A tour of Oregon State University engineering

Chris Loberg, Tektronix -November 12, 2012

While down in lovely Corvallis, Oregon, for “Dad’s Weekend” last week, I had the opportunity to tour the Oregon State University engineering labs in search of a Tektronix presence. And indeed I found one. OSU is a strong engineering institution that has a long history of providing talent to Tektronix just 1-½ hours away.

I headed to several engineering lab classrooms, and both of the labs were filled with MSO4000 oscilloscopes—up to 20 instruments in each lab area. Unfortunately, both labs were locked so I couldn’t get a great picture, but it appeared that these instruments were being heavily used by students.

In an adjacent hall were the robotics and mechanical engineering disciplines, both OSU strengths. Below is a land rover that was built for exploration efforts for NASA. It was designed and built at OSU with assistance from the Tektronix oscilloscopes in the lab.

Then I was fortunate enough to see an open lab where the OSU engineering students were building a robot called Atrias. This project was being conducted with assistance from DARPA and in concert with University of Michigan and Carnegie-Mellon engineering departments. I was able to talk with the student engineers as they excitedly explained what their robot was doing. You can see Atrias making its first steps on YouTube here.

I spotted several Tektronix oscilloscopes in the Atrias lab; below are the TDS3000s. The design team primarily uses them to debug one or more of the many controller boards on the robot. They’ve got controllers for each of the hip functions, the knees, and others for user interface, etc. It’s a pretty intense robot when the carbon fiber chest plates are taken off!

Most impressive, I was blown away by the enthusiasm and interest taken in this project by the students, as you can see with the video here from my iPhone.

Education, together with government and industry, is pointing the way to the next generation of technology and engineering expertise. Innovation and creativity are running rampant on on the campuses of our nation’s universities, and I’m more convinced than ever that we need to continue to support and encourage it for the future of our industry! Go OSU Beavers!

Chris Loberg is a senior technical marketing manager at Tektronix Inc.

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