ECE – Senior Design 2
1st – The Centurions – Portable Raman Spectrometry Hormone Detector
2nd – Operation Force Feedback – Haptic Feedback System for Robotic Surgical Forceps
3rd – Team Forgot Me Not – Forget Me Not
CE – Senior Design 2
1st – SAE Engineering – Urgent Care Development
2nd – Roadrunner Civil Engineers and Consultants
3rd – Big Green Dog – Sunglo Townhomes;
ME – Senior Design 1
1st place – AmMech; 2nd place – Exceptional Engineering; 3rd place – ROS
Tech Symposium Overall winners:
1st – Spark Mechanics Engineering (SME) Friedrich WallMaster AC Redesign
2nd – 4i Engineering, Scale Model of Robotics Non-Destructive Testing System
3rd – Smart Roads
By Jordan Moss/College of Engineering
The future of engineering was on display on Tuesday, Nov. 29 in the H-E-B University Center Ballroom during the 2016 Tech Symposium. Engineering seniors had a chance to show off their senior design projects that they have worked on over the course of two semesters.
In front of a packed house of alumni, fellow students and engineering professionals, the teams displayed projects with a variety of implementations for the future. Among the innovations on display where a baby stroller that can be set at speeds to move alongside a person; a new videogame controller shaped like a gun that utilized gyroscopic and accelerometer technology to give players an enhanced experience; a new conveyor belt system that will automatically sow shut feed bags and save on cost of production; and the Wreckn (sic) Engineers displayed a new exhaust and intake system that increased horsepower and reduced the weight of a race car.
The student participants are also given a chance to network with professionals from the San Antonio engineering community. Among the professionals on the scene was Frank Garcia, an UTSA alum and the owner of the Land Aero Group, LLC. which specializes in aircraft and heavy equipment repair services. Garcia expressed pride in seeing how far the UTSA College of Engineering has come since his days as a student.
“I graduated in 1986 from UTSA,’ Garcia said. “Back then we shared a building with the science and computer science students. It’s amazing to see all the growth. This is a great opportunity for the students to talk to the professional community about their projects.”
JoAnn Browning, dean of the College of Engineering, noted that the event not only highlights the student’s hard work, but often is the gateway for students into the workforce.
“It’s really gratifying because students work endless hours to make this happen,” Browning said. “Many times they may have done an internship or worked with a company on these projects and those turn into jobs quite often. They come out of this with the experience, the pleasure of being able to show off their hard work, and with job opportunities.”
The students presenting at the symposium expressed their happiness in being able to display what they poured so much effort into. Matthew Ramon, a senior majoring gin electrical engineering who worked on the gyroscopic gun controller for videogames, was thankful for being able to be a part of such an event.
“It’s amazing,” Ramon said. “We get the opportunity to get to show our work in front of a big crowd. Not every engineering student can say that.”
The controller that Ramon and his partners Carlos Pia and Jorge Castro designed is meant to give players a more immersive experience. By adding a joystick onto the back of the gun controller they aim to give players more accurate control.
“There is always more accuracy with a mouse and keyboard set up when it comes to gaming, particularly with the first person shooter genre,” Pia said. “Our goal is to combine that accuracy with the comfort of a traditional console controller while using the motion capabilities to add depth to the experience.”
Nick Love, a member of the Wreckn (sic) Engineers, said that the team’s work to improve the horsepower and reduce weight of their racecar has more than just racing applications.
“The exhaust and intake work we did added 40 horsepower to the car and took four seconds off of the lap time of the car, which is huge in racing,” Love said. “The system we came up with can be used by regular vehicles too. You always want to get better fuel efficiency and more horsepower out of your car and we found a way to do that.”
Robert Thornder, a symposium judge and civil engineer working for the Parsons group in San Antonio, praised the work he saw on the floor.
“Young engineers are a lot smarter than we were I can tell you that,” Thornder said with a laugh. “There are a lot of cool innovative things coming out of this.”
Thornder stressed the importance of the students going through the process from beginning to end because it helps ready them for the real world.
“Whenever you have to design something, present it and defend it you build your self confidence,” Thornder said. “If you can sell your idea and are confident in your idea you’ll go far.”
Mechanical engineering seniors Kyron Lee and Steven Shuler said they felt the entire experience has helped make them ready to move into the engineering work force.
“The senior design program treats you just like a job will,” Shuler said. “Along the way if they don’t like something, they will tell you. We had a lot of sleepless nights but I feel ready to graduate because of this program.”
Lee said he found the experience incredibly valuable.
“I wouldn’t trade the experience of this process for anything,” Lee said. “There’s a reason I recommend UTSA engineering to so many people.”
The Tech Symposium is a showcase for the students hard work, though James Johnson, professor of mechanical engineering and senior design capstone director, says “students” is not the way to describe the presenters.
“I call them young professional engineers and this is their first year on the job,” Johnson said. “When they get out of here, they should be able to perform on the job and get a job. I have plenty of feedback from folks in San Antonio and around the country that shows me our seniors get jobs which I think is one of the most important things.”
For Johnson, watching the young engineering students move from the conceptualization and design stages all the way to the finished product helps let him know they are ready for the workforce.
“In the end, you’re an engineer, you have to solve a technical problem, you have to know how to present the solution, and how to make money at the same time,” Johnson said. “I always tell people our engineers are two to three years ahead of the competition when they come out of UTSA and the senior design is part of the reason why.”