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Senior Design Projects

Students in the Van Dyke Lab

Where Classroom Knowledge Meets Translational Application

Seniors in the engineering science and mechanics program complete a research-intensive capstone project with a design focus as part of their graduation requirements. Students self-elect their teams at the beginning of their senior year, and under the direction of a faculty advisor, must meet project milestones and give several team updates before delivering a final presentation at the end of the year. 

Senior Design Team Projects

image of device to harness electricity from water

Team Spotlight: Harnessing electricty from streams

During the fall 2020, one of our senior design team created a novel way to harness electricity from slow moving streams. The setup used a stationary and a free cylinder which oscillates when placed in the flowing stream. As opposed to the typical turbine system, this design can operate in slow moving flows and is independent of flow direction. It is intended that this type of device could be used in areas where access to reliable electricity is not available but where there is access to flowing water. In the above image (the team's prototype) there are two cylinders connected with an arm. The energy will be output at the top, through an axle connected to the arms of the cylinders.

*Note: one of the best things about BEAM is the numerous opportunities available for collaboration. This team not only collaborated together, but the project began years ago from previous students, with collaboration extending throughout semesters and different cohorts of students. One of the members of a previous team is a current master's student in the Engineering Mechanics program, too!

Image of the split-hook prosthetic design

Team Spotlight: e-NABLE prosthetic design & print

The team worked with e-NABLE, a non-profit founded in 2013 comprised of people around the world with 3D printers to create free 3D printed hands and arms for those in need of an upper limb assistive device.

Their design, pictured above, is comprised of three parts: (1) a split-hook portion, (2) a socket, and (3) a harness. Together, the split-hook prosthetic may be attached to one's lower arm. The goal was to create a more accessible and low cost upper limb prosthetic device for people around the world who may not be able to afford a myoelectric device. There are many five-fingered configuration prostheses currently on the market that provide function, but are not as useful as the split hook design. The team also recognized that some prostheses are made for one specific function, such as riding a bike. The team’s split hook prosthesis device was made as a functional design for use in day-to-day life.

Team Spotlight: NASA Student Launch Initiative Rocketry Design, 2019 

This student team, graduates in the May 2019 class, took on a big challenge – the NASA Student Launch Initiative. Student Launch is a research-based, competitive, experiential exploration activity that strives to provide relevant, cost-effective research and development of rocket propulsion systems. The competition is open to college as well as high school students, and team members must design and build a rocket completely from scratch, meeting project deadlines, payload requirements, and reports specifications along the way. With a lot of hard work and a little luck, these ESM students traveled to Huntsville, Alabama, in April 2019 to launch their completed rocket during NASA's launch day activities. 

Team members:

  • Ishan Arora
  • Nicholas Corbin
  • William Dillingham
  • Valerie Hernley
  • Joseph Lakkis
  • Max Reynolds
  • Angelo Said

Faculty advisor:

  • Dr. Pat Artis