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A student in a white polo shirt flies a tethered drone outside Old Main at Engineering Design Day

A student demonstrates his team’s drone-mounted pollen dispenser at Engineering Design Day. (Photo: Chris Richards/UA Alumni Association)

$36,250 in Prizes Awarded at UA’s Engineering Design Day 2019

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$36,250 in Prizes Awarded at UA’s Engineering Design Day 2019

April 30, 2019
Top team helps lost hikers find their way home with cellphone app and solar-powered beacons.

Though they dropped their beacon system onto a concrete floor, submerged it in water and subjected it to extreme temperatures, five University of Arizona students won the $5,000 grand prize for their project at Engineering Design Day 2019 on April 29.

The Raytheon-sponsored team created a mesh network of beacons over remote areas that can transmit emergency signals from a phone application to a central location, such as a ranger station. The beacons can survive a 5-foot freefall, 30 minutes under a foot of water and temperatures ranging from minus 40 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. The team, which also won the Prototron Circuits Award for Best Printed Circuit Design, designed the app and a mechanism to drop the beacons from a drone in addition to the beacons themselves.

A group of five students in matching grey polos and a man in a blazer hold up a giant, $5,000 check, made out to "Best Overall Design."
Raytheon's Victor Wagner, left, presents the top Design Day 2019 prize to a team of seniors who built a network of safety beacons for remote areas.

“It’s unreal,” said team member and mechanical engineering major Sam LaMont of the wins. “The second they said our name, it was just all the emotions at once.”

Another member of the winning team, systems engineering major Luis Gama, once got lost on a hike in California and ran out of water himself. It would be much more serious, he said, to face such a situation in the heat of Arizona, where about 600 search-and-rescue missions are conducted each year.

Engineering Design Day brought together 616 students, who worked on 118 industry- and faculty-sponsored projects over an academic year, vying for $36,250 in cash prizes. More than 120 industry judges assessed the projects.

“Be inspired by these young engineers,” said interim Dean Larry Head. “This is the precipice. This is the beginning of some really great things.”

Lifesaving Theme Runs Deep

The top team’s project wasn’t the only lifesaving invention. Winners of the ACSS/L-3 Communications Award for Most Robust Systems Engineering created a wireless body temperature sensor that integrates with implantable medication ports, such as those used by chemotherapy patients.

“Because chemotherapy patients get fevers much more easily than normal people, our sponsor wanted a way to more actively monitor the temperature of the patient,” said team lead and biomedical engineering senior Josh Pace. “The device will detect your temperature and send it to your phone via Bluetooth.”

You just come away from a day like today feeling renewed. I couldn't believe the sheer volume of projects and the diversity of disciplines within each project."

Additionally, the first all-woman prize-winning team in Design Day’s 17-year history created a device that measures the age of bruises to aid in child abuse investigations. They won the Ball Aerospace Go Beyond Award for Pioneering Design. Another group designed a software system for a drone that flies into disaster areas and gathers information for first responders.

“I liked the challenge, and I like the fact that it’s going to be used for humanitarian missions,” said team member Emanuel Inacio, an electrical and computer engineering major. “There are so many things I did while building the software that I had no idea about, so I learned on the go.”

Bootstrapping Fresh Ideas

More than 50 of the judges at Engineering Design Day were UA alumni, including Jay Sampson, who served as a judge for the first time this year.

About 120 people pose for a photo on a large staircase outside the UA Student Union, flanked by red and blue balloons, and against a backdrop of a beautiful cloudy sky.
More than 120 judges, including more than 50 UA alumni, helped select the winning Design Day projects.

“You just come away from a day like today feeling renewed,” said the 1987 College of Fine Arts graduate who went on to work for companies such as Microsoft and Adobe. “I couldn’t believe the sheer volume of projects and the diversity of disciplines within each project. You saw people come together who typically wouldn’t work on a class project together, but they bootstrapped together to do a project.”

Students across the board agreed that senior engineering design projects provide opportunities to put the theories they learn in class into action, and to learn some new skills along the way.

“I have never learned so much in my life,” said Christopher Hughes, an electrical and computer engineering student on a team that designed an electric propulsion system for a scooter. “I would spend entire weekends -- 10-hour days -- surface mount soldering and detecting currents and running motors. It’s fascinating. It’s frustrating. It’s rewarding.”

Inventions With Lasting Impact

Rick Church, an engines and power systems engineer at Honeywell Aerospace in Phoenix, said the team he sponsored, which created a method to measure the temperature of a rotor, took a first step toward a project that could solve a problem the company’s engineers face every day.

Future Dean David Hahn, interim Dean Larry Head and two students stand around a large metal basin of water with a flotation device and an orange flag in it.
David Hahn, left, incoming dean of the College of Engineering, talks with a student about her work on the EMILY rescue robot, while a teammate and interim Dean Larry Head look on.

“We’ll probably sponsor another project next year to continue it,” he said. “It’s fun for them, and it’s cheap for us. They exceeded my expectations.”

Some of the projects hit even closer to home. For example, a team of chemical engineering students created a heat exchanger network cart to replace the decade-old apparatus in the chemical and environmental engineering department. Another team developed a device to repurpose 3D-printing waste, like that produced in places on campus like the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Building’s machine shop.

“We overcame a lot of obstacles and went through a lot of iterations,” said mechanical engineering senior Emma Barrett. “It took a lot of effort, but being able to present at Design Day and show our project makes all the hard work worth it.”

Design Day 2019 Awards and Winners

Raytheon Award for Best Overall Design (First Prize) -- $5,000
Smart Distributed Environmental Beacon
Laura Adelle Brubaker, Benjamen Michael Fletcher, Luis Gama, Samuel D. LaMont, Nicole Muchow
Project sponsor: Raytheon
 
Teledyne Brown Engineering Award for Best Overall Design (Second Prize) -- $2,500
Automated Scale Placement System
Abdikadir Hassan Abdulahi, Erik Jensen, Jeffrey Johnson, Christian Everett Riley, Robert Michael Spanyard, Han Wang
Project sponsor: Caterpillar
 
Microsoft Award for Best System Software Design -- $2,500
Payment Transaction System Using QR Codes
Muneeb Ahmed, Amanda Ruth Chesin, Corey Justin Miner, Sanarya Salah, Benjamin Paul Wodhams
Project sponsor: Microsoft
 
Frank Broyles Engineering Ethics Award (First Prize) -- $1,500
Size, Weight and Power Optimization for Aircraft Cabin Avionics Unit
Ethan Spencer Bolze, Christopher Wayne Canfield, Ryan Brandon Dee, Maxwell Harrison Fraker, Babar Muzaffar Khan
Project sponsor: ACSS, An L3 Communications & Thales Co.
 
Frank Broyles Engineering Ethics Award (Second Prize) -- $750
Mounted Gemstone Weight Calculation Device
Ludovico Borghi, Emily Elizabeth Calara English, Matthew Heger, Meghan Elizabeth Ryterski, Chengyu Zhu
Project sponsor: The RealReal
 
Frank Broyles Engineering Ethics Award (Honorable Mention) -- $250
Ankle Fusion Joint Preparation System
Elizabeth Budiman, Dean DeBonis, Aidan Dolby, Jared Thomas Irwin, Isaac Nathaniel Russell, Jake Snyder
Project sponsor: Paragon 28
 
Bly Family Award for Innovation in Energy Production, Supply or Use (First Prize) -- $1,500
Ten-Kilowatt Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell
Abdulrahman Abdulla O.A.A. Amarzooqi, Kevin Dam, Trevor David Johnson, Nathaniel Rodriguez
Project sponsor: UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
 
Bly Family Award for Innovation in Energy Production, Supply or Use (Second Prize) -- $500
NASA Challenge: Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Glucose
Paul Michael Cuillier, Ryan James Headley, Christina Julianne Loera, Zachary George Batzing Westman
Project sponsor: UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
 
Thorlabs Photonics Is the Future Award -- $1,750
Vehicle Biocular Digital Display Viewer
Ethan Bambauer, Azahel Cordova Arvizu, Ofer Greenberg, Benjamin Jeremy Hall, Cody Tyler Jones, Brian Kellermeyer
Project sponsor: MTEQ Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate
 
Andressen Award for Design Above and Beyond -- $1,500
Greenhouse Smart Watering System
Syntia Bebongchu, Joaquim Hernani Duarte Fernandes, Veronica Paz, Troy Kyle Petty, Eric Romero, Joshua P. Vanderwall
Project sponsor: Bayer Crop Science
 
Rincon Research Award for Best Presentation -- $1,500
Frangible Bearing Support High-Cycle Fatigue Test Rig
Olivia Marie Bernas, Omar Antonio Cintora, Jordan Elizabeth Fowler, Hayden Loftus, Tofik M. Saidov
Project sponsor: Honeywell
 
Roche Tissue Diagnostics Award for Innovation in Engineering -- $1,500
Ankle Fusion Joint Preparation System
Elizabeth Budiman, Dean DeBonis, Aidan Dolby, Jared Thomas Irwin, Isaac Nathaniel Russell, Jake Snyder
Project sponsor: Paragon 28
 
W.L. Gore and Associates Award for Most Creative Solution -- $1,250
Portable Medical Diagnostics in Deep Space
Meghna Saikumar Jayaraman, Christian Jennings, Bo Mcallister, Emily Monroe, Jennifer Ngo, Elle Alexis Stanley
Project sponsor: UA Department of Biomedical Engineering
 
Microsoft Fish Out of Water Award (First Prize) -- $750
Grasshopper Harvester
Devin Patrick Murphy (winner), Savannah Marie Brown, Weicheng Li, Sean Rowlands, Hannah Grace Whetzel, Cooper Austin Wynn
Project sponsor: UA Department of Entomology
 
II-VI Optical Systems Fish Out of Water Award (Second Prize) -- $500
Microfluidic System for Determination of Platelet Stiffness
Patarajarin Akarapipad (winner), Courtney Joy Comrie, Sean Patrick Copeland, Cody Jay Thivener, Benjamin David Weiss
Project sponsor: UA Department of Biomedical Engineering
 
ACSS/L-3 Communications Award for Most Robust Systems Engineering -- $1,000
Wireless Body Temperature Sensor for Implantable Ports
Allison Jane Edwards, Marc Alec Gefrides, Ian James Jackson, Alexys Manring, Joshua Sayre Pace, Matthew Slobodianuk
Project sponsor: C.R. Bard
 
Ball Aerospace Go Beyond Award for Pioneering Design -- $1,000
Bruise Age Measurement Sensor
Samantha Davidson, Alexandra Marie Janowski, Ghazal Moghaddami, Claudia Maria Segura Oroz, Nattakanan Rotwiang, Alexa Marie Shumaker
Project sponsor: UA Department of Biomedical Engineering
 
Cyber Warrior Award for Best Cybersecurity Design -- $1,000
Cellular Secure Video Transmission From an Unmanned Aircraft
Brock A. Berube, Brandon Black, Chelsea Margaret Gorius, Jeremy Robert Sears, David Wesley Stallings
Project sponsor: General Dynamics Mission Systems
 
Honeywell Award for Excellence in Aerospace Electronic System Design -- $1,000
Honeywell Engine Communications Card
Yousuf Ahmed Alamoudi, Alejandro Alvarez, Samuel Howard Bessette, Edward D. Brunton, Hasti Khamsehzadeh, Brian Edward Winkler
Project sponsor: Honeywell
 
Honeywell Award for Excellence in Aerospace Mechanical System Design -- $1,000
Size, Weight and Power Optimization for Aircraft Cabin Avionics Unit
Ethan Spencer Bolze, Christopher Wayne Canfield, Ryan Brandon Dee, Maxwell Harrison Fraker, Babar Muzaffar Khan
Project sponsor: ACSS, An L3 Communications & Thales Co.
 
Mensch Foundation Award for Best Use of Embedded Intelligence -- $1,000
Unmanned Aircraft Control System for Automated Date Pollinator
Bader Mubarak Alzahrani, Rene Amanda Jones, Kyle Norland, Mitzy Amairani Oros, Evan Westman
Project sponsor: UA McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship and College of Engineering
 
RBC Sargent Aerospace & Defense Voltaire Design Award -- $1,000
Large Aperture Alignment Telescope
Madison Jean, Julian Brian Mackenzie, Jose Nido, Jake Spaulding, Michael S. Willey
Project sponsor: Ruda-Cardinal Inc.
 
Technical Documentation Consultants of Arizona Award for Best Design Documentation -- $1,000
Flexible Event Data Recorder
Matthew Abraham Gold, Thomas D. Padula, Chad Michael Ricci, Sierra Breann Rose, Madysen Washburn, Joshua Williams
Project sponsor: Northrop Grumman
 
TRAX International Award for Best Implementation of Agile Methodology -- $1,000
Steampunk Cold Brew Coffee Machine
Christian Michael Frank, ViAnn Thuy Pham, Emily Katherine Schroeder, Amber Jean Wright
Project sponsors: UA Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
 
Arizona Technology Council Foundation Award for Best Engineering Analysis -- $750
Firefighting Unmanned Aircraft
Johnny Ray Aros, Matthew Lewis Avelar, Wesley Ronald Bohult, Melvin E. Garcia, Kenneth Paul McDaniels, Jacob Tyler Nicol
Project sponsor: The New Nose Company
 
Phoenix Analysis & Design Award for Best Use of Prototyping -- $750
Ankle Fusion Joint Preparation System
Elizabeth Budiman, Dean DeBonis, Aidan Dolby, Jared Thomas Irwin, Isaac Nathaniel Russell, Jake Snyder
Project sponsor: Paragon 28
 
II-VI Optical Systems Award for Best Use of Optical Design and Technology -- $500
Vehicle Biocular Digital Display Viewer
Ethan Bambauer, Azahel Cordova Arvizu, Ofer Greenberg, Benjamin Jeremy Hall, Cody Tyler Jones, Brian Kellermeyer
Project sponsor: MTEQ Night Vision & Electronic Sensors Directorate
 
Dataforth Corporation Award for Best Design Using a Data Acquisition and Control System -- $500
Dairy Animal Detection and Environmental Control System
Grayson Ryder Fleming, Karli Marie Kochman, Xinyi Li, Jesus Mulgado, Caroline Schulte
Project sponsors: UA School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences and Department of Biosystems Engineering
 
Honeywell Award for Team Leadership (First Prize) -- $250
Size, Weight and Power Optimization for Aircraft Cabin Avionics Unit
Ethan Spencer Bolze (winner), Christopher Wayne Canfield, Ryan Brandon Dee, Maxwell Harrison Fraker, Babar Muzaffar Khan
Project sponsor: ACSS, An L3 Communications & Thales Co.
 
Honeywell Award for Team Leadership (Second Prize) -- $250
Dairy Animal Detection and Environmental Control System
Karli Marie Kochman (winner), Grayson Ryder Fleming, Xinyi Li, Jesus Mulgado, Caroline Schulte
Project sponsors: UA School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences and Department of Biosystems Engineering
 
L3 Latitude Engineering Award for Best Physical Implementation of Analytically Driven Design -- $500
Large Aperture Alignment Telescope
Madison Jean, Julian Brian Mackenzie, Jose Nido, Jake Spaulding, Michael S. Willey
Project sponsor: Ruda-Cardinal Inc.
 
Prototron Circuits Award for Best Printed Circuit Design -- $500
Smart Distributed Environmental Beacon
Laura Adelle Brubaker, Benjamen Michael Fletcher, Luis Gama, Samuel D. LaMont, Nicole Muchow
Project sponsor: Raytheon