Student Design Projects Solve Real-World Problems

A 3-D printer for fabricating fiber-reinforced materials; a UAS that can assist with beach cleanup; a fully automated, multi-layer cupcake production machine; a robotic and mobile traffic light; and an oxygen tank that follows a person requiring oxygen and tracks vital signs.

These are just some of the projects that senior students in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering presented to faculty, students, and family as part of their capstone course as they prepare to graduate. The annual event held in December is the final showcase of a rigorous yearlong course in which students assess market needs and build systems that can meet those needs in innovative ways.

For the students, it is serious training for careers to come as they not only build machines or models of production lines, they also cooperate with other students and solve unforeseen challenges as they work towards a completed, functioning product.

Connor Ragsdale, whose team designed a robotic, mobile traffic stop light, said the project challenged him to apply the principles of other engineering disciplines in creating an efficient and technologically sophisticated device.

“It was cool working to construct the robot, from the hardware and wiring to coding and electronics, and actually make it run as an efficient and integrated system,” he said.

Proud family members Arnese Oshel and Marie Bizzaro, mother and grandmother of James Oshel who was part of the team that developed a brass casing collector, were among the invited guests who spent time with the students, learning about the projects. “A lot of hard work went into these projects,” said Oshel who followed her son’s progress over the past few weeks. “Every time something failed along the way they actually ended up three steps ahead as they worked together to find a solution.”

According to Professor Elsayed S. Elsayed, who oversees the senior design teams along with Professor Kang Li, the senior design projects are open ended and require students to utilize the knowledge and skills learned in previous years to design and construct new products, systems, or machines.

"Students learn how to work with other group members and present their progress to the entire class on a regular basis, which develops their communication skills for real work environments," he said.


Fully Automated Mobile Beverage Serving Unit

Duong, Minh, Jimenez, Jeremy, Spry, Jason

Solar energy can be used to power a system to accomplish its objectives. We utilize solar energy to provide a service for persons far from traditional power sources. We designed and constructed a mobile unit to serve hot or cold water on command from an app. The mobile unit will be powered by a battery which is charged by a sun tracking solar panel charging station. The sun tracking system focuses the solar panel to be perpendicular to the sun rays to maximize the absorbed energy.

Brass Casing Collector

Atlas, Fazil, Carney, Troy, Malich, Erik, Oshel, James

Practice and training of defense units requires firing of millions of rounds of ammunition from hand-carried weapons which results in extensive empty shells and casings scattered about firing ranges and training areas. Moreover, it is important to consider the terrains on which the training areas are located. Our design allows for a fully automated system that collects casings of various calibers efficiently on different terrains.

Fully Automated Lawn Mowing System

Bhattacharyya, Ryan, Lahmar, Mustapha, Lonski, Jonathan D, Shaw, Chris

Design a fully automated lawn care system which can control the direction and speed of the mower remotely and autonomously. The system should have extended functionality including mowing, seeding, aerating, and fertilizing. The system should optimize the lawn care process by minimizing distance traveled, time, and energy usage. All functions should be available for control and scheduling via a user-friendly mobile interface.

Fully Automated Multi-layer Cupcake Production

Palombi, Danielle, Proulx, William, Ramcharan, Farah

Design and construct a fully automated and flexible cupcake machine capable of receiving orders from customers and delivering desired cupcakes on time. It is capable of baking, applying layers of batter, adding other items to get baked inside the cupcake, and ice as requested by the user.

Cleaning Beaches Using UAS

Crisci, Sarah, Koplitz, Nicole, Lalwani, Sameer, Zang, Luyuan

UAS has been widely used for surveillance and inspection. There is a potential to use UAS to accomplish labor intensive tasks. One example is to clean beaches. There is often litter left on beaches which is difficult to clean up, particular in areas that are hard to reach. Beverage bottles and cans remain the most common items found on beaches. Design and construct a UAS-based system to identify and collect the bottles and cans.

Robotics with Dexterous Gripper for Fruit Inspection and Packing

Araneta, Leandro, Ejiri, Lan, Golfphin, Kabir, Hidalgo, Victor

Many people order fruit baskets online during the holidays. In order to satisfy the huge demand, we have designed and constructed a robotic system for automated fruit basket production. This system is able to pick the right fruit to a basket and deliver at the correct time based on a customer's order.  Image processing is utilized in order for the system to differentiate good fruit from bad. The system has a user-friendly interface that allows the customer to choose from a variety of baskets.

Follow Me Oxygen Tank System

Gomez, Michael, Hernandez, Sofia, Palazzo, Umberto, Patel, Kunal

Design and construct a low cost, fully automated oxygen tank cart that follows the person who requires continuous use of oxygen. The system needs to provide up-to-date information about the layout of the person’s movement, current oxygen flow rate, alerts the medical person in charge of the unusual status, and recommends the time of tank replacement. The tank system should be able to climb steps when needed.  

Robot and Mobile Traffic Stop Light

Chang, Timothy, Hwang, Hao, Ragsdale, Connor, Seo, Hyun

Design a robot and mobile traffic stop light so law enforcement personnel do not need to serve as traffic cops at churches on Sundays. There are churches with large attendance that need law enforcement on the street to control traffic into and out of parking lots onto public streets.  Mobile units could also be used when electric power is lost at an intersection. The township or city will drop robots with mobile traffic stop lights to set them up for specific durations. Once service is complete, the robot disassembles the light for transportation.

Alternatively, adult crossing guards are used to control traffic at intersections close to schools. An extension of this project would be to design and build robot guards that recognize the presence of students awaiting crossing and controls traffic so students can cross safely.

Amazon Picking Challenge

Cumpa, Franco, Delfin, Aiyana Mar, Samalo, Mario

Amazon is able to quickly package and ship millions of items to customers from a network of fulfillment centers all over the globe. It has numerous automated warehouses that are successful in removing most of the tedious tasks such as walking and locating items. However, commercially viable automated picking in unstructured environments still remains a difficult challenge. The objective is to design and construct a fully automated order retrieval system that is able to pick and retrieve items from shelves and place them into a container. This will help minimize labor cost, retrieval time and errors. The challenge combines object recognition, pose recognition, grasp planning, compliant manipulation, motion planning, task planning, task execution, and error detection and recovery. The system will be scored by the number of items picked in a fixed amount of time.    

3D Printer for Fabricating Fiber-Reinforced Materials

Xi, Cheng, Zaccaria, Thomas S, Zhao, Qiancheng

3D printing technology has been considered the next generation of manufacturing technology.  Composite materials with short fibers have been used in 3D printing. Fabrication with continuous fiber reinforced material is still challenging.  We have already developed a 3D printer, which can print materials with continuous fibers.  However, the geometry of the printed objects is limited.  Design and construct a 3D printer for fabricating fiber-reinforced materials for arbitrary geometry.