Student engineers show inventions at design showcase
Seniors of the UCF College of Engineering displayed their latest inventions at the Senior Design Showcase Friday.
The annual showcase, hosted from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the atrium of Engineering Building I, challenged outgoing students to design new and inventive solutions to real-world problems.
Student groups, ranging in size from three to six members, labored for months to make creations such as a portable drone charging platform, a low-cost mode of transportation and even a new stress-testing suite for use in aeronautical design. Groups were required to find materials and fund for their projects, many of which cost up to $2,000 in parts alone.
For members of the Enhanced Alternative Transportation team, the goal was to design a safe and cost-effective mode of transportation. Their invention, a teardrop-shaped tricycle called the Human Assisted Electric Vehicle, had a final cost of $4,000, said Caleb Amy, a member of the team.
"We designed this vehicle to bridge the gap between cars and bicycles," said Amy, a senior mechanical engineering major. "It's a lot cheaper than a car, but it also protects you from the weather. It can cruise at about 40 mph, has a range of 50 miles, and it protects the rider from the rain. Not to mention, it's pretty comfortable."
The team behind the Supply and Command Roller for an Autonomous Multicopter set out to make a mobile, remote-controlled charging platform for long-range drones. Its device, a large platform flanked by twin photovoltaic panels, boasted a small processing suite nestled between its four wheels that would allow operators to control and move the platform remotely.
"The best way to think of it is as a big, fancy charging station," said Tom Czachur, a senior aerospace engineering major. "It's like if your phone charger had wheels and a big, fancy solar charger, except it doesn't plug into a phone, it plugs into a hexacopter."
The Hypersonic Environment Testing team designed a particolored metal rig that placed airplane components under the kind of thermal, mechanical or sonic stresses the team would experience during regular operating conditions. Michael Sanchez, a senior mechanical engineering major, said that the testing rig was the first system that was able to test all three stresses simultaneously.
"Our testing rig simulates hypersonic flight conditions," Sanchez said. "We're trying to simulate mechanical loading, thermal stress and acoustic loading. Our testing for that last one is really loud; you need earbuds to be near it. It's the equivalent of being next to a really, really loud music concert, which is like being at Mach 5."
Seniors of the UCF College of Engineering showcase their latest inventions. Bernard Wilchusky, Central Florida Future
Bernard Wilchusky is Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @facilesweateror email him at BernardW@CentralFloridaFuture.com.