UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering

Electrical engineering student wins prestigious aerospace defense award

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Tanish Jain, center, and Shlok Misra, right, accept their award at a USAIRE meeting in Paris. Photos courtesy of USAIRE

San Diego, Calif., Feb. 19, 2020 -- Tanish Jain, an electrical engineering undergraduate student at UC San Diego, earned second place in the USAIRE Student Award competition for a 10-page paper on the aerospace defense capabilities and strategies of Israel and India, two burgeoning powers in an increasingly multipolar world.

Jain and his research partner, Shlok Misra, a friend from high school and an aeronautical science major at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, were one of five finalist teams honored by the Association of United States and European Aerospace Industries Representatives (USAIRE) at their annual meeting in Paris in November.

Jain is involved in machine learning research and is interested in how ML can be applied to defense technologies, while Misra researches aviation safety and human factors in aviation. Their combination of interests motivated them to participate in the USAIRE competition.

“Since the topic of the paper was in line with our interests and related to our research areas, we thought it would be interesting to explore it,” Jain said. “At the time, we didn’t really think we would win, and just thought it was an exciting topic to research and write about over the summer.

“We looked at India and Israel specifically because they are emerging defense powers that have similar geopolitical situations, and we’re seeing how they could be a model for other countries in general to navigate the space of a newly protectionist, multipolar world; where do they source equipment from, how do their domestic industries deal with changing geopolitics?”

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Misra and Jain with their 2nd place plaques. 

In addition to being flown to Paris to attend the USAIRE meeting, they also received scholarship funds, two additional tickets to Paris, several aircraft display models, and a visit to the AAR aviation services facility in Miami.

At UC San Diego, Jain studies electrical and computer engineering with a focus on machine learning and controls.

This summer, he’ll be conducting research on ML-enabled drones to augment human vision and senses in Professor Tara Javidi’s lab, before working toward his master’s degree—location TBD!

On campus, he’s the Project Director for Project in a Box, a student organization that aims to promote hands-on engineering skills that can complement theoretical classes through supporting project development, workshops, and developing self-contained project kits for students from elementary school through college.

Jain is also testing his entrepreneurial skills, working with five other students on a startup called SoleInTech to help people with Parkinson’s disease walk more steadily and monitor the progression of their condition more effectively. The shoe insole they’re developing uses ML to conduct gait analysis as the user walks to detect changes in the progression of their Parkinson’s, and provides vibrational feedback to help the user walk more steadily. The idea was generated during the UC San Diego Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s Design Competition in 2019, which was focused on creating solutions for people with Parkinson’s disease. The team of six students has followed through with their concept, and is working in UC San Diego student startup center The Basement to further develop their prototype so it’s ready for more patient trials. 

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