ASU doctoral student travels beyond U.S. borders to work with intercultural scholars

June 1, 2017

Elena Steiner has always wanted to travel beyond U.S. borders to see what intercultural educators, trainers, and researchers are doing and talking about in the “rest of the world."

Steiner, a doctoral student in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, will be traveling this summer through Europe and the Far East conducting international research she believes could be incorporated into the ASU classroom. students looking at a computer Download Full Image

She will be conducting research with Steinbeis University, a private university in Berlin, Germany. The Steinbeis Center for Management and Technology, a network of leading institutes within the university, is bringing a cohort of masters of business engineering students to Tokyo to work alongside Japanese students in consulting projects with small to medium size Japanese companies.

Steiner will be conducting data collection in Tokyo for two weeks during the student collaboration, reporting her results back to SCMT. She will also submit a paper for part of her doctoral coursework at ASU. 

Prior to beginning her research in Germany, Steiner will also be attending the Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research (SIETAR) conference in Dublin, Ireland.

“To really look at intercultural communication, it’s important to live that as much as possible by experiencing the intercultural aspects of the field of intercultural communication,” Steiner said.

Traveling to international conferences is not new for Steiner.

Steiner has been a member of SIETAR USDA for years. She attended the SIETAR Global Conference in Spain several years ago, so SIETAR Europa is a natural choice, she stated.  

Steiner previously lived in Germany six years and said she feels her personal life has guided her somehow back “home.”

The international conference provides her the opportunity to connect with colleagues old and new and explore opportunities for dissertation data collection.  She will also investigate project work in Europe, especially with the NGO sector, and post doc possibilities.

Steiner’s proposal to present at the conference in a doctoral track was accepted. Her plan was to further develop her dissertation interests, but discovered the commitment was more substantial than her time allowed.

The SIETAR conference topics and participants are related to the data collection she will be doing for the Steinbeis Center of Management and Technology in Tokyo.

, doctoral student

Elena Steiner

Steiner will be meeting with several colleagues at the conference associated with the University of Jyväskylä in Finland who conduct programs at the intersection of academia and practical application in the private sector.

The University of Jyväskylä model is similar to the SCMT and Tokyo University models where student consultants have the chance to collaborate on projects in the private sector. 

Steiner stated that the overarching goals are to help people and organizations develop intercultural communication skills, so they can excel in a dynamic and global marketplace.

She said it will be beneficial to see what is being done in Finland and how it might relate to the German/Japanese projects.

Steiner’s data collection largely revolves around field observation of 90 student consultants divided into 15 working teams interacting in a global team to produce a final product for the Japanese company with which they’re working.  

Steiner believes her research results can and should be brought into the ASU classroom.  She believes it is a natural fit, given ASU’s philosophy of the New American University and the focus on innovation and bridging between academia and other sectors.

“I have always thought it is important for students of intercultural communication to hear about how culture impacts just about any endeavor in any field or discipline,” she said. “Making ourselves conscious of our own culture, increasing self-awareness, is always the key and first step to improve intercultural interactions.”

Lynne MacDonald

communications specialist, School of Music


Flexible hybrid electronics bend the rules of computing architectures

June 1, 2017

Typical computing platforms don’t bend, twist and flex the ways we humans do. Powerful silicon architectures in use today require rigidity, but the wearable, assistive and medical computing applications of the future would be most beneficial if they were flexible.

Umit Ogras, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, is developing an innovative methodology and tools to optimize the design of flexible hybrid electronics — architectures that combine flexible elements and rigid silicon to overcome the performance limitations of purely flexible electronics. The work is supported by a $500,000, five-year National Science Foundation CAREER Award project. Portrait of Umit Ogras Umit Ogras is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Download Full Image

“Physical flexibility and stretchability expands the design space into an uncharted dimension,” Ogras said, “which introduces intricate trade-offs with the traditional power, performance and area metrics, but can also drive the next big leap forward in form factor design, similar to the shift from desktop and laptop computers to handheld devices.”

Purely rigid electronics like our smartphones boast high computing power but lack the flexibility required for wearables. However, flexible thin-film transistors fall short on processing power.

It’s up to electronic systems designers to figure out how to combine silicon and flexible printed electronics for better-performing, mostly flexible systems.

“However, there are no proposed solutions for the systematic modeling and design of flexible hybrid electronic systems,” Ogras said.

Ogras is taking a new approach to the problem. He is constructing new tools that quantify flexibility as a metric in the design process.

“This will enable designers to find the optimal set of rigid integrated circuits, such as state-of-the-art silicon microprocessors, and flexible/stretchable devices such as sensors, antenna and displays, that implement the target functionality,” Ogras said. “Then, the rigid ICs will be integrated onto flexible or stretchable substrates using emerging interface techniques such as those developed at NextFlex.”

Flexible hybrid electronics have great potential for wearable computing, assistive technologies, the Internet of Things, body sensors and medical applications.

This figure shows a system-on-polymer (SoP) proposal with flexible circuits, display and battery, and rigid integrated circuits, demonstrating an optimization of flexible and rigid parts to optimize performance.

Flexible hybrid electronics display the next step in form factor evolution. This figure shows a system-on-polymer (SoP) proposal with flexible circuits, display and battery, and rigid integrated circuits, demonstrating an optimization of flexible and rigid parts to optimize performance. Graphic courtesy of Umit Ogras

 “For example, flexible hybrid electronics can enable electronic patches equipped with motion, physiological and biochemical sensors, and wireless transceivers,” Ogras said. “These patches can be used to examine movement disorders at any time and anywhere, in stark contrast to the current practice, where a patient has to stay in a clinical environment.”

He hopes in the long term, flexible hybrid electronics can “deliver the functionality of current state-of-the-art mobile platforms and more in a truly pervasive form factor.”

Ogras said ASU is one of the leading institutions in the flexible electronics area, and collaborations with the Power One IC Research Center and Flexible Electronics and Display Center have greatly helped his NSF CAREER Award project development.

Monique Clement

Communications specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering