"Bucknell's engineering students become familiar with professional-grade equipment, and they are especially well prepared for the workforce. It's something employers mention time and again."
When Rich Kozick was in graduate school, working on his doctorate, someone asked him what he wanted to do when he graduated. Without missing a beat he replied, "Teach at Bucknell," his alma mater. In 1993, Kozick got his wish, and the professor of electrical engineering has been a part of the faculty ever since.
Why Bucknell? Kozick says that when he was a student, he appreciated the small campus and friendly community. He got to know his professors and fellow students well, and also got the chance to do hands-on work in the laboratory. Now a scholar, he has the opportunity to offer the same personal education and learning experiences to new generations of students.
Kozick's research specialty is signal processing, or extracting useful information from electronic measurements. At the moment, he is collaborating with a former student working as a post-doctoral fellow at Oxford University. The team's goal is to develop algorithms for ultrasound imaging in cancer therapy to allow physicians to monitor treatment to make sure unhealthy tissue is targeted while healthy tissue is preserved.
The same technique can be used to discover where sniper fire is coming from. Using microphones and other sensors, Kozick and his colleagues are working to devise ways to determine the location and trajectory of incoming gunfire. This gun-shot localization project involves the processing of signals coming from multiple sensors, which may be located on a robot, a vehicle, a soldier or a stationary object.
Communication and localization are also crucial when robots are sent into buildings in war zones. These robots must process the signals measured by their electronic sensors and produce a map of the building. Where are the walls? Is there a floor? Is it safe for soldiers to go in? All this is done through signal processing and is another prime area of research for Kozick. "Better location accuracy and better images," says Kozick, "it all comes down to processing raw sensor data in smarter ways. Together, we come up with the algorithms that do just that."
He says sharing his passion with his students through real-life applications such as these is one of his favorite parts of his job. "Bucknell's engineering students become familiar with professional-grade equipment, and they are especially well prepared for the workforce," he says. "It's something employers mention time and again."
Posted September 16, 2013