Tech students are undoubtedly considered some of the brightest minds in the world, proving to be true at the semester capstone expo this spring. Spectators witnessed a variety of projects, including silverware wrapping machines, automated beverage mixers, and socially responsible projects such as rice transporters and hydroponic systems for developing nations.
Mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, electrical engineering and industrial design students showcased their work at the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons on April 26 at the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering’s Capstone Design Expo. The end-of-semester event has students present the culmination of their work immediately prior to graduation each semester, awarding thousands of dollars for the most innovative student work.
Teams are either sponsored by industry experts or use a combination of imagination, experience and foundational knowledge to research problems and report solutions, designing prototypes and showcasing them to spectators and judges.
“MDAP,” the first place team – comprised of John Bryan, Matthew Chambers, Patrick Chung, Caitlin Henegar, Amanda Swanson and Spencer Vore – received $1,500 for its design of a microfluidic cell sorter that aids in the detection of malaria. No current products exist that can be used for population screening at the desired sensitivity of buyers such as non-governmental organizations, while being both portable and non-electric.
“We invented a device for the diagnosis of malaria under field conditions in third world countries and fabricated two prototypes,” said Chambers. “Our project is different because it is a purely mechanical solution to a medical problem.”
The second place prize of $1,000 comically went to “Team #1,” for its prototype of a rooftop solar panel mounting system. The method decreases the standard 170-part, 11-hour installation process to a 44-part, 5-hour installation process. The proposed solution allows a higher number of installations per day at a lower cost. The team included students Steven Beardsell, Kim Giroux, Lukas Haferkamp, Parul Kapur, Matt Ray and John Tarman.
Third place, and $500, was awarded to “Look Ma, No Hands!” developed by Joe Fulton, Ryan Kennedy, Maureen McMeekin, Matt Peterka and Rick Scheff. The team created an automated baby stroller, for active parents, that maintains a safe distance between the parent and stroller when jogging. If the jogger comes to a sudden stop, the battery charged device recognizes the inactivity and stops as well.
The People’s Choice award, earned by the team with the highest number of spectator votes at the event, went to Jon Agee, Eric Chang, Jason Lee, Arjun Menon and Disi A, Tapan Shah and for an automatic electric vehicle charging system called EZ Charge. The team earned $500 for its work.