Students Showcase Stellar Work at Winter Design Review

Stuart Dorff

April 16, 2019 - Engineering seniors presented more than 140 design projects at the 2019 Winter Design Review in March at the UCI Student Center. The senior design program provides engineering students with hands-on learning experience and professional development through innovative projects that bridge academic fundamentals with real world challenges. After working on their projects for two quarters, students were able to present their ideas by displaying or demonstrating them to a wider audience at Winter Design Review.

The day began with a breakfast for industry reviewers and faculty, hosted by Samueli School Assistant Dean Ken Walsh. Walsh delivered an update on the school’s progress in meeting its strategic plan goals and thanked the event’s signature sponsor, Thales, for its participation. He encouraged reviewers to see as many projects as possible.  “When talking to our students, ask hard questions and challenge them,” said Walsh, “but also, have fun.”   

Some teams made presentations to a panel of reviewers in the smaller breakout rooms, and others explained their projects to the faculty, staff and industry representatives who walked through the Pacific Ballroom, which was overflowing. Eleven teams (see below) won Dean’s Choice Awards. 

Fred Schreiner, Thales CTO, was impressed by the advances in machine learning and AI being used in different ways and the strong vision for helping disabled people. “I am blown away. It is so inspiring to see the creative minds, the teamwork, collaboration and good articulation of value,” said Schreiner. “Honestly, this is my first time here and many of these projects moved me; they’re just awesome.”

The students also made an impression on Pramod Khargonekar, Distinguished Professor of electrical engineering and computer science and vice chancellor for research. He stopped in and proclaimed, “Amazing! It’s great to see all these excited students showcasing their stuff.”

While the seniors were showcasing their work, 35 teams of freshman engineering students were busy testing their first-year projects in the quadcopter competition. This contest is a culmination of the Introduction to Engineering class taught by instructors Lawrence Kulinsky and Lily Wu.

Now in its sixth year, the freshman experiential learning class gives students an opportunity to design, build and test a multidisciplinary project in their first year of study. This year, in addition to the 186 freshmen who built quadcopters for autonomous payload delivery, 44 students created fitness trackers and customized apps for step counting, and 24 students worked on a microfluidic/lab-on-a-chip project for autonomous concentration detection.

The task for the quadcopters was to autonomously deliver payloads (foam golf balls) based on sensing of color (red and blue) and distance (4 to 5 feet). The quadcopters used ultrasonic and vision sensors to identify the correct distance range and color, then activated a servo to drop a ball.  The winning team, called the Coolinsky Crew, accomplished successful autonomous payload delivery in 12 seconds, followed by Team Recap, which made it in 17 seconds.

“There were a lot more creative designs this year, with the students using the laser cutter and 3D printer to make interesting shapes for their body and landing gear,” said Wu. “That didn’t necessarily translate into more success than previous years.”

2019 Dean’s Choice Awards

Portable Fetal PH Analyzer

A handheld instrument that gives an immediate bedside reading of the fetal blood pH, pCO2, and/or lactate

Students: Ryan Malone Cohen, Juhi Gopal, Syed Muhammad Hassan, Tina Karimi, Sydney Lynn Tea

Engineering Mentor: Christine E. King
Physician Mentor: Dinh Vu, M.D.

 Wireless Pen EEG Device

A wireless, handheld EEG pen that allows physicians to rapidly diagnose non-convulsive seizures without the lengthy process of ordering an EEG

Students: Anirudh Bhushan, Hengji Chen, Quinn Takashi Korematsu, Ayushi Hitesh Patel, Trevor G. Silence

Engineering Mentor: Christine E. King

Physician Mentor: Yama Akbari, M.D.

Multifunctional Solar Updraft Tower

A building structure that incorporates the solar updraft concept, which uses air movements to rotate turbines and generate energy

Students: Nicholas Orozco, Leslie Guerrero, Bryan Montes, Sergio Ramirez, Edgar Rocha, Carolina Rodriguez

Mentor: Mohammad Qomi

Beehive Health Monitoring System

A UAV beehive monitoring system that will measure the health of commercial hives by analyzing the sound frequencies emitted by the beehives using DSP principles

Students: Masaki Ogikubo, Hengen Zhou, Jacob Carl Dickinson, Jossue Medina-Ramos

Adviser: Quoc-Viet Dang

Sign Language Translator

A glove that can translate American Sign Language to text and speech using either a phone or a laptop

Students: Brandon Lo, Harshithaa Mohanraj, Brandon Ngo, Daniel Phan

Adviser: Mohammadi Yaghini

Magic Sleeve: Visions without Collisions

A device that allows those with vision impairment to more safely navigate through life

Students: Crystal Lai, Lindsay Barnhart, Thomas Dolan, Stuart Dorff

Adviser: Pooria M. Yaghini


A radio that uses machine learning to determine whether the content it is receiving is music or an advertisement and switches the station in real time

Students: Brian Truong, Brian Dizon, Tristan Guinto, Kaylx Jang

Adviser: Brian Demsky

AIAA Design Build Fly

Design and building of a carrier-based aircraft, which holds a radome, can carry and remotely drop four loads and has a remotely folding/unfolding wing, to compete in the annual international AIAA and Cessna/Raytheon competition

Students: Nathan Yeung, Marlon Sevilla, Brian Chen, Adrienne Dao, Erick Hernandez, Andrew Reuter, James Bechler, Aakash Patel, Sam Hince, Tina Nguyen

Advisers: Robert Liebeck, Colin Sledge, Joseph Hsiegh, Paul Parcel

UCI CanSat

A simulated space-type system that can be deployed at an altitude of 700 meters, transmit telemetry in real time and use a parachute and autogyro descent-control system to land safely

Students: Alex Movsesyan, Amy Huynh, Emiko Soroka, Partha Shah, Owen Browne, Ryan Parel, Edwin Madrigal, Joseph Hylak, Jonathan Cheng, Andrew Zhao

Adviser: Roger Rangel

UCI Rocket Project

Conduct a static test fire to experimentally verify our first engine design, which is a critical first step in designing a full rocket system as well more efficient, higher performance engines

Students: Rasheed Aziz, Mitchell Martinez, Tan Nguyen, Sergio Sandoval, Richard Umboh, Griffith Wagner, Cesar Ramirez, Kevin Chen, Brian Fox, Srinath Gopalakrishnan, Aleeza Roque, Mariam McCloskey, Amy Duong, Edward Lee, Amy Yee, Caitlyn Copeland, Derek Nguyen, Paul Badalian, Ahmed Elsayed, Akash Idnani, George Ahl, Sebastian Rosiak, Michel Soliman, James Jamgotchian, Logan Marceau, Nathan Jump, Adam Park, Cameron Goedinghaus, Owen Browne, Kaylee Miranda, Harry Pak, Phillip Adler

Advisers: Mark Walter and Ken Mease


A new system to automate the single slot tester (a semiconductor testing machine) with a mobile

FANUC six-axis robot

Students: Jose Pereida, Frank Vu, Christopher Khacerian, Jennifer Tran, Isabelle Cecilia, Jin Cho, Kevin Wong

Advisers: Vince McDonell, Farzad Ahmadkhanlou

Company Liaisons: Jesse Gillespie, Lee Wu, Susan Moran

– Lori Brandt








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