Rafaela Frota, '20


Rafaela Frota, '20





Rafalea Frota is working with Dr. Kris Davis at UCF researching how to improve solar cell characterization methods. She is majoring in photonic engineering with a minor in technological entrepreneurship. Rafaela’s fascination of the intersection of health and technology led her to create her own start-up company, Wawwe. Wawwe is an intelligent software platform that advises hospital patients with diet restrictive illnesses on food choices that will maximize their personal health. Rafaela works part time with the Institute of Simulation and Training Mixed Emerging Technology Integration Lab at UCF. She also volunteers with Dr. Stephen Florczyk’s research lab that focuses on the development and processing of three-dimensional bio-material scaffolds. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, kayaking, good stories, nature, jazz, vinyl records, innovation, and hot tea. Her future plans are to obtain her MBA, a master's in electrical engineering, and a Ph.D. in materials science engineering.


Title: Electroluminescence Based Metrics to Assess the Impact of Cracks on Photovoltaic Module Performance.

Mentor: Kristopher O. Davis, Ph.D.,Optics & Photonics, University of Central Florida


Solar cell cracking is a potential reliability concern that may affect the long-term performance of modules that experience mechanical stress in the field. We present a methodology that utilizes EL images to predict power loss due to cell cracking. We explored pixel intensity histogram normalization methods to generalize this approach to a wide range of measurement conditions. The final optimized EL metric exhibits a strong correlation with power loss for a range of module technologies where a 1% increase in the dark area due to cracks results in a 3% loss in performance. This approach enables field EL mapping to translate to module Pmax mapping across a system. Index Terms — module reliability, mechanical durability, electroluminescence, cell cracking.

Title: Major Evolutionary Transitions in the Voxelbuild Virtual Sandbox Game

Mentor: Kristopher O. Davis, Ph.D. Computer Science, University of Central Florida


Developing a comprehensive theory of open-ended evolution (OEE) depends critically on understanding the mechanisms underlying the major evolutionary transitions; such periods of rapid innovation, such as the Cambrian explosion, have resulted in exactly the kind of diversity and complexity deemed the hallmarks of strong OEE. This paper introduces a new domain for studying major transitions in an evolutionary robotics context. Inspired by the popular Minecraft video game, the new Voxelbuild domain centers on agents that evolve the capacity to build arbitrarily complex block structures with minimal objectives. Initial experiments demonstrate both the rich expressive potential of the new domain and, intriguingly, the occurrence of major evolutionary transitions in at least some runs, thereby providing a unique opportunity to probe how and why such transitions occur or fail to occur in different runs of the same system.

Rafaela Frota, '20