Seniors showcase projects, seek to impress celebrity judge at Engineering Design Day

From left, engineering design day judges Tamara Robertson, NC State alumna (’09) and finalist on Mythbusters: The Search; Dr. Louis Martin-Vega, dean of the College; and Ryan Mortimer speak with students as the present their senior design project. (Photo: Robert Lasson, 2017)

From left, engineering design day judges Tamara Robertson, NC State alumna (’09) and finalist on Mythbusters: The Search; Dr. Louis Martin-Vega, dean of the College; and Ryan Mortimer speak with students as the present their senior design project. (Photo: Robert Lasson, 2017)

Host of the award ceremony, WRAL's Brian Schrader, speaks about the winning team of design day, PulseAware, a firefighter heart monitor. (Photo: Robert Lasson, 2017)

Host of the award ceremony, WRAL's Brian Schrader, speaks about the winning team of design day, PulseAware, a firefighter heart monitor. (Photo: Robert Lasson, 2017)

As part of a semester-long research project, senior engineering students at North Carolina State University displayed their research, prototypes and data at the annual Engineering Design Day in Talley Student Union on May 3.

Students from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), the Engineering Entrepreneurs Program, the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE), and the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science (TECS) participated and displayed their work to students, faculty members and industry partners.

Projects at the event ranged from an autonomous robotic mower to a foldable blanket for addressing forest fires to wearable technologies such as a wrist device to get continuous real time displays of heart rate, oxygen saturation and blood pressure.

ECE seniors Nicholas Snouwaert, Lilly Vang, Austin Tucker and Henil Patel developed a concept for a self-powered headband that measures air velocity and ambient temperature with the help of a microcontroller, air velocity and ambient temperature sensor, and voltage sensor. The team was sponsored by the ASSIST Center.

“It’s a work in progress,” said Patel and Snouwaert, who did not have a prototype ready for the event. “We as a team have mixed feelings about not having a tangible headband ready, but we’re excited for the next practical phrase and putting one together.”

ISE seniors Lauren Garret, left, and Kalene Hanson share their work with Coty with fellow students. (Photo: Robert Lasson, 2017)

ISE seniors Lauren Garret, left, and Kalene Hanson share their work with Coty with fellow students. (Photo: Robert Lasson, 2017)

ISE seniors Lauren Garret, Kalene Hanson, Justin Mauney, and Andrew Page worked together to streamline the filler machine for perfume during the changeover process from one brand to another for beauty manufacturing company Coty. The group designed a prototype with a new centering collar/sealing ring combination to cut back on the amount of times the collars needed to be changed.

“Like any real industry project, we experienced our fair share of roadblocks and setbacks,” said Hanson reflecting on the group journey during the project. “We hit so many moments of ‘well, that didn’t work!’ that when our third redesign finally worked, we couldn’t believe it! I think we’ve set the course for Coty to implement a real solution, which is exciting!”

Judges for the day were Ryan Mortimer; Dr. Louis Martin-Vega, dean of the College; and Tamara Robertson, NC State alumna (’09) and finalist on Mythbusters: The Search, a television show on cable channel Discovery Science.

It was Robertson’s first time back on campus in six years, and she said it felt like coming home. “The overall campus feel is one of those things that when I came in as a student, I was kind of the lone wolf, and I left as part of the pack,” said Robertson. “I’ve got a very strong connection to all the peers I had in school here. We still all talk and lean on each other to celebrate, to have support, to mourn and you know whatever it may be in life at the moment. But it’s a school that you feel at home at.”

Looking to design day and the student work, Robertson was excited to speak with students and learn more about their thought processes behind their work.

“I think a really good thing about design day is that it gets you used to presenting and standing behind your work. Because as an engineer your work comes into question, and that’s a good thing because it makes sure that you’re thinking of all of the problems that can occur,” said Robertson.

Her overall message to the seniors was “regardless if you take home the number one prize or don’t, everyone should all be very proud of their work and what they have done to accomplish their degree. Because getting through a degree program as rigorous as engineering is a very impressive thing on its own, and they should be proud of that regardless of how their design projects may have gone because there’s nothing like an NC State engineer.”

The winner of the top prize was EEP’s PulseAware – Firefighter Heart Monitor, a team consisting of Travis Murray (ECE), Brian Graham (mechanical engineering), and Jack Dodd (ECE). The device aims to combat the biggest killer among firefighters, heart attacks, by continuously monitoring their heart, detecting signs of a heart attack, and alerting emergency services. The team also placed at the 2017 Lulu eGames in multiple categories.

– heath –