Engineering Student Justin Phan Won the 1st Place Award in the CSU Student Research Competition

April 30, 2020

CSU Research Competition winners

CSU Student Research Competition 1st place winners from the School of Engineering (Clockwise from top left): Justin Phan (2020), Chloe Zirbel (2018), Alejandra Franco (2016), and Alec Maxwell (on the right, 2017).

A student from the School of Engineering once again won the 1st place award at the highly competitive California State University (CSU) Student Research Competition that just concluded on April 25, 2020. In this year’s competition, Justin Phan, a senior double-majoring in computer and electrical engineering, prevailed over first-rate participants from all 23 CSU campuses to clinch the highly coveted top spot in the Engineering and Computer Science (Undergraduate-Level) category.

Justin’s project, entitled “Developing the Next-Generation Neural-Machine Interfaces for Neurorehabilitation Applications by Utilizing Sensor Arrays and Spatial Features”, investigated the effectiveness of a set of novel computationally efficient spatial features in electromyographic (EMG) sensory array-based pattern recognition (PR) for neurorehabilitation applications. A system prototype consisting of an Android app and a 3D-printed prosthetic hand was also developed to demonstrate the feasibility of a mobile, flexible, and real-time neural-machine interface for prosthesis control. Justin has been conducting this research under the supervision of Prof. Xiaorong Zhang in the Intelligent Computing and Embedded Systems Laboratory (ICE Lab) in the School of Engineering since his sophomore year at SF State.

This latest feat marked a commanding sweep of 4 first prizes in the past 5 years in this competition by undergraduate researchers from the School of Engineering. It not only solidifies the reputation of the School as a top producer of high-quality Engineering undergraduates, but also highlights its deep bench of extraordinary faculty, who are some of the best teacher-scholars in the CSU System and among the non-PhD institutions.

Below is a list of the past winners, their project titles, and their research advisors.

Justin Phan, Electrical and Computer Engineering, 1st place award in 2020

Project Title: Developing the Next-Generation Neural-Machine Interfaces for Neurorehabilitation Applications by Utilizing Sensor Arrays and Spatial Features

Faculty Mentor:

Dr. Xiaorong Zhang

Associate Professor of Computer Engineering

Recipient of the 2018 NSF CAREER Award and 2016 Ken Fong Translational Research Award

Chloe Zirbel, Computer Engineering, 1st place award in 2018

Project Title: Upper Limb Rehabilitation in Virtual Reality for Stroke Survivors

Faculty Mentor:

Dr. Xiaorong Zhang

Associate Professor of Computer Engineering

Recipient of the 2018 NSF CAREER Award and 2016 Ken Fong Translational Research Award

Alec Maxwell, Civil Engineering, 1st place award in 2017

Project Title: Innovative Mobile Remote Shake Table Laboratory

Faculty Mentor:

Dr. Zhaoshuo Jiang

Associate Professor in Civil Engineering.

Recipient of a 2019 NIH R01 award and the 2018 CSU Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award.

Alejandra Franco, Electrical Engineering, 1st place award in 2016

Project Title:  Low‐Input‐Voltage Wireless Power Transfer for Biomedical Implant

Faculty Mentor:

Dr. Hao Jiang

Professor in Electrical Engineering.

Recipient of a 2018 Airforce Research Lab (AFRL) Grant and NSF MRI Grants