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Wizard Chess and Water Purifiers

Innovation abounds at 6th annual KIUEL Senior Design Expo
by: Katie McKissick
May 05, 2014 —

On the last day of classes, as students were turning in final projects and studying for exams, senior engineering students showcased a semester’s worth of work for their senior capstone engineering courses at the 6th annual KIUEL Senior Design Expo.

Held on May 2, 2014 in the Epstein Family Engineering Plaza, the Expo presents an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of USC Viterbi’s graduating seniors. There were 28 projects at this year’s event: everything from smartphone applications, video games, energy optimization, wearable tech and more was on display for the public.

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The 6th annual KIUEL Senior Design Expo. Photo by Nima Fotouhi.

In one project, Amber Bhargava, Maxwell Bilodeau and Alden Mitchell created an interactive chess board. Inspired by “Wizard Chess” in the Harry Potter universe, this board uses electromagnets to move pieces across the board for you. Bhargava typed away on the hooked up laptop, and the pawn made its way from one square to the next. “In the future,” explained Bilodeau, “voice commands could move the pieces, and people could play a game of chess while in different cities.”

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Wizard Chess. Photo by Nima Fotouhi.

At another table, a smartphone-controlled car was wirelessly charging under a small solar-powered cover. Jordan Altaras, Stephen Collins and Brian Miles created this project called Nikola Solaris SX. To begin charging, the car battery must align with an electromagnet, at which point the car lights up to indicate it’s charging. We could see a similar set up in our garages in the future: an electromagnet on the floor that wirelessly charges our electric cars with energy harvested by solar panels.

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Nikola Solaris SX. Photo by Nima Fotouhi.

Down the next aisle, Angela Bullon and Anjali Daniels showed off the MÜV Water Purifier. Intended for hikers and backpackers, this device sterilizes water with a UV-C bulb inserted into a water bottle. Its power source is equally impressive: rather than using a battery, this device is equipped with a kinetic energy harvesting system, which means it gets charged by the movement of the hiker. Also on the team are Kathryn Fries and Kathryn Masci.

MÜV Water Purifier. Photo by Katie McKissick.

Update: May 15, 2014
The winners were announced at the USC Viterbi Undergraduate Awards on May 14, 2014.

1st Place
Happen (CSCI 477)
Team Members: Sam Couch, Spencer McClure, Kalyn Nakano, Jack Okerman, Kevin Sui, Jay Whang

2nd Place (tie)
That's a Wrap: Compression Therapy Feedback System (BME 405)
Team Members: Erica Chiu, Preksha Daga, Juliet Schwartz, Kazuki Teranishi, Julian Trejo-Sheu

2nd Place (tie)
The Maestros (CSCI 491)
Team Members: Sumukh Anand, Gagan Basandra, Jean Canellas, Justin Chen, Brian Choi, Ryan Choi, Veronica Chu, James Corcoran, Alex De Bont, Calvin Drake, Andre Duvoisin, Andrew Erridge, Graham Hawes, Taylor Hellam, Min Htet, Davey Jarrell, Kevin Kim, Conrad Kurth, Tianyu Lang, Cameron McClees, Anthony Ruff, Nick Ruff, Sean Saleh, Evan Stern, Megan Sullivan, Justin Tang, Kethan Tellis, Ali Timnak, Kevin Wong, Albert Yue, Izaaz Yunus, Ben Zhang, Tiffany Zhang, Yingbao Zhu

Fan Favorite
Precision Object Tracking Using Triangulation from Multiple Pan/Tilt Cameras (AME 441)
Team Members: Montgomerie Steele, Daniel Buecker, Jordan Thayer, Katie Will