Maria Feng

Maria Feng

Trained in robotics, vibration control, and mechanics, Maria Q. Feng solves challenging urban infrastructure problems with innovative, interdisciplinary approaches involving both hardware and software. Having created a number of structural control and monitoring systems, her current research focuses on computer vision sensors, smartphone-enabled citizen sensors, as well as machine-learning data analytics for monitoring, condition assessment, and intelligent management of civil infrastructure assets including bridges, roads, and buildings. Feng also has expertise in smart materials and structures, structural control under seismic and wind excitations, measurement of extreme loads, and infrastructure resilience to extreme events.

Of particular interest to Feng is the discovery of new knowledge and creation of novel technology. Under a recent Department of Defense grant, she developed a new optical sensor array capable of successfully measuring the broadband electromagnetic waves associated with explosions. Using this new knowledge, she characterized the waves and developed a data-fusion technique to reliably trigger an active blast protective system, also of her own design. In her previous research sponsored by the National Science Foundation, federal and state departments of transportation and industry, Feng created a number of innovative technologies including a friction-controllable sliding bearing systems for seismic protection of large-scale structures, a mega-sub structural design for controlling wind vibration of high-rise buildings, a Moiré-fringe-based fiber optic sensors uniquely suitable for measuring vibration of large structures, computer vision sensors for remote measurement of structural displacements, and a microwave imaging technology for detecting subsurface defects and corrosion. Some of her research has been implemented in bridges and buildings in California, New York City, and Tokyo. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of her research, Feng works closely with a range of scientists and engineers as well as graduate students with diverse backgrounds in computer science, material science, and mechanical and electrical engineering.

Feng directs the Sensing, Monitoring, and Robotics Technology (SMaRT) Laboratory at Columbia University. She is also engaged in energy harvesting research, serving Columbia University’s Associate Director for National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems.

Feng received a PhD in mechanical engineering from University of Tokyo in 1992. She is a Fellow of American Society of Civil Engineers, and she received the society’s Alfred Noble Prize, Collingwood Prize, and Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize. She also won National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award, and was recognized as a “Top Researcher in Wearable Sensors” by MIT Technology Review and “The Bridge Doctor” by NBC Nightly News.

  • Research Associate, Princeton University, 1990 - 1992
  • Columbia University’s Associate Director, National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems, 2017 - Present
  • Renwick Professor of Civil Engineering, Columbia University, 2012 - Present
  • Director, Sensing, Monitoring, and Robotics Laboratory, Columbia University, 2012 - Present
  • Chancellor’s Professor, University of California, Irvine, 2011 - 2012
  • Endowed Chair in the Center for Diversity in Engineering Education, University of California, Irvine, 2009 - 2011
  • Founding Director, Center for Advanced Monitoring and Damage Inspection, University of California, Irvine, 2007 - 2011
  • Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, University of California, Irvine, 1992 - 2011
  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • CAREER Award by National Science Foundation (NSF) (1995)
  • The Alfred Noble Prize jointly by American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) American Society of Mechanical Engineering(ASME), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (A IME), and Western Society of Engineers (WSE) (1995).
  • The Collingwood Prize by ASCE (1995)
  • Outstanding Achievement Award by Chinese Consulate General (1996)
  • Charles Pankow Finalist Award for Innovation by ASCE-CERF (1997)
  • Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize for innovative, interdisciplinary and practical research on sensing, monitoring and controlling dynamic response of civil engineering system subjected to earthquake and wind loads, awarded by ASCE (1999)
  • Outstanding Research Award, by CEE Department, University of California, Irvine (2000)
  • Outstanding Alumni Award, by University of Electro-Communications, Japan (2001)
  • Top Researcher on Wearable Sensors, by MIT Technology Review (2004)
  • Best Presentation Award by Society of Instrument and Control Engineers, Japan (2006)
  • Bridge Doctor, a special feature in NBC Nightly News (2007)
  • The Fariborz Maseeh Best Faculty Research Award by HSSoE, University of California, Irvine (2007)
  • Fellow, American Society of Civil Engineers (2008)
  • 20 Women to Watch, OC Metro Business Magazine (2008)
  • Best Paper Award, for “Robust Joint Torque Estimation and High-Speed Calibration for EMG Sensor Suits” published in Transactions of Society of Instrument and Control Engineers in 2006 by Society of Instrument and Control Engineers, Japan (2008)
  • Appointed Endowed Chair in Center for Diversity in Engineering Education by University of California, Irvine (2009)
  • Distinguished Mid-Career Faculty Award for Research by University of California, Irvine (2009)
  • Appointed Chancellor’s Professor by University of California, Irvine (2011)
  • Best Paper Award for the paper “Microwave Non-Destructive Evaluation of Corrosion in Reinforced Concrete Structures” that Best Advances the State-of-the-Art in Antenna Measurements by the 5th European Conference on Antennas and Propagation, Rome, Italy (2011)
  • Top 20 Civil Engineering Professors by Online Engineering Programs (2016)
  • Feng, D.M; Feng, M.Q. (2018) Computer vision for SHM of civil infrastructure: From dynamic response measurement to damage detection – A review, Engineering Structure. 2018, 156, 105-117.
  • Feng, D.M.; Qi Ye; Feng, M.Q. (2017), Cable tension force estimates using cost-effective noncontact vision sensor. Measurement. 99, 44-52.
  • Ozer, E., and Feng, M. Q. (2016). Synthesizing Spatiotemporally Sparse Smartphone Sensor Data for Bridge Modal Identification. Smart Materials and Structures, 25(8), 085007.
  • Feng, M.Q., Fukuda, Y., Feng, D.M., and Mizuta, M. (2015), “Non-target vision sensor for remote measurement of bridge dynamic response”. Journal of Bridge Engineering; doi:10.1061/(ASCE)BE.1943-5592.0000747.
  • Fukuda, Y., Feng, M.Q., Narita, Y., Kaneko, S., and Tanaka, T. (2013), “Vision-based displacement sensors for monitoring dynamic response using robust object search algorithm”, IEEE Sensors Journal, Vol. 13, No. 12, pp.4725-4732.
  • Roqueta, G., Jofre, L., and Feng, M.Q., (2012), “Analysis of the Electromagnetic Signature of Reinforced Concrete Structures for Nondestructive Evaluation of Corrosion Damage”, IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation & Measurement, Vol. 40, No. 6, pp. 661-674.
  • Ulusoy, H., Feng, M.Q., and Fanning, P. (2012), “System Identification of a Building from Multiple Seismic Records”, Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics, Vol. 40, No. 6, pp. 661-674.
  • Gomez, H., Fanning, P.J., Feng, M.Q., and Lee, S. (2011), “Long-Term Monitoring of a Curved Concrete Box Girder Bridge”, Engineering Structures, Vol. 33, pp. 2861-2869.
  • Feng, M.Q., Zou, L., Imai, M. (2010) “Detection of Ceramic Cracks Using a Distributed High-Resolution Brillouin Fiber Optic Sensor. SICE Journal of Control, Measurement, and System Integration, Vol. 3, No. 4, pp. 279-284.
  • Chen, Y. and Feng, (2009) “Structural Health Monitoring by Recursive Bayesian Filtering” Journal of Engineering Mechanics, Vol. 135, No. 4, pp. 231-242.
  • Chen, Y., Feng, M.Q., and Tan, C.A. (2009) “Bridge Structural Condition Assessment Based on Vibration and Traffic Monitoring” Journal of Engineering Mechanics, Vol. 135, No. 8, pp. 747-758.
  • Feng M. Q. and Kim, D.H. (2006), “Novel Fiber Optic Accelerometer System Using Geometric Moire Fringe” Sensors and Actuators, A: Physical, Vol. 128, pp. 37-42.
  • Chen Y., Feng M. Q. and Tan C-A (2006), “Modeling of Traffic Loads for System Identification of Bridge Structures.” Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, (21), pp. 57–66
  • Kim, Y. J., Jofre, L., De Flaviis, F., and Feng, M.F., (2004). “Microwave subsurface imaging technology for damage detection”, Journal of Engineering Mechanics, ASCE, Vol.130, No. 7, pp. 858-866.
  • Feng, M. Q. and Chai, W. (1997). “Design of a Mega-Sub Controlled Building System under Stochastic Wind Loads”, Journal of Probabilistic Engineering Mechanics, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 149-162
  • Feng, M. Q. and Mita, A. (1995). “Vibration Control of Tall Buildings Using Mega-Sub Structures”, Journal of Engineering Mechanics, ASCE, Vol. 121, No. 10, pp. 1082-1088.