Trey Dillan, Braeden Balch, Brandon George, and David Owens are electrical and computer engineering students and protectors of pet overeating!

Senior Design Day highlights engineering achievements

The culmination of every engineering student’s senior year is the Senior Capstone Project. Student projects build on five years of fundamentals learned in class as well as experiential learning opportunities such as co-op, design teams, or undergraduate research. All that classroom learning gets put to real-life use as small groups work under one of our distinguished faculty members to design and build a device that solves an engineering problem. They present their projects each April in the Jean Hower Taber Student Union to an audience of classmates, faculty, family, and members of industry.

The knowledge learned during their Senior Capstone Project helps students transition from college to a full-time position after graduation.

Student teams presented projects from the following engineering disciplines: aerospace systems, biomedical, computer, electrical, electrical and electronic engineering technology, mechanical engineering, and mechanical engineering technology.

Making lithium-ion batteries sustainable

Mechanical engineering students Nelson Lopez, Luke Musil, Dominic Frisone, and Bamidele Oluwadare designed a skid-mounted EV lithium-ion battery recycling machine to improve the cost and safety of recycling lithium-ion batteries. Combining multiple legacy processes with novel designs, the small-scale machine will perform in-situ pre-processing of EV battery modules. The micro-recycler will allow the valuable material to be liberated from the battery and sent for further refinement, providing cost savings in transportation. The small form-factor and low-cost will allow devices to be placed exactly where battery waste is collected, decreasing fire risk from storage.

Faculty advisor: Dr. Siamak Farhad

Examining the effects of recycling on PLA filament

A team of mechanical engineering students studied how recycling effects material properties of Polylactic acid (PLA) filament used in FDM printing. PLA is a thermoplastic, meaning upon heating, it turns plastic and hardens when cooled, allowing it to be recycled. The elements used in 3-D printing are usually single use plastic. The 18 printers in the College’s 3-D printing room can produce 32 pounds of waste in two months. The students wanted to understand the degradation of material properties during the recycling process and methods to retain original material properties. This knowledge can lead to more efficient recycling practices at the university. The effects could be seen in reduction of filament waste, minimizing filament purchase costs and reduction of carbon footprint from the college.

Faculty advisor: Dr. Manigandan Kannan

Keeping cyclists safe

Dawson Beachy, John Albrecht, Noah Lamadanie, and Jack Bullock, senior electrical and computer engineering students inspect their senior capstone project, the SmartBike.

This student team of electrical and computer engineers wanted to use their engineering knowledge to solve a common road safety issue cyclists face – getting hit by a car. As speed limits increase, the safety margin for cyclists decreases. One potential approach to alleviate this danger is to increase the visibility and awareness of cyclists through the use of a system that can be attached to a bicycle. The students created a self-powered system, called the SmartBike, and incorporated a generator, distance sensor, and method of communicating warnings to the user and approaching cars. To improve the user experience, a power storage system will allow the safety system to function regardless of the user’s current speed, and an optional phone application will give the user finer control over the system.

Faculty advisor: Dr. Gregory Lewis

Designing shoes for kids with foot conditions

Sutherland McKelvey, Maurice Peek, Sean McKinney, Anthony Falletta, and Matthew Stang meet with families affected by CLOVES Syndrome to inform their design for modified footwear.

Foot conditions affect millions of people around the world. For more severe cases, such as CLOVES Syndrome, there is not an affordable, quality, and accessible solution for footwear. Custom orthotics can cost up to seven times more than traditional alternatives. Improper foot support can lead to varying degrees of health implications. This mechanical engineering student team used their engineering knowledge and connections to establish a process where any family in the United States can have a formulated plan to create a custom shoe for less than $500 using 3-D printing. This solution will save money, blend in with current footwear styles, and protect foot health.

Senior Design/Honors Project Course Instructor: Dr. Gopal Nadkarni

Ensuring pets eat the right amount of food

Trey Dillan, Braeden Balch, Brandon George, and David Owens are electrical and computer engineering students and protectors of pet overeating!

One of the most important factors when caring for a pet is making sure they are eating a proper diet. For those who have busy schedules, feeding one or more pets at the same times every day can become difficult. Without watching them eat, it is almost impossible to know how much food each pet consumes; one could be eating all the food while the other eats almost nothing. The Pet Food Protector can solve all these issues. The owner can input a customizable feeding schedule along with a desired food output and the Pet Food Protector will dispense the portion of food at each set time. Data from eating patterns is collected and made available to the owner via the Pet Food Protector app. Through the use of a special tag placed on the collar, the Pet Food Protector will be able to recognize when the pet approaches the device. When this happens, a lid will open revealing the food. If the pet leaves, the lid will close protecting the food. Bon Appétit, Bruiser!

Faculty advisor: Dr. Gregory Lewis

Smooth operator

Jacob Hutcherson, Matthew Perison, Alexa Langenfeld, and Georgia Kiko proudly display their senior capstone product – a long jump rake.

This mechanical engineering student team was motivated to create a simpler, more efficient method of raking and leveling a long jump pit. All team members had experience running track, so they understood the struggle associated with traditional raking methods and recognize that field event technology has not made many advancements as opposed to other sports. The team wanted to design a product that would efficiently rake and level the long jump pit in a manner that is consistent every time it is raked. Their goal was to reduce the effort and time it takes to rake the pit with the normal long jump rake. They also wanted to make the level of the sand consistent every time the sand is raked after a jump. The team’s end design was a nine-foot long rake and leveler that expands to the width of the jump pit.

Senior Design/Honors Project Course Instructor: Dr. Gopal Nadkarni

A novel way to get shoes on and off for people with mobility issues

Austin Fowkes, Nicole Rizkala, Madison Schutt, Alexander Hershey, and Elizabeth Scheatzle show off their hands-free fitted shoe.

A team of biomedical engineering students wanted to create a comfortable, affordable shoe that would allow people with mobility issues to easily get their shoes on and off. They designed a flexible insert – the Sole Lifter - that can be used with existing tennis shoes. The insert was designed to increase independence, safety, and functionality for the wearer. People living with obesity, arthritis, or Parkinson’s as well as the elderly would benefit from the insert. The students received the “top team” award.

Faculty advisor: Dr. Larry Noble

Helping amputees heal

Thomas Bihary, Nikhila Simhadri, Jamie Bowers, Andrea Zuccuro, and Daniel Hebert display their senior capstone project.

Patients recovering from below the knee amputation should have a dressing that promotes faster healing while also reducing the risk for infection and serves as a Postoperative Prosthetic, enabling freedom of movement. This team of biomedical engineering students designed a rigid dressing meant to fit over the bandaged limb. The dressing fits into a powerpack component that emits dual light therapy, an existing technique that reduces pain and promotes healing in amputees. The students received the “top team” award.

Faculty advisor: Dr. Jim Keszenheimer

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Media contact: Cristine Boyd, 330-972-6476 or