Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu

2016 Spring Senior Design Showcase

Image that states "Innovate!" and "Department of mechanical and biomedical engineering"

Spring 2016 Senior Design Showcase
Thursday, April 28, 2016

Welcome to our Spring Senior Design Showcase! The graduating seniors of May 2016 are pleased to invite you to learn about the exciting projects they have been designing and fabricating in their capstone experience. From healthcare to transportation, energy systems to agribusiness, athletics to emergency response, you’ll find students involved in creative problem solving of real-world problems.


“A Voice for Autism”: A Communication Device for Nonverbal Autistic Individuals

Sponsor: Micron Foundation
Team: ME – Robert Carnes, Alexandra Der, Matt Marion; ECE – Suraj Deuja, Justin Locke, Brittany Nall
     Autism is a mental disorder that involves abnormal development and function of the brain. This disorder causes repetitive behaviors as well as difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people. The market today includes communication devices that help nonverbal autistic individuals communicate, but these devices lack the ability to be customized and are quite expensive. The Autism Communication Device team has designed a communication device with a matrix of touchscreen buttons and a simple user interface that will allow the user to communicate his or her needs and desires. Micron memory will be used to store data such as the type and time of each request. Using a custom Android application, the caregiver can customize the text and image of each button, and view the data logged on the device. The data will help the caregiver gain a general understanding of the individual’s behavior, while the customizable settings allow the device to adapt as the individual grows. A multi-layered plastic case will enclose the circuitry and protect the device, making it durable and safe for use. Communication devices have had a positive impact on society by helping individuals with Autism develop and refine communication skills. Ultimately, our communication device will safely aid nonverbal individuals with Autism to express their needs and desires.


Baja Autonomous Vehicle (UAV)

Sponsor: Micron Foundation
Team: ME – Connor McCoy-Mickelson, Joe McFadden, Connor Skibeness; ECE – Anthony Christensen, Kyler Palmer, Ivan Sanchez Pedraza, Shaun Stevens
    The Micron Foundation, a private non-profit entity associated with Micron Technology Inc., was created to develop effective programs promoting math, science, and engineering education; and support activities addressing the priorities and concerns of Micron’s site communities. To further their mission and to commemorate the 10 year anniversary of late Micron CEO Steve Appleton’s victory in the 2006 Baja 1000 off-road race, the Foundation commissioned a team of electrical and mechanical engineering students from Boise State University to design a scale model version of Mr. Appleton’s vehicle to compete in the SparkFun Autonomous Vehicle Competition (AVC) this September. The design incorporates a modified RC car chassis, a DE0-Nano-SoC development board, and a collection of digitally controlled motor, servo, and sensor hardware. The course navigation will be done using a mix of predefined instructions and collected data. The mini-Baja vehicle is given a predetermined course map which it will navigate. Data collected from ultrasonic sensors, a LIDAR sensor, and a 9-axis sensor will be processed by the DE0-Nano-SoC and used to avoid obstacles as the vehicle races through the course. The goal is to amass the most points by both completing the race with the fastest time, and navigating the most obstacles.


2016 Collegiate Wind Competition: Micro-Turbine System

Sponsor: Advanced Circuits and Power Engineers
Team: ME – Anaysa Aguilar, Chris Davis, Dennis Twitty; ECE – Omar Alozaymi, Joe Fercho, Seth Townsend
Advisors: Dr. John Gardner, Dr. Said Ahmed-Zaid
    The Collegiate Wind Competition was created by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to give students real-world technology experience with wind-energy solutions. In the United States, we currently get 4% of our electricity from wind energy; however that percentage is expected to grow in the coming decades. The competition creates a platform for preparing young engineers for careers in wind-energy to help supplement the work force needed for this growing technology. Our interdisciplinary team is made up of mechanical and electrical engineers along with business students. The team’s performance in the competition will be judged on the mechanical, electrical, and aerodynamic aspects of the turbine design, as well as a load system that represents a real-world need. The deployment strategy of the turbine and load system will be influenced by the market-research driven business proposal, and will be judged based on feasibility, creativity, and financial analysis. This year’s design includes enhancements to improve low wind speed performance, as well as a new modular blade system. With the added task of developing the load system this year, we feel as though our water filtration system that is driven by the turbine will be what sets us apart at competition.


Data Athletics Speed Machine II

Sponsor: Data Athletics
Team: ME – Derrick Hirsch, Lauren Johnson, Van Jones, Evan Mayfield, Dustin Miller, Michael Wolf; ECE – Ammar Alobithani, Cody Breckenridge, Ray Clark
Advisors: Lynn Catlin, Brian Higgins
    A multidisciplinary team of mechanical and electrical engineering students designed a device capable of training athletes at higher levels than their unassisted speeds. The teams’ sponsor, Data Athletics, is a company that focuses on the development of advanced track and field technologies aimed to help athletes train in innovative and effective ways. The device, known as the Speed Machine, incorporates the idea of over-speed training. Overspeed training allows an athlete to experience the kinematic motions of running at higher speeds. After repeated use, the athlete’s unassisted top speed should improve. With an independent power source and an automated control system, the Speed Machine aims to accelerate the runner to a new pre-determined top speed. There are sensors equipped on the Speed Machine that allow data to be collected about the runner’s top speed and forces throughout the sprint. The sensors are paired with automated safety kill switches to prevent harm to the runner if the need arises. The Speed Machine is a device that will innovate the way runners train, and will allow athletes to reach higher speeds.


Mass Casualty Ventilator

Sponsor:  BSU College of Health Sciences
Team: ME – Alec Guathier, Jillian Helms, Joseph McNeal, Ryan Schwartz; ECE – Ahmed Alnajrani, Zac Nickel, Kip Prentice
Advisors: Lynn Catlin, Dr. James Ferguson, Brian Higgins

    The objective of this inter-disciplinary project was to design a ventilator that can be utilized in the event of a mass casualty event such as a natural disaster, terrorist attack, epidemic or any other event where a large number of individuals require assistance with breathing. As the mechanical ventilation systems available today are too large and expensive, it is not possible for health-care facilities to purchase and/or install adequate systems to be available when needed during a mass casualty event. Dr. Lonny Ashworth of the Department of Respiratory Care at Boise State University has determined that there is a dire need for a ventilation system that is: of low cost, simple to operate, portable, maintenance-free, and able to ventilate the average adult.<


Lower Chassis Fairing

Sponsor: Greenspeed Research
Team: Kellert Crumpacker, Joel Hood, Mohammad Mohammad, Jonathan Sawin
    Greenspeed Research is a non-profit organization that designed and built the world’s fastest vegetable oil powered vehicle. When the truck approaches speeds near 200 mph the rear tires lose traction resulting in the inability to reach higher speeds. In order to combat this loss in traction Greenspeed Research utilizes 400 pounds of steel to weigh down the vehicle. A Mechanical Engineering team worked together to design a detachable lower chassis fairing which serves as an aerodynamic aid that decreases the lift on the truck. Based on a Computational Fluid Dynamic simulation performed on a model of the truck, the Lower Chassis Fairing decreases the lift force by 571.42 pounds while moving at 120 mph.


Mist Separator Design

Sponsor: Reyco Systems
Team: Kevin Colwell, Mark Hanson, Mike Sherwin
Advisor: Dr. Krishna Pakala
    Reyco Systems, a food production equipment manufacturer, has sponsored a mechanical engineering capstone project to develop a mathematical model to predict and optimize the performance of a mist separating device. Historically, reversed-flow cyclones have been used, but have become large, complex, and expensive. A straight-through swirl tube promises to be a compact alternative, simultaneously reducing manufacturing cost and overall footprint, while matching or exceeding separation efficiency. A mathematical model was developed using established cyclone theory and other fluid dynamic models, and then used to write a genetic optimization algorithm. The algorithm was applied to a number of design constraints, and the results were used to design and build a prototype. Testing showed that the swirl tube can in fact perform extremely well in a small footprint.


Design and Process Control Integration of an Automated Glass Polisher

Sponsor: Usful Glassworks
Team: ME – John Amos, Alejandro Hortet, Brett LaWatch; ECE – Bryan Butler, Wes Butler, Garth Cline; MSE – Katelyn Bingaman, Cullen Hapner, John Huff, Jennifer Watkins
Advisors: Lynn Catlin, Paul Lindquist, Harold Ackler, Brian Higgins, Dick Sevier, Cris Seipert
    A local non-profit, Ūsful Glassworks, purchased an automated glass polisher in order to scale up their production of glassware merchandise. Unfortunately, the yield of quality goods coming off the flame polishing line decreased to less than 10% due to broken bottles and improperly polished surfaces. The goal of this project is to solve this problem and help Ūsful Glassworks achieve a high throughput of sellable products so they may further their social mission. An interdisciplinary team of ten senior engineering students from Electrical, Materials Science, and Mechanical Engineering collaborated on designing, building, and testing a single station glass polisher prototype to provide process control to the current polishing process. The prototype will provide this total process control by controlling the temperature of the polishing stages through temperature feedback and automatic process gas flow manipulation.


Magnetic Shape Memory Alloy Self-Resetting Circuit Breaker

Sponsor: Shaw Mountain Technology
Team: ME – Casey Coffman; MSE – Miranda Buttram, Alex Crane, Jim Hawe, Medhat Khalil, Kenny Mayer
Advisor: Dr. Amy Moll
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes many requirements related to the operation and output of the Boise Waste Water treatment facility. Currently, the facility operates within the required output temperature requirements of the effluent streams (plant output) before they enter the Boise River. However, more restrictive requirements will be enforced after December 2017, requiring lower temperatures for the effluent. The City of Boise hired an engineering consulting firm to investigate traditional methods of cooling, but one method that was not investigated was the use of an air bubble cooling system. An air bubble cooling system uses the heat transfer between the air in the bubble and the water surrounding it to create a temperature drop in the water. The team investigated the theories and methods available to accomplish this, and constructed a test system to explore the effects of an air bubble cooling system and determine if this method is a plausible solution for the City of Boise.