Senior Projects

In the fall and spring each year, USD's Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering students present their capstone projects -- or senior projects -- to students, faculty, and the community. These presentations are open to the public. Please check the Engineering Events calendar.

Fall Expo: Electrical and Mechanical Engineering seniors present a preliminary 2-dimensional mid-project update in poster format on the progress of their capstone project.

Spring Showcase: Electrical, Mechanical, and Industrial and Systems Engineering seniors present their final projects in 3-dimensional format.

Spring 2016 Projects

Electrical Engineering

Mobile Ticket Vending Machine (Cubic Transportation Systems) - A reduced sized ticket vending machine that will allow people to pay for tickets or add value to a reusable card after they have boarded a train or bus in an effort to eliminate wait time at platform machines. 

Direction Finding System (General Atomics) -  A device that will assist in finding the direction of a selected FM radio tower to a degree of accuracy provided by General Atomics-ASI. The DF system must integrate the GA-ASI specific antenna to receive the desired signal. The bearing of this target signal must be displayed on a GUI. The user must also be able to communicate through the GUI to the DF system in order to choose the target signal frequency.

Coherent GPON Receiver (L-3 Photonics) - A coherent Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) receiver that allows reception of data from a 1550nm laser, designed to increase the sensitivity level of current-off-the-shelf 1GHz non-coherent receivers to address the increasing demand for high-speed and broader bandwidth internet systems.

TransformerMD (SDG&E) - A monitoring system that can determine lifespan and equipment usage for SDG&E to complete preventive maintenance, determine the effects that higher loads have on their padlock transformers, and best prepare for equipment failure. The system must accurately sense, calculate, and record data taken from the SDG&E’s pad mount transformers.

Water Leak Detector Sensor - A device that will monitor water leakage activity at various points throughout a house and detect anomalies. If an irregularity is detected, the device will alert the homeowner through an audible noise alarm and an SMS text message. 

Avalanche Rescue - A device that will attach to a quadcopter with a data acquisition system to process radar imaging signals over an avalanche area and communicate them back to a central command. The GPS will allow central command to dispatch a rescue team to a specific location if a body is determined to be buried underneath the snow. 

SAE Mini Baja - Each team is competing to have its mini Baja vehicle design accepted for manufacture by a fictitious firm. The students must function as a team to design, engineer, build, test, promote and compete with a vehicle within the limits of the 2016 Baja Rulebook. 

Industrial and Systems Engineering

Humanitarian Campsite - Designing a Sustainable Humanitarian Campsite in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico in partnership with Amor Ministries.

Predator B Drone - To increase production by 50% by reducing or eliminating non-value added tasks affecting fabrication in General Atomic's Diagonal Stabilizer and Ruddervator for the Predator B aircraft. 

ThermoFisher Scientific S5 Cartridge Assembly Group - Develop a standard process at ThermoFisher Carlsbad for Frit filling and cartridge assembly for the S5 mixer bodies. 

Distribution Center Team - To find the most effective manner to accommodate the increase in volume in ThermoFisher's expansion of product offerings.

Markerball Process Improvement - Applying lean and six sigma industrial engineering tools to improve the Markerball line at Greenlee Communications. 

Optimizing the Vialator Filling Machine at ThermoFisher Scientific - To reduce the defect rate of the Vialator filling machine in order to ensure that all products are filled to within +/- 3% of their target fill volume. 

Mechanical Engineering

Infusion Pump (BD/CareFusion) - A device to remove entrained air bubbles from an intravenous infusion pump system, reducing audible alarm incidence, thus saving time and effort of attending nurses while increasing the comfort of the patient.

Automated Combing System (Thermo Fisher Scientific) - An automated combing system that inserts pre-cast combs into plastic cassettes to form electrophoresis gels for use in macromolecule research. An automated system allows Thermo Fisher Scientific to reduce costs associated with the current method of manual insertion. 

Chassis Modeling (Vildosola Racing) - An accurate 3D CAD model of Vildosola’s current trophy truck with proposed modifications of the current truck chassis using computerized simulations and analyses to create a new racing vehicle with improved design and reduced weight.

Baja SAE Off-road Vehicle - Design a Baja SAE off-road vehicle design; build a single-seat, all-terrain sporting vehicle whose structure contains the driver; and test the vehicle before the 2016 competition deadline. The vehicle must be able to complete all dynamic events, be highly reliable, operate on a relatively low budget, and pass all SAE safety protocols. The racing firm will need a design evaluation, cost report, and the prototype cost to decide whether to produce the car.

Water Drone - The hybrid aerial/water drone will utilize basic mechanisms to change its adaptability from land to air and from air to sea. The waterproof drone must be able to take off from land, fly to a body of water, stay afloat and maneuver in the water, then return back to its original starting point. 

Camera Slider - A portable, motorized camera slider system optimized for small cameras. The product will consist of a motorized shuttle with a simple user interface system that easily allows for customizing the time-lapse length, duration, and style.  An attachable radial system provides the user with a rotational degree of freedom.

Golf Trike - An efficient, low cost, portable, and human powered golf course vehicle that consumers can own and easily transport. The benefits to the customer are preserving the recreational and physical components of golf while increasing the overall rate of play.

Solar Desalination - A simple, mobile solar desalination system designed to purify seawater for safe consumption through the methods of evaporation and condensation using smart, safe, and affordable technology. Features include seawater and freshwater reservoir, heating element, condenser, pre-heater, mirror, valves, and a solar operated fan or pump.

Humanitarian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle - A UAV that is capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), transitioning to horizontal flight, hovering, and provides extended flight time and range over currently existing drones for the research efforts of USD’s School of Peach and Justice.

Interdisciplinary Projects (EE & ME)

Contact Tonometer (Clarity Design, Inc.) - A rugged, portable, cost effective contact tonometer designed and developed for rapid glaucoma screening to address glaucoma as the second leading cause of preventable blindness in the developing world. Tonometry is a technique that is used to estimate intraocular pressure by measuring the resistance of the eye to a force.

Handheld Non-Contact Tonometer (Clarity Design, Inc.) - A functional, inexpensive handheld non-contact tonometer to help medical professionals of the Himalayan Cataract Project diagnose glaucoma and prevent blindness in patients living in Nepal and the Himalayas. The intraocular pressure of the eye will be measured by using an air puff method.

Prosthetic Arm – A low-cost, 3D printed, custom prosthetic arm for a trans-radial amputee. The project will allow the customer to have access to an affordable prosthetic arm that would enable him or her to perform simple everyday tasks more easily.