Selected Innovations

Integrated hybrid fuel cell controls environment with multi-option (virtual, emulated, real hardware) components (Simulink)

This innovative control system enabled rapid development of a multi-million dollar tier 1 automotive Solid Oxide Fuel Cell system for transportation. This integrated system, created in Simulink, comprised both plant (SOFC stack, Reformer, Process Air blower and valving, and Power Electronics), and Control sub-system models. Each sub-system model contained multiple configurable versions allowing the operator to select virtual components, emulated components (for example lab flow controllers rather than real process air hardware), or real hardware for each of the sub-systems. The result was a development environment which could be used by any of several teams for purely desktop simulation analysis, actual hardware testing (with available hardware), or a combination of both.


After inject flux quantization (Matlab image processing)

Measuring the very small injected fuel quantity (associated with pintle “bounce”) occurring after the “real” closing of an automotive fuel injector  was a challenge. The solution was to employ high speed video (which was typically available for spray quality evaluation), and post-process the video images with Matlab. The quantity of fuel “flux” crossing a surface between the injector and a flow target was integrated within Matlab Image Processing tools to provide a solution metric.


Live injector closing time via digital filtering injector voltage (PSOC CMSIS Digital Filter)

Small fuel quantity variation associated with subtle automotive fuel injector manufacturing variations created combustion and emissions variability. These variations were measured in real time by observing certain characteristics of the injector voltage waveform. A Programmable System On Chip (Cypress Semiconductor) system including real time digital filtering via ARM CMSIS routines was created. This system was able to measure and report to the engine controller the closing response variation – enabling injector specific corrective action at the engine controller level.


Automated system simulation parametric sweeps (Matlab)

A novel Matlab / Excel based simulation environment was created which allowed automated parametric sweeps (written on Excel sheets) to be performed. The environment initialized, executed, and created post-processing metrics and data visualization from system models written in Amesim and Simplorer. Overnight Designed experiments were easily programmed and executed, allowing engineering review of specific design performance the next morning.  


Custom PSOC component for GUI control of system I/O (PSOC)

A custom component was developed in the PSOC Creator environment. This component is a PC graphical interface driven multiplexer block which when placed in the user’s design, allowed the user to connect (via PC screen) each of the re-routed I/O signals to one of several “rails” (passthru, 5v, 0v, SigGen1, SigGen2, etc). The resultant facility allows board designers to quickly confirm hardware operation at a low level by manually overriding system signals “in-place” with the actual customer code.


GUI selected .csv file schedule control of embedded processor (C# / Windows Forms)

A tool was developed for the PSOC based system, allowing an action “schedule” to be written to “force” conditions in the base system code at a pre-scheduled “time”. The “time” variable can be any advancing system counter, and the “condition” can be any PSOC variable state for which a “hook” is included. This facility allows automated testing of system performance subject to combinations of external or internal conditions describable in a .csv “list” of “time” value and columnar “action” parameters.


Recursive data mining “Crawler” (VBA)

An innovative data mining tool was developed in VBA for the purpose of compiling statistics on multiple files stored in a hierarchical folder structure. The tool begins at a top node elected by the user, and subsequently recursively “drills down” through the whole folder structure, opening targeted file types and extracting required information as it goes. The results are summarized in an Excel worksheet. The tool can also be used to make changes in each of the target files.


VBA driven MS Access environment for not-for-profit driven by flexible SQL stored in .txt files.

A novel VBA environment for driving MS ACCESS queries and reports has been developed. The environment allows arbitrary SQL (Structured Query Language)  syntax contained in .txt files created by the user (and elected at run time), to be employed as  agents for database query, report, or modification. This approach gives the user the flexibility to modify searches, create new searches or tables, and specify new fields for reports without having to write new queries or reports in MS Access.