Teaching radar at the University of Puerto Rico

The MIT Lincoln Laboratory Radar Introduction for Pupil Designers (LLRISE) system has reached as far as the coastal campus of University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM). A group of undergraduate pupils at UPRM were the first at their college to participate in the LLRISE workshop presented April 1-3. Adjusted from full two-week training course produced by Lincoln Laboratory scientists for senior school seniors, the workshop taught pupils how to build and test small radar systems.

Lincoln Laboratory technical workers Nestor Lopez and Juan Brunet Navarro teamed up to bring LLRISE to UPRM. “Overall, it in fact was a very demanding workshop the pupils. I am very pleased that all the students attended all lectures and earnestly took part,” Lopez said. “I hope the pupils noticed how easy ideas is leveraged to construct of use and interesting methods.”

Lopez and Brunet Navarro have supported past outreach efforts at the laboratory, and hoped to spread LLRISE across other institutions. The decision to deliver the workshop to UPRM was simple — both Lopez and Brunet Navarro received their undergraduate levels at UPRM and also have preserved close ties towards the faculty there. They even believed the organization would take advantage of the program. “being an UPRM graduate, I thought this workshop is interesting to pupils and faculty here since they have strong used electromagnetics program,” stated Lopez. The UPRM IEEE Electromagnetics Council (EMC) aided to organize the logistics associated with the workshop.

Significantly more than 20 students, mostly juniors and seniors studying electrical and computer system manufacturing, invested the week-end immersed inside curriculum. Lopez described the pupils’ backgrounds in radar concepts as diverse. He noted that “many of the pupils are performing study using Puerto Rico Weather Radar Network,” although some were becoming introduced toward rules of radar. Via a a number of lectures, the pupils discovered radar signal processing while the main functions of Doppler, target ranging, and detection. They certainly were in addition provided directions on how to develop their radar systems.

In small groups to gather their radar methods, students needed to populate and solder the circuit boards for radars. “The pupils truly liked the ability because ended up being the first occasion some of them had soldered,” stated Lopez. The result had been seven “coffee-can” radars, synthetic-aperture imaging methods constructed with tin cans that served given that transmit and accept antennas. Most of the final day ended up being spent testing the systems, obtaining data, and retesting the methods when they were set in MATLAB. The students additionally penned reports which were posted to UPRM professors to satisfy requirements to make one credit from the workshop.

Condensing the LLRISE training course into 3 days posed challenges for the program organizers. “the primary challenge ended up being the amount of work and maintaining all pupils on course to progress,” Lopez stated. Over a dozen laboratory staff and training assistants support the regular LLRISE workshop. Lopez and Brunet Navarro were grateful for support of UPRM professors, such Professor Rafael Rodriguez, whom assisted instruct the antenna lecture. “Because of the time constraints, we really wanted to hold motivating the pupils as much as we could,” explained Lopez.

This outreach energy to UPRM is simply one of several laboratory’s many contacts to UPRM. “UPRM is the top manufacturing college in Puerto Rico,” Lopez said. “The laboratory definitely recruits top skill at UPRM, and there are many venues where the laboratory staff are collaborating with UPRM.” Like, Karen Gonzalez-Valentin Gettings is arranging a capstone project with UPRM faculty and students. The project is designed to characterize rays pattern for the primary reflector in the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, which operates society’s largest single-aperture radio telescope.

The LLRISE workshop might ignite comparable outreach programs in classrooms around Puerto Rico. A nearby high-school instructor who took part in the UPRM workshop plans to share the machine together with her physics class. UPRM EMC normally invested in arranging demonstrations of system across large schools in Puerto Rico and hopes available future radar workshops on university and to help an LLRISE-type summertime system. In accordance with Lopez, “These efforts are very important because they give men and women the opportunity to determine what they’ve been effective at mastering and accomplishing.”