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ECE student wins Golden Key engineering scholarship

Golden Key Honor Society

Read more about Golden Key International Honour Society.

Photograph of Seungmoon Song with the DARwIn robot

FORD scholarship winner Seungmoon Song and RoMeLa's DARwIn humanoid robot.

February 17, 2010 — Seungmoon Song, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering (ECE), has been awarded a $10,000 FORD engineering scholarship from the Golden Key international honor society. The society awards only four of these scholarships across its international membership each year.

Song is involved in humanoid robotics locomotion and in maximizing the power production of solar cells. His faculty advisors are Dan Stilwell, an associate professor of ECE, and Dennis Hong, an associate professor of mechanical engineering.

Song is a member of Virginia Tech's RoMeLa (Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory) and also a member of Team DARwIn for RoboCup. RoboCup, an international autonomous robotic soccer competition that aims to develop robots capable of competitively playing against humans by 2050, requires the development of sophisticated robotic hardware and algorithms. Song helped program the team's motion control system for 2009, and is now working on enhancing the robot's omni-directional locomotion engine. Song is also working on project CHARLI, a full-sized humanoid robot, first of its kind in the United States.

His interest in controls has also involved Song in a research effort to allow photovoltaic modules to produce all available power. Led by faculty advisor Douglas Lindner, an associate professor of ECE, the team is tracking the maximum power points of solar cells. Photovoltaics produce their greatest power when current and voltage are properly balanced, but the maximum power varies depending on environmental conditions. Song is working on maximum power point tracking (MPPT) by analyzing levels of power output and adjusting the voltage accordingly.

Song is a native of Busan, South Korea, and graduated in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

Established in 1977, the Golden Key honor society has more than 2 million student and alumni members in more than 370 campus-based chapters in Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. Golden Key recognizes and encourages scholastic achievement and excellence among college and university students in all disciplines, as well as providing campus and community service opportunities.