Bringing real-world experience to engineering students
CAMBRIDGE, MA – Every year Draper provides meaningful engineering experiences to hundreds of students through project sponsorships, internships and its flagship Draper Fellow Program for students pursuing masters and doctoral degrees. Recent projects include human-powered flying machines, hacking competitions, tiny hyperspectral satellites, bacterial resistance diagnostics tools and a high-speed transportation pod. Students pursuing advanced degrees work closely with Draper technical staff to develop state-of-the-art technologies in world-class laboratories, and often publish their results in top-tier journals and present at conferences.
Draper has an 80 year history in supporting the next generation of technical leaders through its participation in science, technology, engineering and math in education. Draper’s commitment to education reaches students across the U.S. Recent examples include:
- Draper Fellowships – In the 2016/7 academic year, Draper is sponsoring more than 60 graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in engineering and the sciences in the Draper Fellow Program and two graduate students in the inaugural Hertz-Draper Fellowship Program. Alumni of the Draper Fellow Program, founded in 1974, comprise more than 1,200 Draper Fellows from both civilian and military backgrounds and who are excelling worldwide in technical, corporate, government, academic and entrepreneurship sectors.
- Mentoring University Capstone Students – Draper’s cognitive and behavioral understanding engineers mentored a Tufts University capstone team of four undergraduates in the senior Human Factors course.
- Internships for High School and Undergraduate Students – 20 high school students completed summer internships at Draper in 2016 with the support of a dedicated team of supervisors and mentors, while approximately 56 undergraduate students participated in internships for up to six months.
- Sponsoring Student Engineering Projects – Draper regularly introduces students to cutting-edge technology, most recently for projects involving flight, transportation and satellites. Draper provided guidance to student teams in flying size- and weight-constrained, human-powered flying machines; hacking a drone in a publicly sponsored competition; and designing tiny, inexpensive hyperspectral imaging satellites at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. Draper also sponsored the MIT Hyperloop Team as it competed to build a high-speed transportation pod and won first place for design and third place overall in the national Hyperloop Pod Competition sponsored by SpaceX.
“Draper’s core commitment to promoting and supporting advanced technical education for more than 40 years as an independent not-for-profit, and for more than 80 years in total, is unmatched worldwide. We are extremely proud that students at all levels have always been an integral part of Draper,” said Sheila Hemami, Director of Strategic Technical Opportunities at Draper.
Draper combines mission planning, PN&T, situational awareness, and novel GN&C designs to develop and deploy autonomous platforms for ground, air, sea and undersea needs. These systems range in complexity from human-in-the-loop to systems that operate without any human intervention. The design of these systems generally involves decomposing the mission needs into sets of scenarios that result in trade studies that lead to an optimized solution with key performance requirements. Draper continues to advance the field of autonomy through research in the areas of mission planning, sensing and perception, mobility, learning, real-time performance evaluation and human trust in autonomous systems.
Draper has developed mission-critical fault-tolerant systems for more than four decades. These systems are deployed in space, air, and undersea platforms that require extremely high reliability to accomplish challenging missions. These solutions incorporate robust hardware and software partitioning to achieve fault detection, identification and reconfiguration. Physical redundancy or multiple, identical designs protect against random hardware failures and employ rigor in evaluating differences in computed results to achieve exact consensus, even in the presence of faults. The latest designs leverage cost-effective, multicore commercial processors to implement software-based redundancy management systems in compact single-board layouts that perform the key timing, communication, synchronization and voting algorithm functions needed to maintain seamless operation after one, two or three arbitrary faults of individual components.
Draper continues to develop its expertise in designing, characterizing and processing materials at the macro-, micro- and nanoscales. Understanding the physical properties and behaviors of materials at these various scales is vital to exploit them successfully in designing components or systems. This enables the development and integration of biomaterials, 3D printing and additive manufacturing, wafer fabrication, chemical and electrochemical materials and structural materials for application to system-level solutions required of government and commercial sponsors.