GradImpact: Transforming Flood Control Technology with a Telescoping Structural System

    Jorge Cueto, a recent doctoral recipient in engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB), was awarded UB’s Engineering & Applied Sciences Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. This award recognizes Cueto’s outstanding contributions to his field: an invention called Smart Walls. Cueto’s patent-pending design is a “system of telescoping rectangular fiber-reinforced concrete boxes,” which can be raised when necessary to protect against flood threats and water surges. This research was also the basis for his thesis and dissertation work.


    The inspiration behind Cueto’s invention began with a class assignment in emerging technologies. According to him, “I am usually very efficient with space, to optimize its use. I started thinking of the hollow space inside massive columns. You’re not using that space, and I was playing with an umbrella.”


    Cueto received a $225,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation for his Smart Walls invention, which gave him the opportunity to build a prototype that can be tested and demonstrated. He hopes to garner further interest from potential clients and investors. Cueto has presented his work at conferences and several waterfront towns have expressed interest. The walls could prove particularly beneficial to protect hospitals and other buildings that cannot have access permanently blocked. To learn more about Jorge and his work, visit the University at Buffalo website.


    **Photo Credit: UB’s Office of University Communications

    The CGS GRADIMPACT project draws from member examples to tell the larger story of graduate education. Our goal is to demonstrate the importance of graduate education not only to degree holders, but also to the communities where we live and work. Do you have a great story to share about the impact of master’s or doctoral education? Visit our WEBSITE for more information.


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