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2017 Spring Senior Design Showcase

Benjamin Sinsel, Derek Nesbitt and Emily Tanasse celebrate a successful test of the O2 concentrator for their Senior Design Project.

Benjamin Sinsel, Derek Nesbitt and Emily Tanasse celebrate a successful test of the O2 concentrator for their Senior Design Project.

Spring 2017 Senior Design Showcase
Thursday, April 27, 2017

Welcome to our Spring Senior Design Showcase! The graduating seniors of May 2017 are pleased to invite you to learn about the exciting projects they have been designing and fabricating in their capstone experience. From healthcare to manufacturing, energy systems to control systems, research tools to robotics, you’ll find students involved in creative problem solving of real-world problems.

For projects from our Engineering and Innovation Residential College students, click here.


#31 – Micron Battlebot

Sponsor: Micron Foundation
Team: ME – Tyler Dale, Kyle Ostrem, Ian Shelman, Matt Smull, Vu Tran; ECE – Alexander Benz, Juhwan Hwang, Brady Reilly
Advisors: Brian Higgins, Lynn Catlin
Mentors: Eric Booth, Doug Majerus, Sandy Rock (Action Hobbies), Ujjwal Roy
     Each year Sparkfun Electronics hosts the Autonomous Vehicle Competition (AVC) in Boulder, CO. For 2017, the Micron Foundation sponsored a multidisciplinary team of mechanical and electrical engineering students from Boise State University to compete in the Combat Bot division of the AVC. This sponsorship upholds the Micron Foundation’s fundamental goal of developing STEM education programs to enrich the communities affiliated with Micron Technology, Inc. The Combat Bot competition challenges entrants to design and fabricate a three-pound bot equipped with active weapons and mobility systems to contest fellow competitors. Utilizing funding and engineering support from the Micron Foundation, the team successfully developed a bot that complies with AVC requirements. The combat bot design incorporates an existing RC care integrated with a high-speed circular saw and protective aluminum defense system. This project produced a combat bot that will be effective in competition while reinforcing the Micron Foundation’s values.


#32 – 2017 Collegiate Wind Competition: Microturbine System

Sponsors: Power Engineers, Center for Advanced Energy Studies, US Department of Energy, Dr. John Gardner
Team: ME – Kevin Barreto, Daylon Black, Anthony Gianforcaro, Jason Kuwada; ECE – Mohammad Aldaihani, Kitt Connor, Shreya Timilsina
Advisors: Lynn Catlin, Brian Higgins, Dr. John Gardner
Mentors: Chris Davis, Dr. John Gardner
    The Collegiate Wind Competition (CWC), sponsored by the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), gives college students real-world experience developing wind energy solutions. After designing, manufacturing, and testing the systems, they are put to the test in a competition at the NREL facility in Boulder, Colorado. The DOE has projected the amount of wind energy to increase by 10% per decade for the foreseeable future. The CWC fosters the development of engineers to advance this growing industry. This year’s interdisciplinary team of mechanical and electrical engineering students created an aerodynamically, electrically, and mechanically efficient wind turbine incorporating a yaw system which maximizes power delivery regardless of wind direction. This year’s turbine features a more powerful generator, an optimized blade design, a variable pitch braking system, and a yaw ring with wind direction sensing capabilities.


#33 – Mass Casualty Ventilator

Sponsor: Boise State Research and Development
Team: ME – Daniel Grunhauser, Wes Hieb, Jacob Papka, Jo Wiggins, Jr.; ECE – Mutasim Alkhateeb, Tim Roberts, JT Smith
Advisors: Lynn Catlin, Brian Higgins
Mentor: Dr. Lonny Ashworth
    There is dire need for a mechanical ventilator that can be used in a mass casualty event according to Dr. Lonny Ashworth from the Department of Respiratory Care. Current mechanical ventilators are expensive and complex; often requiring an immense amount of operator training for efficient and safe use. The completed ventilator allows civilians at the scene of an event to monitor the device allowing medical professionals to care for multiple individuals.


#34 – Robot Assisted Catheter

Sponsor: Acutus Medical
Team: ME – Rami Haddadin, Tyler Parkinson; ECE – Ahmed Alaydhi, Samantha D’az, Hayden Mills
Advisors: Lynn Catlin, Brian Higgins
Mentors: Calvin Lee, Brandon Lee
    Acutus Medical is a biomedical engineering company currently developing a robotic assisted catheter device intended for heart therapy. The initial prototype had numerous shortcomings. A second-generation prototype has addressed many of the shortcomings – including improvements to the user interface (UI), the latency, and ergonomics of the device. The new UI is more intuitive for the intended operator. The ergonomics were improved by modifying the shape and weight of the device to facilitate the comfort and ease of use for the operator. Reducing the latency of the device proved to be the biggest challenge, but significant improvements were made to bring the robotic assisted catheter response closer to real time.


#39 – Automated Material Handling

Sponsor:  Woodgrain Millwork
Team: Max Bennett, Chelsey Fulk, Drew Johnson, Eric Rhoads, Kevin Rogers, Benjamin Spangler
Advisors: Lynn Catlin
Mentors: Patrick Beyers, Sam Barker, Ryan Kahre
    Woodgrain Doors in Nampa is seeking to decrease inventory and increase throughput. Currently, materials are pre-cut in bulk and stored in a separate warehouse. Then these materials are transported to another facility and hand fed into the next process. This transportation process is both labor intensive and time consuming. By automating a portion of their process and switching to a “just in time” business model, Woodgrain will save time, money and space. The new process takes wooden planks, categorizes, sorts, and sends them to the next operation. It uses a system of actuators and conveyors to carry the planks directly from the saw to the succeeding action. PLC programming and communication between the saw to the actuators will categorize the boards according to length.


#40 – Water Dynamometer Control System

Sponsor: Greenspeed Research
Team: Griff Allen, Benjamine Miller, Emilie Murphy, Mike Vankirk
Advisor: Lynn Catlin
    Greenspeed Research, a nonprofit renewable energy research organization, has a water brake dynamometer (Hulk) for performance testing engines up to 2000HP; however, the Hulk currently lacks fluid and power controls, piping, and feedback systems. The water brake dynamometer team designed a fluid system which included a pump and piping system capable of providing a variable flow rate in a range from zero to 250 gallons per minute. The variable flow rate was achieved by controlling the speed of the pump with a variable frequency drive. This solution saves on cost and complexity of the system by eliminating the need for fluid control valves. The team also designed a control system which included monitoring temperature and pressure while providing feedback through a control interface. These systems will work together to control the fluid system and the engine being tested while calculating the horsepower of the engine from the torque measured by a load cell and the speed of the engine measured by the tachometer signal.


#41 – An Assistive Arm Devise for a Patient with Amyoplasia

Sponsor: St. Luke’s Children’s Rehabilitation
Team: Shawn Atkinson, Katherine Hollar, Maddie Krentz, Tyce Pearson, Timothy Le Phero, Andie Zoeller
Advisor: Lynn Catlin
Mentors: Dr. Jacob A. Neufeld, Denise Anderson, Katy Ritter
    Amyoplasia is a congenital disorder that is characterized by muscle contractures and joint deformities. Individuals diagnosed with this disorder experience muscle weakness, stiffness and a limited joint range of motion that hinders their ability to engage in activities of daily living. Current treatment options for individuals with amyoplasia include therapy, surgery, and utilization of assistive devices. However, a limitation with therapy may include infrequent sessions, which can interfere with maintaining joint and muscle mobility progression. While on the other hand, surgeries can be invasive and costly. As a result of these limitations, our senior design group has developed an assistive arm device composed of 3D printed components and resistive bands. The design criteria for our device were based on an amyoplasia patient who was unable to supinate their forearms and flex at the elbow. The resistive bands with the proper placement of the 3D printed components enable gradual supination and flexion that is associated with natural joint kinematics. The implementation of these materials also allows the entire device to be inexpensive and adjustable as the patient continues to grow. Therefore, this device is able to assist the patient in performing daily activities and may be an alternative solution to individuals with joint conditions.


#42 – Oxygen Concentrator

Sponsor: Boise State Research and Development
Team: Derek Nesbitt, Benjamin Sinsel, Dylan Southern, Emily Tanasse
Advisors: Lynn Catlin
Mentors: Dr. Lonny Ashworth, Ray Northhouse (Norco)
    The Respiratory Therapy Department at Boise State University desires a portable oxygen concentrator for use during a mass casualty event. The implementation of an on-site concentrator will eliminate the current dependence that emergency response teams have on oxygen tanks therefore establishing a more sustainable rescue effort. This device will need to produce a high enough concentration and flow rate to support the oxygen demands of a patient in acute respiratory distress. Current concentrators that can achieve these specifications are extremely large and expensive. This project is focused on providing an efficient, portable, and relatively inexpensive medical grade oxygen concentrator for emergency responders and medical professionals by improving on the current design of home based oxygen concentrators.


#43 – ProMoto Billet Bar Bender

Sponsor: ProMoto Billet, Inc.
Team: Omar Alkerishan, Brian Carlson, Ryan Roundtree
Advisor: Lynn Catlin
Mentors: Blake Wasden, Lynn Hodges
    ProMoto Billet manufactures aftermarket parts for dirt motorcycles. Their anodized kickstand is produced by CNC machining the rough dimensions and then is bent to final shape before assembly. The bending process is currently done using a coining style in a hydraulic press. To increase manufacturing throughput, a wipe-style bender design was created in order to prove that an existing concept could bend the adapted heavy bar stock. Scratching, fatigue cracking, and deformation in key areas was tested with one die designed using a Hertzian Contact Stress model and another concept keeping contact stress low by utilizing a pivoting die. Both die concepts utilize the same frame and have the capability to be automated to meet the future throughput goals.


#44 – Vibration Table<

Sponsor: Dr. Gunes Uzer
Team: Michael Abend, Oliver Alvarez, Shaun McCracken
Advisor: Lynn Catlin, Dr. Gunes Uzer
    Boise State University’s Mechanical Adaptations Laboratory requires a device that will vibrate trays of cells vertically and horizontally with no secondary vibrations and has an adjustable range of frequencies and acceleration amplitudes. The system will be used to study the ability of mesenchymal stem cells to respond to functional mechanical cues. Other systems were used by the lab in the past, however, those devices did not provide adjustable frequency and amplitude in both vertical and horizontal orientations. While there are devices in the market that will perform the required tasks, they are far too expensive and powerful. Our design utilizes a smaller electrodynamic shaker along with a couple of aluminum stages with plastic covers to hold the trays of cells. Major components of research and design of this project included selecting the mechanical drive as well as designing stages that minimize moving mass, resonant conditions, secondary vibrations, and heat transfer from cells.


#45 – ASHRAE Design Contest: System Selection

Sponsor: Boise State Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering
Team: Ali Alkandari, Nicolas Becken, Shayne Hansen, Trenton Vleisides
Advisors: Lynn Catlin
Mentors: Dr. John Gardner, Brian Emtman, Tim Johnson
    Every year the American Society of heating, refrigeration, and air conditioning engineers (ASHRAE) hosts a design competition. This year the Boise State University ASHRAE Design Contest (ADC) team was tasked to analyze and present the best system selection to meet heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) needs for a new meteorological station located in Diego Ramirez Islands, Chile. The station is approximately 22,000 square feet, and includes a variety of zones presenting significant design challenges. An analysis of the weather was done using the given weather data, and a load analysis was done using Trane TRACE to select the most appropriate HVAC system for the station. The priority in this process was to meet the owner’s requirements for the project which include a sustainable system design that is energy efficient, healthy, safe, comfortable, easy to maintain, and to provide a low life cycle cost. In addition to meeting the owner’s requirements, the design conforms to several ASHRAE standards. Significant assistance was provided by CTA Architects and members of the local chapter of ASHRAE.


#46 – Automated Polishing System

Sponsor: NxEdge, Inc
Team: ME – Ahmed Alshisha, Eric Christiansen, Nicolas Gagnon, Brad Kinney, Matthew MacRae, Kahlil Williams; MSE – Jim Buchanan, Aline Elquist, Steve Johns, Preston Riggs
Advisor: Dr. Harold Ackler, Lynn Catlin
Mentors: Jesse Armagost
    NxEdge Inc. of Boise, Idaho, produces parts for manufacturing in the semiconductor industry. These parts undergo various operations to make the object suitable for the high precision needs of the industry. One of the processes involves coating parts with a layer of plasma. This is applied through the use of automated robot arms. The final surface roughness of the plasma coated parts varies on the needs of the client. The parts are polished by hand down to the appropriate surface roughness and measured with a profilometer. The purpose of the automated polishing system project is to automate the polishing process to ensure the surface roughness is consistent between parts. This project required programing a robot to follow a convex cylindrical ring and polish the surface down to the appropriate surface roughness. A custom end effector was designed to allow the robot arm to hold sandpaper of varying roughness. A load cell was utilized to maintain a constant force on the surface of the part during polishing. After these items were developed, a series of tests were established and executed to calibrate the various sensors involved with polishing the robot.