Capstone Expo Spotlights Seniors’ Creativity, Teamwork, and Complex Problem-Solving Skills
With 53 innovative projects spanning from wearable technology for children with autism to enhanced belay equipment for solo climbers, the Spring 2022 Capstone Design Expo was the largest ever in the event’s history.
Held on May 7, the expo was the culmination of the capstone design course, which challenges senior engineering students to transfer their learnings into innovative solutions for real-world problems.
“One of the most enjoyable things I get to do as Dean is to see the innovative work of our students and how they brought together the knowledge, skills and attitudes developed over the last few years in our programs,” Martin Dunn, Dean of the College of Engineering, Design and Computing, told attendees.
Supported by faculty advisors, students from each department in the College of Engineering, Design and Computing formed single-department or multidisciplinary project teams. Throughout the year, each team worked through the phases of designing, building, prototyping, testing, and documenting their products or concepts.
Many of the projects were focused on solving a specific problem surfaced by an industry sponsor. Medtronic, a medical technology solutions provider, sponsored three Computer Engineering projects including one that used gamification to improve security for medical devices.
A panel of industry and alumni judges reviewed each team’s exhibit at the expo, evaluating the projects for innovation, quality, and impact of design. The top project teams received cash prizes donated by Donald and Karen White, long-time supporters of the College, and our Capstone Design Expo specifically.
Best Overall Projects: Cloud and RocketLynx IV
This year, two projects were selected as overall winners, and each team received a $1,000 prize.
Cloud, Bioengineering Department
The team created a solution to help mothers achieve upright positioning for the birthing process. An upright position has been found to help alleviate the labor pain, improve oxygen supply for the baby, and can shorten labor time. The three most used upright positioners are too hard to clean, too low to the ground, or do not provide enough room for care providers to support the mother. After working with a nurse-midwife to gather user needs and requirements, the team designed a prototype that better supports and comforts the mother, allows access to the perineum, and is easier to sanitize.
“This was a project where we learned a lot about what it means to be a bioengineer and the importance of user-based design. We overcame obstacles and created a prototype that we are very happy with,” Olivas said on behalf of the team. “It was exciting to be the first multiracial all-women team to win! We hope that one day [our solution] can be developed further to eventually be used in hospitals.”
RocketLynx IV, Mechanical Engineering Department
The team worked to advance previous teams’ efforts to build a fully functional, hybrid rocket propulsion system that can one day compete in the Spaceport America (SA) Cup. The focus was a new engine prototype iteration that can produce a thrust force of 100 lbf ≤ FT ≤ 200 lbf. Once the prototype is assembled, the team plans to collect accurate and reliable data from static hot-fire test procedures for future enhanced performance monitoring.
“The RocketLynx IV project has been extremely rewarding, both in finding solutions to complex problems and working in a team environment. The challenges that were faced and overcome along the way demonstrated the efficacy of our individual contributions to the team,” Waterhouse said on behalf of the team. “In reaching a nominally functioning system, the team is proud to have advanced the hybrid propulsion capabilities within the College. It is our hope that future teams can continue this trend, eventually realizing the core goals of the RocketLynx legacy team.”
Poised for Success
Dunn said the experience gained from the college’s coursework uniquely prepares its graduates to be poised for a successful transition to an engineering career.
“While the heart of these designs is deeply technical, the Capstone Project requires our students to use many of the other muscles they have built over the last few years. Skills like teamwork, creativity, complex problem-solving, and empathy all come into play – especially when developing technologies that serve humans,” Dunn said. “This is precisely what employers are telling us they are looking for in our graduates. These attributes are at the heart of our college strategy for educating the next generation of engineers.”
Spring 2022 Capstone Project Sponsors
The College would like to thank the following project sponsors:
- Juan-Pablo Idrovo, MD
- Central Federal Lands Highway Division (CFLHD).
- Colorado Preservation, Inc.
- (CPI) Douglas County and Aventerra Parkway
- Shannon Pirrie, DNP, CNN
- Children’s Hospital Colorado – Interventional Cardiac Catheterization Lab
- Central Federal Lands Highway Division (CFLHD)
- DeNOVO Solutions
- Lockheed Martin
- AirForce Research Lab
- Adams County
- JBS |www.jbsfoodsgroup.com
- South Platte Renew
See all the winning teams and their projects (link to list). View the full program from the expo to see each team and an overview of their projects (coming soon).
CU Denver Engineering, Design and Computing View All
At the CU Denver College of Engineering, Design and Computing, we focus on providing our students with a comprehensive engineering education at the undergraduate, graduate and professional level. Faculty conduct research that spans our five disciplines of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, bioengineering, and computer science and engineering. The college collaborates with industry from around the state; our laboratories and research opportunities give students the hands-on experience they need to excel in the professional world.
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