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Changing the World and Impressing Employers, All by Design

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Changing the World and Impressing Employers, All by Design

April 24, 2015
Seniors will display smartphones for detecting eye disease, GPS for tracking miniature monkeys, crossbows that don't make a sound, and much more at the UA's 13th Annual Engineering Design Day.

Engineering education at the University of Arizona has design embedded in its DNA. Get ready for drones that monitor power lines, robots that deactivate bombs, hypersonic airplane wings, patient-specific aortic stents, 3-D printed wireless antennas, remote energy-efficiency sensors, silent crossbows, on-the-spot eye exams, and tracking systems for tiny endangered monkeys.

Engineering Design Day
Tuesday, May 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Student Union Ballroom and UA Mall

As part of the Interdisciplinary Engineering Design Program, 77 teams of seniors have spent two semesters taking a corporate or UA sponsor’s project from concept to reality. Now they are putting the finishing touches on their projects, some of which will go on to be commercialized, and getting set for the big reveal at the 13th Annual Engineering Design Day.

The public is invited to this popular College of Engineering event, Tuesday, May 5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom and on the UA Mall.

“Engineering Design Day is the best day of the academic year,” said College of Engineering Dean Jeff Goldberg. “This is the day we show the world how engineers improve quality of life by designing solutions to societal problems.”

Design Day Book 2015

And the Winner Is…

Teams demonstrate their projects for faculty, students, industry sponsors, corporate recruiters and professional engineer-judges, competing for cash prizes totaling more than $18,000.

Prizes recognize the best and most innovative designs, student teamwork, and project sustainability. There is even a “fish out of water” prize for students who succeed even after their project drops them in uncertain territory. Winners are announced at 4 p.m.

The prize money comes from a who’s who of industrial sponsors, including Edmund Optics, Honeywell, Raytheon, Sargent Aerospace & Defense, Texas Instruments and W.L. Gore and Associates. (See sidebar for complete list of Design Day 2015 sponsors.)

Download a PDF guidebook describing every project on display at Engineering Design Day 2015

Read the Design Day guidebook online here.

Watch a Design Day video here.

Design Day has a much-deserved reputation as a productive hunting ground for UA talent. Partnering with the College of Engineering on design projects gives employers opportunities to try out students for a year on a real-life project, explore new technologies, and bring back-burner projects to life. Some students leave the event with job offers; others take the entrepreneurial route and launch their Design Day projects as commercial ventures.

Industry partners also gain access to UA faculty expertise and campus resources, like the department of aerospace and mechanical engineering's wind tunnels.

Wind Tunnel Capability Expansions

In fact, thanks to the Aerodynamic Modeling, Measurements and Simulation design project team, the College’s new wind tunnel is getting its capabilities further expanded. 

“We’re building a mount to allow a UAV to turn 90 degrees in the tunnel, keeping the neutral point of the aircraft in the center of the wind tunnel and minimizing interference effects on the edges of the plane,” said mechanical engineering student Daniel Simmons about his team's Raytheon-sponsored project.

Raytheon research scientist and 2013 UA alumnus Aaron Farber has been following the team’s progress.

“What these guys are doing -- taking a five-scale balance and turning it into a six-degree balance -- is remarkable. This piece of hardware will hopefully be used by many teams and many research projects to come in the new AME wind tunnel,” he said. “You read a book, you do the math problems -- it only gets you so far. This is a great opportunity to get the students into a real-world experience where they’re able to understand what all their class and lab work has been going toward.”

Top picture: Senior Design Team 1404 designed an autonomous aircraft for Tucson Electric Power to inspect transmission lines. (Photo by Lauren Jacobsen.)


Slide Show of Engineering Design Day 2014