General Meeeting – April 14, 2011

The next general meeting of the North Star Section will be held at Dunwoody College of Technology on April 14th, starting at 6:00 PM.

The address of Dunwoody, which is near downtown, is:
         818 Dunwoordy Blvd.
         Minneapolis, MN 55403 


      6:00-6:30pm             Social time, including beverages and sandwiches
      6:30-6:50pm             Welcome and Presentation
      6:50:7:35pm             Tour
      7:35 pm                     Conclusion

Keynote Speaker

E.J. Daigle III – Academic Director for Robotics and Manufacturing at Dunwoody College

Presentation Abstract

Mr. Daigle will present an overview of the Robotic and Manufacturing Deparment and tours of their Electronics, Engineering Design, Machining and Automation laboratories. This presentation and tour will include a brief description of their experiences at the first Annual Snow Plow competition during the St. Paul Winter Carnival. This includes viewing Dunwoody’s 3rd place autonomous snowplow vehicle and meet with some of the team members.

Overview of Dunwoody

Dunwoody College of Technology is a Private non-profit technical college on the western edge of downtown Minneapolis.

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Founded in 1914 by William Hood Dunwoody’s endowment of $2 million dollars, Dunwoody continues to thrive off the interest earned over the years. Dunwoody has been teaching many skilled trades associated with the Manufacturing, Construction, and Automotive industries. The college has since added several technical disciplines, medical programs and Bachelor completion options. In its nearly 100 year history, Dunwoody has had over 300,000 alumni several of whom started their own successful businesses. These businesses include Standard Heating and Air, Entemann’s Bakery, Moori’s Automotive Group, Mortenson Construction and Lund Boats

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to

2011 Snow Plow Competition

The North Star section’s premier outreach activity is the Snow Plow competition that will be held at the St. Paul Winter Carnival between Jan 26 and Jan 30.

The purpose of this competition is to challenge university and college students, as well as  the general public, to design, build, and operate a fully autonomous snowplow to  remove snow from a designated path. The objectives of this competition include encouraging students and individuals to utilize the state of the art in navigation and control  technologies to rapidly, accurately, and safely clear a path of snow.  Click here to view the web site for the competition.

The 2011 competitors are the Univ. of MN, Univ. of MI (Dearborn), Dunwoody College of Technology, Ohio University, Wright State (Ohio) and Miami University (Ohio).

The competition will be conducted at the Science Museum and near Rice park.  On Jan 27th, at the Science Museum, each competitor will give their formal presentations bewteen 5:45 and 9:30 PM. On Jan 28th between 12 and 6 PM, the final qualification review will be conducted. The actual snow plowing by the vehicles will be performed on Jan 29th between 8:45 AM and 1:30 PM and on Jan 30th between 9:45 AM and 2:15 PM.

The competitors will also participate in the Grand Day at 2:45 on Jan 30th. Click here to view a detailed schedule of the snow plow activities at the Winter Carnival.

2010 Summary of Section Activities

2010 was an active year for the North Star section. During the year we sponsored 6 meetings for the general membership. Each activity included a social 1/2 hour during which sandwiches and beverages were served. The social 1/2 hour was followed by a keynote speaker and then a short general meeting. Click here to view a detailed summary of the section’s activities.

General Meeting – 16 December 2010

The next general meeting of the ION North Star Section will be Dec 16th in Mechanical Engineering Building Room 1130 at the University of Minnesota ( ).

Please email us at, if you plan to attend.

The agenda for the meeting is:
6:00 Meet and Greet
6:30 Keynote Speaker
7:45 Section Business
8:00 Closing remarks

Sandwiches and beverages will be served during the Meet and Greet portion of the meeting.

The keynote presentation will be:

Title: GLANSER – An Emergency Responder Locator System for Indoor and GPS-Denied Applications
Presenter: Robert McCroskey (Honeywell)

Locating responders in GPS-denied environments is a critical function in emergency situations. This paper provides background on the Emergency Responder Locator System developed by Honeywell for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Geospatial Location Accountability and Navigation System for Emergency Responders (GLANSER) program [1]. The GLANSER system provides the emergency incident commander with situational awareness in indoor and GPS-denied environments by displaying first-responder locations on a 2D or 3D display. Honeywell’s GLANSER system consists of portable geospatial locators that contain an Ultra-Wideband (UWB) ranging radio, a Micro Electronic Mechanical Systems (MEMS)-based Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), a Doppler velocimeter, a barometric altimeter, and a processor module. The locators determine responder location by fusing range measurements to stationary anchor nodes with the inertial data and a human motion model. The velocity measurement from the 92 GHz Doppler is used to limit inertial drift and allows the unit to coast for more than to 15 seconds between range measurements while keeping position error within DHS’s stated threshold of 1 meter. Differential barometric measurements between the responder’s locators and the fixed anchor nodes are used to aid the vertical position measurement. Finally, a data radio is used for communication between nodes and to transmit the responder’s location to a commander display where the responder locations are displayed in 2D or 3D using Honeywell’s FirstVision™ software. This paper will present an overview of the system architecture and performance results from the UWB, Doppler, and differential barometric sensors. Key challenges including RF multipath mitigation and non-traditional motion (i.e. duck walk, walking up stairs) will also be addressed. Finally, initial performance results from the integrated system operating in an indoor environment will be presented.
This presentation is derived from a paper entitled “GLANSER – An Emergency Responder Locator System for Indoor and GPS-Denied Applications” authored by R. McCroskey, P. Samanant, W. Hawkinson, S. Huseth, R. Hartman (Honeywell) and presented at the 23rd International Technical Meeting of The Satellite Division of the Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS 2010).

ION North Star General Meeting, Oct 7, 2010

The next general meeting will be at BRS Aerospace Inc. The key note event of this meeting is  a tour of their engineering and manufacturing facilities

Please email us at, if you plan to attend.

Meeting Details

Date: Thursday Oct, 7, 2010 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM

Location:   BRS Aerospace Inc.  at 380 Airport Road South, St. Paul, MN 55075

Please arrive at the main entrance to the facility. Our hosts will escort you to the meeting room

Keynote event:

This month’s meeting will take place at BRS Aerospace, which is located in St. Paul. BRS Aerospace manufactures parachutes that are used as a backup recovery system for small aircraft. The parachutes are used in the recovery system for Cirrus family of single engine aircraft.  The keynote event of this meeting will be a tour by BRS aerospace of their engineering and manufacturing facilities that will include an overview of their products.

  6:00     Meet & Greet with sandwiches and beverages
  6:15     Tour Overview
  6:30     Start of Tour
  8:00     Adjourn

Special General Meeting on Sept 1, 2010

The North Star Section will host a special general meeting on Sept 1.

        Time:           6:00 to 9:00 pm
        Location:   Solera Restaurant (900 Hennepin Ave)
                              Reservation name: Chuck Bye (Honeywell)
        Special Guest: Dr. Mikel Miller (President of the ION)

The agenda for the meeting is:

       Dinner:  All attendees will be expected to pay for their dinner
                  Title:        AFRL/RW’s Munitions S&T Strategic vision
                  Speaker:  Dr. Mikel Miller (AFRL/RW)
                  Format:   Table-top presentation and discussion

The space for this meeting is very limited. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Chuck Bye will confirm your reservation to attend the meeting on a first come first serve basis.

Executive Meeting – June 17, 2010

An Executive Committee meeting was held on June 17th. The minutes of the meeting are Exec Meeting Notes 2010-06-17.

The new officers accepted there position. The list of officers is available on the Section Officers web page.

The next Executive meeting will be in early September and the next general meeting will be hosted at Ballistic Recovery Services. The specific dates and times of these meeting will be posted at a later date.

ION North Star Section Outreach Activities

The North Star section had a successful demonstration for the Snow Plow Competition at the St. Paul Winter Carnival. It was wet, but many people toured our display and expressed interest. You can read more about the Snow Plow Competition and Winter Carnival display at . The Snow Plow Competition was written up in the ION National newsletter. The article can be viewed at Winter ION Newsletter pg 12.

In addition, to the Winter Carnival we have been investigating having a regional competition for the ION’s Mini-Urban Challenge. More information on the Mini-Urban Challenge can be found at   We are considering a demonstration of the Mini-Urban Challenge in conjunction with the Snow Plow Competition at the Winter Carnival in Jan 2011. If successful we would sponsor a regional competition for the 2010-2011 school. The regional competition would be held at the same time as the Winter Carnival in Jan. For the demonstration the section will need to program a Mind-Storm to navigate through a small “city.”

After reviewing the status and plans for the Snow Plow Competition it was decided that the Section should put together an autonomous Snow Plow for use during the Snow Plow Competition at the Winter Carnival in Jan 2011. This vehicle would be designed to meet all the requirements of the competition and be able to host “snow plow” application software. The purpose of this vehicle would be to provide teams a method to enter the competition without having to build a vehicle. The design of this vehicle is considerably more challenging since the vehicle design must be robust to ensure that the vehicle remains safe when the “snow plow” application software is installed.

If you are interested in volunteering to help develop the Mini-Urban Challenge demonstration or to assist in developing the Section’s autonomous snow plow, please email Chuck Bye at

General Meeting – 22 April 2010

The next general meeting of the ION North Star Section will be April 22nd in Mechanical Engineering Building Room 1130 at the University of Minnesota ( ).

Please email us at, if you plan to attend.

The agenda for the meeting is:
6:00 Meet and Greet
6:30 Welcome and Section Business
7:00 Keynote Speaker
8:00 Closing remarks

Sandwiches and beverages will be served during the Meet and Greet portion of the meeting.

The keynote presentation will be:

Title: NASA AirSTAR: Subscale Flight Testing for GN&C
Presenter: Austin Murch
NASA has developed the Airborne Subscale Transport Aircraft Research (AirSTAR) flight facility to allow flight research, validation, and system testing for flight regimes that are considered too risky for full-scale manned transport airplane testing. The AirSTAR facility utilizes dynamically-scaled vehicles that enable the application of subscale flight test results to full scale vehicles. This presentation will give an overview of the facility, flight operations, current research capabilities, and future directions.

A short unofficial video of a flight of the dynamically scaled vehicle that was flow as part of this program can be viewed through YouTube at