Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute assistant professor of mechanical, aerospace and nuclear engineering Jason Hicken recently earned the Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation.
The award consists of a five-year, $500,000 fund that will aid in his further development of designs for virtual realities.
Certain systems, such as biomedical pumps and aircraft, can be expensive and difficult to design, which is why a more effective system is being sought.
“To overcome these barriers we envision an immersive, virtual-reality design environment in which engineers can interact with aircraft or heart pumps in the same way artists interact with clay," Hicken said.
Through the crafting of virtual designs, engineers will be better able to visualize and predict outcomes.
Hicken won the 2014 Howard Rosenbrock Prize for his paper "Journal of Optimization and Engineering," and the Young Investigator Award in 2015 from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
“We congratulate Dr. Hicken on winning the Career Award,” Shekhar Garde, RPI's dean of the School of Engineering, said.