Innovation and Sustainability Highlight Engineering Expo

In rural Uganda, water quality is extremely poor, making intestinal diseases the sixth-leading cause of death there.

But students in the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering are developing a low-cost filtration system, using syringes and readily-available banana peels that could help save lives.

The project was one of 30 senior capstone projects presented at the fall Engineering and Computer Expo on Dec. 6.

"Students are working with industry partners or community members to design some kind of solution, "to a problem they haven't been able to solve," explained Assistant Professor of Integrated Engineering Gordon Hoople. With the capstone projects, students gain valuable, real-world experience that complements their classroom learning, he said. 

In Project Mockingjay, for example, students are working with General Atomics to improve an unmanned aircraft system, allowing it to operate more effectively in areas with mountains and canyons and assist wildfire emergency teams or defense organizations. Students also are working with Hatsu USA to create an innovative drone charging system.

Some students even hope to bring their projects to market. Discrete Solar Technologies is working on a solar charging station for e-scooters and bikes that would keep them organized and replace the wasteful in-place system of wrangling. 

"You can't go a day around San Diego," without seeing the clutter from these vehicles, said mechanical engineering student Marley Collins '21. "The goal is to solve it in a green and sustainable way," she said.

— Liz Harman

Video by Daniel Telles