Esther Whang EE’23 Wins 1st-Place Undergraduate Collegiate Poster at SWE22

POSTED ON: November 8, 2022

Esther Whang EE'23

Image of Esther Whang EE'23 at WE22.

Senior electrical engineering student, Esther Whang, won first place in the Undergraduate Collegiate Poster Competition at WE22 in Houston, Texas. 

WE22 is the world’s largest conference and career fair for women in engineering and technology, put on annually by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). The Collegiate Poster Competition emphasizes the ability to deliver visual presentations on original independent research or project. There were a total of ten finalists selected to present at WE22 and Esther took first place in the undergraduate poster contest category.

Esther’s poster highlighted the “E-Textile Origami Accordion with DIY Textile Sensors.” The research was completed alongside Cameron Tardy ChE’25, Kalvin Huang ChE’25, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering Jennifer Weiser, and Professor of Mathematics and C.V. Starr Distinguished Professor of Engineering Mili Shah.

In recent years, textile sensors have gained attention for their human-computer interface (HCI) applications, especially from the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) community. However, despite the rising interest in textile sensors, minimal literature exists on DIY methods for making low-cost textile sensors. The project provides a method for developing piezo-resistive textile sensors through pyrrole polymerization, which creates sensors that retain the flexibility of the original fabric while imbuing it with piezo-resistive properties. The potential applications of the DIY textile sensor are demonstrated through the E-Textile Origami Accordion, a musical device utilizing textile sensors to capture the movement of its bellows. The project illustrates a low-cost method to develop and utilize DIY textile sensors to detect motion, opening doors for future applications such as motion capture.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.