Tag Archives: senior design

Finally Done with Senior Design

Sean Neff

Sean Neff,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 10 December 2017

This semester was by far the longest 15 weeks of my life. What do I have to thank for this grueling yet empowering struggle? My senior design project of course!

In Civil Engineering, we have the choice of taking three different types of senior design classes. In the fall, there is Land Development senior design. In the spring, there is Environmental/Water senior design and Structural senior design. Because I am interested in transportation, planning, and municipal engineering, the Land Development senior design was the best choice for me.

The overall concept of the class is to design and plan a housing subdivision complete from the initial surveying to the completed utility and grading plans.

In my opinion, this class is the class where you will learn the most Civil Engineering topics out of any class in the curriculum. Over the course of 15 weeks, I learned how to:

  • do a topographic survey of 30 acres of land
  • plan and design roadways with horizontal and vertical curves
  • grade out existing land to make it usable for homes
  • plan out storm sewer, sanitary sewer, and water main utility lines
  • design a detention basin with correct drainage plans

…and a whole lot more which would take up way too much time to
describe.

For the first time ever in a college class, it finally felt like I was being an engineer. To go from nothing to a complete design with all the bells and whistles was something so amazing to be a part of. It wasn’t without mistakes, which my group made a fair amount of. But it was from these mistakes in our design that allowed us to learn the most.

At the end of the class, we presented our design to a panel of 10 professional engineers. They all had specialties they used in their real-world engineering jobs and were able to comment on all of our plans and designs. Even though presenting to them was nerve racking, their input was awesome and it was great to hear comments from veteran engineers.

Even though I wouldn’t recommend taking senior design with 19 credit hours and being the head of two large organizations, it was the biggest learning experience of my college career. The skills I learned with surveying and AutoCAD I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I definitely feel ready to take on the real world now.

CS Senior Design: Hearty Software

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 29 October 2017

Every student who goes graduates with an engineering degree from Ohio University will go through a class called senior design. It is designed around the idea of giving students real-life experience before they graduate. For computer science majors, we are given mainly software projects presented by external clients.

I am in a group with four other people and our team name is Hearty Software. We were given the option to choose between different projects that were presented to us and we thought that the project named Healthy Heart Score sounded the
most interesting.

The Healthy Heart Score is an assessment designed in Harvard that is used to calculate your risk for Cardiovascular disease. Our job is to take this web application and convert it to an Android and iOS application.

Since this class goes for the entire year, we are still in the beginning phases
of this project. I am enjoying how we get to collaborate on a project with outside clients and how real this project seems compared to week long assignments given in class.

Senior design’s class structure is built around how a software business would be in the real world, which I think is unique from any other class. Once the end of the school year comes, we hope to have a working iOS and Android application that our client is happy with!

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.

Working on Robocat

Quintin Fettes

Quintin Fettes,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 16 January 2017

As it mechanically turns its head, the Robocat centers its gaze on me. “Hey Rufus,” I state, and quickly the cat meows to acknowledge I’ve spoken to it. These are just two of the newly added features for the robotic cat; however, for me, they are far from my favorite aspects of the cat.

Robocat

The RoboCat project began in 2011 as “A Biomimetic Cable Driven Quadruped Robot – The RoboCat.” Since then it’s provided computer science students with practical engineering experience by adding features to the android app it runs on, provided Electrical Engineering students with the opportunity to work with the electrical components of the cat, and Mechanical Engineering students the opportunity to work with building a functional, quadrupedal cat.

In my own experience, the freedom in reverse engineering a real animal, combined with the balance of importance of the work every engineering student has done upon the cat; it’s not hard to take pride in the work done to the RoboCat.

As an eye-catching project, the cat has served not only as a beacon of education for seniors in engineering programs, but also as a point of interest and potential entry in to STEM fields for children. Very recently, we presented the current version of the RoboCat to the faculty and friends of the EECS department’s staff. While many professors stopped and viewed the project briefly, it was the kids in attendance who couldn’t get enough. Very quickly they were laughing while testing the movement of the cat’s head and shouting out commands; in other words, the real value of this project is its ability to get young kids interested in Engineering projects on any level.

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.