Recent News News Archives News Categories

HPU engineering students selected to present work at international conference

BROWNWOOD – May 2, 2023 – Layton Pratt and Ryan Robertson, students in Howard Payne University’s Department of Engineering, have been invited to make a presentation at the third International Conference on Electrical, Computer, Communications and Mechatronics Engineering (ICECCME). They will give an oral presentation on their design and testing of a wearable device for antiviral and antibacterial disinfection. The conference, sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), will take place in July in the Canary Islands, Tenerife, Spain.

Pratt, a junior from Spicewood majoring in engineering science and the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, and Robertson, a senior from Euless majoring in engineering science, will present their paper titled “Wearable Far UVC Technology for Continuous Dynamic Personal Protection on Demand.” The paper describes the device, named AuroraGuard, as “a technological alternative to the outdated PPEs” and “a minimally inconvenient and non-obstructive garment,” protecting the users and others “from harmful microorganisms due to the ‘aurora’ of Far UVC light emitted directly in front of their respiratory, hearing and ocular entrances, but away from them.”

“AuroraGuard is a wearable vest,” the paper states, “which uses adjustable elastic straps that allow for a comfortable and adjustable one-size-fits-all for any user … These straps are attached to a base plate that serves as a mounting point for the AuroraGuard product.”

Pratt and Robertson are students of Dr. Martin Mintchev, HPU’s professor of engineering and chair of the Department of Engineering. The students have worked on the project over a two-year span as part of project-based design courses in engineering science.

“This is a major achievement for two of our excellent undergraduate students,” said Dr. Mintchev. “Their participation in this major IEEE international conference is yet another attestation of the high quality of our engineering programs. The students will present to the world the first fully functional prototype of a wearable Far UVC garment, which can potentially become a major weapon in our continuous fight against airborne bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19.”

Pratt and Robertson look back on the project with gratitude for the experience.

“The project-based design classes of the engineering science program at Howard Payne have allowed me to learn and innovate further than I had initially imagined as an incoming freshman,” Pratt said. “I have learned valuable skills and have been presented with opportunities many might never see. There was a lot of extra work, but with the help of Dr. Mintchev, Ryan Robertson and Howard Payne’s resources we have been able to create something new that the world has never seen before. For this, I will be forever grateful.”

“Once I recognized the opportunity,” added Robertson, “no excuse was good enough to prevent me from committing to it fully. Never before in my life have I been blessed with such a great position where I could learn and practice so many useful new things in this great field of engineering.”

According to the ICECCME website, the conference “brings together industry professionals, academics, and engineers from the related institutions to exchange information and ideas on electrical, computer, communications and mechatronic engineering. The conference will feature a comprehensive technical program offering numerous technical sessions with papers showcasing the latest technologies, and applications.”

For more information about HPU, please visit


Photo #1: HPU’s Layton Pratt (center) and Ryan Robertson (left), pictured with Dr. Martin Mintchev, will present their innovative AuroraGuard device at an international conference in Spain.

Photo #2: Pictured from left are Dr. Martin Mintchev, Layton Pratt and Ryan Robertson as they examine the wearable AuroraGuard device, which emits an “aurora” of Far UVC light to destroy harmful microorganisms.