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Helping Rescue Workers See Through the Debris

Breton Minnehan is trying to get computers to “see” the world through object tracking, and his work could give rescue workers an advantage as they search through debris in disaster areas.

Minnehan wants to make a difference with unmanned aircraft, or drones. His work, which he started as an undergraduate, involves using unmanned aircraft to build a map in disaster areas to enable turn-by-turn directions for people on the ground trying to get through debris.

Eventually, Minnehan would like to teach at a university, but he expects to go into industry for several years and participate in a company’s research and development department.

“One of the exciting things about the new PhD in Engineering program is that there are all sorts of different engineering majors in the program that we can work with,” he said. “It’s not a competitive atmosphere.”

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