Engineering Students Showcase Designs

December 5, 2014 | Education, Science & Technology
Rutgers held its 15th annual Design of Engineering Systems, featuring products made by students.

By Michael Hill

At Rutgers University’s 15th annual Design of Engineering Systems, a fully automated soccer trainer that shoots balls at different angles and speeds and a self-adjusting ergonomic smart chair that monitors back and shoulder posture for optimal support.

How about a smart infant car seat? Feed the baby or a disabled person in a car with the touch of an Android app.

“One of the features of the feeder itself is that we have image processing. So, it’ll detect the mouth of the baby to make sure the feeder reaches the mouth of the baby every single time. Additional features include a sound system, a heartbeat sensor, temperature sensors as well as live alerts. The application will have a live video stream of the child and lets say the parent wants to see the child, to look at the back seat, they can just look at the phone and they can see a live video stream,” said senior Palash “Sonny” Rathor.

The original plan was just a feeder car seat, but their industrial systems and engineering professor kept challenging them to do more.

“There is no limit to creativity. There is no limit to what you can think and can imagine. So, the problem is open-ended. We don’t have a solution for you, for it. There is always a better design, a better idea. There is nothing called ‘the best’ and you stop there. So, my challenge to my students always say there is no limit,” said Rutgers Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Elsayed A. Elsayed.

That challenge: teams of four staying within a budget, managing their time and creating projects that solve real-world problems.

“There needs to be an alternative to manual wrapping,” said industrial engineering student Tarek Saad.

So, Saad and his team created a fully-automated gift wrapping machine — after about 1,200 hours. Just load the paper, turn it on and then put your tape on the wrapped gift.

I’m all thumbs when it comes to wrapping gifts. I think a lot of people are. “Oh, of course, especially parents and mothers,” Saad said. “And my dad likes to wrap gifts, too.”

These students, motivated to save lives, built the driver behavior monitor — an unmanned aircraft system, a drone — that detects dangerous driving and assesses risks to other drivers. It’s an aid to law enforcers, so impaired drivers beware.

“If you’re doing anything that our system flags as reckless, then it alerts the user on the ground to notify law enforcement,” said senior Ibaaq Sadiq. “There’s a high percentage of collisions due to drunk drivers — 30 percent — and they exhibit a lot of risky behavior. So, right now, officers are trained to hone in on the different behaviors. So, we wanted to see if we could use the system to automatically do that to further reduce collisions. Having something like this, if it can save a life, even one life it’s something that is very valuable”

Some of these graduating seniors plan to further develop their projects and apply for patents.

The assignment for these industrial engineering students was to create products that make life simpler, more efficient. In other words to improve life and by the looks of it they’re succeeding.