Wichita State University
July 2022
Latest News
Deloitte's Smart Factory @ Wichita opens on WSU's Innovation Campus
The brand-new Deloitte Smart Factory @ Wichita — right here on WSU’s Innovation Campus — opened in early June.
The Smart Factory aims to advance the future of manufacturing and spur innovation through digital transformation.
It features a fully functioning manufacturing production line that combines cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, cloud and edge applications, robotics, vision solutions and more.
The factory also supports STEM education, with plans to manufacture and donate Smart Rover STEM education kits that aim to impact 800,000 students over four years, with initial donations in Wichita, Metro Detroit and Philadelphia in 2022.
Completely sustainable, The Smart Factory is powered by renewable resources and is net-zero impact. It is anticipated to draw more than 5,000 visitors to the Wichita area over the next 12 months, including leaders from world-renowned companies, and provide numerous applied learning opportunities for Wichita State students.
NetApp opens Wichita headquarters at WSU
The grand opening for NetApp's Wichita headquarters — a 168,000-square-foot facility on Wichita State's Innovation Campus — took place in mid-June.
The facility will support WSU's nationally recognized research programs, such as the National Institute for Research and Digital Transformation and the National Institute for Aviation Research.
The NetApp building also features an on-site large-scale data center and an Artificial Intelligence SuperPOD/HPC Center of Excellence.
This move will allow NetApp to partner directly with WSU on any future curriculum applying to NetApp’s core technology and provide WSU students with the opportunity for hands-on training and valuable lab experience before graduation. 
NetApp is one of the largest employers of Wichita State students.
Wichita State researchers aim to educate, protect refugees from cyber-scams
Dr. Mythili Menon, assistant professor of English and linguistics and director of linguistics at WSU, was recently awarded $296,470 as part of the National Science Foundation’s EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) program to study how refugees respond to phishing and vishing attempts.
The project — Enabling Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Studying Social Engineering Attacks Targeting Vulnerable Refugee Populations; or, as Menon has dubbed it, Cybersecurity for All — is a collaboration with Dr. Murtuza Jadliwala, associate professor of computer science at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). There are also two students involved in the research: Mohd Sabra, Shocker graduate and current Ph.D. student at UTSA; and Kaitlyn Hemberger, a Wichita State graduate student in English with an emphasis on linguistics.
WSU professors and students recognized for innovative research
Two Wichita State researchers and a student group were awarded the John A. See Innovation Award.
The award is given each year as a way to recognize novel ideas that have the potential to meet a market need and attract further funding once they have advanced through the early prototyping phase. Examples of supported costs are prototype development, design, product testing and market analysis.
Home for digital transformation rising on Innovation Campus
The steel columns and beams rising on the east edge of the Innovation Campus will soon provide a physical centerpiece for the ongoing work of digital transformation at Wichita State University.

The National Institute for Research and Digital Transformation (NIRDT) will occupy the building at 18th Street and Oliver by spring 2023. Construction on the 37,000-square-foot building began in January.

The NIRDT location will include a collaboration hub, cyber/data analytics area, testing labs, eight research labs and a 168-rack data center. The facility's amenities will help increase digital transformation, taking physical practices and transferring them to the digital world.
NIAR WERX announces MRO program expansion with Erickson Precision Ventures
The WERX program at Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research and Erickson Precision Ventures reached an agreement to work cooperatively on modification, maintenance and engineering for various Boeing and Airbus aircraft in May.
As a result, NIAR will soon complete conversions and maintenance – which began last year – for Erickson’s subsidiary company, Erickson Aero Tanker.
“Kansas has the resources to become the MRO Capital, and it is quickly becoming a reality," says Kansas Senator Jerry Moran. "The strong partnerships that NIAR WERX is forming with Precision will provide high-paying skilled jobs for Kansans while simultaneously supporting aviation industry growth across the country.”
WSU professor wins Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant for work to assist the visually impaired
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded a grant of $243,922 to Wichita State University researchers Darren DeFrain and his partner, Aaron Rodriguez, for their work on an app that will allow people who are visually impaired to read comic books, graphic novels and other digitized graphic materials on their devices.

DeFrain also has received grants to support his work on Vizling from the National Endowment for the Humanities for $100,000 and from the John See Innovation Award, given by Wichita State, for $11,000.
Student-created parking app concept wins 2022 Koch Innovation Challenge
Three Wichita State University students were named the champions of the 2022 Koch Innovation Challenge with their idea to ease parking frustrations via an app called Everwhen.
Everwhen is a parking assistant app to help drivers quickly locate an open parking spot on campus. It does this with an AI-recognition software that can be implemented with existing security cameras that scans the parking lot for open spots and transfers that data over to the app.
As winners, the group will go on to compete at the Annual Global Pitch Competition Sept. 16-Oct. 20.
WERX at Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research completed the first pre-modification baseline test flight for the Kansas Modification Center’s 777-300ERCF passenger-to-freighter conversion program April 26.

The NIAR WERX team employs WSU and WSU Tech students who implement innovative and efficient methods for the rapid development of engineering and testing plans for new aircraft, modifications and overhaul, and electrical components.
NASA awards $2 million for Wichita State professor to study the sun
Wichita State University’s Dr. Nick Solomey, professor of physics, was awarded a $2 million grant from NASA for his work on developing a neutrino detector to work in space and close to the sun.
The project, called Cube-sat Space Flight test of a Neutrino Detector, uses a method to get close to the sun to increase the density of neutrinos. Neutrinos are one of the most abundant particles in the universe but are challenging to study since they rarely interact with matter. Therefore, large and sensitive Earth-based detectors are best suited to detect them.
Wichita State's MagicHand team takes project to NSF Innovation program
MagicHand, an anthropomorphic robotic hand designed by a Wichita State University engineering team, is participating in the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps program.
The MagicHand is designed to achieve various dexterous object manipulations, including object sorting, arranging and packaging. The MagicHand team began the seven-week path to commercialization in March.
Research at Wichita State
With yearly funding topping $180 million, research at Wichita State ranges from bioscience, chemistry and engineering to mathematics, physics and ancient civilization. 
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Innovation at Wichita State
Innovation is more than just talk at WSU. It permeates everything we do, all we aspire to become and reaches far beyond our campus boundaries.
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Student centered. Innovation driven.
About Wichita State University

Wichita State University serves as Kansas' only urban research university, enrolling more than 16,000 students on its main campus and 9,000 students on WSU Tech Campuses from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student-centered and innovation-driven.
Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.
The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing more than 120 acres, and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.