Senior Design Projects

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In Their Own Words

I've never had so much fun working on a project in my life.  It was great growing with the team over the course of the year and designing and building a project from the ground up.

— Chris Homolac, aerospace engineering graduate

CU engineering students in their senior year have the opportunity to take senior design courses in most areas of study. Over the course of one or two academic semesters, seniors work in teams to develop advanced engineering projects, many of which are commissioned by industry or government sponsors. 

By working on capstone projects the students learn to deal with open-ended questions, and get a chance to pull together the many things they've learned in classes throughout their undergraduate degree. Completed senior design projects in a range of disciplines are showcased each spring at the Engineering Design Expo in the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory.

Curious about what students have done for previous years' senior design projects? Here are some standout projects from previous design expos.

BallBot

Remotely controlled by an Xbox game paddle, the BallBot is a spherical robot designed to carry a small payload such as a high resolution digital camera into a locations where it would be difficult or dangerous to send humans. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. sponsored senior design students Nolan Amy, Bradley Brisnehan, Bradford Peagler, Myles Raymond, Cristal Salcido, and David Tovani for the creation of this project, which has potential for both military and space use.

Ping Putter

The People's Choice Award at the Spring Design Expo went to a mechanical engineering capstone design team that designed a rotational putter pendulum that emulates the putter stroke of a skilled player. Seniors Ryan Margoles, Matt Howard, Jordan Brooks, Mike Messimer and Nick Delashmutt said the year-long project for Phoenix-based Ping Golf was both fun and gratifying.
 

TouchUp

TouchUp is a multi-user, touch-based image editor designed to run on the MERL DiamondTouch table. This exciting new way to work with other artists to create and design new images claimed the People's Choice Award at the Spring Design Expo. The Center for LifeLong Learning and Design asked students Jonathan Smith, Nathan Campbell, Tyler Brown and Brian Braeckel, pictured at right, to create software that could be used on the center's touch screen table.

Peregrine Return Vehicle

It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's the Peregrine Return Vehicle! This high-tech flying machine is designed to retrieve student-built science "payloads" when they land in hard-to-reach places. Designed for use by the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, this vehicle uses advanced navigation to return payloads launched on high-altitude balloons to a desired landing point.

Vehicle for Icy Terrain Locomotion

Think winter driving gets tricky in Colorado? Try going off-road on Europa, one of four moons that circles Jupiter! This vehicle is designed to retain traction on icy terrain and climb over obstacles without dumping its precious cargo. It can traverse 1 km of icy terrain in seven days in a harsh environment like that of Europa.

Surgical Device

Mechanical engineering students Heather Bartlett, Evan Falivene, Jamie Clark, Tyler Bagrosky, and Audrey Earnshaw got a close-up look at the medical device industry as their senior design team undertook the challenge of developing a new device to be used in minimally invasive surgery. The team designed a 5-mm hand piece for ConMed Electrosurgery, which is intended to both cut and cauterize tissue with one tool.

Cassini Spacecraft Viewer

On Oct. 15, 1997, the Cassini-Huygens Spacecraft was launched. After nearly seven years, it entered orbit around Saturn and began sending data back to Earth. The Cassini Spacecraft Viewer is a web-based software application that provides users an interactive experience visualizing the spacecraft and its orbit, displaying any of its instrument’s field of view or the location of Saturn’s moons, among other things. Seniors Don England, Jeff Hyatt, Connor Janowiak, Chris McClaskey, and Jacob Rieger enjoyed the challenge of working with new technologies and learning not only about how to use the graphics engines but also about planetary motion and atmospheric science.

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