CU Denver student Britney Azcona

Design effort brings students together to make difference

Engineering students create projects that address real-world problems

December 18, 2017

What do an educational toy, a shipping-container house and a surgical-arm holder have in common? They are all projects developed by CU Denver engineering students and presented at the biannual Engineering Senior Design Competition. Building on three years of knowledge and work, they created products and systems that could solve real-world problems.

On Dec. 15, students from the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) came together to present 28 unique projects in the North Classroom atrium. CU Denver’s CEAS stands out for providing real-world opportunities during college, and this was well-illustrated at the event. Several student projects were even sponsored by local industry.

‘Help people’

CU Denver Chancellor Horrell and engineering students
Chancellor Dorothy Horrell visits with electrical engineering team members who created a device that can scan objects in 3D.

“We wanted to use the past three to four years, taking what we’ve learned and actually help people with it,” said mechanical engineering student Nic Chandler.

Chandler is project captain for Project [un]Contained, winner of the Mechanical Engineering prize. Project [un]Contained is a shipping-container home for use in Haiti. Haiti is a unique island in the Caribbean that experiences both hurricanes and earthquakes, making it a particularly harsh environment for its inhabitants – many of whom live in tents. There are 17 million shipping containers on Earth, and with the students’ design they could be turned into medical clinics, community centers, businesses and houses.

A project developed by computer science students, the Cisco Dynamic Reverse Proxy, helped make cybersecurity for websites more manageable and less time-consuming by automating daily tasks.

Another project redesigned the arm holder used in thoracic outlet syndrome surgery to help minimize nerve damage and side effects from the surgery.

“[Our professors asked] ‘hey, we have all these senior projects, and is there anything you’d like to see done,’ and a neurosurgeon over at UCHealth jumped on it and said he wanted this redesigned, so we’ve been working alongside him,” said bioengineering student Paige Moseley.

This semester’s winners:

Overall: BLOX3R – a math-learning app and device for children, integrating the use of physical number blocks.

CU Denver engineering students
Nic Chandler, far right, presents his team’s multi-purpose, self-sustaining shipping-container structure for the developing world. Project (un)Contained won the Mechanical Engineering division.

Bioengineering: Lung Modeling Manufacturing Process – a manufacturing method to create more affordable lung models.

Civil Engineering: City of Arvada Fleet Maintenance Building – renovating the existing City of Arvada facility.

Computer Science: Semantic Simultaneous Localization and Mapping – cutting-edge new technology that combines real-time deep neural network image recognition and artificial intelligence-based autonomous navigation.

Electrical Engineering: Clever Cane – an application that uses computer vision, neural networks and peripheral sensors to assist the visually impaired in traffic environments.

Mechanical Engineering: Project [un]Contained

Multidisciplinary: Power Lynx Knee Brace – a knee brace that converts the mechanical energy generated during walking to electrical energy.

Photo at top: Electrical engineering student Britney Azcona developed the BLOX3R, an app that was the overall winner in the Engineering Design Competition.