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.