2017 Design Day Awards

Engineering Design Day showcases the yearlong efforts of UA engineering seniors on projects largely sponsored by industry. The prototypes designed and built by students and displayed on Design Day feature a wide range of solutions to real-world engineering questions. On Design Day 2017, student teams competed for more than $25,000 in corporate- and private-sponsored prizes that reward innovation and excellence in engineering design.

Raytheon Award for Best Overall Design ($2,500)

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While several designs may meet the judging criteria, this award is given to the design that does so the most effectively. The project that receives this award excels in many ways. The design is well thought out and its implementation is of high quality. It accomplishes all key design requirements and is supported by rigorous analysis and testing. Its poster and presentation are professional and easy to understand.

Microsoft Award for Best System Software Design
($2,500)


Software has become a critical part of the operation, management and control of complex systems comprising mechanical, electrical, electronic and biomechanical elements and other components and subsystems. As a result, software has become an integral part of the design of complex systems. This award recognizes the best use of software in the process of designing systems for operation, management, control and usability. Teams will be judged on the reliability, robustness, maintainability, reusability, originality and testability of software embedded in their designs.

Frank Broyles Engineering Ethics Award
(1st prize $1,500; 2nd prize $750)


Increasingly businesses are adopting cultures that emphasize ethical conduct, driven in part by the dollar value that financial markets place on reputation. Questionable shortcuts to save cost or time can have catastrophic consequences. Similarly, the marketplace can punish a business that ignores or inappropriately resolves conflicts. A team might experience a significant conflict between team members, or between the team and its sponsor or mentor. This award is designed to reward the team that best recognizes and resolves a significant ethical issue, whether that issue concerns a tempting shortcut, a conflict or another factor.

Bly Family Award for Innovation in Energy Production, Supply or Use (1st prize $1,500; 2nd prize $500)

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This award recognizes the best project related to sustainable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly energy production, distribution or use. Winning projects could focus on developing new energy sources, reducing energy costs, improving efficiency or reducing cost of energy distribution, adapting existing energy distribution methods to better integrate new energy sources, and increasing efficiency of energy use.

Thorlabs Photonics Is the Future Award ($250 Per Person, Up to $1,750)

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This award recognizes the most innovative use of optoelectronics and optomechanics in a design.

Rincon Research Award for Best Presentation ($1,500)

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This award reflects the quality of the overall verbal and poster presentations. Verbal presentations should be well structured to describe efficiently the overall problem being solved and the specifics of how the team accomplished its design. Answers to questions should be direct and demonstrate mastery of the project. Presenters should speak in a clear and easily audible voice, making good eye contact with the judges. The poster board should be visually interesting, and graphically well organized to tell a standalone story of the project.

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Ventana Award for Innovation in Engineering ($1,500)

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Innovation may include the novel use of existing components or the creation of entirely new components to meet customer requirements. The most innovative design is not only a creative solution to a problem but also an effective solution that is well implemented. This award recognizes the team that has created or made use of components in the most innovative way, or demonstrated excellence in the implementation of innovative design in its project, or both.

ACSS/L-3 Communications Award for Most Robust Systems Engineering ($1,000)

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This award goes to the team that most robustly addresses all aspects of the project from the systems perspective. Criteria include requirements capture and flow down, technical risk identification and mitigation, manufacturability, integration and test plan. Judges look holistically at the program to determine overall effectiveness of the systems process.

Technical Documentation Consultants of Arizona Best Design Documentation Award ($1,000)

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Successful implementation of any innovative design requires that all members of the design and production team communicate effectively. Design intent must be communicated from the design activity to the rest of the team using design documentation with a clear map for others to reproduce the design based on documentation only. The mechanical portion of the design is evaluated on the use of drawings with geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, solids models, illustrations and presentations that can be used to manufacture and inspect design hardware. Software and other systems are evaluated on the use of documentation that clearly and fully describes the system.

Texas Instruments Analog Design Contest Award ($1,000)

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Regardless of whether a design project is sponsored, who is sponsoring it, or what is being designed, analog integrated circuits are often required. Teams using three or more TI analog ICs in their designs are invited to enter the TI Analog Design Contest. Projects are judged on originality of design, quality of design, creativity of design, level of engineering analysis, and a written description of how each TI analog chip benefited the design.

Join the action as a Design Day judge!

The 15th annual Engineering Design Day competition will take place on May 1, 2017. Student teams present their finished projects and compete for top honors, and we rely on judges from industry to determine the best and brightest. Consider joining us an honored Design Day judge.

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Want to sponsor a Design Day award?

Establish a prize in your company's name for an area of excellence of your choice. Increase your company's visibility on campus and in the technical community at large when your sponsored prize is awarded to a high-performing Design Day team.

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Trax International Award for Best Implementation of Agile Methodology ($1,000)

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The design project is executed using a flexible and incremental approach. Final project outcome is achieved through several test and evaluation iterations in collaboration with the customer. The project team should continuously review and assess results, and quickly adapt to any changes or problems encountered.

Arizona Technology Council Foundation Award for Best Engineering Analysis ($750)

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This award recognizes the team with the strongest strategy, implementation and documentation of analyses supporting its design. Analyses vary from project to project, but may include market research and analysis, analysis of prior solutions to the design problem posed, trade studies that justify the final design selected from alternatives considered, system modeling to demonstrate that the final design is sound and should perform as desired, analysis of potential reasons for failure and a mitigation plan, and economic or other analysis of the benefits of the final design in its intended application. Criteria for judging include the completeness of the project analysis based on the above categories, thoroughness of the analyses, application of sound engineering principles and practice, a demonstrated understanding by team members of any tools or models used, reasonableness of all assumptions, and the quality of the documentation of the analyses.

Arizona Technology Council Foundation Award for Innovation in Manufacturing ($750)

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This award is given to the team that displays the most innovative new or modified manufacturing method. Projects could include introducing a new technique for manufacturing, an innovative use of an existing technique, or new techniques that significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing and improve the quality of the product.

Edmund Optics Award for Perseverance and Recovery ($750)

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Issues and roadblocks always occur during the engineering design process. Although they cause panic and distress, they also represent great opportunities to learn and often lead to designs that would otherwise be impossible to conceive. This award recognizes a team’s ability to learn and to overcome issues or roadblocks encountered during the design process. The award is judged based on the ingenuity of solutions to problems caused by issues or roadblocks and the features in the final design that contribute to recovery from them.

Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies Award for Best Use of Prototyping ($750)

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This award goes to the team that best uses a physical prototype model to understand and study the fit, form and function of the device or system designed. Teams are judged on the appropriateness of the prototyping technology used, how effectively prototyping is used to improve design, and how effectively the use of prototyping is communicated. Prototypes can be made using rapid fabrication technology, traditional manufacturing, or can be hand built.

RBC Sargent Aerospace & Defense Voltaire Design Award ($750)

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The French philosopher Voltaire is credited with the saying “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien,” which means “the best is the enemy of the good.” Similarly, Leonardo da Vinci is credited with the saying “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” This award recognizes the design team that best emulates these ideals and resists the temptation to overly complicate the design to yield a clean, simple, elegant, lowest-cost design that simply works well.

W.L. Gore and Associates Award for Most Creative Solution ($750)

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This award honors the student team that has implemented a unique and creative solution within its project. It recognizes outside-the-box thinking that pushes boundaries and hands-on approaches to creative solutions. Projects are judged on the elegance and creativity of the technical solutions and their implementation. Teams should be able to communicate effectively their design and the processes they use for creativity.

Dataforth Corporation Award for Best Design Using a Data Acquisition and Control System
($500)

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This award recognizes the design team that best implements a modern data acquisition and control system. Recognition is given for the use of the system to collect data that characterizes project performance and assists in project optimization and, ideally, uses the same data acquisition system to perform feedback and control operations.

Honeywell Award for Excellence in Aerospace Electronic System Design ($500)

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This award recognizes excellence in overall system design in a project that has an aerospace emphasis. Verbal presentations should be well structured to describe effectively the overall system and the specifics of how the team implemented its design project. A key feature of the presentation must be representative data that demonstrate how the system was thoroughly tested. Answers to questions should be direct and demonstrate a high level of team competency about the details of the electronic system for the project. The presentation should be shared among all members, displaying core values of teamwork and gracious professionalism.

Honeywell Award for Team Leadership (Two Individuals at $250 Each)

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This award recognizes students who best exemplify teamwork skills, including the ability to work cooperatively with others to produce high-quality work, to take the initiative, to support and respect the opinions of fellow team members, to give and receive feedback, to demonstrate effective leadership, to keep their team focused, and to elevate the work of their fellow team members. Nominees for this award are selected by their teammates.

Latitude Engineering Award for Best Physical Implementation of Analytically Driven Design ($500)

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Some engineering problems are straightforward: optimal solutions are found through the application of engineering best practices. Sometimes, however, the best design choices are not obvious, and only reveal themselves after a thorough analysis of the underlying physical principles. This award recognizes a design that could only have been arrived at after careful study and creative application of physics.

Prototron Circuits Award for Best Printed Circuit Design ($500)

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This award recognizes the team that has designed or used the most elegant and efficient electronic circuits in its project. Priority is given to best PCB designs or applications. Originality and manufacturability of the design are key criteria in selecting the winning team. Any team that has used circuitry in its project is eligible for consideration. In the absence of any original designs, the originality of the use of off-the-shelf products and the manufacturability of the overall design are used as selection criteria.

II-VI Optical Systems Award for Best Use of Optical Design and Technology ($500)

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This award is given to the team that demonstrates the most thorough approach to the design and engineering of its optical system. This award recognizes complete understanding of the optical design, system requirements, tolerance analysis, and optical component usage. Important criteria are integration of optics into the overall system, novel use of optical components, creative use of commercial off-the-shelf items, verification of optical components, meeting system requirements, use of standard optical design software, and manufacturability of optical design and components.

Kristy Pearson Fish Out of Water Award (1st Prize $250, 2nd Prize $150)

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The Fish Out of Water award congratulates students for successfully accomplishing a task that was not in their realm of expertise. The projects for senior design require skills from many disciplines, and students must sometimes learn a new subject or skill in an area outside of their major to help the team succeed. A student who not only learns this new subject or skill, but also uses it to effectively help the team thrive, shows dedication and initiative, traits that will continue to help in an engineering career.