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Benefits of ECE

Emerging Areas of ECE: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) provides a list of emerging areas in electrical and computer engineering.

ECE Impact on Humans and Society: Electrical and Computer Engineering at OSU has faculty and students working in the following areas, each of which has a significant impact on humans and society:

  1. Analog and Radio Frequency Electronic Circuits: Without these, there’d be no cell phones, no wifi, not even television.
  2. Communication and Signal Processing: is concerned with the transmission, storage, and analysis of information signals.  While traditionally electrical engineers worked on communicating and analyzing speech, audio, image, and video signals, nowadays they work on a much wider variety of problems, such as recovering and analyzing physiological and genomic signals, ecological and environmental signals, consumer preference data, financial time series, and many others.
  3. Computer and Digital Systems: Humankind is advancing faster technologically than ever before with the help of computers. These digital systems are everywhere, from your dishwasher and wristwatch to the Mars rovers, and everything in between.
  4. Networking: The internet is having a profound impact on society, bringing people across the world together to work collaboratively from different countries. It also spreads and promotes democracy.
  5. Computer Vision and Image Processing: These technologies make it possible for computers to analyze data from magneto-resonance imaging  and other medical imaging devices to not only display images but identify diseases. Computer vision experts teach computers how to recognize faces, while image processing people can de-blur images, extract features, and even make art.
  6. Control Systems, Robotics, and Intelligent Transportation: Automation to reduce human toil in the workplace; enhance safety in manufacturing systems, automobiles (via anti-skid braking systems or self-driving vehicles), and aircraft (e.g., via auto-pilots); biomedical applications including automatic drug delivery (e.g., insulin control for diabetics), controlled prostheses, and robotic surgery; pollution reduction in automobiles and aircraft.
  7. Electromagnetics, Remote Sensing, and Microwaves: Communication via radiowaves is essential for mobile devices, radios, and the internet. Radio- and microwaves can also be used for sensing, for example in air traffic control radar. The ability of microwaves to see through clouds and rain also makes them very useful for measuring Earth’s climate and the influence of global change.
  8. Optics and Photonics: Using light to solve engineering problems runs the gamut from fiber optics to lasers for eye surgery. Photonics also includes the field of display technology from LEDs to liquid crystals to holograms. A thorough understanding of the interaction of light with matter even helps animators create more convincing and realistic–looking movies. Optics are widely applicable in many fields, including all types of engineering, as well as medicine, architecture (lighting), entertainment, and many others.
  9. Nanotechnology and Electronic Materials: These folks develop more efficient solar cells, faster transistors to run your computers, chips that can help you track your pets, and microscopic sensors for everything from air pollution to blood proteins to analyzing minerals on Mars.
  10. Sustainable Energy and Power Systems: Humankind is hugely dependent on energy, but burning materials to make electricity is damaging our environment. Electrical engineers are working to create better solar cells and windmills, to harvest energy from tides and many other non-polluting sources. The smart grid is another engineering approach to more efficient energy use, to save the planet.