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Dr. Buff Furman

Professor of Mechanical Engineering

San Jose State University

Designing the future of transportation!


Conventional transportation options present a host of intractable problems that lead to increasingly lower quality of life for people in urban areas. The SPARTAN Superway is a long-range research initiative at San José State University to establish solar powered automated rapid transit ascendant network (“SPARTAN”) systems for urban environments. The talk will highlight the major problems with current approaches to urban transportation and then will present the features of the Spartan Superway system and development work on it over the last six years.

Meet the Speaker:

Prof. Burford Furman received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Engineering degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Davis in 1980 and 1982, and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 1991. His areas of interest for research and teaching include: mechatronic system design, precision machine design, engineering measurements, automation for production processes, design education, and solar-powered automated transit. Professor Furman joined the Mechanical Engineering Department in January, 1994.

From 1982 to 1993, Prof. Furman worked in the Development Laboratory at IBM, General Products Division (later called, Storage Systems Division) in San José. He was a member of the actuator development team for the 3390 disk storage product and spindle motor design team for 3.5 inch and 2.5 inch disk drive products. He has been active in the Santa Clara Valley section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers having served as the Newsletter Editor from 1991 to 1993 and as Technical Activities chair from 1994 to 1997. He is a member of the American Society for Precision Engineering, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, and the American Society for Engineering Education. He is also a Registered Professional Mechanical Engineer in the State of California.

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