Fall Design Review Projects Impress Reviewers

2018 Fall Design ReviewDec. 17, 2018 - Gateway Plaza was bustling with energy and enthusiasm Friday afternoon, Dec. 7, as nearly 800 students participated in the 2018 Fall Design Review. This annual event is the first chance for senior engineering students to present their design project goals to a wider audience. More than 120 teams showed posters and talked to faculty, industry reviewers and each other about their projects.

“I’m impressed by the creative and valuable ideas I’m seeing today, and also how bright and in depth the thinking is about a problem,” said Warren Long, a retired engineering and industrial software executive who attended for the first time.

Projects included a range of ideas, including an embedded Internet of Things lock that can detect, recognize and unlock itself for owners; a soda-can-sized space-type system; a robotic fish; a green recreational and housing development for seniors; and more. 

A group of biomedical engineering students presented their idea for a low-cost, lightweight, portable otoscope for use in developing countries. “The World Health Organization estimates that about 10 million children in developing countries have inadequate health care and diagnoses. Ear infections are one of the largest threats,” explained Melinda Le, the project’s materials selection lead.

“Our device would use an LED to improve the lighting and magnification, and it would be powered either with a hand crank or power cord so it could be used in places without the capacity to recharge batteries,” said Ryan Galiza, project leader.

Two of the students on the team are planning to travel with their adviser, Professor Bill Tang, to Vietnam in the spring and test their prototype, which they plan to have built by the time Winter Design Review occurs in March.

The UCI Rocket Project team, which is attempting to build the first liquid propellant rocket, displayed the combustion chamber; the team’s goal is to conduct a static test fire in early January. “We’ve had some setbacks,” explained Mike Decker, the structures lead. “We made changes and are still planning to do our test fire in order to verify our systems. We hope to practice over the holiday break.”

Industry reviewer Charles Baecker, technology and software company consultant and former Merage business school professor, said: “It’s a great exercise for the students. It provides them some good experience with pressure on how to shape and present their ideas.”

The Fall Design Review also featured the final fly-off for the school’s end-of-the-quarter quadcopter flying competition. Now in its seventh year, the Samueli School’s Introduction to Engineering class gives students a hands-on engineering experience. This year, more than 300 first-year students participated, with 54 teams of five to seven students designing, building and testing radio-controlled (RC) quadcopters.

"Team 24" won the competition by completing the obstacle course in less than 13 seconds, while teams "To Be Determined" and "Guava" were runners up with completion times slightly over 14 seconds.

– Lori Brandt


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