http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=PT+Sans Scientist flies high in new career with help from Hinds CC

Posts by tag: Unmanned Aerial Systems

Scientist flies high in new career with help from Hinds CC
Posted by
13 July

Scientist flies high in new career with help from Hinds CC

VICKSBURG – Career changes can happen for a variety of reasons and at any time in a working man’s life.

Shea Hammond

For Shea Hammond, the reason was to hop on the latest wave of technology before it passed him by, with the help of the Unmanned Aerial Systems program at Hinds.

“It was time to see what I could do with drones, perhaps start a business and make money off this technology,” Hammond said recently, from his office at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, where he works as a wildlife biologist and lead UAS pilot and developer in the Environmental Systems Branch.

The 42-year-old Greenville native had joined the U.S. Marine Corps right out of Vicksburg High School, where his family moved when he was 12. It was during his days in uniform as a reconnaissance officer that technology first spurred his career and became a common thread in each step of the way.

“While in the Marines, I got to play with some of the toys of the time,” he said. “It was when GPS was coming out and when people were just learning to send texts and other digital messages. It was also when I began working with thermal night-vision glasses.”

After leaving the Marines, he earned a master’s in biological sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi, then went to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service studying bats and managing caves in the Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oklahoma. “I don’t mind getting rained on, getting muddy or being bit by bugs,” he said.

Over time, he saw the potential value in using Unmanned Aerial Systems, or drones, to do the kind of geospatial mapping that had been done for years using satellites in space. “An image coming off a satellite might be rather large, 30 meters by 30 meters per pixel, but one coming from a drone can be down to millimeters or centimeters in size per pixel. So, the resolution is much better and the questions you can ask from a biological standpoint become more resolute.

“I could see this wave coming with the technology,” he said. “So, my wife and I made a really tough decision, along with my mother-in-law who lives with us, to move back home to Mississippi and leave the comfort and security of working with the federal government so I could educate myself in this new technology.”

A few online searches and a conversation with Hinds’ UAS program director Dennis Lott helped him overcome his lack of experience with the aircraft, which have revolutionized aerial photography and related mapping technologies just in the past decade.

“I had no aircraft experience whatsoever,” he said. “I only had experience with the data.”

In a six-month span of time in 2016, Hammond took classes that covered the piloting, construction, design and practical mechanics of multi-rotor and fixed-wing drones. “I pretty much pitched a tent and lived there in the hangar,” he said. “We learned the nuts and bolts of how these things work, plus take data with the kinds of sensors drones carry.”

Lott recognized the willingness of the ex-Marine – one with a master’s degree in one science already – to learn a whole new science and enhance an already impressive resume’.

“Shea Hammond was the perfect student,” Lott said. “He came to the Hinds CC Unmanned Aerial Systems program anxious to learn all he could as fast as he could. He never missed a class and always engaged in discussions. Not only that, but he expanded the discussion.”

ERDC’s interest in a sensor Hinds owned turned into a job opportunity for the budding UAS specialist.

“I happened to be there the day they came in to see what the sensor could do,” he said. “Down the road, they told me they were interested in thermal tracking. Turns out, they developed the toolkit and software I was using to track bats with in the Ozarks.”

His job at ERDC involves all the skills he learned in just a few months in the UAS program at Hinds. When it comes to the aircraft themselves, flying them might be the smallest part of it all.

“It’s one of the most interdisciplinary jobs you can have in any STEM career,” he said. “There’s the biological sciences, the geographical sciences, the mechanical and electrical engineering, and the software, since these are basically flying robots. Then, you also have to be able to write about the science. We have to work as a team to make these systems work. When you go to the field with them and they don’t work, you need to be able to fix them on the spot.”

Those skills are easily accredited to Hinds and the level of instruction he received in a short period of time.

“I didn’t initially see myself transitioning into a completely different field,” he said. “I’m not a bat biologist anymore – I’m a pilot, a roboticist and developer. And that wouldn’t have happened without Hinds. I get the opportunity each day to play with $250,000 aircraft with state-of-the-art equipment.”

 

 


Note: This story appears in the summer 2018 issue of Hindsight alumni magazine. Find out more information about the Hinds Alumni Association and Foundation scholarships.

13 July, 2018 News more
Hinds CC, William Carey University display telemedicine capabilities
Posted by
08 December

Hinds CC, William Carey University display telemedicine capabilities

RAYMOND – The eyes and ears of disaster response in the not-too-distant future was on display Dec. 6 at John Bell Williams Airport at Hinds Community College.

Two of Hinds’ Unmanned Aerial Vehicles were displayed during a presentation held by the college and William Carey University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. Each UAV, popularly known as drones, held a telemedical package.

Dennis Lott, director of the Unmanned Aerial Systems program at Hinds Community College, points out a component on a UAV equipped with a telemedical package during a presentation Dec. 6 at John Bell Williams Airport to launch the Telemedical Drone Project. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Dennis Lott, director of the Unmanned Aerial Systems program at Hinds Community College, points out a component on a UAV equipped with a telemedical package during a presentation Dec. 6 at John Bell Williams Airport to launch the Telemedical Drone Project. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

One held supplies such as a tourniquet, chest seal, gauze, scissors and clotting sponge to treat a severely injured victim, while the other package is set up for a mass casualty and is capable of treating up to 100 people with a range of injuries.

The Telemedical Drone Project, known as HiRO (Health Integrated Rescue Operations), was developed by Dr. Italo Subbarao, a disaster medicine expert and senior associate dean of William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine (WCUCOM), and Guy Paul Cooper Jr., a fourth-year medical student at WCUCOM while the two studied the medical response to the devastating EF-4 tornado that struck Hattiesburg in 2013.

“Reaching the victims is the critical challenge in these situations,” Subbarao said. “As an osteopathic physician, my goal was to find ways to help save lives. A medical drone is the bridge that delivers life-saving treatment directly to the victims, giving remote physicians eyes, ears and voice to instruct anyone on site.”

The presentation was a mix of video and re-enactment. Students from WCU who played the part of shooting victims and potential caregivers in an emergency in the dramatization re-enacted those roles in person for the event.

Experts from the college, along with Subbarao and Cooper, designed and built both disaster drones, capable of carrying telemedical packages in adverse conditions. The aircraft are owned by Hinds and built at the college-owned airport from components sourced from around the world, said Dennis Lott, director of the Unmanned Aerial Systems program at Hinds.

Students from William Carey University's College of Osteopathic Medicine re-enact the treatment of a shooting victim during a presentation Dec. 6 at John Bell Williams Airport at Hinds Community College to launch the Telemedical Drone Program. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Students from William Carey University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine re-enact the treatment of a shooting victim during a presentation Dec. 6 at John Bell Williams Airport at Hinds Community College to launch the Telemedical Drone Program. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

“These drones were specifically designed to support medical emergencies,” Lott said. “The drones have impressive lift and distance capability while following FAA regulations. The drones can also be outfitted with a variety of sensors, such as infrared, to help support these types of events. This relationship presents an ideal setting to develop, test, and bring this technology to the field. It is just a matter of time before the drones become part of routine life.”

Both kits incorporate the federal Department of Homeland Security’s recommendations provided through the “Stop the Bleed” initiative.

“One thing we know for sure is that many people are dying in these types of events needlessly,” said Richard Patrick, a senior advisor for health policy with the department, noting research on active shooter events shows opportunities to save lives are there.

When a critical care kit opens, a physician appears on video and can direct treatment via a Google Glass, which someone can wear and move away from the drone while keeping audio and visual contact with the physician.

Further development needed to make telemedicine via the drones a routine part of disaster response includes integrating them into 911 response systems, Subbarao said.

“From our perspective, we feel it’s a system being applied here – a system that will save people’s lives,” he said.

[tweetable alt=””]Hinds CC, William Carey University display telemedicine capabilities [/tweetable]

 

An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, popularly known as a drone, is equipped with a telemedical package as part of the Telemedical Drone Project, known as HiRO. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, popularly known as a drone, is equipped with a telemedical package as part of the Telemedical Drone Project, known as HiRO. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, popularly known as a drone, is equipped with a telemedical package as part of the Telemedical Drone Project, known as HiRO. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, popularly known as a drone, is equipped with a telemedical package as part of the Telemedical Drone Project, known as HiRO. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

 

 

08 December, 2016 News more