Despite the social distancing protocols of 2020, more than 280 graduating seniors of the College of Engineering and Computer Science spent the year virtually collaborating in teams to create more than 100 capstone senior design projects now being showcased in video presentations.
The Fall 2020 Senior Design Virtual Showcase features videos and descriptions of all 100+ projects on a showcase webpage that will remain accessible to the public Dec. 3–4. The five-minute videos submitted by each team provides an overview of their project and the technical work involved to create it.
Some prototypes offer potential solutions to real-world problems. Others have the potential for commercial development.
Some of the projects include:
- “BrainBeats,” an innovative way to use brainwaves to compose music, created by computer science students
- An autonomous smart boat that serves as another set of eyes during ocean search-and-rescue efforts, created by electrical and computer engineering students
- Low-cost ventilators that could help alleviate pandemic supply shortages, developed by mechanical engineering students
- An optimized manufacturing schedule for their sponsor’s supersonic jet, created by industrial engineering students
Other projects include water purification systems, assistive mobile applications and robots and drones that assist in everything from aerial surveillance or underground pipe inspections to retrieving golf balls.
The students have worked their entire senior year to bring their innovations to fruition – a notable accomplishment given the constraints of virtual team collaboration to design complex systems and solutions that require hands-on prototyping.
The projects demonstrate students’ knowledge and application of engineering and advanced computing concepts, and provide solutions to real-world problems. Many of the projects are industry-sponsored by entities including Boston Whaler, Coca Cola, Mitsubishi, Orlando Utilities Commission, Steelcase and UCF.
Senior design is a required capstone course for most graduating seniors of the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science. The projects represent a significant portion of students’ grades and in many cases is the final step before graduation.
The showcase gives students a chance to present their projects to a general audience to show they are fully prepared for engineering and computing jobs. It’s also a way for employers to meet engineering and computer science graduates about to enter the workforce.
UCF Alumni Judges: A Record Number Volunteer to Help
Adding a friendly competitive element to the showcase, UCF engineering and computer science alumni will serve as judges this semester. More than 90 UCF alumni signed up to serve as judges who will score the projects on a variety of metrics, provide valuable feedback to the student teams, and select the best project in each discipline and Best in Show. Winning projects will be announced on the showcase webpage on Dec. 4.
Because of the virtual nature of the Fall 2020 showcase, more judges have been able to participate compared to previous in-person showcases held on UCF’s main campus. The alumni are professional engineers and computer scientists who are self-employed or work in companies of all sizes throughout the state, from across the nation, and even internationally.
“The competitive aspect of UCF Senior Design has raised the bar on projects,” says Mark Blue ’89 ’08MBA ’10MS, a systems engineer for L3Harris Technologies who has volunteered as a judge for several years. “It gives students marketing skills that they need when interviewing. If you medal, that conversation will be the core of every job interview.
“By introducing a level of competition in senior design, we replicate, in a microcosm, what happens every day in industry. Students who take up that gauntlet will invariably be more competitive and successful throughout their careers. I am very proud of the way UCF engineering students have accepted that challenge.”