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Four students in gray polo shirts stand in front of a scientific poster, holding electronic parts of a beacon system.

Project Title: Smart Distributed Environmental Beacon

Raytheon logoTeam 18059 Members:
Laura Brubaker, electrical and computer engineering
Benjamen Fletcher, mechanical engineering
Luis Gama, systems engineering
Sam LaMont, mechanical engineering
Nicole Muchow, electrical and computer engineering

Sponsor: Raytheon

Four students in gray polo shirts stand in front of a scientific poster, holding electronic parts of a beacon system.

Dropping Beacons and Helping Hikers

Before it could win the $5,000 Raytheon Award for Best Overall Design at Engineering Design Day 2019 on April 29, the distributed environmental beacon went through a lot. The five students who created the emergency hiking alert system dropped it onto a concrete floor, submerged it in water and subjected it to extreme temperatures.

The mesh network of beacons, which they called HikeAlert, transmits emergency signals from a phone application to a central location like a ranger station. Its purpose is to help hikers survive emergency situations — which means the system must also withstand wilderness conditions.

Team member Luis Gama, a systems engineering major, once got lost on a hike in the Hollywood Hills. He and his friends ran out of water but found their way back after a couple of hours. Nevertheless, the experience made him realize just how serious a lost hiker situation can be — especially in the heat of Arizona, where about 600 search-and-rescue missions are conducted each year.

Design Day judge Jay Sampson considered the project one of the day’s biggest standouts.

“It’s a life-and-death issue,” he said. “They pretty much manufactured the product themselves, and here in the Sonoran environment, it’s actually applicable. It was ready to go.”

Pushing the Limits – From Start to Finish

The process of taking the project from visualization to reality was one of the highlights of the team’s design experience.

“We started off with nothing and created this final thing,” Gama said. “Just seeing the whole lifecycle of the product was my favorite part.”

The team, which also won the Prototron Circuits Award for Best Printed Circuit Design, designed not only the beacons but also the app and a mechanism to drop the beacons from a drone.

The beacons can survive a 5-foot freefall, 30 minutes under a foot of water and temperatures ranging from minus 40 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. They are solar-powered and equipped with a battery that lasts up to 48 hours, so they’ll work even in cloudy conditions. Additionally, if one beacon disconnects from the system for some reason, the signal automatically reroutes to a different beacon.

“When I saw this project, I thought, ‘This is the project for me.’ It involves a lot of things I’ve done at internships and other skills I’ve wanted to learn’” said electrical and computer engineering major Nicole Muchow, who learned how to surface mount solder while working on the project. “The first time I tried it, it took me five minutes to solder a piece onto the board. Now I can do it in about 15 seconds.”

Applying Skills in New Jobs

Now that they’ve graduated, the students are taking the skills they’ve learned on to new positions. Brubaker is interning at American Express for the summer, Benjamen Fletcher was hired as an associate engineer at Northrop Grumman, and Nicole Muchow is interning at Raytheon, for example.

Industry mentor Mark Booth, a department manager at Raytheon Missile Systems, said the team’s work was outstanding.

“The UA is developing some terrific students,” he said. “They are smart, hardworking and full of ingenuity. We look forward to partnering with the College of Engineering to continue this tradition.”

Ron Rich holds his Circle of Excellence Award, a clear trophy in the shape of a gear, while standing next to program director Ara Arabyan.
Ron Rich holds his Circle of Excellence Award, a clear trophy in the shape of a gear, while standing next to program director Ara Arabyan.

Ron Rich, right, stands with Engineering Design Program director Ara Arabyan, after receiving the first Engineering Design Program Circle of Excellence Award at Design Day 2019.

 

Longtime partner honored by UA Engineering Design Program for supporting and strengthening future engineers.

The University of Arizona Engineering Design Program presented Ron Rich – the recently retired director of engineering for auxiliary power systems at Honeywell – with its inaugural Circle of Excellence Award at Design Day 2019 on April 29, in recognition of his longstanding support.

“Watching one of the college’s alumni go on to a successful career is always rewarding,” said program director Ara Arabyan. “But there is something particularly special about alumni who pour their time and energy back into their alma mater. It is a pleasure to give this award to Ron in recognition of his lasting impact on our students.”

Not only did Rich earn his UA bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1982, but he’s been a valuable partner to the College of Engineering and the Engineering Design Program for more than two decades as a guest lecturer and judge.

Under his leadership, Honeywell has supported more than 70 capstone projects in the last 11 years, including 12 in the 2018-2019 academic year alone – the most projects a single company has ever sponsored in one year.

“I’ve always been a proponent of the program,” Rich said. “One of my roles was to support undergraduate programs, because Honeywell hires new graduates from the UA every year. We hire nearly all the disciplines in the College of Engineering.”

Arizona Born and Bred

Rich grew up in Phoenix and moved to Tucson to attend the UA, where he says he had the opportunity to grow as both an engineer and a person.

“My education here was critical,” he said. “Both the technical aspects of it and the hands-on learning that I got to do working with a few of my professors.”

One of the most valuable lessons he learned came from his own senior capstone experience. For their project, he and his team designed a racing wheelchair for quadriplegic students. They worked hard on it, applying concepts from classes and learning new skills, such as welding. They presented their design on a Saturday morning, and the chair was set to be delivered to their customers – three wheelchair-using students on campus – on Monday.

At lunchtime Saturday, a classmate accidentally broke the chair. The capstone instructor told the team they had to repair it if they wanted to graduate, despite their insistence that they didn’t cause the damage.

“I learned quickly that life isn’t fair, and that customers don’t care about the noise behind the scenes,” Rich said. “Our professor taught us that, despite what happened, you’ve got to fix the chair, complete the project and deliver it to your customers.”

Rich learned lifelong lessons from his own senior design project, and he’s been happy to watch the UA Engineering Design Program mature, evolve and become more interdisciplinary.

“I’m privileged to have been a part of this, and I hope that I’m still involved for many years to come,” he said.

A race track with go-karts lined up ready to start racing. The karts are topped by solar panels and have different builds and configurations.

Tech Parks Arizona held the eighth annual Racing the Sun, a high school solar go-kart competition, Saturday, April 27th, 2019, at Tucson’s Musselman Honda Circuit.

University of Arizona College of Engineering students also participated. Tech Parks Arizona teamed up with the UA’s Transportation Research Institute and sponsored a team of seniors and challenged them to create an autonomous self-driving solar-powered go-kart.

The senior design team demonstrated a working prototype of a full autonomous go-kart that runs on solar power.

A crowd of people wearing lanyards stand on the staircase of the UA Student Union Memorial Center. There are red and blue balloons lining the staircase. The people are giving the UA

A large group of people wearing red and blue shirts and red lanyards stand on the staircase outside of the UA Student Union.

Merci beaucoup, danke, grazie, domo arigato, kamsahamnida, obrigado, muchas gracias – thank you!

We’re so grateful to the more than 120 judges who volunteered at Engineering Design Day that we can’t constrain ourselves to just one language.

Design Day 2019 was a rousing success, due in no small part to your time, expertise and enthusiasm.

On behalf of the faculty, staff and seniors of the UA College of Engineering, we express our heartfelt appreciation for all that you do.

By the Numbers:

  • 118 projects
  • 616 seniors
  • 19 first-time sponsors
  • $36,250 in cash prizes
  • 32 corporate- and private-sponsored awards

See the full list of award-winning capstone projects.

Two young men in wheelchairs wait in a hallway in the UA's McKale Center arena.

As Hermelinda Bristol learned more about anatomy, she began envisioning a frame with a tight waist belt and rigid supports for the legs. … But while she had the idea, she did not have the expertise to build something that was lightweight, flexible, and strong.

In May of 2016, Jeffrey’s sophomore year at the University of Arizona, she hit on an idea. The university has a highly respected engineering college. Why not enlist them to see if some of their students could help a fellow classmate?

The college referred her to their Engineering Design Program, where teams of graduating seniors spend an entire year working on projects to solve real-world problems. Most projects are sponsored by big companies like Microsoft, Raytheon and Honeywell.

As the school year began in the fall of 2016, her team for the “Lightning Legs” project was assigned.

A woman demonstrates a device in front of a scientific poster with a crowd of judges watching.

Senior biomedical engineering student Allison Edwards shows an exploded view of a wireless body temperature sensor to judges at this year’s University of Arizona Engineering Design Day.

Engineering student teams demonstrated 118 inventions with 616 UA seniors presenting their capstone design projects to industry sponsors, judges and the public.

Six women stand together in a crowded UA laboratory.

A group of engineering students created a device to analyze these colors and chronologically date bruises, specifically those in child abuse cases.

The student team consists of five biomedical engineering students and one mechanical engineering student. The students are from places like Arizona all the way to Tehran, Iran; Chaiyaphum, Thailand; Ciudad Obregón and Sonora, Mexico and Beijing, China.

KJZZ logo

Students and professors at the University of Arizona have designed a device to measure the age of bruises. The idea for the technology came from Dr. Dale Woodridge while working on child abuse cases.

Woodridge contacted UA’s engineering department. A group of six engineering students collaborated to design a device and test it a few months later. Woodridge said the device could be used to determine when abuse has occurred. After more testing, he hopes to distribute the portable, non-invasive device to medical facilities.

Screen capture of a video of senior Samantha Davidson working in a laboratory

Bruises can happen anytime, but occasionally it’s from abuse. Researchers at the University of Arizona are working on a device that can help determine when a bruise happened to help authorities.

Samantha Davidson, a senior at the UA, is the team lead for the project. Five other women have been working on the project with her.

The device they are making is just a little bigger than a phone, and that’s the whole point.

Team 16062, winners of the Design Day 2017 Raytheon Best Overall Design Award, with a company representative and a larger novelty check

Thanks to generous corporate and independent donors, the College of Engineering was honored to award more than $25,000 in prizes to talented students on Engineering Design Day 2017 on May 1.

Congratulations to the winners, and to all the competitors, for their incredible performances.

Raytheon Award for Best Overall Design ($2,500)
Autonomous Aerial Pollination of Medjool Date Trees
Team 16062 Members:
Fatemah Alabdullah, industrial engineering
Victor Cortez, systems engineering
Sara Harders, biosystems engineering
Ricardo Andres Jimenez, biosystems engineering
Brian Normandeau, biosystems engineering
Emma Noel Skidmore, biosystems engineering
Project Sponsor: UA Department of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering

 

Microsoft Award for Best System Software Design ($2,500)
Roboscope Cart
Team 16071 Members:
Lisa Kathryn Bennett, mechanical engineering
Matthew Ryan Dzurick, electrical and computer engineering
Michael Thomas Futch, mechanical engineering
Kevin Norman Sherwood, mechanical engineering
Kyle Lee Tatum, electrical and computer engineering
Project Sponsor: GEOST

 

Bly Family Innovation in Energy Production, Supply or Use – First Prize ($1,500)
Bioremediation of Dairy Wastewater for Reuse
Team 16098 Members:
Kara Elizabeth Kanto, chemical engineering
Catherine Marie Patton, chemical engineering
Connor Thomas Stahl, chemical engineering
Calliandra Suzanne Stuffle, chemical engineering
Project Sponsor: Shamrock Foods

 

Bly Family Innovation in Energy Production, Supply or Use – Second Prize ($500)
Design of a Wastewater-to-Drinking Water Facility
Team 16106 Members:
Abigail Saville Ballam, chemical engineering
Cayleigh Ross MacKenzie, chemical engineering
Ryan Valente Petronella, chemical engineering
Jonathan David Schertzer, chemical engineering
Project Sponsor: UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering

 

Thorlabs Photonics Is the Future ($250 each)
Tissue Imaging and Selective Reagent Dispense System
Team 16021 Members:
Adam O. Abdelatif, optical sciences and engineering
Oksana Carlson, biomedical engineering
Christopher Nguyen, optical sciences and engineering
Eduardo Ramirez, mechanical engineering
Jordan Stupka, biomedical engineering
Project Sponsor: Ventana Medical Systems

 

Frank Broyles Engineering Ethics Award – First Prize ($1,500)
Unpowered Exoskeleton
Team 16055 Members:
Martin Galaz, biomedical engineering
Jason Niran Keatseangsilp, biomedical engineering
Amanda Tolulope Koiki, biomedical engineering
Joshua Rufus Owl, materials science and engineering
Thomas Fernando Valenzuela, biomedical engineering
Cole Larson Waldren, biomedical engineering
Project Sponsor: The Bristol Family

 

Frank Broyles Engineering Ethics Award – Second Prize ($750)
Low Cost Ultrafine Particle Detector
Team 16031 Members:
Tiange He, mechanical engineering
Sean Matthew Parker, mechanical engineering
Lauren Christine Rimsza, biomedical engineering
Bryan Shane Rogers, electrical and computer engineering
Sarah Megan Shepis, materials science and engineering
Project Sponsor: Honeywell

 

Rincon Research Best Presentation ($1,500)
Modular Payload Bay for Unmanned Aircraft Systems
Team 16056 Members:
Soosan Han, mechanical engineering
Johann Meister, mechanical engineering
Taylor James Moore, systems engineering
Stephan Murray, mechanical engineering
Andres David Rebeil, electrical and computer engineering
Tristan Robert Roberts, mechanical engineering
Project Sponsor: Northrop Grumman

 

Ventana Innovation in Engineering ($1,500)
Adhesive Single-Slide Dispense Packaging System for Coverslips
Team 16020 Members:
Feras Antoun, systems engineering
Caleb Daniel Canchola, materials science and engineering
Nazar Cem, mechanical engineering
Brett Joseph Deitering, mechanical engineering
Timur Taljanovic, mechanical engineering
Project Sponsor: Ventana Medical Systems

 

ACSS/L-3 Communications Most Robust Systems Engineering ($1,000)
Bifurcated Fiber Optic Cable System for Orion Spacecraft Heat Shield Spectrometer
Team 16022 Members:
Laura Haferkamp, materials science and engineering
David Greif, mechanical engineering
Giuseppe Lo Voi, electrical and computer engineering
Kyel Powell, systems engineering
Andrew Daniel Rocha, optical sciences and engineering
Project Sponsor: NASA and UA College of Engineering

 

Technical Documentation Consultants of Arizona Best Design Documentation ($1,000)
Consumer-Augmented Reality Device
Team 16025 Members:
Bryan Jacob Eberson, mechanical engineering
Mark Ross Fleckenstein, systems engineering
Jacob Garan, optical sciences and engineering
Michael Dean Hailwood, systems engineering
Steven Pierre Hicks, optical sciences and engineering
Project Sponsor: Vidi VR

 

Texas Instruments Analog Design Contest ($1,000)
Automotive Lidar Collision-Avoidance System
Team 16043 Members:
Megha Agarwal, electrical and computer engineering
Alisha Keshav Bandekar, electrical and computer engineering
Ashley Soyoung Kang, electrical and computer engineering
Tyler Jon Martis, electrical and computer engineering
Hossein Namazyfard, mechanical engineering
Alan Yeh, optical sciences and engineering
Project Sponsor: Texas Instruments

 

TRAX International Best Implementation of Agile Methodology ($1,000)
Anti-Drone Device
Team 16003 Members:
Sydney Alexandra Clark, electrical and computer engineering
Jessica Bingxin Cheung, electrical and computer engineering
Evan DeForest, mechanical engineering
Ivan Cordoba-Herrera, electrical and computer engineering
Justin Larimore, biomedical engineering
Shivani Hasmukh Patel, systems engineering
Project Sponsor: Raytheon

 

Arizona Technology Council Foundation Best Engineering Analysis ($750)
Design of a Wastewater-to-Drinking Water Facility
Team 16106 Members: Abigail Saville Ballam, chemical engineering
Cayleigh Ross MacKenzie, chemical engineering
Ryan Valente Petronella, chemical engineering
Jonathan David Schertzer, chemical engineering
Project Sponsor: UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering

 

Arizona Technology Council Foundation Innovation in Manufacturing ($750)
Castable Tooling Improvements for Composite Manufacturing
Team 16107 Members:
Jonathan Robert Francis Hancock, chemical engineering
Joshua Robert Malzahn, chemical engineering
Adam Christopher Sweeney, chemical engineering
Sanjay Tharmarajah, chemical engineering
Project Sponsor: Advanced Ceramics Manufacturing

 

Edmund Optics Perseverance and Recovery ($750)
Feasibility of a Windscreen Head-Up Display
Team 16045 Members:
Kade William Bowers, optical sciences and engineering
Abril Lopez Garcia, mechanical engineering
Savannah Paige Gaston, mechanical engineering
Bradley Jarrett Nees, electrical and computer engineering
Isaiah Brandon Strong, mechanical engineering
Project Sponsor: Honeywell

 

PADT Best Use of Prototyping ($750)
Nasogastric Tube Placement Verification System
Team 16010 Members:
Kevin Brinkman, biomedical engineering
Sandra Araiza Cruz, biomedical engineering
Dalton J. Hirst, electrical and computer engineering
Fermin Prieto, biomedical engineering
Alejandro R. Thompson, electrical and computer engineering
Project Sponsor: Xeridiem

 

RBC Sargent Aerospace & Defense Voltaire Design ($750)
Felt Recoil Measurement System
Team 16073 Members:
Kevin Andrew Barr, biomedical engineering
Jacob Henry Niccum, mechanical engineering
David Renner, systems engineering
Robert Steven Rystrom, mechanical engineering
Amelia Sylvester, electrical and computer engineering
Mathew Alan Stockman, mechanical engineering
Project Sponsor: Raytheon

 

W.L. Gore & Associates Most Creative Solution ($750)
Compact Self-Regenerating Desiccant Breather
Team 16006 Members:
Philip James Ciuffetelli, mechanical engineering
Riley Magsino, electrical and computer engineering
Brent Allan Miller, biomedical engineering
David Joseph Selby, mechanical engineering
Andrew Whiteside, engineering management
Project Sponsor: AGM Container Controls

 

Dataforth Corporation Best Design Using a Data Acquisition and Control System ($500)
Strut Condition Monitor for Large Mining Trucks
Team 16039 Members:
Ryan Dale Barents, mechanical engineering
David Farrell, mechanical engineering
Daniel Steven Small, electrical and computer engineering
Israel Valle, systems engineering
Zheng Zhou, mechanical engineering
Project Sponsor: Caterpillar

 

Honeywell Excellence in Aerospace Electronic System Design ($500)
Turbulence-Compensated Table Mechanism
Team 16012 Members:
James Ellis Beulke, electrical and computer engineering
Abigail Maria Francis, electrical and computer engineering
Taha Hasan, engineering management
Davis James McGregor, mechanical engineering
Andrew William Walsh, mechanical engineering
Qiang Zhang, mechanical engineering
Project Sponsor: B/E Aerospace

 

Honeywell Team Leadership 1 ($250)
Bifurcated Fiber Optic Cable System for Orion Spacecraft Heat Shield Spectrometer
Team 16022 Members:
Andrew Daniel Rocha (winner), optical sciences and engineering
Laura Haferkamp, materials science and engineering
David Greif, mechanical engineering
Giuseppe Lo Voi, electrical and computer engineering
Kyel Powell, systems engineering
Project Sponsor: NASA and UA College of Engineering

Honeywell Team Leadership 2 ($250)
Novel Helminthic Therapy Cultivation and Dose-Dispensing Systems
Team 16074 Members:
Jessica Carlyle Owens (winner), biomedical engineering
Lucrezia Capano, biomedical engineering
Maxwell Li, biomedical engineering
Marco Miramontes, biosystems engineering
Saffie-Alrahman Ezz-Eldin Mohran, biomedical engineering
Project Sponsor: Arizona Center for Accelerated BioMedical Innovation

 

Latitude Engineering Best Physical Implementation of Analytically Driven Design ($500)
Dynamically Scaled Research Testbed
Team 16082 Members:
Jeremy Ryan Harrington, aerospace engineering
Jonathan Robert Heinkel, aerospace engineering
Jorge Alberto Castro Maldonado, aerospace engineering
Michael David Meersman, aerospace engineering
Jacob Benjamin Pavek, aerospace engineering
Danielle Joan Lim Racelis, aerospace engineering
Christopher Andrew Ramos, aerospace engineering
Arek James Rembelski, aerospace engineering
Project Sponsor: Air Force Office of Scientific Research

 

Prototron Circuits Best Printed Circuit Design ($500)
Miniature Surge Suppressor
Team 16080 Members:
Zean R. Alzawawi, industrial engineering
Christopher Jason Horinek, systems engineering
Nicholas Katsinas, mechanical engineering
Brian Lawrence Kelly, engineering management
Carray Ying, electrical and computer engineering
Project Sponsor: Raytheon

 

II-VI Optical Systems Best Use of Optical Design and Technology ($500)
Consumer-Augmented Reality Device
Team 16025 Members:
Bryan Jacob Eberson, mechanical engineering
Mark Ross Fleckenstein, systems engineering
Jacob Garan, optical sciences and engineering
Michael Dean Hailwood, systems engineering
Steven Pierre Hicks, optical sciences and engineering
Project Sponsor: Vidi VR

 

Kristy Pearson Fish Out of Water Award – First Prize ($250)
Emily Patricia Evans, biomedical engineering (Team 16063, project sponsored by UA Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering)

Kristy Pearson Fish Out of Water Award – Second Prize ($150)
Jacob Nathaniel Boyer, optical sciences and engineering (Team 16042, project sponsored by Quartus Engineering)

Art imitated life at the University of Arizona’s 15th annual Engineering Design Day. The biggest winner among the projects on display was a drone designed to do what bees do best.

The semiautonomous aerial vehicle, which was featured in a video, even sounded like a swarm of bees flying over Medjool date palm trees at a nursery in Yuma, Arizona. The team of seniors that built it won the Raytheon Award for Best Overall Design.

Working on the Macadamia Nut Harvester

Project Title: Autonomous Macadamia Nut Harvester Enhancement

UA Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering logoTeam 16063 Members:
Nicklaus Arnold, systems engineering (team lead)
Lexi Corrion, biosystems engineering
Emily Evans, biomedical engineering
Hailey Ogren, biosystems engineering
Jason Stone, mechanical engineering

Sponsor: UA Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Students Helping Big Island Farms Trim Costs

Working on the Macadamia Nut HarvesterEngineering Design Team 16063 is taking on what a 2015-2016 Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering team built for Kawainui Farms – a robotic nut-harvesting prototype that looks like a low-slung wheelbarrow on steroids – and making it better.

Commercial harvesting of macadamia nuts, one of Hawaii’s most valuable cash crops, is a costly process. It requires at least three types of heavy machinery, each with a single specialized function.

Some growers, like Kawainui Farm, which has a 20-acre macadamia orchard on the Big Island, opt to harvest by hand at the end of the season after all of the nuts have fallen off the trees. But separating low-quality nuts sitting on the ground for up to three months from fresh, high-quality nuts isn’t economically viable, so the farm sells them at a reduced market price.

The 2015-2016 student prototype consisted of a vehicle platform with a hopper for carrying harvested nuts, a sweeper arm and pickup head for collecting them, and electrical components for power and navigation.

Macadamia nut harvester at Design Day 2016This year’s team is looking “to mitigate revenue loss” with design improvements – a new chassis and drive system, retooled sweeper arm, and sloped hopper to make unloading easier and faster – said team lead Nicklaus Arnold.

The team is also upgrading the motor controller’s GPS navigation, which will make a path around the orchard plotted via open-source software called Mission Planner, and improving internal sensors.

If the harvester encounters an unexpected object, explained Emily Evans, it sends an alert to farm employees via a phone app she and her teammates are developing. Other sensors notify operators when the harvester is full so it can be emptied.

Having passed its Critical Design Review and ordered parts, the team is working on assembly and testing. Since the Campus Agricultural Center doesn’t have a macadamia nut orchard, students are creating a one-acre mockup with traffic cones, including a few in unexpected places to test the collision avoidance system.

Be sure to check out the redesigned system negotiating the UA Mall at Design Day 2017 on May 1!

Team 16036 in front of a mining truck

Project Title: Multifrequency Antenna Mast System for Large Mining Trucks

Caterpillar logoTeam 16036 Members:
Robert Bloom, mechanical engineering
Zichong Cai, mechanical engineering
Wyatt Peña, engineering management, minoring in systems and industrial engineering
Miguel Vasquez, engineering management, minoring in mechanical engineering (team lead)
Brian Wargasaki, mechanical engineering

Sponsor: Caterpillar

Students Create Light Yet Durable Equipment for Always-On Industry

Mining trucks – weighing 250 tons empty and standing three stories high – use complex electrical systems to enable two-way communications and telemetry. The systems power radios, satellite positioning systems, Wi-Fi and cellular data transfer.

If these systems critical to operations and safety aren’t working, trucks are down.

Haul trucks need antennas with clear line of sight to the sky and offboard transmission stations mounted throughout some mines. Because the steel dump body acts as a signal blocker, antennas are mounted on long poles that extend out from the body and above the truck.

Caterpillar’s specs calling for a light yet durable antenna mast system that can be serviced easily and quickly reflect the mining industry’s need for fleets to operate constantly with as little downtime as possible for maintenance and repairs.

“Time is not just money, it’s money times 10,” said project team member Robert Bloom, a mechanical engineering major planning a career in HVAC design.

Not only are students on Team 16036 designing the mast itself, but they are also creating mounting brackets, antenna mountings and cable routings. And they aren’t just designing truck parts, they are developing an understanding for the management side of engineering, too, particularly what goes into machining parts and how to justify associated the costs.

The team will display their completed antenna mast system on the UA Mall at Design Day 2017 on May 1 – with a Ford pickup standing in for one of those monstrous mining trucks.

Project Title: Neighborhood Automatic External Defibrillator Network

Cardiospark logoTeam 16068 Members:
Abdulmajid Alsaeed, industrial engineering
Daniel Davis, electrical and computer engineering
Jacob Garlant, biomedical engineering
Nathan Hancock, biomedical engineering
Rohan Mehta, electrical and computer engineering
Susan Nicholls, mechanical engineering (team lead)

Sponsor: CardioSpark

Lifesaving Neighborhood Network

Response time for 911 emergency calls in most urban areas is 8-10 minutes. But that isn’t fast enough for the 350,000 Americans every year experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, more than 90 percent of whom die. If an automatic external defibrillator, or AED, doesn’t arrive in five to eight minutes, it’s too late.

Wall-mounted AEDs are widely available in schools, libraries, airports and other public places. But chances are no one at home, where most cases of sudden cardiac arrest occur, has a defibrillator on hand.

Engineering Design Team 16068 is helping CardioSpark develop a 911-integrated system whereby home-based AEDS can be remotely monitored, tracked and connected. The system will give emergency medical personnel the means to quickly dispatch and support trained neighborhood responders.

Dr. Carter Newton with an automatic external defibrillator.The Tucson-based biotech startup sponsored two teams last year to advance an affordable, hand-held disposable defibrillator. Now the 2016-2017 CardioSpark-sponsored team is developing radio tags – similar to those used for tracking retail store inventory – that will attach to AEDs and enable communication with the 911 computer-assisted dispatch system.

With a widespread community network of AEDs, response time to incidents of sudden cardiac arrest, the leading cause of death for Americans over 40, could be reduced to three minutes or less, said CardioSpark founder and president Carter Newton, a cardiologist and mechanical engineer.

“We’re giving the students a lot of latitude, and we’re getting the very creative input of problem-solving people,” said Newton, whose company is making plans to pilot test the system in a retirement community 20 miles south of Tucson.

Jeffrey Bristol (center) and his mother Herma with Engineering Design Team 16055

Project Title: Unpowered Exoskeleton

Bristol FamilyTeam 16055 Members:
Martin Galaz, biomedical engineering
Jason Keatseangsilp, biomedical engineering (team lead)
Amanda Koiki, biomedical engineering
Joshua Owl, biomedical engineering
Thomas Valenzuela, biomedical engineering
Cole Waldren, mechanical engineering

Sponsor: The Bristol Family

Family on a Mission Partners with Big-Hearted Students

Jeffrey Bristol (center) and his mother Herma with Engineering Design Team 16055Herma Bristol wasn’t sure what to expect in September 2016 when she joined big-name companies like Caterpillar, Honeywell, Microsoft and Raytheon to recruit students during the Engineering Design Program Open House. She came away from the experience quite impressed with the tall stack of resumes from students eager to work on an unpowered exoskeleton for her son Jeffrey.

Still, the Bristols, whose family and friends contributed funds to sponsor the project, were seeking qualities that wouldn’t necessarily show up on resumes.

“We were looking very specifically for people who had heart,” said Herma, adding that her family also has found plenty of know-how in the six students handpicked for team “Lightning Legs.”

Jeffrey, a UA junior studying accounting, suffered two spontaneous brain bleeds when he was a toddler. He recovered fully from the first and has practiced daily for 18 years to regain skills lost after the second.

The team is replacing a rudimentary device Jeffrey has used for physical therapy with a custom apparatus that will enable him – and possibly others who have cerebral palsy – to maintain an upright position while exercising the muscles needed to walk.

Team members have traveled to Phoenix to meet with collaborators at Barrow Neurological Institute and study a powered body suit, or exoskeleton, used to treat patients with similar conditions. They “got to ask a million questions,” said Herma, a UA College of Education alumna.

They are performing much like meticulous tailors, measuring and re-measuring Jeffrey to accomplish a truly custom fit for the wearable exoskeleton that will support the high-achieving student to keep powering through to a career in certified public accounting.

Dr. Daniel Latt

Project Title: Active-Assist Elbow Flexion Orthosis

Team 16051 Members:
Adriana Barreda, biomedical engineering
Carissa Grijalva, biomedical engineering
Justin Hsieh, agriculture and biosystems engineering
Blakeley Koziol, biomedical engineering
Tim Shimon, biomedical engineering
Gore logoMichael Sveiven, biomedical engineering and electrical and computer engineering (team lead)

Sponsors: UA College of Medicine and Department of Biomedical Engineering, with additional support from Gore

Flexion Device to Aid Healing

Dr. Daniel LattThis is the third year Dr. Daniel Latt, UA associate professor of orthopedic surgery and assistant professor of biomedical engineering, has sponsored an Engineering Design project. He has nothing but praise for the 2017 team doing its part to fill the “great need” for development of biomedical products.

The students are creating a system that aids elbow surgery patients in healing and regaining normal range of motion.

“They’re doing a fantastic job and drawing on so many different aspects of engineering design,” said the orthopedic surgeon, who hopes one day he and his colleagues will be able to prescribe the flexion device.

The system will include a comfortable, compact elbow brace for post-surgical immobilization; a motor assist mechanism that kicks in to help patients with muscle-strengthening physical therapy exercises; wireless technology for real-time feedback; and a fun, user-friendly mobile app that sends exercise reminders, advises patients on how workouts are going, and provides information to the treatment team.

With the preliminary design review behind them, team members are on to the comprehensive design review and exploring options – developing not just a Plan A or even Plans A and B, but Plans A, B, C, D and E to ensure a successful project.

The team expects to complete a prototype of their system by the end of April, for display and judging at Engineering Design Day 2017 on May 1.

Team 16010 members include, from left to right, Kevin Brinkman, Sandra Araiza Cruz, Fermin Prieto.

Project Title: Nasogastric Tube Placement Verification System

Xeridiem logoTeam 16010 Members:
Kevin Brinkman, biomedical engineering
Sandra Araiza Cruz, biomedical engineering
Dalton Hughes, electrical and computer engineering (team lead)
Fermin Prieto, biomedical engineering
Alex Thompson, electrical and computer engineering

Sponsor: Xeridiem

Life-Threatening Problem

Every year, an estimated 5,000 Americans die from complications caused by misplacement of nasogastric and orogastric tubes, which deliver nutrition and medication into the stomachs of patients who are unable to chew or swallow.

Health care providers and caregivers commonly place tubes blindly then verify placement by drawing fluid out of the stomach, injecting air into the stomach and listening with a stethoscope, or, in hospital settings, using X-rays. Lung injuries and other serious complications can arise when a tube is misplaced or migrates out of the stomach.

Big Shoes to Fill in 2017

Team 16010 is continuing the work of last year’s Xeridiem-sponsored team, which developed a system that gives instant feedback on feeding tube placement.

The 2016 team won two first-prize awards at the University of Arizona’s Engineering Design Day and presented the device at the annual Capstone Design Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Team leader Summer Garland is now employed by Xeridiem.

Team 16010 members, from left to right, Kevin Brinkman, Sandra Araiza Cruz, Fermin PrietoSimple, Effective Solution

Team 16010 is using the stomach’s specific acid pH ranges – between 1.5 and 3.5 – to make the device’s sensor more sensitive and eliminate the possibility of false positive results, such as those triggered by saliva.

“You’d think it would have been done a long time ago,” said Kevin Brinkman, working alongside other students over the winter break to improve the device.

The goal, said teammate Fermin Prieto, is to make tube placement and verification so easy that “caregivers can do it at home.”

Project Title: Nasogastric Tube Placement Verification System

Xeridiem logoTeam 15024 Members:
Christopher Gallo, biomedical engineering
Summer Garland, biomedical engineering
Nathaniel Husband, biomedical engineering
Gary Tyree, biomedical engineering
Hang Van, systems engineering
Andrew Werchan, electrical and computer engineering

Coming full circle – from project to project adviser

By all accounts, Team 15024’s project was a winner.

Sponsored by Tucson-based Xeridiem, the students’ Nasogastric Tube Placement Verification System earned two first-prize awards at UA Engineering’s 2016 Design Day – $1,000 for Best Presentation and $1,000 for Innovation in Engineering. The awards were funded by Rincon Research Corp. and Ventana Medical Systems.

Members of Team 15024 also took their show on the road, presenting the project at the June 2016 Capstone Design Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Team lead Summer Garland, who presented on a panel about multidisciplinary projects, used the opportunity to compare the UA’s program with others. Her conclusion: “We have the top capstone design program in the country!”

Garland’s team developed a cost-effective, easy-to-use device that gives instant feedback on feeding tube placement.

“I was blessed with an amazing group of people,” she said. “They made it easy for me to lead.”

The team’s success was not without its share of setbacks, though. In fact, arriving at a solution took 36 tries!

“That’s research,” said Garland, who worked in the BIO5 medical products research laboratory for two years.

The team’s can-do attitude continues to pay off. Xeridiem has graciously named all team members on patent applications for the device. And, when team mentor Paul Melnychuck needed to replace a departing employee, he called Garland, who is working part-time for Xeridiem as a customer success engineer and will go full time in January when she graduates.

Now the biomedical engineering major is looking toward advising students following in her footsteps on Xeridiem-sponsored design teams.

Engineering Design Students collaborating on software for sponsor Vijilis

Students at the University of Arizona are teaming up with a former state trooper to develop a service to help people in need and the first responders who care for them during an emergency.

Vijilis is designed to coordinate resources and service providers during an emergency, to clear the scene of a crash or other emergency more quickly, in hopes of reducing the chance of a secondary crash.

Team 16040, a group of five seniors with various engineering specializations, signed on to turn the idea of Vijilis into usable software.

Engineering Design Program project sponsor CardioSpark hopes to ease the grim statistics surrounding sudden cardiac arrest by placing networked automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, in Southern Arizona neighborhoods.

And they’re using UA Engineering students to do so.

CardioSpark has solicited help from several teams of seniors “to help us flesh out the technology that is key to making our network viable and effective,” said Tom Colberg, CardioSpark’s chief executive officer.

Students talk to project sponsors at Open House 2016

The 2016-2017 UA Engineering Design Program Open House was somewhat like a speed-dating event, with quick but meaningful exchanges.

Hundreds of students, with polished elevator pitches and resumes, arrived at the Student Union Grand Ballroom on Aug. 25 to meet industry sponsors, who wowed the seniors with available design projects.

Alumnus Kevin Witwer, a systems engineer returning to campus to recruit students for a sand ingestion system to test aircraft engines – one of eight Honeywell-sponsored projects – was among the industry partners poised for rapid fire questions.

2016open-house-03_550x367px“It’ll be fun to be there to help!” said the 2012 UA mechanical engineering graduate, who will mentor the team.

The annual Open House kicked off a University of Arizona program in which teams of College of Engineering seniors partner with industry, faculty and other sponsors on real-life projects, a process that often results in jobs for graduates and marketable products for companies.

“Our project count is 74 – and more than 60 are corporate-funded – with 393 students registered in the interdisciplinary course,” said Ara Arabyan, director of the UA Engineering Clinic, who oversees the program.

Big names and perennial sponsors like Raytheon, Honeywell, Texas Instruments and Northrop Grumman drew huge crowds at the event. But theirs weren’t the only tables getting attention.

Traffic Jam at One Mom’s Table

Dozens of students gathered around Hermelinda Bristol, a mom set on seeing her son enjoy something most students take for granted: walking. She is sponsoring the design of an unpowered exoskeleton, which will replace a rudimentary physical therapy device Jeffrey uses.

The UA junior suffered two spontaneous brain bleeds when he was a toddler, which can cause cerebral palsy and affect motor functioning to varying degrees. He recovered from the first but is still working on regaining skills lost after the second. The new wearable device will help Jeffrey and others with cerebral palsy maintain an upright position while exercising the muscles needed to walk.

2016open-house-02_550x367pxStudents on this project will consult not only with Jeffrey and his family but also with specialists from the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, where a powered body suit has been developed to treat patients with similar conditions.

Bringing Home the Couch

Furniture shopping, or at least getting the furniture home, can be an ordeal in Bisbee, Arizona.

The Cochise County seat is situated like a little San Francisco, with houses perched on the sides of steep slopes, and the prospect of lugging a couch up nearly vertical stairs deters many residents, and delivery truck drivers. The city is sponsoring the Bisbee Assisted Lift Delivery System – a conveyor setup that can carry at least 100 pounds of groceries, firewood, trash, recyclables and furniture.

“Most cities don’t invest in this kind of infrastructure,” said public works director Andy Haratyk, noting Bisbee’s aging population.

Many Appealing Prospects

Flight simulator tools, drone zappers and mining truck monitors were among other projects offered up by first-year, long-time and ramped-up sponsors.

First-year sponsor Wittenstein, a world-renowned German-based developer of mechatronic drive technology, was looking to build teams for two aerospace projects – a flight simulator vibration platform and an ergonomic assembly platform for fighter jet simulators.

Long-time sponsor Raytheon recruited seniors for eight projects. One, an anti-drone device to combat growing security and privacy threats, attracted many students, some who said the project – a system capable of detecting, tracking and disabling a pair of drones simultaneously – sounded like a real-life video.

2016open-house-05_550x367pxStudents on Caterpillar teams will have their work cut out for them. Caterpillar, which announced three months ago that it was relocating its surface mining and technology division to Tucson, has expanded its Engineering Design Program presence from one or two projects a year to five 2016-2017 projects: a tool to help change out blades on graders, lightweight but heavy-duty antenna mounts, a model to predict the wear and tear of large trucks on mine surfaces, a system to check the motors on hydraulic mining shovels, and monitors for struts on haul vehicles the size of a house. Caterpillar executives have said that with 25 UA Engineering students assigned to projects this year, the company is looking forward to outstanding recruiting opportunities.

Good Outcomes

Students waited with anticipation to hear if they got picked for their top-choice multidisciplinary projects.

Some accepted the challenge of working on projects outside their primary areas of training; others were paired up with projects more in line with their majors. All will be well prepared to enter the workforce after they display their prowess at Design Day 2017 on May 1.

“It was great to see all of the companies seeking undergraduates from the University of Arizona to work on their projects,” said Dawn Binder, UA systems engineering senior. “Their trust speaks volumes to me as a student here – that we were chosen to work on these high-profile projects with such high expectations.”

Santiago Solano and Joshua Hurley devise an induction method to transfer power wirelessly for lights on sliding partitions

In the spring of 2016, UA College of Engineering students poured energy, ingenuity and hours of their time into their senior capstone projects. Coding, soldering circuits and constructing prototypes led to a lot of late nights and weekends in the workshop.

Provided below are a selection of behind-the-scenes images of Engineering Design Program teams hard at work during the countdown to Design Day.

Team 15066: Wireless Lighting for Aircraft Sliding Screens

Sponsor: B/E Aerospace

Joshua Hurley and Romeo Judeh focused on putting wireless lighting on sliding doors in first-class aircraft seating.

University of Arizona mechanical engineering student Joshua Hurley (right) and Romeo Judeh (left), an electrical and computer engineering senior, are focused on putting wireless lighting on sliding doors in first-class aircraft seating for a 2016 design project sponsored by B/E Aerospace.


Test

First-class frequent fliers may soon see drab partition doors light up with smart wireless lighting created by mechanical engineering student Evan Hastings – shown here working intently on a model for project sponsor B/E Aerospace – and his UA Engineering Design Program teammates.


Santiago Solano and Joshua Hurley devise an induction method to transfer power wirelessly for lights on sliding partitions

FAA requirements are top of mind for members of Team 15066 – systems engineering student Santiago Solano (left) and electrical and computer engineering major Joshua Hurley – as they devise an induction method to transfer power wirelessly for lights on sliding partitions in first-class passenger areas.

Team 15067: Storing TV Monitor in Super First Class Suite

Sponsor: B/E Aerospace

Robert Donald Miller words on display monitor hydraulic system

Robert Donald Miller, a member of 2016 senior design Team 15067 – sponsored by B/E Aerospace – works on a micro hydraulic system to quietly hide idle television monitors in first-class aircraft seating.


Hongning Shangguan works on hydraulics system

It’s all about aesthetics for electrical and computer engineering senior Hongning Shangguan as he works with his Engineering Design Program team to develop a hydraulic system that covers 32-inch monitors gracing first-class seating.


Robert Donald Miller and Raul Mishiyev help design a way to power covers for airplane first-class monitors

UA mechanical engineering seniors Robert Donald Miller (left) and Raul Mishiyev learn on the fly with their team’s 2016 project as they help design a way to power covers for first-class display monitors – without using electricity from the aircraft.

Team 15069: Defibrillator ECG Acquisition and Analysis

Sponsor: CardioSpark

Gary and Arreaga test defibrillator

“Our defibrillator detects what arrhythmia is occurring and delivers an appropriate shock to the patient,” says Michelle Gary (right), testing components of the device on fellow biomedical engineering student and 2016 design project teammate Kevin Arreaga (center).


Michelle Gary, Noel Teku and Kevin Arreaga design the diagnostic front-end for an external defibrillator

Biomedical engineering students Michelle Gary (left) and Kevin Arreaga and electrical and computer engineering major Noel Teku are motivated by the prospect of saving lives as they design the diagnostic front end for an automated external defibrillator.


Teku studies electrocardiogram data

UA electrical and computer engineering senior Noel Teku studies electrocardiogram data for Team 15069’s design project – an app that acquires, filters and digitizes ECG samples for sponsor CardioSpark’s personal mini defibrillator.

EMILY lifesaving system inside high-visibility cover.

Project Title: Automated Rescue Launch Canister System for EMILY

Hydronalix logoTeam 15007 Members:
Benjamin Bell, mechanical engineering
Joseph Lamont, mechanical engineering
Kevin Morris, electrical and computer engineering
Devin Slack, electrical and computer engineering
Colton Sviba, systems engineering
Benjamin Yates, electrical and computer engineering

Project Title: Sonar Module Integration for EMILY Rescue Robot

Team 15008 Members:
Jeremy Burris, industrial engineering
Jordan Driggs, mechanical engineering
Uriel Garcia, electrical and computer engineering
Matthew Sybrant, systems engineering
Jessica Toll, mechanical engineering

Sponsor: Hydronalix

Life-Saving Remote Control Buoy

EMILY lifesaving system inside high-visibility cover.About 100 Americans die every year fighting rip currents. Swimming a few strokes parallel to the beach – to the edge of the typically narrow-channel flow – and catching a wave back to shore is the best escape route. However, inexperienced swimmers tend to panic when they feel as though they are being sucked out to sea and struggle futilely against the current.

EMILY to the rescue.

The Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, or EMILY, isn’t fazed by stormy weather, cold water or rough surf. With a top speed of 22 mph, the remote-control rescue buoy can reach endangered swimmers up to six times faster than a human lifeguard and handle up to six people at a time, a feature that proved its worth when the robot aided in the 2015 rescue of 300 Syrian migrants near the Greek island of Lesbos.

Swimmers use the boat-like buoy to stay afloat until a rescue raft arrives or hold onto a rope around EMILY’s hull as it is guided back to shore.

EMILY is manufactured by Hydronalix, a company based in Sahuarita, Arizona, that sponsored two 2016 UA Engineering Design Program projects to refine the robot’s capabilities. Team 15007 developed a self-contained canister to automate deployment and help direct the buoy. Team 15008, which earned the W.L. Gore and Associates Award for Most Creative Solution, designed a sonar addition for underwater search and rescue.

Making a Good Thing Better

Although EMILY is relatively light, heaving 25 pounds off a coastal pier isn’t easy. So Team 15007 created an automated launch system. The setup relies on two infrared cameras to penetrate darkness, fog and heavy rain; locate struggling swimmers; and initiate launch of the buoy.

When the cameras, mounted on a pan-tilt unit on EMILY’s canister, spot a person in distress, actuators hoist the canister to the angle needed for EMILY to clear the pier, the canister’s front door opens, and the buoy slides out on rollers into the water. Once EMILY hits the water, leaving the canister behind, one camera stays fixed on the victim while the other focuses on the buoy, enabling rescuers to use coordinates for guidance.

Going Even Deeper

Murky waters can be dangerous for divers. In a separate application, Team 15008 integrated a Humminbird sonar into EMILY and mounted a waterproof camera on its bow to deliver real-time video to mobile devices, turning the robot into an underwater search and recovery device that scans for and identifies submerged objects.

Hydronalix CEO Tony Mulligan envisions the sonar-equipped version of EMILY as an early warning device in shark-infested waters like those off the Southern California coast. Instead of relying on costly aerial reconnaissance, authorities can deploy EMILY to areas where the great white sharks may be, and if they’re spotted, lifeguards can clear the water of swimmers and close nearby beaches.

Mission Accomplished

Mulligan, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona in 1988 and has been named to the American Association for the Advancement of Science and The Lemelson Foundation’s 2016-2017 Class of Invention Ambassadors, praised the teams for their hard work and professionalism, saying, “They’ll become excellent engineers.”

Project Title: Wearable Virtual Reality Camera

Defiiant Technologies logoTeam 15068 Members:
Rubi Ballesteros, electrical and computer engineering
Cory Boone, optical sciences and engineering
Brian Herrera, optical sciences and engineering
David Rico, systems engineering
Andrew Sharpe, mechanical engineering
Robert Starr, electrical and computer engineering
Zhaolong Zhang, electrical and computer engineering

Sponsor: Defiiant Technologies

Entrepreneur wears all the hats, and the camera

Brian Herrera of Defiiant Technologies and Team 15068 at Engineering Design Day 2016Brian Herrera didn’t have an outside sponsor for his team’s 2016 senior design project. His virtual reality startup was the sponsor.

Herrera also supervised two student teams. One from UA Engineering worked on a prototype; the other, from the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, focused on commercialization and won third place in the program’s annual business plan competition.

Herrera’s project, a wearable virtual reality camera called Vidi VR, is the first product to emerge from Tucson-based Defiiant Technologies.

“It has two eyes – just like you,” Herrera said of his company’s name.

Seeing the world through more than one lens is the essence of 3-D imagery. The easy-to-use, portable Vidi VR system, which integrates two lenses into a wraparound headset, is worn on the forehead and captures whatever imagery the user sees and wants to record.

The Engineering team’s headset prototype was hard-wired to a battery-powered processor that fed images to a Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone. When the smartphone was plugged into a $10 3-D headset, the virtual reality show was ready for viewing.

Next up: a smartphone app that will enable sharing of the virtual reality experiences.

“We want you to share a whole interactive experience in VR,” said Herrera, who envisions a social media community of Vidi VR users.

During the recent eMerge Americas startup conference in Miami, Vidi VR garnered quite a bit of interest from digital marketers.

“Social media marketing is huge,” Herrera said. “We’re excited to serve them.”

As Herrera’s UA days come to an end – he’s just six credits away from an optical sciences and engineering degree – he is turning his attention to recruiting talent to help him grow the company and seeking patent protection.

Shortly after he showcased his efforts at Design Day, Herrera pitched the Defiiant vision to judges at the 2016 Perkins Coie Innovative Minds Challenge. The result was a six-month fellowship in the Arizona Center for Innovation’s Mentored Launch program. The fellowship includes office space – and access to the equipment needed to build more sophisticated prototypes – at the UA Tech Park. Defiiant also was awarded $2,500 by the student entrepreneurship group InnovateUA.

Team 15050 - Aircraft Engine Bleed Air Contamination Detection System

Project Title: Aircraft Engine Bleed Air Contamination Detection System

Honeywell logoTeam 15050 Members:
Erika Balbas, systems engineering
Zachary Fier, mechanical engineering
Qichao Hu, mechanical engineering
Joshua Johnston, electrical and computer engineering
Jeffrey Mrkonich, biomedical engineering
Hao Yuan, electrical and computer engineering

Sponsor: Honeywell Aerospace

Design helps prevent harm to aircraft components, flight crews, passengers

Team 15050 - Aircraft Engine Bleed Air Contamination Detection SystemPassengers on cross-country flights aren’t typically thinking about air from engine bleed. But that air is important. It is used for air conditioning and pressurizing the cabin.

Bleed air comes directly from the engine before jet fuel is added. It’s at high temperature and high pressure. And, said mechanical engineering senior Zack Fier, it can be dirty air.

More specifically, engine bleed air can contain volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that are harmful to aircraft components, the flight crew and passengers. Team 15050’s mission: develop a system that detects VOCs before they reach dangerous levels.

The Honeywell Aerospace-sponsored interdisciplinary group set out to accomplish two things. First, their system had to cool the air enough for the contaminant detection sensor to handle it. Secondly, the sensor had to make measurements and deliver real-time data to an easy-to-read user interface.

The resulting interface illuminates a green LED when VOCs are within safe levels. An orange LED gives the danger signal, which means that it’s time for the cockpit crew to vent the engine bleed air into the atmosphere.

Since the team couldn’t land an aircraft on the UA Mall or present a live demo of a jet engine at work for Design Day, the students found a low-tech alternative.

Their idea was based on the knowledge that jet engines aren’t the only producers of VOCs. Humans do it too, with every exhaled breath.

Systems engineering senior Erika Balbas and her teammates had visitors blow into a tube, and the demo detection system went to work with a laptop readout showing the VOC levels rising rapidly, but not to harmful levels.

The team concluded that their prototype could potentially be produced by Honeywell for use in aircraft, and the students’ research was described in an invention disclosure.

Project Title: Toilet Leak and Flood Prevention

QuakeWrap Inc. logoTeam 15043 Members:
Matthew Britton, systems engineering
Ian Carmichael, electrical and computer engineering
Eliza Dawson, mechanical engineering
Diego Morales, mechanical engineering
Derek Strickland, mechanical engineering

Sponsor: QuakeWrap Inc.

Intellectual curiosity motivates UA emeritus professor

Mo EhsaniThe reasons companies sponsor senior design teams are as varied as the projects themselves. Topping the list are exploring new technologies, reviving back-burner projects, benefiting from UA campus facilities and faculty expertise, and auditioning future employees.

For Mo Ehsani, PhD, PE, and his brother-in-law, Masoud Ghalambor, MD, sponsorship of a 2016 project was a personal thing. And it exemplified the essence of engineering: identifying a common problem and designing a simple solution that works.

Ehsani, a UA professor emeritus of civil engineering, is the founder and president of Tucson-based QuakeWrap. The company develops, manufactures and installs fiber-reinforced polymer products to repair and strengthen buildings and pipelines. Ghalambor is an orthopedic surgeon in Sacramento, California, who also holds BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering.

But the QuakeWrap-sponsored project didn’t come close to structural repair – or surgery. It was all about a simple, low-cost way to prevent toilet leaks and possible floods.

“We both had experienced large water bills due to leaky toilets and wanted to find a solution to eliminate water waste,” said Ehsani.

So the student team developed a battery-powered automatic shutoff that limits loss to one tankful of water if the water runs for longer than expected, indicating there is a leak.

While the Toilet Leak and Flood Prevention project does not signal QuakeWrap’s entry into the household plumbing fixtures market, the team’s work is protected by a provisional patent application, and Ehsani may pursue the product as a commercial venture outside of QuakeWrap.

“People tell me that they wish they had something like this,” he said.

Andrew Werchan shows the Nasogastric Tube Placement Verification System sensor tip and digital readout monitor showing incorrect insertion.

Project Title: Nasogastric Tube Placement Verification System

Xeridiem logoTeam 15024 Members:
Christopher Gallo, biomedical engineering
Summer Garland, biomedical engineering
Nathaniel Husband, biomedical engineering
Gary Tyree, biomedical engineering
Hang Van, systems engineering
Andrew Werchan, electrical and computer engineering

Sponsor: Xeridiem

Students create cost-effective, easy-to-use medical device

Andrew Werchan shows the Nasogastric Tube Placement Verification System sensor tip and digital readout monitor showing correct insertionHospital patients recovering from illness or surgery who cannot feed themselves rely on nasogastric, or feeding, tubes. Traditionally, inserting a feeding tube has been a lot like flying blind. The tube can end up in the lungs instead of the stomach, sometimes resulting in serious injury – or death.

Hospitals can verify correct tube placement via a chest X-ray or a stomach pH test, but these test are costly.

Team 15024 has come to the rescue with a working prototype of a cost-effective, easy-to-use device that gives instant feedback on placement.

A sensor, responsive to an open circuit that is closed by stomach acid ions, threads inside the feeding tube and is connected to a digital readout display box.

When the circuit closes, the digital display box chirps and shows the message, “Placement good! Tube safe to use.” When the tube is threaded into the lungs, the circuit stays open. No chirping display box, nothing but silence. The readout says, “Warning! Not safe to use!”

Getting to the finish line wasn’t easy for the team, but their perseverance paid off.

Christopher Gallo said team members came up empty in the hunt for inexpensive – $10 to $20 – sensors, so they added sensor fabrication to their resumes.

In fact, developing the successful prototype took 36 tries, but the team wasn’t fazed.

“That’s research!” said Summer Garland.

The team’s solution to a tough patient care problem earned two first-prize awards at UA Engineering’s 2016 Design Day – $1,000 for Best Presentation and $1,000 for Innovation in Engineering. The awards were funded by Rincon Research Corp. and Ventana Medical Systems, respectively.

The team was also invited to present their work at the 2016 Capstone Design Conference in Columbus, Ohio, in early June, joining engineering capstone teams from across the nation.

The project has led to three provisional patent applications, and Tucson-based sponsor Xeridiem, a contract medical device manager, may file for full patent protection. The company also plans to bring the project back during the 2016-2017 Engineering Design Program for further refinements.

As for members of Team 15024, their plans include finishing UA undergraduate work, starting graduate school and medical school, and beginning jobs as engineers.

Team 15040 with Best Overall Design check

Project Title: On-Slide Reagent Concentration Feedback and Control

Ventana Medical Systems Inc. logoTeam 15040 Members:
Collin Gilchrist, biomedical engineering
Jamie Hernandez, biomedical engineering
Shawn Iles, optical sciences and engineering
Pete Moya, biomedical engineering
Tyler Toth, biomedical engineering
Danton Whittier, systems engineering

Sponsor: Ventana Medical Systems Inc.

Noninvasive slide staining technique earns top Design Day prize

Team 15040 with Best Overall Design checkYou may have encountered the field of histopathology without ever realizing it. Simply put, histopathology is a microscopic examination of a tissue sample taken via surgery or biopsy.

Because the results can be a matter of life or death, accurate measurements are crucial. This extends to the fluid — known as ionic buffer solution — that binds to the sample. Its ionic concentration must remain constant. Variations can adversely affect the quality of the staining used to highlight abnormalities in tissue.

Team 15040’s senior design project provided test labs with a way to precisely measure the ionic concentration of the buffer solution on histopathological slides. Their work was recognized at Engineering Design Day 2016 with the highest honor, the $2,000 Raytheon Award for Best Overall Design.

The Raytheon Award goes to the team that most effectively meets judging criteria, devises a well-thought-out solution that has been rigorously tested, and offers a professional and easy-to-understand poster and presentation.

The project’s sponsor, Ventana Medical Systems Inc., is a Tucson-based manufacturer of medical diagnostic systems and biopsy-based cancer tests. Ventana is a member of the Roche Group, a global health care company with headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.

The company has sponsored at least two senior design teams each year since 2011; this year it sponsored four.

“They’re high-risk, high-reward projects,” said on-campus mentor Greg Ogden. “They challenge the students to try far-off things and see if they work.”

Ogden, a research associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Arizona who just finished his sixth year as an Engineering Design Program mentor, praised Team 15040 for rising to Ventana’s expectations.

All of the team’s work had to be at the highest level, including behind-the-scenes aspects like team meeting agendas, minutes, and after-meeting action items and follow-throughs.

“We treated them like employees,” said Lisa Jones, a development systems integration manager with Ventana who served as the team’s sponsor-mentor and adviser.

Ogden cited the team’s deft handling of a fall-semester challenge as a game-changer that helped them prevail. One of their early design concepts, using a refractometer, was not considered viable by Ventana.

We’ll prove that it is, replied the team. And they did, with preliminary research findings that sold the company on their idea.

The final product includes a laser that refracts light into the solution; the aforementioned refractometer, which provides real-time measurements of the solution’s ionic concentration; and a graphical user interface for data display. Jones praised the touch-screen interface for its ease of use, especially for busy lab staff, who “don’t have time to bugger around with equipment.”

Perhaps most critical, the technique enables lab staff to conduct the entire measuring and reporting process without touching the sample — thereby avoiding risk of contamination. It satisfies Ventana’s requirement for a noninvasive system. The company has filed for provisional patent protection.

The combination of lofty standards and challenging projects led to success for Ventana’s 2016 Design Day teams. “Three of our four teams won,” Jones says.

Inside the shipping container greenhouse at Design Day 2016

The University of Arizona’s 14th annual Engineering Design Day challenged about 500 students with almost 100 original projects. Some teams’ designs helped launch startups; others enriched the offerings of their sponsoring companies.

Along the way, students learned to work in multidisciplinary teams and solve a wide array of problems — from playing catchup after a late project start to dealing with power lines blocking a project’s route to campus.

Here’s how four design teams met the challenge.

Nailing a Moving Target

Boeing logoProject Title: Stabilized Helicopter Landing Platform

Team 15019 Members:
Nicholas Hand, systems engineering
Benjamin Kaufman, mechanical engineering
Jeremy Loo, mechanical engineering
Christopher McEvoy, mechanical engineering
Ray Weaver, electrical and computer engineering

Sponsor: Boeing

Team 15019 at Design Day 2016Take five civilian undergraduates from systems, mechanical, and electrical and computer engineering, aim their expertise at one of the toughest problems in military aviation, and what do you get? A working prototype of a shipboard helicopter landing platform that remains stable in stormy seas.

A video shown at Team 15019’s Design Day booth vividly illustrated the problem. A ship pitched and rolled as a helicopter hovered above the landing platform. Despite several attempts, the pilot could not land.

The team’s “stable table” could be part of the solution, and Boeing will use it to demonstrate the complexities of landing helicopters on ships at sea.

During Design Day, Jeremy Loo and his teammates took turns tilting the platform as the stabilizing mechanism kept the model helicopter horizontal, providing visual proof that their prototype met Boeing’s system requirements.

Cleaning Up Breweries

UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering logoProject Title: Sustainable Microbrewery

Team 15075 Members:
Jacqueline Barrow, chemical engineering
Ryan Dormond, chemical engineering
Christopher Hawkins, chemical engineering
Sheng-Shuan Yeh, chemical engineering

Sponsor: UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Team 15075 at Design Day 2016Design Day gave Team 15075 plenty of opportunities to say no with a smile.

The question: Do you have samples? (Sorry to disappoint, but it’s a dry event.)

The team of chemical engineering students took on a problem near and dear to environmentally conscious beer drinkers: how to reduce the waste stream leaving the brewery.

They designed a microbrewery that lowers biological oxygen demand. That’s the amount of oxygen microorganisms need to break down soluble organic material before it reaches a municipal wastewater system.

It worked, said team member Ryan Dormond, but it wouldn’t be profitable for a small startup.

“Big brewers could do it incrementally, over time,” he explained.

What functions from an engineering standpoint, the team learned, is not always practical in the business world.

Delivering Fresh Vegetables to Food Deserts

UA Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering logoProject Title: Shipping Container Greenhouse

  • Team 15090: Controlled Environment for Plant Reproduction
  • Team 15091: Irrigation Infrastructure
  • Team 15092: Controlled Environment for Mushroom Production

Team 15090 Members:
Maya Aldaghi, biosystems engineering
Riley Anderson, biosystems engineering
Brooke Christine Conrardy, biosystems engineering
Michael Lopez, biosystems engineering
Haley Odom, biosystems engineering
Michael Pearse, biosystems engineering

Team 15091 Members:
Nicole Xuan Bui, biosystems engineering
Patrick William Bush, biosystems engineering
Brooke Christine Conrardy, biosystems engineering
Ashley C. Hanno, biosystems engineering
Victoria Alexandra Karlsson, biosystems engineering
Claire Kristin Tritz, biosystems engineering

Team 15092 Members:
Perla E. Ballesteros, biosystems engineering
Brooke Christine Conrardy, biosystems engineering
Qianwen Luo, biosystems engineering
Elan Snitkin, biosystems engineering

Sponsor: UA Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Inside the shipping container greenhouse at Design Day 2016Transporting most finished products to Design Day is easy. Just put it in a car and drive it to campus.

Not so for the trio of teams working on the shipping container greenhouse. They had to request a UA-owned tractor-trailer and driver, plan a route and get permits from the city of Tucson.

The initial plan hit a roadblock — the Sun Link Streetcar. Its power lines above Park Avenue hung too low. Time for Plan B: getting to campus via Campbell Avenue.

Everything went flawlessly until the final corner outside Old Main. The truck jumped the curb, came down hard, and “Our seedlings fell through the holes in the hydroponic rack,” said team leader Brooke Conrardy. The hard landing proved fatal to 50 percent of the greenhouse plants.

The shipping container greenhouse is the centerpiece of a multiyear UA project that will help eliminate food deserts, areas without access to affordable, nutritious food.

The greenhouse includes a student-designed and -constructed hydroponic rack and tray system for growing lettuce and a sealed mushroom-growing chamber kept at 90 percent humidity. The greenhouse project will continue during the 2016-2017 academic year and will eventually be donated to a nonprofit organization — like a food bank — to grow fresh vegetables for people in need.

Starting Late, Finishing Strong

UA Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering logoProject Title: Macadamia Nut Harvester

Team 15094 Members:
Kenneth Hickman, biosystems engineering
Bryce Kirkpatrick, biosystems engineering
Ryan Neighbor, biosystems engineering
Marko Obradov, biosystems engineering

Sponsor: UA Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Team 15094 at Design Day 2016It was all smiles in Team 15094’s corner of the UA Mall, where a robotic macadamia nut-harvesting vehicle cruised around picking up nuts — to the delight of visitors of all ages.

But it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the Hawaiian-shirted quartet of biosystems engineering students. The harvester prototype had a rocky start.

“We didn’t have a project for two months, and we didn’t start building until January,” recalled Bryce Kirkpatrick.

“Building” meant drawing on members’ in-depth electrical and mechanical expertise and fabricating the harvester from the ground up. No outsourcing for this team — they did all the work themselves.

The robotic harvester will replace at least three types of heavy machinery used on Kawainui Farm on Hawaii’s Big Island — helping the farm harvest nuts faster and eliminating the cost of harvesting by hand.

 

For more information about the projects at Engineering Design Day 2016, please see the recap in Arizona Engineer.

Engineering Design Day 2016 judges standing on the stairs by the Student Union, waving to the camera

Engineering Design Day 2016 judges standing on the stairs by the Student Union, waving to the cameraThe University of Arizona Engineering Design Program extends its heartfelt gratitude to all the judges who joined us for Engineering Design Day 2016 on May 3.

We had representatives from companies from A(CSS) to X(eridiem), as well as several academic units, lending an impressive array of engineering expertise. Your enthusiasm helped make our big day an incredible success.

By the numbers:

  • 134 judges
  • 69 organizations
  • 99 projects
  • 499 students
  • 24 awards
  • $18,000 in prizes

See the full list of award-winning projects.

Again, our faculty, staff and students appreciate all your help.

Team 15040

Through the generosity of our corporate sponsors, the College of Engineering was able to bestow 22 awards – and $18,000 in prize money – to our hard-working seniors on Engineering Design Day 2016.

Congratulations to the winners, and to all our seniors.

Team 15040Raytheon Award for Best Overall Design ($2,000)
On-Slide Reagent Concentration Feedback and Control
Team 15040 Members:
Collin Gilchrist, biomedical engineering
Jamie Hernandez, biomedical engineering
Shawn Iles, optical sciences and engineering
Pete Moya, biomedical engineering
Tyler Toth, biomedical engineering
Danton Whittier, systems engineering
Project Sponsor: Ventana Medical Systems Inc.

Team 15023Bly Family Award for Innovation in Energy Production, Supply or Use – First Prize ($1,500)
Energy-Harvesting Power Supply
Team 15023 Members:
Tareq A.A.M. Alsalem, systems engineering
Juan Carlos Castillo, electrical and computer engineering
Jared Christian Guglielmo, electrical and computer engineering
Michelle Victoria Gutierrez, mechanical engineering
Justin Javelosa, mechanical engineering
Project Sponsor: Tucson Electric Power

Team 15086Bly Family Award for Innovation in Energy Production, Supply or Use – Second Prize ($500)
Ethanol Plant Repurposing
Team 15086 Members:
Michael Bauman, chemical engineering
William Blair, chemical engineering
Joseph Gaul, chemical engineering
Project Sponsor: UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering 

 

Team 15024Rincon Research Award for Best Presentation ($1,000)
Nasogastric Tube Placement Verification System
Team 15024 Members:
Christopher Gallo, biomedical engineering
Summer Garland, biomedical engineering
Nathaniel Husband, biomedical engineering
Gary Tyree, biomedical engineering
Hang Van, systems engineering
Andrew Werchan, electrical and computer engineering
Project Sponsor: Xeridiem

Team 15044Texas Instruments Analog Design Contest Award ($1,000)
Deep Water Sensor System
Team 15044 Members:
Matthew Ray Barragan, electrical and computer engineering
Austin Anthony Nawrocki, mechanical engineering
Nikitha Ramohalli, electrical and computer engineering
Alexander Yudkovitz, systems engineering
Yi Zhang, electrical and computer engineering
Project Sponsor: Texas Instruments
Project Spotlight: “Monitoring the Depths at Minimal Cost”

Team 15024Ventana Award for Innovation in Engineering ($1,000)
Nasogastric Tube Placement Verification System
Team 15024 Members:
Christopher Gallo, biomedical engineering
Summer Garland, biomedical engineering
Nathaniel Husband, biomedical engineering
Gary Tyree, biomedical engineering
Hang Van, systems engineering
Andrew Werchan, electrical and computer engineering
Project Sponsor: Xeridiem

Team 15031ACSS/L-3 Communications Award for Most Robust Systems Engineering ($750)
Microfluidic-Based Human Lung Model
Team 15031 Members:
Elisa Calabrese, biomedical engineering
Kristin Calahan, biomedical engineering
Christopher Larkin, biomedical engineering
Emily Masterson, biomedical engineering
Mary McIntosh, biomedical engineering
Kristina Rivera, biomedical engineering
Project Sponsor: UA Department of Biomedical Engineering

Team 15079Arizona Technology Council Foundation Award for Innovation in Manufacturing ($750)
Process Improvement to Minimize Fractures in Water-Soluble Mandrels
Team 15079 Members:
Matthew Bahr, chemical and environmental engineering
Phillip Befus, chemical and environmental engineering
Matthew Fry, chemical and environmental engineering
Juan Sandoval, chemical and environmental engineering
Project Sponsor: Advanced Ceramics Manufacturing 

 

Team 15039Edmund Optics Award for Perseverance and Recovery ($750)
High-Throughput Curing Oven
Team 15039 Members:
Allison Nicole Bronstein, systems engineering
Jesus Damian Chavolla, electrical and computer engineering
Yanjun Liu, mechanical engineering
Corina MacIsaac, biomedical engineering
Yaroslav Valerievich Pilipenko, biomedical engineering
April Proft, materials science and engineering
Project Sponsor: Ventana Medical Systems

Team 15008W.L. Gore and Associates Award for Most Creative Solution ($750)
Sonar Module Integration for EMILY Rescue Robot
Team 15008 Members:
Jeremy Burris, systems engineering
Jordan McKinley Driggs, mechanical engineering
Uriel Garcia, electrical and computer engineering
Matthew Sybrant, systems engineering
Jessica Nell Vickers Toll, mechanical engineering
Project Sponsor: Hydronalix
Project Spotlight: “Underwater Eyes for Robotic Lifeguard”

Team 15026Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies Award for Best Use of Prototyping ($750)
Robotic Knee Extension Simulator
Team 15026 Members:
Czarina Aguilar, biomedical engineering
Eze Ahanonu, biomedical engineering
Ian Hoffman, mechanical engineering
David Mendoza, electrical and computer engineering
Brian J. Nicodemus, systems engineering
Daniel Palomares, biomedical engineering
Zachary Remer, biomedical engineering
Project Sponsor: UA Department of Biomedical Engineering

Team 15098Arizona Technology Council Foundation Award for Best Engineering Analysis ($750)
X-56A Aeroelastically Scaled Modular Aircraft for Research
Team 15098 Members:
John Casey, aerospace engineering
Dustin Leighty, aerospace engineering
John Meersman, aerospace engineering
Nicholas Merendo, aerospace engineering
Salvatore Antonio Vitale, aerospace engineering
Project Sponsor: UA Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

Team 15043RBC Sargent Aerospace & Defense Voltaire Design Award ($750)
Toilet Leak and Flood Prevention
Team 15043 Members:
Matthew Britton, systems engineering
Ian Carmichael, electrical and computer engineering
Eliza Dawson, mechanical engineering
Diego Morales, mechanical engineering
Derek Strickland, mechanical engineering
Project Sponsor: QuakeWrap Inc.
Project Spotlight: “Building a Better Toilet”

Team 15038Technical Documentation Consultants of Arizona Best Design Documentation Award ($750)
Slide Handling and Retention Apparatus
Team 15038 Members:
Andrew D’Arcangelis, biomedical engineering
David Duperre, mechanical engineering
Erin Evangelist, systems engineering
Mykella Jones, biomedical engineering
David Malboeuf, mechanical engineering
Matthew Nadolny, electrical and computer engineering
Project Sponsor: Ventana Medical Systems Inc.

Team 15022TRAX International Award for Best Implementation of Agile Methodology ($750)
Entry-Level Crossbow Design
Team 15022 Members:
Joseph Dominic Lucero, mechanical engineering
Austin Jacob Masterson, mechanical engineering
Matthew David Modean, systems engineering
Ahmed Ismail Mustafawi, mechanical engineering
Kyle Vinh Nguyen, materials science and engineering
Project Sponsor: Precision Shooting Equipment

Team 15056Dataforth Corporation Award for Best Design Using a Data Acquisition and Control System ($500)
Performance Tools for Evaluating Microelectromechanical System Sensors
Team 15056 Members:
Gregory Burleson, systems engineering
Ariel Munoz, optical sciences and engineering
Trevor Woodhouse, biomedical engineering
Joshua Uhlorn, mechanical engineering
Project Sponsor: Universal Avionics 

 

Team 15059II-VI Optical Systems Award for Best Use of Optical Design and Technology ($500)
Liqua-Telecentric Autofocusing System
Team 15059 Members:
Yawei Ding, electrical and computer engineering
Olivia Fehlberg, optical sciences and engineering
Dana Kralicek, optical sciences and engineering
Timothy Ni, electrical and computer engineering
Edward Antonio Vergara, systems engineering
Project Sponsor: Edmund Optics

Team 15020Latitude Engineering Award for Best Physical Implementation of Analytically Driven Design ($500)
Inkjet-Printed Antennas for Wireless Communication
Team 15020 Members:
Santiago Burrola, systems engineering
Charles Hoskins, electrical and computer engineering
Yiming Shi, electrical and computer engineering
Joel Turnblade, mechanical engineering
Alisa Zukova, mechanical engineering
Project Sponsor: UA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Team 15018Prototron Circuits Award for Best Printed Circuit Design ($500)
Wearable Wireless Body Area Network
Team 15018 Members:
Nicolas Fajardo, electrical and computer engineering
Kevin Garrick, systems engineering
Xaviere Giroud, biomedical engineering
Brian Kehn, mechanical engineering
Andrew Thomas Maggio, biomedical engineering
Cecilia Maria Read, biomedical engineering
Project Sponsor: UA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Team 15051Honeywell Award for Excellence in Aerospace Electronic System Design ($400)
Thermomechanical Fatigue Testing System
Team 15051 Members:
Oscar Hernandez, materials science and engineering
Spencer Yushian Lee, electrical and computer engineering
Andy Luc, materials science and engineering
Bernt Rennie Powell, mechanical engineering
Kevin Bryan Scheeler, systems engineering
William David Sim, mechanical engineering
Project Sponsor: Honeywell Aerospace

Honeywell Team Leadership Award ($250 each)
Kaitlyn Elizabeth Williams (Team 15065, project sponsored by Raytheon Missile Systems; project spotlight: “Designing a Price-Conscious CubeSat”)
Justine Nichole Bacchus (Team 15030, project sponsored by Shamrock Foods; project spotlight: “Reusing Water on the Factory Floor”)

Team 15053Thorlabs Photonics Is the Future Award ($250 each)
Metal Surface Quality Characterization
Team 15053 Members:
Cole Lumsden, materials science and engineering
Steven Murrell, electrical and computer engineering
Mohammad Rabata, systems engineering
Maryam Tanbal, optical sciences and engineering
Jacob Tevik, optical sciences and engineering
Jinghao Zho, electrical and computer engineering
Project Sponsor: Procter & Gamble

Kristy Pearson Fish Out of Water Award – First Prize ($250)
Brennen Guy (Team 15030, project sponsored by Shamrock Foods; project spotlight: “Reusing Water on the Factory Floor”)

Kristy Pearson Fish Out of Water Award – Second Prize ($150)
Steven Wirth (Team 15065, project sponsored by Raytheon Missile Systems; project spotlight: “Designing a Price-Conscious CubeSat”)

Team 15065

Project Title: Commercial-off-the-Shelf Infrastructure for a 1U CubeSat

Raytheon logoTeam 15065 Members:
Benjamin Bossler, mechanical engineering
Reed Hubbell, mechanical engineering
Alfie Tsang, systems engineering
Dean Whitman, aerospace engineering
Kaitlyn Williams, optical sciences and engineering
Steven Wirth, electrical and computer engineering

Sponsor: Raytheon Missile Systems

Sending sensors to space at lower cost

Team 15065

A standard space-ready CubeSat microsatellite measures 10 centimeters on each side, fits in the palm of your hand and costs roughly $40,000.

Sponsored by Raytheon Missile Systems, Team 15065 is designing a CubeSat that costs less than $5,000 and uses off-the-shelf components. One of the novel features of the low-cost satellite is that its frame is manufactured using 3-D printing and appropriate resins.

The redesigned CubeSat will be used to take environmental measurements in space.

“We are creating a satellite with parts that anyone can buy online,” said Alfie Tsang, systems test lead.

These parts include a memory chip, a microcontroller, a temperature sensor, a transceiver, a signal modulator and solar panels.

The technology inside the satellite must survive harsh launch conditions and extreme temperatures while running for up to 24 hours without power and engaging in risky interactions with space junk.

The team started out with a standard solid-printed CubeSat provided by the sponsor as an example. In addition to funding the project, Raytheon Missile Systems has provided 3-D printing services to the team.

“We are very fortunate that we can get our parts printed through our sponsor with a one-day turnaround,” said team lead Kaitlyn Williams. “This allowed us to rapidly perfect our mechanical structures while assembling our CubeSat.”

The team assembled their CubeSat in April and verified that it met all system design goals. They will display their prototype at Engineering Design Day 2016 on May 3.

Mentor Greg Ogden

Mentor Greg OgdenChemical engineer guides seniors in the process of becoming practitioners.

As a process engineer for more than 20 years, Greg Ogden has helped companies improve their industrial processes. As a mentor in the UA Engineering Design Program for six years, he has helped seniors establish effective procedures for their team projects and make smooth transitions from college students to practicing engineers.

His journey began with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Washington and University of Colorado, respectively. He worked as a process engineer for companies in Colorado and New Mexico for several years.

A UA faculty appointment for his wife Kim Ogden brought him to Tucson in 1993. The pair founded the local consulting firm Ogden Engineering & Associates in 1999, which has completed several Small Business Innovation Research projects related to green propellants and renewable fuels.

Greg earned a PhD in chemical engineering from the UA in 2002 and joined the faculty of the department of chemical and environmental engineering as an associate research professor in 2006.

He says mentoring Engineering Design teams provides a stimulating break from business as usual.

“Finding a way to utilize my process engineering skills in a project design class is challenging, as the projects more often focus on the design cycle and product design, rather than processes.”

What keeps him mentoring from year to year?

“Seeing that light bulb turn on, when students really take ownership of their projects. That’s a big part of the transition from student to engineer.”

Team 15043

Project Title: Toilet Leak and Flood Prevention

QuakeWrap Inc. logoTeam 15043 Members:
Matthew Britton, systems engineering
Ian Carmichael, electrical and computer engineering
Eliza Dawson, mechanical engineering
Diego Morales, mechanical engineering
Derek Strickland, mechanical engineering

Sponsor: QuakeWrap Inc.

Timer-controlled valve limits impact of hidden leaks

Team 15043

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than one trillion gallons of water are lost in household leaks in the U.S. each year. Toilet malfunctions account for most of the loss.

For homeowners, the impact of toilet leaks extends to structural damage and health hazards like increased mold and bacterial growth.

QuakeWrap Inc., a Tucson-based company founded by a former College of Engineering professor, has tasked a group of students with mitigating the risk for disaster.

Team 15043 is working on a system that does more than detect leaks in American-style toilets – it stops them before they can escalate into household catastrophes.

The students have designed a secondary valve system that limits water flow with a timer. When the toilet is flushed, a chain flips a switch inside the tank. The switch opens a valve and starts the timer, which can be adjusted to allow for different water flow rates on different toilets. When the timer goes off, the valve closes. If a leak develops or a hose breaks, the valve will not let any water into the toilet, essentially eliminating risk of the toilet flooding.

Subtlety is a key feature for the system. “If your toilet is functioning normally, you’ll never know it’s there,” team member Matthew Britton explained. “However, if there’s a leak, you’ll only lose the water in the tank, and you’ll know there’s a leak because there will be no water in the toilet.”

As Engineering Design Day approaches on May 3, the team is waterproofing the switch and completing the electrical system for the control box.

Meanwhile, the sponsors are filing a patent application on the students’ results.

Team 15030; Justine Bacchus and Brennen Guy

Project Title: Water Processing and Cleaning for Reuse

Shamrock Farms logoTeam 15030 Members:
Justine Bacchus, biomedical engineering
Brennen Guy, mechanical engineering
Cory Luke, biomedical engineering
Edward Mackay, engineering management
Nicholas Siegel, mechanical engineering

Sponsor: Shamrock Foods

Triple-filtration process uses natural methods to clear dairy debris

Team 15030; Justine Bacchus and Brennen Guy

Water conservation is a major concern for arid Arizona – and for food-service distributor Shamrock Foods, which supplies fresh dairy products and other comestibles to the Southwest.

The company’s Phoenix location alone averages 500,000 gallons of industrial wastewater per day, and replacing all that water costs almost half a million dollars per year.

Shamrock Foods has enlisted Team 15030 to boost water use efficiency in its distribution centers by recycling wastewater back into production without adding any potentially harmful chemicals.

The team is relying on natural biological processes to filter the water the factory uses to steam-clean and rinse milk containers.

The first step of their reclamation process uses a bioreactor made from a high-powered bubbler and bio-ring filters, like those found in fish tanks, to break down organic waste and pull out large particulates. A reverse-osmosis system then removes smaller pollutants. Finally, the water is pumped through an ultraviolet filtration system, which kills leftover bacteria and leaves clean, serviceable water.

The design returns 70 percent of the wastewater to the factory floor for reuse.

“Getting clean sources of water is a big problem for Southwestern states,” said team member Brennen Guy. “For a company to use recycled water is a huge step.”

The team is currently building a prototype of the system and testing each section separately before assembly. They expect to finish the project by the end of April for presentation to the public on Engineering Design Day on May 3.

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.”

A wave breaking in the open ocean. Photo credit Malene Thyssen / Wikimedia Commons
A wave breaking in the open ocean. Photo credit Malene Thyssen / Wikimedia CommonsEngineering Design Day 2016 will feature more than 100 interdisciplinary and subject-specific projects completed by student teams for mostly corporate sponsors, on topics as diverse as autonomous vehicles and inkjet-printed antennas. Three featured projects, however, have something in common: They’re solving engineering issues for the open seas.

Hydronalix, a local company founded by College of Engineering alumnus Tony Mulligan that won a 2015 U.S. Small Business Administration Tibbetts Award, is sponsoring two teams this year. Both aim to improve the versatility of the Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard robot, named a top invention by Popular Science and Time magazines. Students will work on the launch canister and sonar module for EMILY, a robotic lifeguard that made its first real-world rescue in 2012.

Design Day mainstay Texas Instruments has sponsored five teams a year since 2010 and funded the prestigious Analog Design Contest Award. Previous designs using the company’s semiconductors, integrated circuits and electronics have explored projects ranging from rockets to renewable energy systems to medical devices. This year’s deep-water sensor project, a remote system for collecting and sending scientific data, adds another facet to TI’s ever-expanding repertoire.

Team 15044 discuss their project around a table
Project Title: Deep-Water Sensor System

Texas Instruments logoTeam 15044 Members:
Matthew Ray Barragan, electrical and computer engineering
Austin Anthony Nawrocki, mechanical engineering
Nikitha Ramohalli, electrical and computer engineering
Alex Yudkovitz, systems engineering
Yi Zhang, electrical and computer engineering 

Sponsor: Texas Instruments

Team 15044 discuss their project around a tableTeam 15044 is charged with designing a small sensor system to take scientific data in deep water and transmit it long-distance to a base station on the surface, at minimal cost.

The probe – which measures pressure, temperature, acoustics and pH levels that indicate pollution concentrations – must be able to accept commands and power from the base station. The team is developing software to control and monitor the sensor. The most critical testing will evaluate in simulated but realistic lab conditions the signal strength and accuracy between sensor and station.

The team is working hard to meet as many objectives as possible by Design Day. During winter break in late December, team member Matthew Barragan started creating the controller and programming its interface, while electrical and computer engineering majors Nikitha Ramohalli and Yi Zhang began designing the base station’s electrical system.

The team remains cognizant of time and budgetary concerns, but their progress over break gives them a spring-semester advantage.

“The biggest challenge is to make sure our design actually works when we translate our plans from paper to machine,” said team leader Alex Yudkovitz.

The EMILY robotic lifeguard system at the Design Program open house
Project Title: Sonar Module Integration for the EMILY Rescue Boat

Hydronalix logoTeam 15008 Members:
Jeremy Burris, industrial engineering
Jordan Driggs, mechanical engineering
Uriel Garcia, electrical and computer engineering
Matthew Sybrant, systems engineering
Jessica Vickers Toll, mechanical engineering

Sponsor: Hydronalix

The EMILY robotic lifeguard system at the Design Program open houseResembling a small red motorboat and weighing only 25 pounds, the EMILY robotic lifeguard can reach drowning swimmers up to six times faster than a human lifeguard, serve as a flotation device for six people, and operate in weather and surf conditions that impede traditional rescue methods.

Team 15008 is integrating a sonar system onto the EMILY rescue boat, enabling underwater scanning in search and recovery missions. Additionally, sponsor Hydronalix has asked the team to mount a front-facing waterproof camera onboard to provide a real-time water-level video feed.

The team’s greatest challenge is establishing and maintaining wireless communication between the user and EMILY. Team members also must integrate the sonar entirely within EMILY’s flotation cover, making the boat available for multiple missions with a simple cover exchange.

This project is not team leader Matthew Sybrant’s first foray into marine technologies. He spent several years in the Navy as a radar technician and anticipates great success.

“We have a stellar team, and we are all confident that we can meet these goals,” Sybrant said.

Teammate and fellow Raytheon intern Jordan Driggs has been excited to contribute.

“I wanted an engineering challenge and knew this was the kind of project that would have good people on it,” he said.

Mentor Clayton Grantham
Mentor Clayton GranthamAlthough retired, Grantham works tirelessly to improve students’ senior capstone experience.

As a second-generation Tucson native, two-time graduate of the University of Arizona College of Engineering and Engineering Design Program mentor since 2007, Clayton Grantham definitely fits the description of “Wildcat for Life.”

After completing his BS in electrical engineering in 1981, Grantham worked for Tucson-based Burr-Brown Corp. as a test engineer and product engineering manager in analog semiconductor engineering. He also published articles to highlight the latest operational amplifiers, data converters and various analog products and, in 1987, earned a master’s degree.

In 1997, he joined National Semiconductor as a test development manager for its power management product line. He retired in 2005.

However, Grantham couldn’t resist the call of the Engineering Design Program.

“When you get to work with these bright young people there is an exuberant feeling – like you’re part of the atoms that are being used to build something bigger,” he said.

Since joining the program, Grantham has mentored almost every team sponsored by Texas Instruments, the company that acquired Burr-Brown shortly after he left.

“I am down in the AME or ECE lab the majority of the time,” he said, “and I don’t leave until they say uncle.”

Brethren Armament logoTop image: Two people place a horse's hoof on a sensor plate. Bottom image: A man kneels to place a laptop in a padded case.By the time Engineering Design Team 1414 delivered the Advanced Farrier System, or AFS, to Design Day 2015, its sponsor, Brethren Systems, had already filed for a patent.

The low-cost, portable device, which uses sensor data to measure hoof pressure and dimensions, is designed for early detection of lameness and disease and to ensure a horse’s shoes fit correctly.

The project, which was based on technology that analyzes tire treads, not only moved along at a fast clip, it also caught the eye of judges, who rewarded the team’s outstanding work with the Sargent Aerospace and Defense Voltaire Design Award and the Edmund Optics Perseverance and Recovery Award.

The sponsor’s intensive involvement was a big part of their recipe for success.

Sponsor Quinn McIntosh was also a team member, providing expertise as a mechanical engineering major alongside biomedical engineering seniors Lindsay Bahureksa and Lindsey Conklin, systems engineering student Matt Ellison, optical sciences and engineering student Jacob Landsiedel, and electrical and computer engineering major Jovan Vance.

“The fact that we could talk to our sponsor about modifications right away and he could make decisions instantly was great,” said Conklin.

Here is how the AFS works: When a horse steps on the system’s film, differences in color represent pressure points on the hoof. The system then analyzes the impression data to identify potential foot maladies and provide individualized guidelines for horseshoeing.

McIntosh sees potential applications in veterinary medicine and the horse-racing industry.

“The Engineering Design Program gave me access to resources unavailable to a private entity, including the fantastic and diverse experts I needed to develop a product and actually bring it to market,” he said.

Portrait of Gerald Pine
Portrait of Gerald PineGerald Pine, who has been coaching students in the UA Engineering Design Program for the last nine years, is all about instilling confidence in students about to enter the workforce.

“Every year, the teams are surprised by their accomplishments, and their successes surprise us, the mentors, as well. It’s such a confidence builder for the students to see the results when they learn to work together, particularly with teammates from other disciplines.”

Pine brought 28 years of industry experience – and boundless energy – to the program when he joined in 2006, much to his mentees’ benefit. An MIT graduate with a PhD in nuclear engineering, he held positions at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and natural gas research institutions before founding his own consulting company. At the University of Arizona, he has served as a lecturer for Interdisciplinary Engineering Design (ENGR 498) and Engineering Component Design (AME 324B). Each year he mentors six or seven capstone design teams.

Things have changed since Pine earned his degrees, but, he said, the value of engineering design projects is timeless.

“My capstone course was only one semester long, with a paper design, and it was not interdisciplinary. Even so, I served as an industry adviser for that program during the ’80s and saw how rewarding it was. The UA Engineering Design Program teaches students what it’s like to work real jobs and bridges their years of coursework with industry.”