Tag Archives: senior design

Wrapping Up Senior Year

Kevin White

Kevin White,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 11 April 2017

My final year at Ohio University has been the fastest year yet. It seems like yesterday that I was sitting in freshman orientation stressing out about the next four years of my life. I missed my friends and family at home. Shortly after that, I developed my own family here in Athens and I am not ready to leave them.

Something I always tell the prospective students while I am taking them on tours is how fast college goes—especially at such a great school like Ohio University. I felt that it would be very difficult for me to find friends here at Ohio University as a freshman but the programs and organizations here make it near impossible to not find friends.

My final semester has been consumed of my senior capstone project in which my project team is working with Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center located in Zanesville, OH. We have been developing a database with them to help them with their documentation systems. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect ending to college, I love the work that we are doing for them and the client has been great to work with.

As I prepare to go into the “real world” when I move to Pittsburgh in June, I will take the knowledge, experiences, and relationships from Ohio University with me. I hope to develop the type of friendships and relationships in Pittsburgh that I have developed in Athens.

Preparing for the Student Research and Creative Activity Expo

Quintin Fettes

Quintin Fettes,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 5 April 2017

For many students, research and creative activity goes on behind the scenes with the outside world largely unaware of their work. Students work on their scientific, artistic, musical and other pursuits in their free time as an extracurricular activity, developing their skills from composing and performing a new piece of music to trying to predict the onset of diabetes in mice using computers. However, the Student Research and Creativity Expo provides the opportunity to share all of their creations with the community and university.

This year, I’ll be co-presenting my senior design team’s work on Rufus, the RoboCat. As our senior design project, the Robocat has served as an introduction to engineering principles, mobile development for android devices, software development for robotics, Arduino programming, natural language processing, and image analysis.

Robocat

The improvements we’ve made have focused on the behavior and usability of the cat, ultimately producing a wider platform for the next team to begin developing and provide a flashy engineering project to get children interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM); in short, we’ve given the RoboCat a stronger brain.

Robocat

Ultimately, the Student Research Expo is giving hundreds of students, us included, the opportunity to present and feel pride in the result of hard work. Hundreds of our peers, professors, and high school students will come to admire the work of the college students and those that want will get the opportunity to be judged and ranked against our peers. The student research expo has given us all a great opportunity.

Designing a PT Standing Frame

Lucas Bond

Lucas Bond,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 25 February 2017

The process of transforming from an engineering student to an actual engineer is one that is very important to have completed by the time you have graduated from an engineering school. At Ohio University the mechanical engineering students are tasked with a senior design project to do just that. We are given a real world problem that we must solve by designing, creating, and implementing a mechanical device or process.

My senior design team was given a problem from a physical therapy professor at OU. Every year she takes a group of her students to Gabarone, Botswana, in Southern Africa. They travel to a clinic there to get real world physical therapy experience while also helping the staff in Gabarone. They have a need there to get physically disabled children, ages 2-8, into a standing position, so that’s where we as engineers can help.

We spent the fall semester inventing designs for a physically therapy standing frame that would be cost effective (around $100) and easy to build in Gabarone. We finalized our design and got the thumbs up from the physical therapist.

ME Senior Design

This semester we began by tying up loose ends and actually started to produce the first prototype. We should be finished with it next week and will begin testing it by having kids actually try it out.

Thus far the process has been very gratifying and fulfilling. The opportunity to use my engineering skills to create a product that will benefit others is the reason I wanted to become an engineer all along.

ME Senior Design: Path Sweeper

Jane Oberhauser

Jane Oberhauser,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 21 November 2016

In an earlier blog post, I wrote about how I was excited for my capstone design project. Our team is designing a bike path sweeper to be pulled behind a bicycle and sweep the dry leaves and small debris into a hopper for dumping in designated areas.

It’s a very interesting project that brings in a lot of different mechanical concepts to balance. The obvious ones were directly addressed in the beginning of the project, such as pulling behind instead of in front for safety reasons and our required and desired performance specifications from our project partner.

The first stage of the design process was our conceptual design development stage. This is where we’re just trying to imagine as many possibilities for the design as possible. Next, is the conceptual design decision stage, where we use many different methods and continued research to decide upon an idea. After this stage, we meet with our mentor and professor to present our decision.

Our team ran into some difficulties in this, because around that time, we took a prototype which was given to us (a grass sweeper for a lawn) out for a ride hitched to a bike, and realized that after a certain speed, the sweeper became very unstable and swung back and forth. This drove a whole new arrangement of our design and set us back for a couple of weeks.

With an intimidating mentor and a craving for perfection and approval, this was pretty challenging psychologically. However, I feel like this design process has taught me a lot about how to think through difficult problems from various aspects and not be satisfied with the aspects I immediately think of. I hope I can apply this in life’s other problems as well.

Starting Fall Semester

Jane Oberhauser

Jane Oberhauser,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 8 September 2016

Fall is a complex time. As time passes and it comes closer to October, I yearn for cool weather and colorful trees. I daydream of long runs on the Athens bike path where I can breathe in fall-scented fresh air and reminisce on my high school cross country days. At the same time, however, I am aware that as time progresses, the many commitments I have will pick up to the point that my “long runs” might only be speed walks to class in the morning.

An exciting part of senior year that just came together is our senior design project assignments. Our class of around 70 students has been split into about 14 teams, each of which have a design project to work on for the next two semesters. I have been really pumped for this, and even more now that I know what my team’s project is.

The projects that always excite me most are those from local project partners, so I was very excited to hear that our team would be working with the Athens Cycle Path Bike Shop to design a human powered bike path cleaner. I’m sure I’ll post more about this design in the future as it comes together.

I’m only beginning to see what this semester will look like. So far, something I see that will separate this semester from the rest is the amount of purpose there is in what I’m doing. Although each of my previous semesters has also had purpose, they were more focused on preparing me and turning me into a competent engineer. Finally, now that I’m on the last level of my undergraduate career, I can feel the training wheels being lifted and I’m ready to roll.

Ali McCormick

Ali McCormick,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 18 April 2016

As the semester comes to a close, I can officially say that I have completed my senior design project. At the start of the year, I was assigned to design a hedgehog style drone that uses laser rangefinders to semi-autonomously fly around the basement hallways of Stocker and the underground steam tunnels around campus in order to find a person or steam leak via an infrared camera.

During the course of the project, the goal changed to deliver a drone with an integrated data collection system to be further progressed by graduate students in the following years. As I have learned, and many will find out, project scopes tend to change over the duration of the project. Problems constantly arise and the group must adjust the project accordingly. Our final tangible deliverable is a blackout 330 frame based integrated system, with custom wiring and a custom laser/Arduino Uno holding box that sat underneath the frame.

The system utilized the LIDAR-Lite v2 lasers connected to an Arduino Uno. The Arduino Uno is then connected to an Odroid, which collects and processes the laser data. A wireless access point has been created on the Odroid so that the ability to SSH (secure shell) into the drone is possible. Through the SSH, users are able to view the laser data remotely. A hardware flowchart (including future additions) can be seen below.

Flow Chart

Following the entire engineering design process, from paperwork to actual product, has been tedious, but extremely beneficial. Overall, having the opportunity to work on a project like this has been a life-changing experience.

Optimization in Senior Design

Melinda Nelson

Melinda Nelson,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 8 April 2016

The biggest project of many senior engineering students is Senior Capstone. This is a course where all your knowledge and experience are tried out in a real world scenario. Each group has an industry client and is assigned the project the client chooses. I knew that this could be a challenge and a great learning experience for life after college. It has definitely met both of those expectations!

The team I am on was assigned a project with Exel/DHL. They run warehouses for customers in various consumer industries. Our task was to create a model that could be used to evaluate existing and new, custom box sizes for packaging their customers’ products.

We created a model to take into account the size of products, boxes and costs involved in using different variations of box sizes. The model consisted of multiple equations that describe the different aspects of the situation we were studying. We set it up to choose optimal box sets based on making the void (empty space) when packing products as small as possible.

This project incorporated so many skills that I had been building throughout my time in college! Not only were skills in software and coursework utilized but also soft skills like presenting ideas and logistics and time management skills for working on the project while continuing to take a full load of courses! It also challenged and helped me to build on my leadership and motivational skills when working in a group. It was definitely a challenge working with conflicting schedules, deadlines, client demands and having to learn on the job.

Our project was to search for optimal box sets but the biggest takeaway for me was learning to create optimal team work and time management when working. These are huge takeaways that can be used in everyday life for years to come! Even though it had its stressful times, overall Senior Capstone was a great learning experience I truly enjoyed.