Inside USD

Engineering Open House Provides Peek at Senior Projects

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Engineering projects come in all shapes, sizes and forms for University of San Diego students, but what remains consistent is the amount of creativity, dedicated effort, curiosity and purpose that goes into what they present at the end of the fall and spring semesters.

This Friday, from 2:30 to 5:15 p.m. on the second and third floors of Loma Hall, USD’s Engineering Programs host the first of two open house events during the academic year. The spring open house is scheduled for May 10, 2013.

A total of 16 USD student team projects from the electrical, mechanical and industrial and systems disciplines will be showcased to all visitors in attendance. Fifteen projects — six electrical, seven mechanical and two industrial and systems engineering — are senior group capstone projects that are still in the development phase. One project, a sustainable water filtration system, was created in a freshman Engineering 101 class.

Engineering Programs Director and Electrical Engineering Professor Kathleen Kramer said she’s excited about all projects, but noted that a few projects fall in line with USD’s designation as an Ashoka U Changemaker Campus.

“We have Changemaker projects where our seniors are using their technical design skills for projects such as a vehicle that’s appropriate in rural areas of developing countries and a vegetable oil-fueled engine,” she said.

Students will present their work in classrooms, laboratories and on wall posters. Faculty members from all engineering disciplines will be on hand, too. Food and beverages will be provided. Here’s a project rundown, by discipline:

Electrical Engineering

allStream Portable Sustainable Surveillance Device — This system works in any environment and under any conditions to monitor an area via video capture, temperature, humidity and carbon monoxide sensors.

The Weathermen — This weather project involves the development of a Climactic Response System.

MegAAAwesome Peak Performance System — A device that controls and understands stress.

MElectrical ViaSat Automatic Satellite Acquisition System (ASAS) — Students will design an ASAS for ViaSat’s commercial portable satellite.

Grand Jefe Portable Automatic Emergency Alert System — A device developed to help people better monitor their health.

Gumdrop Bears Eagle and Rabbit + Server — This project provides live video feed and GPS of friends and families.

Mechanical Engineering

Basic Utility Vehicle — This three-wheel, off-road vehicle will be used to transport 55-gallon water barrels, supplies and people between communities in developing countries.

CNC Surfboard Shaper — The goal of this project is to create a device that can machine foam surfboard blanks and plywood quickly, precisely and safely.

Dual-Fuel Diesel Engine — This project is to develop an automated dual fuel system that allows cold weather usage of bio-diesel and straight vegetable oil (SVO) fuels.

Engine Waste Heat Recovery — This project develops a method of increasing internal combustion engine fuel efficiency.

Open-Source 3D Printer — This project improves upon existing open source designs to produce new low-cost 3D printers for the USD Engineering Department and further develops open source technologies.

ASME Remote Inspection Device — A remote-controlled vehicle to navigate obstacles, read sensors and activate switches placed on a predesigned course controlled and driven while utilizing live video feeds.

Solar Thermal Energy Storage — This project improves current solar water heating systems by adding a heat exchanger/heat storage chamber.

Industrial and Systems Engineering

Computer-Integrated Manufacturing System — The students involved with this project are working with four sub-systems of a continuous manufacturing operation, including two separate robotic systems, one programmable logic control system and one CNC mill system.

Simulation of Systems — This project focuses on systems research results from a dining simulation at USD on-campus restaurants, La Paloma and Bert’s Bistro.

Engineering 101 Freshman Project

Sustainable Water Filtration System — Students are constructing and testing a water filtration system that can then be sent to places in the world where access to clean water is a daily struggle.

— Inside USD staff

Learn more about USD Engineering, including news about the proposed Fall 2013 launch of the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering.

Photo courtesy of Nick Abadilla

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