Fall engineering capstone design day highlights ingenuity and innovation 

December 3, 2019

At the University of Louisville J.B. Speed School of Engineering, student teams have quietly been on a quest to make the future of medicine, manufacturing, technology, the environment and other industries a brighter one:

  • Predict and mitigate tissue damage from electrocautery medical devices
  • Develop a better writing apparatus for pediatric spinal cord injury patients
  • Devise a less invasive way to treat and test medical conditions and patients
  • Discover a palatable way to soften protein-rich foods for elderly patients
  • Utilize ultrasound technology to give hope to those with limited mobility
  • Use probiotics as an alternative treatment for bacterial vaginosis
  • Provide a platform to establish drone “swarms”
  • Develop a mobile app for QR-code based merchant transactions
  • Create a solar-powered chicken coop door
  • Design a key-chain fob alarm system to alert parents to children or pets in hot cars

From a wheel balancer wheel lift to ultrasound technology to an improved self-closing sliding door, the projects and prototypes demonstrated at the annual J.B. Speed School of Engineering Fall Capstone Design Day displayed the depth and breadth of UofL engineering students’ ingenuity and enthusiasm.

The event, held at the University Club Ballroom on December 3, featured ninety-one students from 27 student engineering teams. Throughout the semester, these teams have collaborated with their project partners to develop prototypes or solutions for real-world projects that involve design constraints, budgets, reviews and deadlines. Twenty-one teams had company sponsors.

The students made presentations of their results and prototypes to representatives from the president’s office, members of the boards of trustees and overseers, faculty, industry professionals, administrators, fellow Speed students, and even a few proud parents.

The Capstone Design Award, presented by the department of Computer Science and Engineering, was given to VirtuSpread, who partnered with Stryker Corporation to develop a desktop model that can predict tissue damage from heat in an electrocautery device. Team members Noor Eddin Almoutem, Jusdan Lynch, Alexandra Mitchell and Ruta Patwardhan, each received $100.

The Electrical and Computer Engineering departmental award was given to team project Automated Chemical Synthesis Using Microwaves featuring team members Andrew Bruederle, Jacob Marcum, Trevor Reiter and Nathan Watts. Winning team members received $100 each. Their innovation enables industry partner AAPPTec, LLC to reduce production time and simultaneously increase quality in the chemical solutions it produces.

Team member Andrew Bruederle said it was the cohesion of the group that helped them win the competition. “We had a great chemistry within the team and thrived through adversity. That is basically what Speed School is all about – learning to work through problems by yourself.” Jacob Marcum agreed. “There was a lot to learn from this project. We learned not only completely new ways to tackle problems but what you can accomplish as a group and what you yourself can provide – your leadership and capabilities that are not learned as much in the classroom.”

Mechanical Engineering presented two departmental awards, with the second place team receiving $300. That honor was given to SHP Project, which devised a bolt-less shelving system that is stronger, and more easily moved or removed for customer flexibility. The team’s industry partner was Stronghold Products. Team members were Blaise Dannunzio, Fuad Shadeh and Matthew Tomassoni.

The first place prize in Mechanical Engineering, worth $500, was awarded to the team with the project Self-Closing Slide Door Improvement. With industry partner WireCrafters, LLC, the door improvements include increased ease of adjustability, safety and cost. Team members were Tawfik Elgousi, Philip Langford and Anthony Zalmanov. The team was all smiles and excitement at their first place award.

Anthony Zalmanov said their industry sponsor WireCrafters was instrumental to their success. “There were many great projects,” he said. “I thought we did have a clever solution and WireCrafters helped us a lot to be able to present it well.”

Another student on the team, Tawfik Elgousi, also thanked WireCrafters and said their guidance helped all of them implement their engineering skills and increase their knowledge. “It enabled us to improve an existing design,” he said. “It’s crazy to see we won first place when you have other really impressive projects. I feel excited and happy, and a little surprised,” he said.

In April 2020, Speed School of Engineering will host its 2nd annual Engineering Design and Innovation Showcase.

Speed School Dean Emmanuel Collins said, “We are proud of the effort, enthusiasm and ingenuity these fine young engineers exhibited with their Capstone projects.”

Winning capstone design day team worked on Interdisciplinary project

Students majoring in Bioengineering and Computer Science and Engineering developed a virtual system/model on a desktop application that would be able to reliably predict thermal spread through tissue when various inputs are adjusted.