Welcome to Showcase Week! We invite you to spend some time from April 27–May 1 getting to know this year's engineering capstone design projects and teams. 

Showcase Week celebrates the hard work and many achievements of over 250 students as they close out their undergraduate careers. Since August 2019, these students have been working through the design process from start to finish and have engineered solutions to real-world problems. 

Students completing industry-sponsored projects were presented with challenges of relevance to their clients from a variety of specialties. Those in the Engineering for Social Innovation section of Senior Design developed entrepreneurial products based on user needs. 

Teams were mentored and supported by a dedicated group of faculty directors, student program assistants, and fabrication, administrative, and laboratory staff over the course of the academic year. Most projects also required students to develop skills across disciplines with some multi-disciplinary teams bringing together student expertise in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science. 

Please explore projects below to learn more about this year's teams, their designs and the positive impact these engineers are making. We encourage you to leave comments to help them celebrate their achievements and grow professionally. Thank you for your support of our program and students. 

If you would like to learn more about the program or sponsoring a project, please visit Design Center Colorado


senior design




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Team 1 project photo

Team 01: Automated capping machine

Team 1 helped AlloSource streamline their tissue donation process and mitigate ergonomic safety concerns through a design engineered to retrofit the company’s capping machine. The system auto-delivers vials to the machine using a Geneva drive mechanism to get capped to a specified torque—a process necessary to maintain sterile integrity.

Sponsored by AlloSource

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Team 2 project photo

Team 02: Project Marion

Project Marion explores solutions to the challenge of simulating a zero-gravity environment while testing large ultra-lightweight spacecraft on the ground. The final prototype is a two-axis gantry system that uses autonomous tracking capabilities through computer vision to test the deployment of solar arrays.

Sponsored by Ball Aerospace

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Team 3 Project Photo

Team 03: Robotic automation of cleaning production equipment

In manufacturing beverage cans, a coating, called the IC spray, is applied to the interior surface. As the coating shoots into the cans, there is a significant amount of blowback. Spray that did not adhere to the can rebounds, which causes buildup on and around the machine. The goal of this project is to maintain cleanliness of the machine with minimum human interaction.

Sponsored by Ball Corporation

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Team 4 project photo

Team 04: Impedance analyzer

Team 4 was sponsored by ConMed to create an impedance testing system for an electrosurgical device. The main challenge was to create a reliable test that could interface with a polymer coating without compromising said coating. Team 4 constructed a customized test bench to maximize efficiency and tested for different materials that could interface with the device without damaging it.

Sponsored by ConMed

  • No whitepaper provided due to IP considerations
  • Team Bios

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Team 5 project photo

Team 05: Test fixture and methodology to determine pipeline impacts to Coriolis sensors

Coriolis sensors, manufactured by Emerson, are the most accurate flow measurement in the world. The purpose of this project is to develop a test fixture and methodology of analysis to determine the impacts of pipe misalignment on the Coriolis sensor’s measurements.

Sponsored by Emerson

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Team 6 project photo

Team 06: Lightweight gripper

The outbreak of COVID-19 has highlighted the need for labs to manufacture lifesaving drugs quickly and reliably. Our project was to design a chemical sample tray gripper actuated with Shape Memory Alloy wires. The high power to weight ratio of the wires reduces the weight of our gripper, allowing it to be moved quickly and precisely, enabling labs to make lifesaving drugs faster than ever before.

Sponsored by Festo

  • Project Whitepaper (check back for link)

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Team 7 project photo

Team 07: Sensor localization in a wearable brain imaging system

FieldLine Inc. has developed a magnetic field sensor for non-invasive brain imaging known as Magnetoencephalography (MEG). Our project objectives were to (1) develop a wearable, 128 sensor retention system that ensures sensor-to-head contact for a range of head shapes and sizes, and (2) develop a 3D scanning method for localizing all sensors in space with an accuracy of ±0.5 mm and ±0.5 degrees.

Sponsored by FieldLine, Inc. 

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team 8

Team 08: Lens health detection system

Our team developed a Lens Health Detection System for use on L3Harris optical systems. Our device implements user-friendly Python software to detect defects on various lenses and relay them to the operators. Using four Raspberry Pis, cameras, and other lightweight COTS products, the team developed a device to increase the efficiency of data collection and reduce the amount of data lost.

Sponsored by L3Harris

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Team 9 project photo

Team 09: Miniature HAZMAT crimp and seal tool

This project provides a prototype tool allowing HAZMAT operators to crimp and seal ⅛" stainless steel tubing to a leak rate less than 10-4 cc/s at 100 psi. The tool body fits within a 3" cube and is manually operated by removable 6" handles. Utilizing a planetary gear set driving a cam mechanism, the tool achieves an output force over 2,000 lbs. 

Sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Team 10 project photo

Team 10: Lunar payload deployment system

The LPDS is a remotely controlled lunar hoisting system designed to secure and release a payload. Mounted on a rover, the LPDS must withstand harsh launch and lunar environments. The design team was tasked with building a proof of concept, scaled-down prototype. Based on this prototype, the team then designed a full-scale LPDS, backed by thermal and FEA analysis.

Sponsored by Lockheed Martin

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Team 11 project photo

Team 11: Hypodermic crimp strength optimization

Cable-driven articulating devices are used to manipulate and dissect tissues in minimally invasive medical operations. The team investigated methods to improve the pull strength of the connections between the cables and steel tubes within these devices. Design of experiments was used to establish relationships between crimp force, die shape and tube variations.

Sponsored by Medtronic

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Team 12 project photo

Team 12: Blind skier vibro-tactile guidance system

Our project aims to provide a vibro-tactile guidance system for intermediate blind and deaf skiers with minimal guide skier contact. The guidance system involves a handheld controller used by the guide with directional input. These directions are sent to a receiver which vibrates to indicate the direction the skier should travel.

Sponsored by Quality of Life Plus

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team 13 project photo

Team 13: Flight accelerometer switch

This project is a Flight Accelerometer Switch (FAS) that will act as the payload of an EggTosser rocket. The FAS operates as a mechanically actuated switch that, upon experiencing a specified acceleration, records flight data onto an on-board SD card. The FAS must be roughly the size and weight of a chicken egg to fit inside the nose cone.

Sponsored by Sandia National Laboratories

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Team 14 project photo

Team 14: Automated blade grinding device for wind turbines

When wind turbine blades are damaged by lightning strikes or high-speed impacts, the repair process can be costly, tedious, and dangerous for the technicians involved. Working alongside Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, our team developed a robot designed to traverse wind turbine blades and perform precision grinding operations to improve the safety and efficiency of wind turbine blade repair.

Sponsored by Siemens Gamesa

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Team 15 project photo

Team 15: SAE Baja

SAE Baja is a competition run by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in which collegiate teams design, build, and race single-seat, off-road vehicles that can withstand the punishment of rough terrain. The CU Baja 2020 team has designed and built fully custom suspension, chassis, drivetrain, and control systems, in addition to implementing its first-ever all-wheel drive system.

Competition team sponsored by Stolle Machinery and EMJ

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Team 16 project photo

Team 16: Autonomous device/system for ground-based Warfighter protection, supply, and/or evacuation

Our project’s sole focus is protecting the US warfighter in hostile situations and environments. The final design is a modular proof of concept, which provides active detection of a threat, prompting the system to deploy barriers for US warfighters to take shelter behind, increasing their survivability in hostile situations and alerting them to the direction of fire.

Sponsored by Army Research Office (ARO)

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Team 17 project photo

Team 17: CNC workholding with smart fluids

When milling thin-walled parts, time is consumed to create fixtures and plugs to secure parts. Using our workholding technology, the Flux Capacitor, we have significantly reduced the setup effort for securing parts. To secure the part, it is placed inside the rig and surrounded by magnetic ferrofluid, it is then lowered near a neodymium magnet that actuates the fluid and locks the part into place.

Sponsored by Accu-Precision

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Team 18 project photo

Team 18: Data acquisition and control system development for a low-speed wind tunnel

Answer Engineering works with their customers to solve their most challenging aerospace problems. They challenged our team to modify an existing test section in their wind tunnel. Our mission was to create a model positioning system for scaled models of aircraft and wing configurations. This system outputs crucial information about lift force and pitching moment values.

Sponsored by Answer Engineering

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Team 19 project photo

Team 19: Miniaturized tethered braking system

The Miniaturized Tethered Braking System (MTBS) is an electronically actuated, hydraulic-powered precision braking system capable of stopping a tethered 50-lb projectile traveling upwards of 270 mph within a fraction of a second. This wet friction braking system is length-selectable up to 600 ft and can effectively brake within 1% distance error while in a design envelope of 95 cubic inches. 

Sponsored by Ball Aerospace

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Team 20 project team

Team 20: Flight management system for unmanned aerial vehicles

This project increases the safety and efficiency of an unmanned aerial vehicle’s (UAV) flight by accurately identifying weather conditions and autonomously changing the UAV’s original, intended flight plan in response to weather conditions that are detected to be above safe-flight-operational thresholds.

Sponsored by Boeing

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Team 21 project photo

Team 21: Smoke plume testing project

Medical equipment used in electrosurgery generates smoke that’s harmful to surgeons and medical personnel. Thus, a testing chamber has been designed and manufactured to replicate the environment of an operating room during an electrosurgical procedure to enable ConMed to test if its ViroVac evacuation system meets the regulation within the ISO 16571 standard for 90% smoke removal.

Sponsored by ConMed Corp.

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Team 22 project photo

Team 22: Icy worlds sampling

Icy worlds, like moons of Jupiter, could harbor signs of life. A potential Icy Worlds Lander would collect and analyze surface samples. The team developed a proof-of-concept mechanism for sample measurement and handling to interface between the sample drop-off and the instrumentation suite on the lander. The team accomplished this through ideation, design and over 250 hours of machining.

Sponsored by JPL

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Team 23 project photo

Team 23: Desktop "high striker" piezoelectric test fixture

The piezoelectric sensor test fixture was designed to echo a carnival ‘High Striker’ for Los Alamos National Laboratory. The test fixture uses a sound box to focus pressure waves onto a thin film piezoelectric sensor and reads the voltage output using LabView. The data is stored and used to build a trend line characterizing the range of the sensor when it undergoes high speed, high impact forces. 

Sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratories

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Team 24

Team 24: Stitcher

Our device is a laparoscopic single-handed suturing instrument designed to facilitate closure in surgeries of ventral hernias with diastasis. This unique product is the first of its kind that is completely mechanically operated and designed for the large curved needles typical in many laparoscopic abdominal wall reconstruction procedures. The instrument fits into a 15 mm diameter port and may be scaled to smaller needles and ports.

Sponsored by Medtronic

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Team 25 project photo

Team 25: High-speed electrically actuated gripper

The EASY-20 electric gripper aims to outperform other grippers in environments that lack traditional pneumatic systems. Intended for applications in high-speed automated manufacturing, the EASY-20’s roughly 50 millisecond closing speed makes it market competitive. The gripper’s on-board electronics also allow the user to easily operate and integrate the device with nearly any existing system.

Sponsored by Mikron Corporation

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Team 26 project photo

Team 26: Body heat pack system

The NBA uses therapeutic heat packs on sidelines to curb player injuries. Today’s packs lose heat quickly, are unsanitary, and smell. The Milwaukee Bucks set out to redesign these packs to make them more safe, effective, and desirable to use. The team’s final design features a variable-setting temperature controller and is made of nonporous material, which renders it disease and smell resistant.

Sponsored by the Milwaukee Bucks

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Team 27 project photo

Team 27: Design of an aircraft mounted Doppler lidar scanner

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tasked us with creating an aircraft-mounted, two-axis scanner for a Doppler lidar to study complex wind patterns found around wildfires, in complex terrain or near the coast. The system will be able to scan the lidar beam upward or downward while adjusting for aircraft motion. This improvement allows NOAA to expand their research and development. 

Sponsored by NOAA

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Team 28 project photo

Team 28: Wildland firefighter respiratory protection device

Throughout the career of a wildland firefighter, one is subjected to life threatening conditions with little to no respiratory protection. Exposure to these toxic environments has shown to increase risk of developing short-term and long-term health effects. Partnered with Quality of Life Plus, our team seeks to develop a positively pressured respiratory protection device for wildland firefighting.

Sponsored by Quality of Life Plus

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Team 29 project photo

Team 29: Analytical and experimental study of piping vibration

Understanding a piping system’s response to vibration is critical for safe operation. The goal of the project was to analytically and experimentally predict and mitigate piping systems responses to a vibration source. This was done by designing and testing different mitigation restraints for three tubing systems at low frequencies that are characteristic of mechanically induced vibration.

Sponsored by Shell

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Team 30 project photo

Team 30: Wind turbine remote monitoring system

The team has developed and designed a system to visually monitor the nacelle of a 2.3 MW Siemens wind turbine in order to save time and money on operation and maintenance. The system consists of 10 custom cameras, six rotating and four fixed, in order to monitor 18 critical components within the nacelle. A Raspberry Pi 4 computer supports the Central Control Unit as it manages the entire system.

Sponsored by Siemens Gamesa

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Team 31 project photo

Team 31: Exo-Seat

The Exo-Seat is a motorized seat belt system that attaches to a wheelchair. It is being made specifically for our client, Cindy, a patient with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. The goal of the Exo-Seat is to provide postural support and enhance her upper body movement, resulting in increased independence and overall quality of life. Team members plan to continue developing this technology beyond the close of the semester. 

Sponsored by Tensentric

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Team 32

Team 32: Electromechanical aircraft window shade

Team 32 worked with Textron Aviation to develop a novel electromechanical aircraft window shade system, including multiple light-filtering states for an optimal passenger experience. The design is scalable to multiple sizes of aircraft windows. The prototype includes sensors and a diagnostic system that monitors shade functionality and identifies failures in order to expedite any necessary repairs.

Sponsored by Textron Aviation

  • No whitepaper due to IP considerations

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Team 33 project photo

Team 33: Surface temperature measurement inside furnaces using a novel optical approach

The team designed and prototyped a novel integrated opto-mechanical assembly used to accurately and remotely measure surface temperature in hostile combustion environments such as industrial furnaces. The team utilized innovative techniques in material science and developed an algorithm based on physical optical models that transforms acquired signals into temperature readings.

Sponsored by John Zink Hamworthy Combustion

  • No whitepaper due to IP considerations

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Team 40 project photo

Team 40: Kneehab4U

Kneehab4U designed an advanced compression and cold therapy device for knee rehabilitation. Our device stands out from competitors by offering additional features such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for a faster and more comfortable recovery process, while using IOT technology to allow the medical service provider to track progress and enable users to access the data for logging purposes.

Engineering for Social Innovation Project

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Team 41 project photo

Team 41: Soulutions Tech

Hypophonia is a condition present in people with Parkinson’s that causes the person's voice to drop in conversation without them knowing. Soulutions has developed a small wearable device that tracks when the user is talking and the volume of the user’s voice. When they speak too softly, the device reminds them to speak up through haptic feedback.

Engineering for Social Innovation Project

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Team 42 project photo

Team 42: BioRhythm

Determining whether or not plastic waste is recyclable is no simple task. As a result, 25% of waste items placed into recycling bins cannot be recycled. BioRhythm has developed a system to solve this problem so users can know they have made the right disposal choice. A user simply scans their plastic and places it in the indicated bin. BioRhythm's solution is easy and effective.

Engineering for Social Innovation Project

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Team 43 project photo

Team 43: IntoVISION

Spatial visualization is a foundational skill in engineering. Many engineering students start classes not proficient in 3D visual skills. IntoVISION Cubes are an engaging EdTech toy for K-12 students that teach STEM concepts with a focus on spatial visualization. Our goal is to prepare engineering students for success in their classes and the workplace.

Engineering for Social Innovation Project

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Team 44 project photo

Team 44: PowerVision

PowerVision empowers everyday homeowners to save energy by providing them with tangible energy usage data shown on a counter-top device. The product uses circuit transformers to read electricity usage data at the panel and sends it to the user interface using RF signals. PowerVision was created by Give-A-Watt, a team of five engineers who are passionate about sustainability.

Engineering for Social Innovation Project

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