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ECE Student Wins First Place at Regional IEEE Conference

April 29, 2013

Alexander Pietrocola Drexel Engineering sophomore Alexander Pietrocola of the Electrical and Computer Engineering department (ECE) was awarded first place in the Student Paper and Presentation competition at the 2013 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Region 2 Student Activities Conference held at West Virginia University. His research paper, titled “Dynamic Control of an Omnidirectional Self Restoring Ball Balancing Robot,” detailed the research Pietrocola has been working on since last summer involving various control algorithms used to stabilize an autonomous robot that balances and moves on a spherical ball, also known as Ballbot.

The IEEE Region 2 Student Activities Conference is an annual regional conference that hosts IEEE student branches during a weekend-Iong event packed with workshops and competitions designed to build better branches, as well as develop and show off their engineering skills. Other competitions at the conference included ethics, physics, brown bag competitions and a project showcase. Pietrocola represented Drexel’s IEEE student branch and placed ahead of senior teams from George Mason University, University of Maryland, Gannon College and Lafayette College.

Pietrocola is currently an electrical engineering major and he is minoring in entrepreneurship. He has been an undergraduate research assistant in the Data Fusion Laboratory of the ECE department under Dr. Richard Primerano and Dr. Moshe Kam. Pietrocola and peer sophomores Daniel Mariano, George Risi and Timothy Kaack developed the Ballbot. Pietrocola is heavily involved with Drexel’s ECE department, Phi Chi Theta Professional Fraternity, Student Conduct Board and Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.