Engineering Projects Expo is here! We invite you to spend some time getting to know this year's Mechanical Engineering Senior Design projects and teams.
Engineering Projects Expo celebrates the hard work and many achievements of more than 200 students as they close out their undergraduate careers. Since August 2022, 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 and student program assistants, as well as fabrication, administrative, and laboratory staff over the course of the academic year. Most projects 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. 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.
A group of graduating mechanical engineering students at the University of Colorado Boulder designed a consumer hydroponics system called Hydroponics Excellence, or H.Ex, which features a wall-mount design and connects to a phone app that keeps track of the heath of a user’s garden.
A group of mechanical engineering seniors at the University of Colorado Boulder have designed an adapter that will allow surgical robot Hugo to use two preexisting surgical devices, the Sonicision and Ligasure XP, for laparoscopic surgery.
A group of mechanical engineering seniors at the University of Colorado Boulder have designed a water-purification system called Puresip, which is housed inside a bottlecap and shines ultraviolet radiation through a straw to purify the water as the user drinks.
A group of mechanical engineering seniors at the University of Colorado Boulder have designed an adjustable lower limb prosthetic called OneLimb Assembly, which will help reduce the number of new fittings and assemblies.
A group of mechanical engineering seniors at the University of Colorado Boulder have helped bridge the gap between athletic performance and engineering by designing a sleep cabin prototype, where athletes can relax and recover in optimal conditions between games.
Mechanical Engineering students had a big turnout at the New Venture Challenge (NVC), which is CU Boulder’s top, cross-campus entrepreneurial program and competition, giving innovators the chance to build a startup with ongoing support and mentorship.
Inspired by dirt bike seats, our seat is designed to provide enhanced cornering ability while navigating around berms. Its unique shape and design offer a fast, comfortable, and stable seating position, allowing riders to confidently maneuver through even the toughest terrain.
Sponsored by Accu-Precision
Our team has developed an affordable, portable illumination and camera system to help doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado screen infants for retinopathy of prematurity, which can cause blindness. Our system captures clear and ultra-wide field images of the retina, and our cell phone-compatible design allows health professionals to perform more effective traditional and telehealth exams.
Sponsored by Children's Hospital Colorado
The reliable and timely recovery of flight data is imperative to safety and preventing future aviation emergencies. Due to new industry criteria, Boeing designed an innovative safety system for the post-flight localization and recovery of flight data. The Airbag-Automatically Deployable Flight Recorder creates a unique solution to prevent the loss of accurate, potentially life-saving flight data.
Sponsored by Boeing
We partnered with Iron Will Outfitters to benchmark industry leading arrow vanes and to design an improved vane that maximizes stability, yet minimizes drag and sound, while using a broadhead tip. Geometry and flight characteristics were optimized using CFD modeling, design of experiments, prototyping, and flight testing. This work will improve arrow performance and may lead to commercialization.
Sponsored by Iron Will Outfitters
A Hazardous Materials Response Team (HAZMAT Team) is an organized group of hazardous materials technicians that are responsible for containing and mitigating contamination leaks and taking actions to limit personnel exposure to hazardous materials. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has requested the development of a miniature, hand operated device, that can reliably crimp and seal a 1/8” diameter stainless steel tube to a very low leak rate to be carried and used in emergency situations. This tool will be used to restrict the flow of hazardous materials.
Sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory
Team 06: Novel Method for Long Distance Laser Reflection for Methane Emissions Monitoring around Oil and Gas Operations
LongPath Technologies quantifies methane emissions in oil and gas fields using dual frequency comb lasers and a network of retroreflectors on poles to return the signal to a central node. The project goals are to streamline the installation of these poles by removing in-ground mounting and to deliver an installation manual. Our design uses a steel base, concrete blocks, and a tilting pole design.
Sponsored by LongPath Technologies
Medtronic has created many market-leading handheld laparoscopic instruments, as well as the Hugo™ Robotic-Assisted Surgery Platform. Team 7 has designed an adapter that allows Hugo to hold and operate Medtronic's existing instruments, namely Sabre 7+ and LigaSure Maryland XP. The attachment uses mechanical systems to translate remote input into precise control of all surgical equipment functions.
Sponsored by Medtronic
Getting good, quality sleep is vital for maximizing athletic performance. Our team designed a sleep cabin prototype for the Milwaukee Bucks that creates an optimal environment for sleep and recovery. With future additions of altitude training integrated with sound abatement and sleep monitoring technology, the players will be able to take a nap to catch up on sleep and accelerate their recovery.
Sponsored by the Milwaukee Bucks
The RecumboRack, an adaptive Recumbent Bicycle Rack, was designed to increase independence for non-ambulatory users. Our product accommodates a variety of recumbent bicycles up to 80 lbs. to be loaded on and off a vehicle without assistance. The rack mounts to a standard Class 3 trailer hitch and is powered by a 12V Battery and winch capable of 20 loading cycles on a single charge.
Sponsored by Quality of Life Plus
The project focused on a rapidly deployable rugged sensor package, surveying movement across wide-areas in a variety of conditions – discerning between humans and vehicles. The package is deployed by a single person, self-orients, scans the local environment in a 360° field of view for 30 days, activates upon movement, identifies if a human or a vehicle, and then sends a photo back to the user.
Sponsored by Sandia National Laboratories
The TSCD-II from Terumo BCT makes sterile connections between plastic tubing in blood banking & cell therapy manufacturing environments. Particles are generated when a heated wafer cuts through PVC tubes. Team 12 designed & tested a particle filtration system that integrates with the TSCD-II to facilitate use of the welder in an ISO7 cleanroom. The system reduces the number of particles.
Sponsored by Terumo BCT
Landfill methane emissions are a significant contributor to climate change. Currently, landfills are required to conduct Surface Emission Monitoring which is costly and infrequent. Team 13 has designed an autonomous rover that utilizes a rocker-bogie suspension, GPS waypoint navigation, and the HAQLab SEM sensor to traverse harsh terrain and accurately monitor emissions in place of humans.
Sponsored by the Hannigan Air Quality Lab
The CU Boulder Baja senior design project enters a collegiate level competition hosted by SAE International to design, build, and race a single-seater, off-road vehicle. It must be able to withstand rough terrain including rocks, logs, and pits. The 2023 CU Boulder team has designed a new vehicle focused on optimizing performance by minimizing vehicle size and weight. This includes secondary goals such as improving suspension and steering kinematics, and integration for better overall vehicle dynamics.
Sponsored by Stolle
Marine pollution is an erupting global crisis. A first step in solving this crisis is monitoring marine debris. In concert with Ball Aerospace, we developed an in-water fluorometer that detects plastic pollutants using LED excitation and photodiode detection. Our data will motivate the development of in-situ sensors to monitor plastic transport and validate future LIDAR-based flight instruments.
Sponsored by Ball Aerospace
The Boulder Experimental Electronics Manufacturing (BEEM) Lab at the University of Colorado has worked hard to improve indoor farming operations by developing novel sensor transducers that can read specific nutrient levels in hydroponic fluids. Our purpose for this project was to develop a housing and electronics platform that will read the data from the transducer sheets accurately and quickly, like that of diabetic test strips, except for plant growth media.
Sponsored by the Boulder Experimental Electronics and Manufacturing Laboratory
Our novel in vivo camera system is a new method for diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea. We worked alongside Dr. Brian Herrmann and Dr. Norman Friedman from Children's Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado Boulders' Dr. Mark Rentschler. Through the work of last year's CU Boulder Senior Design team and the Idea Forge, we got the opportunity to push forward a future patent-pending device.
Sponsored by Children's Hospital
We partnered with Kelvin Thermal to create a phone case that enhances performance during gaming or other high-demand uses. Our design features a custom Thermal Ground Plane that disperses heat from the phone's hotspots. In testing, our prototype reduced phones maximum temperature by 4.4॰ C and resulted in a ΔT decrease of 7.3॰ C, leading to improved performance, user experience, and comfort.
Sponsored by Kelvin Thermal
In conjunction with LANL, our project aims to enhance security through a signal interlock device that requires a unique mechanical and electrical input to unlock. Uses of this device include increasing security of nuclear waste barrels in transit to a disposal site. In the event of an incorrect input, a fail-safe is triggered, which prevents further operation until the device is manually reset.
Sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory
We were tasked by Lockheed Martin to develop a Mars Sample Recovery System for the ongoing mission to return Martian regolith samples to Earth. This prototype is designed to fit on a drone and retrieve sample tubes deposited by the Perseverance Rover. By utilizing a rotational gantry, pincher, and camera, the device locates and picks up the sample tubes and returns them to the Mars Ascent Vehicle.
Sponsored by Lockheed Martin
Surgical robotics has revolutionized medical operations, yet these systems tend to be large, complicated, and expensive due to their multifunctionality. Our team worked with Medtronic to prototype a specialized robotic system that is portable, easy to use, and comparably inexpensive. The design uses our path planning with Medtronic’s Emprint probe to navigate an arm to a lesion site for ablation.
Sponsored by Medtronic
Team 22 is tasked with creating an innovative way to measure the pressure across the Maryland LigaSure jaw, especially when applied at small angles. The testing process will demonstrate consistency and repeatability for in-house testing. This measurement system will provide Medtronic with additional pressure distribution information, which can be considered in future Medtronic developments.
Sponsored by Medtronic
Surgical plume is a hazardous byproduct of electrosurgery and is typically captured using large, cumbersome smoke evacuation systems. The team has developed a hand-held, battery powered plume evacuation device that eliminates the trip and entanglement hazards associated with traditional plume capture tubing, leading the way for mobility and safety improvements in the operating room.
Sponsored by Medtronic
In Coriolis flow meters, Coriolis force is generated when fluid flows through a vibrating steel tube. This force causes the tube to twist, and the twist increases as flow rate increases, which is hard to conceptualize. The Coriolis Effect Exhibit demonstrates the twist through smooth, automatic oscillation by electromagnetic forces and a segmented tube optimized for slow, stable twisting.
Sponsored by Micro Motion
We created a disc launcher for wounded veterans with limited extremity dexterity so they can again enjoy the game of frisbee golf. Our device accepts multiple disc sizes with a spring-loaded wheel that propels the disc through an arc-shaped track. The launcher attaches to a motorized wheelchair that navigates the course while the user controls launch timing and speed with two head switches.
Sponsored by Quality of Life Plus
We designed a sealed enclosure to protect a video camera that works with virtual aircraft cabin windows. It protects against dust, water, humidity, and pressure differences seen at altitude, and withstands temperature variance and vibration at sub- and supersonic flight. Windowless cabins are beneficial for manufacturing and flight performance while virtual windows enhance the flight experience.
Sponsored by Rosen Aviation
Our team partnered with Wanco, the leader in Traffic Safety equipment, to create an autonomous delivery robot to improve their day-to-day warehouse efficiency. The autonomous delivery robot frees up value-add labor and supports major organization improvements. Team 27 developed a safe, robotic chassis capable of delivering a 400 lb payload across the production floor.
Sponsored by Wanco Inc.
Team 28 has partnered with Wanco, the leader in traffic safety equipment, to create an autonomous delivery robot to improve their day-to-day warehouse efficiency. The robot will deliver up to 400lbs of inventory along different routes throughout the site. Team 28 developed the sensor package responsible for autonomous navigation of the complex and ever changing warehouse environment.
Sponsored by Wanco Inc.
The third annual CU Wind Team participating in the Department of Energy’s Collegiate Wind Competition will compete in three distinct segments: designing a small-scale offshore wind turbine abiding to various design constraints (including active pitching and automatic controls), financially optimizing a theoretical offshore wind farm while considering environmental mitigation strategies and promoting the exciting future of wind energy to local K-12 and CU communities.
Sponsored by Department of Energy’s Collegiate Wind Competition
Remi is a specialized device designed to function and look like a watch to be discrete. Remi will keep track of medication instructions and medication use and alert our users to take their medication. When alerted to take their medication, users will be prompted to scan the associated Task Tag to turn off the alarm. Task tags are specialized stickers set and placed by the user.
Sponsored by Design for Independent Living
H.EX is bringing the garden to your wall. In order to make it easy for consumers to grow their own produce, the H.EX Garden was designed to be wall-mountable, automated, and connected to an app which houses the user interface. This functionality is provided by a modular system which allows the user to choose a plant capacity of 8, 16, or 24. Choose H.EX to grow fresh food right at home.
Sponsored by Hydroponics Excellence LLC
FretFree has developed a device that makes playing the ukulele accessible for all. Many new ukulele players and those with certain disabilities have difficulty fretting, or pressing down various strings at the same time to create chords. This device allows fretting of a chord with a single finger and also features interactive lighting to create an engaging and fun playing experience.
Sponsored by FretFree
Water Recovery Systems strives to make water purification more widely available to consumers who travel to water stressed regions. PureSip is a water-purification system built into a lid that is adaptable to most reusable water bottles and purifies water as the user drinks. By using UV LED technology, the product kills 99.9 percent of germs and eliminates the need for single use plastic bottles.
Sponsored by Water Recovery Systems
Manual wheelchairs, the only affordable option for the majority of wheelchair users, are difficult to stop, and controlling speed can result in injuries. All Access Wheelchair Solutions is developing an economical, multifunctional braking system which enables users to safely stop by controlling their speed without injury, and it also features a secure parking brake. The telescopic brake lever allows individuals with less strength or dexterity to easily operate the braking and parking brake mechanism. This innovative improvement to manual wheelchairs will be an enormous leap towards safety and comfort while using a manual wheelchair.
Sponsored by All Access Wheelchair Solutions
Nearly 50,000 children in the U.S. alone need lower limb prosthetics. Due to the rapid growth rate of children, they can require up to six prosthetic assemblies through their development, averaging $30,000 per prosthetic. Unfortunately, insurance does not fully cover the costs, creating a large financial burden for these families. Limbfinity has created an adjustable foot and leg prosthetic with the mission to help reduce the number of costly new prosthetics needed during a child’s development.
Sponsored by Limbfinity