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Real innovation presented at virtual engineering and computing showcase

Real innovation presented at virtual engineering and computing showcase

Bi-annual engineering showcase transformed into a virtual event for graduating seniors to present their capstone projects

February 1, 2021 at 2:12pm

Engineering students recently came together to present solutions to real-world challenges.  

More than 400 engineering and computing students, consisting of 94 teams and seven different majors, participated in this year's Senior Design Showcase on Dec. 4. The students presented their senior projects to professors, recruiters, peers and the community.

The bi-annual event, hosted by the College of Engineering & Computing (CEC), was held on Pathable, a virtual event platform, and ran for approximately six hours. The projects covered a variety of areas, including biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, construction management, civil and environmental engineering, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, and the Internet of Things. 

FIU News spoke to three student teams to learn more about their projects. 

Spinal Cord Infrared Miniaturized Motor – Biomedical Engineering  

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are approximately 17,000 new spinal cord injury cases per year in the United States. Spinal cord injury results in loss of control, movement or sensation.  

When a spinal cord injury occurs, it is crucial to capture and measure oxygen levelsThe brain sends signals to the spinal cord, but when the spinal cord is damaged, signals sent from the brain can no longer pass the damaged area. This means the brain can no longer control the muscles a person normally uses for breathing.  

As their senior design project, a biomedical engineering team designed a novel miniaturized Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) brain-imaging system to monitor and assess oxygen levels in real-time 

“By catching the oxygen level concentration of a patient as soon as possible, it can help them from suffering permanent damage and prevent them from getting worse,” said Sade Edwards, a student on the team. “Many current measures don’t provide results in real-time.”  

The team was sponsored by Jabil Inc., an American manufacturing services company.  

“We were fortunate to have someone from Jabil be our industry mentor and provide us with feedback to make our system better and better,” said Reyly Bonilla, the team’s leader. As for the online environment, we liked how it was divided into different time slots and people had the opportunity to learn about our project at their own pace.”  

JAM: Just Another Measure, a Firefighting Robot – Mechanical Engineering  

In 2019, news broke out of Australian wildfires burning approximately 46,000 acres of land and killing hundreds of people.  

In hopes to help people who get trapped in their homes because of fires, mechanical engineering students Jordan Goodell, Alex Suarez and Maria Karla Sotolongo decided to create a firefighting robot as their senior design project 

Similar to smart, autonomous vacuums that move on their own, JAM is placed in a room and once it identifies a fire using its scanning sensors, it directs the nozzle toward the epicenter of the fire and begins extinguishing the fire.    

Sotolongo loved presenting in the online environment. “My parents were there, watching the whole time,” she said. “It gave me a sense of confidence knowing my parents were watching the result of what my team and I had worked on for a whole year.” 

Parkview Housing Construction Plan – Construction Management  

All senior design construction management teams were tasked with developing a construction management plan for FIU’s Parkview Hall, ensuring timeliness, safety and remaining under budget.  

The first part of the project was to identify a company name. After researching what it takes to set up a company, construction management students Adriana Aponte, Matthew Darder and Fernando Galue named their company ADG Construction.   

“I appreciated this project because it exemplifies the real world. A client will inform construction companies they want to work on a project and different companies bid on that same project,” said Aponte.  

The team’s proposal consisted of a presentation showcasing previous construction projects and outlining the company’s organization, project schedule, financial details, milestones and quality control processes.   

The team also found the online format of the course efficient.

“I’m a returning student, with 16 years of experience in the field and a family to raise,” Aponte said. “Being virtual was great for me. It helped me save time by not having to commute to campus.”  

A complete list of the Fall 2020 Senior Design Projects can be found here.