viewing data. These applications are collectively called the ELK stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana) for the names of the programs involved in the cluster. Contrary to the acronym ELK, the cluster receives data first through Logstash, then sends it to Elasticsearch, then to Kibana rather than the implied order: Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana (see figure 1). Logstash is used as a parsing tool to generate readable output from device and software logs. Elasticsearch receives the output information of Logstash and creates an index that can be queried and searched. Kibana creates a GUI for analyzing the information provided by Elasticsearch. Kibana can also be customized to create graphs and charts for viewing large scale data.

ElasticTM offers a cluster of applications that coordinate in order to analyze the contents of logs, index logs, and provide a graphical user interface (GUI) for viewing data. These applications are collectively called the ELK stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana) for the names of the programs involved in the cluster. Contrary to the acronym ELK, the cluster receives data first through Logstash, then sends it to Elasticsearch, then to Kibana rather than the implied order: Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana (see figure 1). Logstash is used as a parsing tool to generate readable output from device and software logs. Elasticsearch receives the output information of Logstash and creates an index that can be queried and searched. Kibana creates a GUI for analyzing the information provided by Elasticsearch. Kibana can also be customized to create graphs and charts for viewing large scale data.

In conjunction with the ELK stack, a filtering tool can increase the usability of the ELK cluster by allowing the user to parse logs in a more organized fashion. Logstash's parsing mechanisms are insufficient for organizing the volume and breadth of data needed for analyzing a network because it cannot reliably parse every source automatically without extensive manual input. To alleviate this problem, GROK is used as a supplement to the ELK stack for organization and guaranteeing correct output for log parsing.

The motivation for using these programs was to form a monitoring tool that functioned as close to real-time as possible for the network at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). The ELK stack organizes metadata, produces an indexed and searchable database of metadata, and creates visualizations to find trends in network traffic. The data visualization and ability to query make it ideal for cyber security analytics as analysts can search for potential threats across multiple log sources and find intervals where attacks are occurring more or less often on the network.

A System for Non-Invasive Security

Author: Daniel Lopez
Advisor: Mr. Jeff Springer

A System for Non-Invasive Security

A System for Non-Invasive Security
Access to incoming and outgoing data packets within a network can lead to better security and, can become a very powerful tool with good analysis. However, we need to maintain a balance of security, so as to not violate the privacy of the people within the network.

Access to incoming and outgoing data packets within a network can lead to better security and, can become a very powerful tool with good analysis. However, we need to maintain a balance of security, so as to not violate the privacy of the people within the network. By running the data captures from these data streams through powerful enrichment modules, we can extrapolate the information about the throughput and the risk of the system. Best of all, we can do this with virtually no overhead, using mainly open-source software. In this paper, we can give an example set up that can illustrate to system administrators how to manage their network.

3D Printed Humanoid Robotics

Author: Giselle Serate and Juliana Anderson
Advisors: Dr. Richard Kelly and Dr. Eric Marchand

3D Printed Humanoid Robotics

3D Printed Humanoid Robotics
3D printing is a burgeoning field with many possible applications. It is, at its heart, a cheap, customizable method of manufacturing products with relatively low overhead and little required knowhow. It can be used by artists, engineers, and designers, whether for prototyping or for final designs. Essentially anything that is physically possible can be 3D printed, such as chocolate, car motors, and even organs.

3D printing is a burgeoning field with many possible applications. It is, at its heart, a cheap, customizable method of manufacturing products with relatively low overhead and little required knowhow. It can be used by artists, engineers, and designers, whether for prototyping or for final designs. Essentially anything that is physically possible can be 3D printed, such as chocolate, car motors, and even organs.

We chose to 3D print a hand with the original end goal of creating the entire humanoid. Monetary constraints as well as time constraints proved to be a greater challenge than previously anticipated, so we modified our goal to accommodate the challenges presented along the way. The new goal was to create a hand that was capable of making different hand motions and signs and, hopefully, pick up objects. We also hoped to provide a tangible interaction with robotics. In order to control these motions, we learned how to program an Arduino board, an open-source computer hardware system, which would send signals to the hand enabling fingers to bend or stretch.

Python: A First Programming Language

Author: Justin Stevens and Giselle Serate
Advisors: Dr. Richard Kelly and Dr. Sage Hibel

Python: A First Programming Language

Python: A First Programming Language
Python is a powerful, high-level programming language. It is simple to read and easy to understand, since it hides many details from users. It also eliminates potentially confusing characters like brackets and semicolons, as used in programming languages such as C, C++, Java, and Javascript. Programming errors tend to be easy to find because of Python's readability. This makes Python advantageous for beginning programmers to learn.

Python is a powerful, high-level programming language. It is simple to read and easy to understand, since it hides many details from users. It also eliminates potentially confusing characters like brackets and semicolons, as used in programming languages such as C, C++, Java, and Javascript. Programming errors tend to be easy to find because of Python's readability. This makes Python advantageous for beginning programmers to learn.

Interestingly enough, some of the most meaningful characters in Python are whitespace. Python uses them to denote what is contained in loops, functions, or conditional statements. Programs in Python must be written in a specifically indented format that makes it easy to understand the logic that's being used. Many other languages largely ignore whitespace, making indenting a convention for humans to rely on that doesn't necessarily translate to what the computer understands.

Python is an interpreted language, which means that the computer understands the program by reading it line by line. Because of that, it's slow compared to compiled languages, where programsare reduced to a set of basic computer instructions and then run. This sacrifice of speed is the main drawback to Python. However, in many applications, the speed difference doesn't significantly affect the execution and basic function of the program.

Map Creation and Navigation

Author: Hannah Huh
Advisor: Dr. Hung La

Map Creation and Navigation

Map Creation and Navigation
In recent years the field of robotics has seen vast expansion in an array of different contexts, ranging from applications in the military to the medical sphere to domestic uses. In 2007, iRobot, the company behind the popular Roomba (an autonomous vacuum cleaner often used in homes) introduced the iRobot Create: a robot based on the Roomba but specifically sold as a programmable robot and without vacuuming and scrubbing capabilities.

In recent years the field of robotics has seen vast expansion in an array of different contexts, ranging from applications in the military to the medical sphere to domestic uses. In 2007, iRobot, the company behind the popular Roomba (an autonomous vacuum cleaner often used in homes) introduced the iRobot Create: a robot based on the Roomba but specifically sold as a programmable robot and without vacuuming and scrubbing capabilities.

This white paper outlines the procedure used for map creation and navigation using ROS (the Robot Operating System) with the iRobot Create and a Hokuyo scanning laser range finder. ROS is a platform that, simply put, offers a foundation for a collection of tools and packages of code that are used to control and coordinate between robotic platforms. ROS provides the advantage of standardization and offers reusable tools that can either be further developed.

Nitrogen Removal in a Small-Scale Forward Osmosis Bioreactor Control

Author: Juliana Anderson

Advisor: Dr. Hung La

Nitrogen Removal in a Small-Scale Forward Osmosis Bioreactor

Nitrogen Removal in a Small-Scale Forward Osmosis Bioreactor Control
This purpose of this project is to evaluate ways that forward osmosis membrane treatment systems work on both small and medium scale projects before attempting to operate a larger scale setup. We seek to analyze and create a low energy process that would allow forward military installations to process their wastewater into potable quality water to limit the importation of clean water and the discharge of waste water. This importation/discharge process is not only costly, but it puts soldiers in high risk situations simply transporting water.

This purpose of this project is to evaluate ways that forward osmosis membrane treatment systems work on both small and medium scale projects before attempting to operate a larger scale setup. We seek to analyze and create a low energy process that would allow forward military installations to process their wastewater into potable quality water to limit the importation of clean water and the discharge of waste water. This importation/discharge process is not only costly, but it puts soldiers in high risk situations simply transporting water.

Direct Contact Membrane Distillation

Author: Kevin Salls
Advisor: Dr. Sage Hibel

Direct Contact Membrane Distillation

Direct Contact Membrane Distillation
Membrane Distillation (MD) is an emerging membrane technology that allows for a phase-change based separation process. A porous hydrophobic membrane separates feed and effluent streams, allowing for the passage of vapor but not liquid or solid phase components. Flux across the membrane is driven by a vapor pressure differential, created by a low grade thermal gradient between feed and distillate sides [1]. The low operating temperature and pressures, high theoretical/experimental contaminant rejection rates, and reduced energy requirements make MD a promising technology for the future of water treatment.

Membrane Distillation (MD) is an emerging membrane technology that allows for a phase-change based separation process. A porous hydrophobic membrane separates feed and effluent streams, allowing for the passage of vapor but not liquid or solid phase components. Flux across the membrane is driven by a vapor pressure differential, created by a low grade thermal gradient between feed and distillate sides [1]. The low operating temperature and pressures, high theoretical/experimental contaminant rejection rates, and reduced energy requirements make MD a promising technology for the future of water treatment.

Maintenance and Care of Human Cells in Laboratory Conditions

Author: Matthew Henderson
Advisor: Dr. Bahram Parvin

Maintenance and Care of Human Cells in Laboratory Conditions

Maintenance and Care of Human Cells in Laboratory Conditions
Membrane Distillation (MD) is an emerging membrane technology that allows for a phase-change based separation process. A porous hydrophobic membrane separates feed and effluent streams, allowing for the passage of vapor but not liquid or solid phase components. Flux across the membrane is driven by a vapor pressure differential, created by a low grade thermal gradient between feed and distillate sides [1]. The low operating temperature and pressures, high theoretical/experimental contaminant rejection rates, and reduced energy requirements make MD a promising technology for the future of water treatment.

Membrane Distillation (MD) is an emerging membrane technology that allows for a phase-change based separation process. A porous hydrophobic membrane separates feed and effluent streams, allowing for the passage of vapor but not liquid or solid phase components. Flux across the membrane is driven by a vapor pressure differential, created by a low grade thermal gradient between feed and distillate sides [1]. The low operating temperature and pressures, high theoretical/experimental contaminant rejection rates, and reduced energy requirements make MD a promising technology for the future of water treatment.

The simplest configuration of MD is Direct Contact Membrane Distillation (DCMD) which puts the feed and distillate streams in direct contact with the membrane (as opposed to alternative configurations such as Air Gap Membrane Distillation, Vacuum Enhanced Distillation, etc). This simple configuration has been favored for its higher rates of flux, although it suffers from higher thermal losses from conductive transfer than the other typical configurations [1][2]. While the required thermal gradient is small (20-30C, generally) supplying it is a non-trivial portion of the operating expenses for any MD system [3].

WiFi Standards and Technologies

Author: Maxwell Slater
Advisor: Dr. Shamik Sengupta

WiFi Standards and Technologies

WiFi Standards and Technologies
This paper contains an exploration of how Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), or 802.11 standards, have changed over the years. It reviews the different technologies and procedures that have been implemented, such as data encoding, bandwidth modulation, encryption, data integrity preservation, and special streaming. It also addresses the benefits and costs associated with current and future generation standards. Included in the discussion are the original 802.11 standard released in 1997, the current 802.11ac and 802.11ad standards, and future standards such as 802.11ax and 802.11ay.

This paper contains an exploration of how Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), or 802.11 standards, have changed over the years. It reviews the different technologies and procedures that have been implemented, such as data encoding, bandwidth modulation, encryption, data integrity preservation, and special streaming. It also addresses the benefits and costs associated with current and future generation standards. Included in the discussion are the original 802.11 standard released in 1997, the current 802.11ac and 802.11ad standards, and future standards such as 802.11ax and 802.11ay.