Seniors to Demo Design Challenges May 2

On Friday, May 2, senior engineering students will participate in the most high profile display of their design prowess: the Senior Design Expo. The demos will take place in the Student Union ballroom and engineering buildings across campus. The event – a culmination of their four-year educational experience – is akin to a very sophisticated show and tell, providing a visual and intellectual feast for the countless industrial and university visitors as well as parents eager to savor the design masterpieces of their graduating offspring. Most demos will be staged between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m.

Each year, seniors in all five departments engage in one or two-semester capstone design courses. These provide hands-on learning opportunities and expose them to the challenges and satisfactions of solving real-world dilemmas, from the problem definition stage to prototype development.

In the case of sponsored projects, teams work closely with the company, which provides financial support and the design challenge. In exchange, students research the problem, conceive alternate solutions, design and refine one device or method, construct a working prototype, and provide the sponsoring company regular reports as well as a working prototype. Throughout the process, students apply the core concepts they learned in the classroom to an actual design project.

The projects of mechanical engineering students are reviewed by external judges, and monetary awards are presented to the top three teams. The electrical/computer engineering project teams are formally assessed by a faculty panel to ensure they conform to accreditation-based program outcomes.

The design projects span the spectrum. In 2007, mechanical engineering projects included a photolithographic purging system, disk synthesis technique, deburring procedures and air ventilation system for space vehicles. Typical electrical engineering projects might include a solar/wind laboratory, biometric identification, and an acoustic modem. Many biomedical engineering projects are aimed at helping disabled individuals enjoy fuller, more independent lives. Examples include an assistive robotic device, an identification device that distinguishes between shampoo and conditioner, and an incontinence control device. Seniors in computer science and engineering will demonstrate computer control of digital trains using RFID and other sensors, a bus tracking and management system that uses GPS, and a 3-dimensional massively multi-player online role playing game.

We invite you to attend this exciting expo. Detailed schedules will be available in April and will be posted on our website (www.engr.uconn.edu).