Two Fowler Engineering faculty members received a competitive grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to further their research. Dhanya Nair, Ph.D. and Nasim Estakhri, Ph.D.  were awarded these grants late last year and early 2022. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense. The NSF funds research and education in science and engineering, through grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements. The Foundation accounts for about 20 percent of federal support to academic institutions for basic research.

Dr. Dhanya Nair received her ERI grant on Representation of Braille Characters and Graphical Patterns using Dynamic Tactile Displays.The overall goal of this project is to integrate braille and graphics on the same platform, using a small dynamic tactile grid. This project will characterize user acceptability of a dynamic tactile system when the braille or graphical patterns are presented in a personalized manner (calibrated for user preferred vibration, slip-speed, etc.).

Dr. Nasim Estakhri received her ERI grant on Sub-diffractive Optical Trapping Enabled by Deep-Learning-Assisted Metasurface Design. This project aims to leverage the wave-shaping properties of metasurfaces to design a novel class of compact nanostructures for sub-diffractive optical trapping, able to generate desired trapping potentials with giant optical forces that are tailored for the particles of choice.

You can learn more about Dr. Nair’s research and more information about the grant here.

You can learn more about Dr. Estakhri’s research and more information about the grant here.