Hundreds of UCF engineering and computer science students showcased their inventions at the Fall 2017 Senior Design Showcase on November 30. From a luggage-carrying robot to a drone capable of taking large-scale inventory, there were over 75 innovative projects on display.

Senior Design is a capstone course for engineering and computer science disciplines at UCF. Students take Senior Design I to brainstorm and design a project before bringing it to life in Senior Design II the following semester. Many projects are sponsored by corporate clients. Graduating students present their projects to a panel of faculty, staff and engineering professionals at the end of the semester to prove their knowledge and that they are job-ready.

Throughout the showcase, a panel of 29 judges, composed of industry partners and alumni, evaluated teams using a rubric. At the end of the showcase, the college held its second-ever Senior Design Awards Ceremony where one team from each of the college’s six departments was chosen as a winner, as well an award for best in show.

The teams were evaluated using criteria such as their project creativity and originality in problem-solving, teamwork, presentation skills and demonstration quality, and other benchmarks established by CECS.

Here are the winners:

Best in Show: Discharge Refinement At Parrish Medical Center
Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems

The team of seven used the Lean Six Sigma method – when two combined methodologies that are used to eliminate waste and reduce variation within a process – to improve the discharge process and streamline hospital staff procedures at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Fl.

Jakob Sante, who served as project manager, said his team overcame many hurdles from losing valuable time because of Hurricane Irma to defining the exact project proposal. Despite the hiccups, Sante said the medical center will implement the team’s three solutions: lead time identification of paperwork, a visual management system for physicians to keep track of delayed discharged patients, and relocation of transportation resources.

“Hurdles are made to be leaped over, and depending on the size, that dictates the effort,” Sante said. “Presenting our proposal to an offensive executive management team posed challenging questions and made us defend our work by explaining the future value. We sold our ideas to them, and once done so, we had free rein and could truly begin solving real-world problems for Parrish Medical Center.”

Michael Ferrante, ‘15, is the historian of the CECS Alumni Chapter Board and volunteered to judge senior design.

“They were successful in analyzing the process that had to be followed once it was decided to discharge a patient,” Ferrante said. “I discussed this with others at lunch and all felt the same that it was a great effort.

Upon graduation, members of the team have jobs lined up at Siemens, Lockheed Martin, Disney, Harris Corporation, and Mitsubishi. The following students participated in this project: Kory Davis, Zakary Maksymow, Carlos Mendez, Jakob Sante, Andrew Scully, Matthew Stokes, and Anna Trippensee

Department Winner: ELLE-EndLess LEarner
Department of Computer Science

A team of four worked to develop a system that enables users to learn a second language through immersive and entertaining gameplay. The project, which is a downloadable video game that can be played through virtual reality or on a desktop, was designed with the UCF Language Department in mind but still needs to undergo further testing before implementation.

The team put their heads together to develop the backend functionalities and design required for a functional and fun virtual reality experience and divided the project into four parts: the game, web service, the database, and the web portal. One of the biggest challenges the team overcame was developing interchangeable language models, which required many redesigns.

“None of us had attempted to build anything as comprehensive and immersive as ELLE before so we weren’t sure where to start, and what steps were required to reach our goal,” Georg Anemogiannis, the team’s project manager, said. “All aspects of ELLE were challenging but we are very proud of how we came together to successfully accomplish our end result.”

Upon graduation, Anemogiannis and his teammates hope to use this project to help find jobs in the computer science industry. Dignitas Technologies, located in Orlando, extended an offer to one team member. The following students participated in this project: Georg Anemogiannis, Eric Butt, Tyler Chauhan, and Megan Chipman.

Department Winner: BRAIN (Bluetooth Recreational and Integrated Navigation) Smart Helmet for Motorcycles and Bicycles
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Communicating with team members isn’t always easy but the experience certainly armed the group of four with real-world people and industry skills while developing a smart helmet aimed at reducing the risk of motorcycles and bicycle crashes.

“Not every group member thinks the same way so it’s key that there is fluid communication back and forth between members,” said Jordan Yamson, who is graduating this December with a degree in electrical engineering.

This smart helmet connects to a phone and can show navigation instructions, audio streaming, and calls. It uses a low-power microcontroller to decode instructions sent from the companion application from a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device. The helmet can be upgraded to add additional modules.

The device impressed senior design judge Pierce Mooney, ‘14, president and CEO of Parseval.

“Jordan Yamson took a limited field of vision and added sensor intelligence and wireless communications to a Heads-Up Display,” said Mooney, who called the helmet a potential life-saver. “The rider of the motorcycle has a better chance of being alerted to oncoming vehicles, let alone what notifications their mobile phone may create.”

Currently, the team does not have any plans to continue developing the smart helmet but Mooney would like to see this kind of technology on the market.

“I hope to soon see this technology lessen the danger of riding a motorcycle,” he said.

Yamson accepted an offer to work for Lockheed Martin after graduation. The following students participated in this project: Jordan Yamson, Ryan Mortera, Stephan Morales, and Nada Algharabawi.

Department Winner: “Aero Shell” High-Altitude Microgravity Experiment Platform with Reel and Tether System (Red Team)
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Five mechanical and aerospace engineering senior design students had their work cut out for them: develop a system that produces ideal conditions for repeated microgravity research experiments on Earth – on a budget.

“Our project showed that a large budget isn’t always required to prove a concept and that sometimes, it can be advantageous to work with limited resources,” said project lead John Madigan.

Most of the team’s prototypes were made of plastic 3D-printed components that allowed them to test and redesign parts quickly and cheaply.

“Creatively, this process was pretty liberating – it was never too late or too risky to try out a new idea,” said Madigan. “If an idea doesn’t work, no harm, no foul. This usually isn’t the case if your project requires expensive components with long lead times.”

The most challenging aspect of the team’s project was the overall concept development.

“We considered many different concepts to make sure the idea of a high-altitude balloon drop was even feasible,” he said. “This required us to utilize a lot of engineering and physics fundamentals that we’ve learned over the years.”

Madigan hopes a future senior design team will pick up where he and his teammates left off.

“This project is an incredibly large and complex undertaking and I think it’ll be a very long time before a viable design is produced,” he said.

Upon graduation, Madigan will complete an internship at Spaceworks, a private space company in Atlanta. Here’s what the rest of his teammates are up to: Nathan Henderson will relocate to Ft. Worth, Texas for a job with Lockheed Martin; Jessica Langley will be working for United Launch Alliance in Decatur, Alabama; Jimmy Bell will continue his current internship with Disney.

Department Winner: New Stanton Tool Crib Economic Order Quantity & Reorder Points for Siemens
Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems

A team of seven industrial engineering and management systems students, composed of mostly female students set out to help Siemens take full advantage of an opportunity to start fresh with a new tool warehousing facility. Siemens plans to combine two warehouses into one, so the group successfully set out to give the company a plan where they could maximize profits for years to come.

Siemens gave the team a hands-on learning experience by flying the students to Pennsylvania for a site visit to help them better understand the problem before developing a solution.

“Once we had a solution, we had to prove to those in charge that we were right. This is not easily done, especially for a team of students,” said team leader Clifford Register. “It required a lot of vetting and research before we were comfortable presenting to management.”

Register said Siemens plans to move forward with their project, and the team provided the company with a detailed report of essential next steps to ensure success.

Register is still seeking a job after graduation, and said his teammates will be working for Lockheed Martin, Florida Power and Light, and be continuing on to graduate school at UCF. The following teammates participated in this project: Clifford Register, Selena Adams, Paula Garzon, Allyson Lefler, Taylor Richards, Jennifer Sawicki, and Paige Sugar.

If you are interested in judging the Senior Design Spring 2018 Showcase on April 19, please contact Barbara Lezcano, associate director, Alumni Engagement and Annual Fund, barbara.lezcano@ucf.edu, for more information.

– CECS –

Pictured: Best in Show winners Jakob Sante (middle) and Andrew Scully (right).