An app to assist novice computer builders, an electronically adjustable crutch and a drone called “The Octocopter” were just some of the ideas engineered and built by students who competed in this year’s Senior Design Project Showcase. Seniors in CSUN’s College of Engineering and Computer Science presented their projects for review by industry professionals, just weeks before their graduation.
This year’s event, which took place May 5 in the University Student Union, was the 13th annual showcase. It was the first in-person after two years online, due to the pandemic. Students worked in teams throughout their senior year on capstone projects, the culminating assignments for engineering and computer science majors. The student teams often enter their projects in national and international competitions.
At the May showcase, more than 20 teams competed for prizes with their project displays and oral presentations made to the showcase judges. Categories included civil engineering and construction management, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, manufacturing systems engineering and management, and mechanical engineering. Entries were judged by more than 20 industry professionals, most of them CSUN alumni.
Computer science major Ryan Santillan worked with four teammates on “ComputerStarter,” a multimedia app designed to teach users how to build their own computers. The team hoped to de-mystify the computer-building experience, Santillan said. He also added that there are many benefits to the do-it-yourself approach.
“Once a part gets old and a little outdated, you can just swap it out and that’s a big advantage,” Santillan said.
The team members behind “Cruxmatic” aimed to create a smart and electronically adjustable crutch. The crutch can accomodate changing loads, to make an easier and smoother walking experience for users. Team member Teny Shahjahanian uses a crutch regularly for a knee injury, so this project appealed to her immediately. The team experience was a positive one, she said.
“We were very open — we had a delegative management style,” Shahjahanian said. “All of us had our own parts, throughout the entire semester.”
A $1,000 grand prize for project display was awarded to the CSUN Aeronautics team from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, for its design of an autonomous aircraft and ground vehicle system to fight wildfires.
Prizes of $500 also were awarded to teams from each department, for oral presentations and project displays.