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Capstone Projects Show Off KIUEL Ingenuity

Seniors present original research on real-world problems to industry judges in the Quad

May 17, 2012 —

Senior year for some Viterbi students is a chance to create original projects, dealing with real-world problems and issues in “Capstone Classes” — and then to present them to fellow students, faculty and industry judges in the Archimedes Plaza near the end of the year.

First prize winners: "Thrust Augmentation of a Solid Rocket Motor by Means of Inert Gas Injection" by William Murray, Sarah Hester and Steven Leverette (not shown).
The exhibits this year took place Friday, April 27, with 15 teams from five departments showing off their work.

For the last couple of years, through the initiative of the Division of Engineering Education, the capstone design courses have been encouraged to center their efforts along themes, such as assisting the disabled. With the encouragement and support of the Klein Institute for Undergraduate Engineering Life (KIUEL), capstone courses connect student problem solvers with government offices, community groups and businesses.

Participating capstone classes this year and professors included AME 481, “Aircraft Design” (Mark Page), BME 405 “Measurements and Instrumentation”, Jean-Michel Maarek, CSCI 477 “Design and Construction of Large Software Systems, David Wilczynsk, EE 423 Loudspeaker and Sound System Design, George Augspurger, and ISE 495 “Senior Project Design” F. Stan Settles,

The research spanned a wide gamut from a program to teach sign language using game body-observation monitors (“Learn to Sign”) to “Omnidirectional Loudspeakers” to a project to connect the Department of State with international audiences using applications (apps) that can be tailored based on location, need and language (Apps@State).

Three separate teams from AME tackled the problem of how to optimally design a jetliner based on using liquid hydrogen (with zero carbon emissions) as the fuel; while a BME team created a program for “Runners Gait Analysis.”

The KIUEL Senior Design Expo is an opportunity to present these projects to the larger Viterbi community, and to celebrate student accomplishments.

The judges for this year all came from industry, led by Neil Siegel – an alum who recently returned to USC to earn a Ph.D. from Barry Boehm – and also

BACK:Jinson Yu, John Harrison,  CO-ABODE'S Carmel Sullivan, Christoper Casebolt, FRONT Kairat Kopbayev.Harrison Boppell , Michael Hergenrader, Harrison Boppell. NOT SHOWN  Cynthia Lee, Sina Rezaimehr, Kai Wen
including fellow Grumman executives Shi-Ping Hsu and Barry Press, along with Neal Gaborno of the Raytheon Company, and Steven Acevedo of Regatta Solutions.

The winners were announced May 8 at the undergraduate awards ceremony. First place went to Thrust Augmentation of a Solid Rocket Motor by Means of Inert Gas Injection by Sarah Hester, Steven Leverette, and William Murray, a way of using what would be waste heat produced by a rocket motor to heat up injected nitrogen adding mass and therefore thrust to the material ejected from the nozzle.

Second place went to a LAPD Deployment Web Application, a means to use computer planning resources to help police officers schedule operations, now an extremely complex procedure that takes senior leaders substantial time. Ryan Ball, Ryo Chiba, Michelle Forcier, Rayvionne French, Kiwan Kim and Chris Kirk devised the application.

Third place, and also the popular choice award winner, chosen by staff, faculty and students visiting the quad, went to CoAbode Time Dollar Network, a way of having employed single mothers share scarce time with each other to take care of children, chores and other responsibilities. The large team working on this included Harrison Boppell, Christoper Casebolt, Harman Goei, John Harrison, Michael Hergenrader, Kairat Kopbayev, Cynthia Lee, Sina Rezaimehr, Kai Wen, and Jinson Yu.

Organizers of the event were Christine D’Arcy (Assistant Director, Student Engagement & Support Programs), Jenny Vazquez-Akim (Associate Director, Student Engagement & Support Programs), and Yakshita Desai (Graduate Assistant, Student Support Programs).