Engineering Out Loud

From the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, this is Engineering Out Loud—a podcast telling the stories of how our research and innovation here are helping change the world out there.
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Jul 24, 2020

What’s life like for long-haul truck drivers in a COVID-19 world? We’ll get behind-the-wheel perspectives from driver (and musician) Paul Marhoefer and from Associate Professor Sal Hernandez who’s looking into how drivers have adapted to demanding conditions caused by the pandemic and the resiliency of the nation’s freight system. 

Feb 12, 2020

Self-driving cars and planes are in our future. What are we doing to make them safe? Assistant Professor Houssam Abbas uses tiny race cars to test autonomous driving systems. And Oregon State graduate Robert Rose is using his past experience with SpaceX to develop a safe system to automate existing aircraft.

Jan 30, 2020

What will it take for robot assistants to become more integrated in our daily lives? Assistant Professor Naomi Fitter thinks they’ll need to master the physical aspects of social interactions, while Associate Professor Cindy Grimm cautions against programming them to behave just like us.

Jan 8, 2020

Will robots someday replace farm workers? Do we want them to? Assistant Professor and agricultural robotics expert Joe Davidson talks about the potential benefits of using robots in agriculture, and what goes into designing the perfect robotic apple picker.

Dec 18, 2019

Why should robots have artificial social intelligence? According to Heather Knight, assistant professor of computer science, if robots are going to help in hospitals or work with people in factories, they will need to be adapted to our social conventions.

Dec 4, 2019

For robots to be more useful around people, they’ll need to go where we go. But how? Associate Professor Jonathan Hurst thinks the answer is simple. Walking. But actually making a walking robot is no simple feat.

Dec 4, 2019

For robots to be more useful around people, they’ll need to go where we go. But how? Associate Professor Jonathan Hurst thinks the answer is simple. Walking. But actually making a walking robot is no simple feat.

Nov 13, 2019

Can we trust artificial intelligence to make good decisions? The answer is a resounding maybe. More and more, society and individuals are entrusting AI to make potentially life-changing decisions. Rather than putting blind trust in the judgment of these remarkable systems, Alan Fern and a team of computer scientists want to reveal their reasoning processes.

Nov 6, 2019

How do you combine ethics, policy, and practicality into the design of revolutionary  robotics and artificial intelligence systems? Researchers Kagan Tumer and Tom Dietterich are collaborating to find out as they help lead the Oregon State Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute.

Sep 26, 2019

Geoff Hollinger, associate professor of mechanical engineering, is teaching underwater robots to use human preferences to take on risk as they complete their scientific missions.

Mar 20, 2019

What can be done to protect workers in one of the most dangerous industries on Earth? For much of his career, John Gambatese has studied, developed and evaluated a wide range of options designed to keep construction workers out of harm’s way.

Mar 13, 2019

Advances in 3D graphics have made movies and video games more realistic, but can also have an impact on science. Associate Professor Eugene Zhang and Assistant Professor Yue Zhang describe their research to help medical doctors better target cancerous tumors by using 3D modeling and simulation.

Mar 6, 2019

How can we help in the fight against Parkinson’s disease? Harriet Nembhard and her colleagues developed a sensor system to detect the disease early on, opening the door to earlier treatment and improved quality of life. Nembhard is the head of the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering and Eric R. Smith Professor of Engineering.  

Feb 27, 2019

Aid workers put their lives on the line to treat patients with Ebola. Can robots help make their jobs a little easier and allow more people to survive the disease? Bill Smart, professor of robotics at Oregon State University, is exploring how robots may be most useful during disease outbreaks.

Feb 20, 2019

What makes a frog’s tongue sticky, or a snake’s skin slippery? Joe Baio, assistant professor of bioengineering, looks to nature for substances that could provide clues to developing new biomedical adhesives and anti-fouling surfaces.

Feb 13, 2019

Ever wonder why so many truckers park their rigs on highway off-ramps, in retail store parking lots and at other odd locations? It’s not their first choice, and it’s not the safest choice either, but sometimes it’s their only choice. Research by Sal Hernandez reveals that the national truck parking shortage takes an enormous toll on people and commerce.

Feb 6, 2019

How can we support nuclear medicine efforts that help more than 40,000 people in the U.S. everyday? Researchers at the Oregon State University College of Engineering have developed a way to produce the much-needed radioisotope technetium-99m using small research reactors like the one here at the university.

Nov 15, 2018

Can turning seawater into drinking water be a cost-effective way to  provide clean, fresh water for the growing numbers of people facing water scarcity? Bahman Abbasi, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is taking up that challenge with a mobile, modular, solar-powered, desalination system.

Bonus content

Nov 7, 2018

How can we remove toxic contaminants like TNT from groundwater? Jack Istok and Mandy Michalsen are using pioneering bioremediation and bioaugmentation methods developed here at Oregon State to restore the groundwater at the Umatilla Chemical Depot.


Nov 1, 2018

How do you ensure a product designed for the developing world is useful for the people it’s intended to help? A team of researchers, led by Nordica MacCarty, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is combining engineering with anthropology in field tests of a water purification system.  

Oct 24, 2018

How can students at Oregon State improve access clean water for rural communities around the world? We hear from three students who worked in Nicaragua and Cambodia on projects that  changed people’s lives -- including their own.

Oct 17, 2018

How long will the world’s supply of clean fresh water last? Just the fact that we have to ask that question is enough to start worrying, as threats from pollution, climate change, and overpopulation continue to get worse. Fortunately, researchers like Tyler Radniecki are at the vanguard of the search for solutions to revive and restore this precious resource.

Oct 10, 2018

How can we clean up pollution from toxic chemicals that have seeped into the groundwater, hundreds of feet below the surface? Lewis Semprini, Distinguished Professor of environmental engineering, discusses strategies for bioremediation, using microorganisms to break down dangerous chemicals into harmless end-products.

May 14, 2018

How does culture influence engineering design? Two seniors in civil engineering tell about how they incorporated their research on the culture of Ethiopia into the design of a housing structure, an irrigation system, and a restroom.

May 10, 2018

Javier Calvo-Amodio, Sage Kittelman, and Siqi Wang examine how teams and their communications function as systems within large, complex organizations. They are working with Boeing to understand how those systems can be improved to make manufacturing more efficient.

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