Monthly Archives: February 2016

Project Title: Autonomous Indoor Mapping System

UA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering logoTeam 15017 Members:
Xander Deputy, optical sciences and engineering
Kevin Fox, electrical and computer engineering
Christopher Meyer, systems engineering
Cody Mitts, mechanical engineering
Jiaxiang Wang, electrical and computer engineering

Sponsor: UA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Self-steering machine to measure and map room dimensions

Team 15017 discusses their projectCreating blueprints for existing buildings requires the skills of specially trained surveyors and drafters. Using an idea by Regents’ Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Michael Marcellin, Team 15017 is designing an autonomous vehicle that will scan the interior of a building to produce electronic architectural drawings.

The robot will have an integrated autopilot system to steer it from room to room. Infrared sensors and a 360-degree laser scanner will take the measurements to display on a computer screen.

“We believe the device could be used by construction crews and realty companies to visualize a building site or house,” said team member Jiaxiang Wang.

The students hope to add a bonus 3-D mapping feature, not required in the initial project mission, to produce visually integrated walkthroughs.

Teammate Cody Mitts said, “The key to all of this is software. Having a robust program to fulfill the tasks is important.”

The team has assembled the vehicle’s frame and is now implementing the infrared camera and laser scanner. Soon they will begin testing circuits in the remote control and vehicle body.

They expect to build and test their prototype by late April or early May, in time to display on Engineering Design Day.

Team leader Lindsey Carlson works on the autonomous vehicle navigation device.
Project Title: Autonomous Vehicle Navigation Test Bed

UA Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering logoTeam 15016 Members:
Abdulaziz Al Moaigel, mechanical engineering
Matthew Burger, electrical and computer engineering
Lindsey Carlson, systems engineering
Junhwa Song, electrical and computer engineering
Bo Xiao, mechanical engineering

Sponsor: UA Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Creating and coding tools to help autonomous vehicles navigate

Team leader Lindsey Carlson works on the autonomous vehicle navigation device.Team 15016 is helping David Gaylor, associate professor of practice in the UA department of aerospace and mechanical engineering, to develop a test bed for autonomous vehicle navigation systems.

The students are building a prototype device with an omnidirectional wheel system, wireless radio-frequency network communication and onboard navigational programming capabilities.

Researchers will design their own devices using this base unit and load them with custom guidance, navigation and control software that reveals where the autonomous vehicle thinks it is in an arena lined with infrared cameras. The researchers can compare their data to information from the cameras, which show the vehicle’s true position and orientation, to determine the efficacy of their algorithms.

“The challenge is the software,” said team leader Lindsey Carlson. He expects the team to spend many hours programming and testing their code with the hardware.

Electrical and computer engineering majors Matthew Burger and Junhwa Song are currently writing the code. The team is working to make the unit functional for new users and expects to have a running prototype by Engineering Design Day 2016 on May 3.

Dakota Luepke talks with rest of Team 15036 about the next steps on their project.
Project Title: Humidity Control in Spacesuits

Paragon Space Development Corp. logoTeam 15036 Members:
Hailey Davenport, biomedical engineering
Dakota Luepke, materials science and engineering
Joel Mintz, biomedical engineering
Kathryn Pflueger, biomedical engineering
Andrew Siemens, mechanical engineering
Lindsay Small, systems engineering

Sponsor: Paragon Space Development Corp.

Helping astronauts breathe a little easier

Dakota Luepke talks with rest of Team 15036 about the next steps on their project.Water buildup inside spacesuits can lead to a host of equipment problems. Conversely, portable life support systems installed in spacesuits tend to overdesiccate breathable air, causing discomfort for astronauts.

Team 15036 aims to alleviate both issues by improving water reclamation inside spacesuits.

The dry air is caused by the Rapid Cycle Amine system, or RCA, which removes waste carbon dioxide. The students are using the Nafion bundle technology developed by project sponsor Paragon Space Development Corp. to divert a small amount of moisture from the RCA.

“One of our biggest hurdles is figuring out whether to put the Nafion bundles in a series or parallel configuration,” said team member Kathryn Pflueger. “We will also have to think about the effect of zero gravity.”

The team has already constructed a mathematical model for the system. They expect to begin building and testing their prototype at the Paragon labs in March, after presenting their detailed design and model to the company for final approval.

Doug MayIt is rocket science for this seven-year veteran of the design program.

For Doug May, the best part of mentoring students in the UA Engineering Design Program is helping them solve real problems.

“I like projects coming from businesses and requiring real solutions,” said May, an expert in orbital mechanics and solid rocket motor propellants.

While an officer in the U.S. Air Force, he managed the propulsion subsystem development for the Inertial Upper Stage rocket that flew on the space shuttle and Titan launch vehicle. He also managed integration of Department of Defense payloads on the space shuttle.

After retiring from the Air Force, May worked for aerospace stalwart Orbital ATK, where he helped engineer propellant design for the space shuttle reusable solid rocket motors.

May has taught space propulsion and other courses at the Florida Institute of Technology and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the class Orbital Mechanics and Space Flight here at the University of Arizona.

In his seven years of mentoring engineering capstone students at the UA, he’s seen the design program mature as enrollment has grown. One thing, above all, impresses him: the students’ focus and passion for their work. Mentoring them has never lost its magic.

“The capstone design sequence integrates skills from many undergraduate courses. Every year gives me an experience with new sponsors, new design challenges and new student teams.”