Assistive technology that helps people do anything from carrying luggage through an airport with a smartphone, to taking large-scale inventory with drones, to learning a second language with a virtual reality game will be on display Thursday, Nov. 30, as hundreds of University of Central Florida engineering and computer science students showcase their inventions.
More than 75 projects are part of Senior Design, 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.
“Our students’ undergraduate education culminates with senior design,” said Charles Reilly, associate dean for Academic Affairs, UCF College of Engineering &Computer Science. “Their rigorous academic experience at UCF is enhanced with resources such as our Maker Space labs, and senior design ‘boot camps’ to spur students’ leadership, teamwork and ingenuity.”
The showcase also gives employers a chance to check out the talent pool. UCF is the nation’s No. 1 workforce supplier to the aerospace and defense industry, and is among the nation’s top producers of engineers and computer scientists
From 9 to 10:30 a.m., the showcase will feature the Duke Energy Symposium on Renewable and Sustainable Technology, with keynote speaker Tamara Waldmann, director of Florida Distributed Generation Strategy for Duke Energy. Two earth-friendly student projects will be presented: a water conservation system that shuts off irrigation based on ground-saturation levels, and a dual energy-harvesting platform that collects energy from the sun and human foot traffic.
See the event program with all projects descriptions here.
Here are just a few of the projects that will be on display:
“ELLE:” Learn a Second Language with Virtual Reality Game
Developed in collaboration with UCF language instructors, this computer science project enables users to learn a language through immersive and entertaining gameplay. Players navigate in the game environment while answering language-comprehension questions. The downloadable game can be played with virtual reality or on a desktop computer. The project uses Portuguese, but the system can be developed to teach any language. UCF faculty will test the virtual reality version against the desktop version to understand which method is more effective.
Attendance Made Easy in a Single Picture
This computer science project enables instructors to quickly take attendance using a single photo of the class and facial recognition technology.
Water-Conserving Ground Probe that Monitors Saturation Levels
No more watering lawns when it’s raining. Made for sponsor client Guard Dog Valves by mechanical engineering students, this system can save thousands of gallons of water by shutting off an irrigation system based on ground saturation, not a timer. The system uses a high-tech ground probe that senses water saturation and sends a signal via Wi-Fi to shut off the sprinkler.
Drone-Mounted Inventory-Taking Scanner
Taking inventory can be a long and labor-intensive process for any business or organization. This electrical and computer engineering project involves a radio frequency identification reader scanner that can attach to a variety of mobile platforms to easily, quickly and safely scan inventory. It can be used on industry-grade drones for scanning a variety of environments, such as warehouses, cargo ships and cattle fields. The system is designed to collect and report the data.
Luggage-carrying robot: “FollowBot”
This smart luggage cart, designed by electrical engineering students, follows the user with Bluetooth technology synced to a smartphone. It was designed for parents traveling with kids and strollers, travelers in wheelchairs, and others who need an extra set of hands. The idea is for airports to have FollowBots available for rent in airports to assist travelers as they make their way to the gate, but it could be expanded for use in other venues where heavy equipment is frequently transported, such as convention centers, concert halls and event halls.
“Batpack”: Hands-Free Navigator for Visually Impaired
This wearable system created by electrical engineering and computer engineering students can help visually impaired people navigate around obstacles hands-free, without the need to hold a cane or an assistive-dog leash. The wearable system uses sensors on the back and around the waist that provide vibration feedback. The vibrations get increasingly stronger as the person walks closer to an obstacle.