On May 2 the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department held its annual Senior Design Project competition, the climax and showcase event for the department’s capstone course, “MIE 415: Design of Mechanical Systems.” Eight winning projects showed off sophisticated inventions ranging from a revolutionary new electric blender to a sleek new adult tricycle frame.
Among the eight winning teams, the best industry sponsored project was Team 3 (Berkshire Group tricycle), and the best industry sponsored runner-up was Team 21 (Troy Industries). The most entrepreneurial project was judged to be Team 20 (SteelBlade B), while there were two runners-up: Team 4 (Dining Hall Chair) and Team 17 (Zamini). The judges ruled that the best healthcare project was Team 18 (Microfluidic Blood Separation), and the runner-up was Team 16 (Golf Assist: Game Changer). Finally, the most popular project, chosen by vote of the audience, was Team 9 (Nursing 1 Assistive Shelving Unit), and the runner-up was Team 16 (Golf Assist: Game Changer).
The MIE 415 course and its year-end competition are considered “the integrative culminating experience” of the education in the MIE department. This required course for every mechanical engineering (ME) senior is designed as the zenith of the entire undergraduate engineering education for every ME student in the department.
The capstone course, co-taught this semester by MIE Department Head Sundar Krishnamurty and Professor Bernd Schliemann, acts as a proof of concept for the entire ME curriculum. The course demands that students use the knowledge and skills they have developed during their whole undergraduate education to design a utilitarian product, build a prototype, summarize the project with a poster, and finally make a verbal presentation to judges.
“These are our senior capstone design projects,” says Krishnamurty, “where our students apply everything they have learned in their engineering curriculum and their Gen Ed courses together in real-world projects.”
The year-end competition demonstrated conclusively that senior design projects are already propelling our new graduates into the real world of designing mechanical systems for authentic entrepreneurs and companies with real-life needs, demands, and expectations. Each project is a giant step into the future career of an engineer. (May 2017)