Past Projects

2005-06: Lunar Dust Acquisition Device


Design Problem: Lunar dust is known to have adverse effects on astronauts including lung irritation, joint failure, and abrasion. Task: Find a way to remove dust from spacesuits after astronauts have entered the airlock following extravehicular activity. Results: We investigated methods of dust removal, including polymer coatings and removable films, magnetic and electrostatic wands, and abrasive brushes. Following our research, we concluded that charged bristles used in conjunction with a vacuum would be the most effective design. Since lunar dust is transiently charged electrically, charged bristles excite the dust (attractively or repulsively) and the abrasion of the bristles aid to lift the dust away from the spacesuit. Once dislodged from the suit, the dust is collected on a filter through the use of a vacuum. Clean air from the vacuum is subsequently returned to the airlock and the filter is changed as needed. Figure 1: MoonMaid Final Prototype Vacuum Prototype




2006-07: System Integration of Universal Docking Interface Geometry with Mass Transit Buses


Design Problem: There is currently no universal method of restraining wheelchairs in automobiles and mass transit vehicles. Task: Develop an automated docking mechanism to be installed in University of Michigan Busses which will interface with the Universal Docking Interface Geometry (UDIG) wheelchair system, which is already present in mass transit vehicles. The device must not interfere with restraint mechanisms already installed on the bus, as the UDIG system may not be standard on all wheelchairs. Results: We developed docking device which utilizes a hook design that latches on to wheelchairs, which theoretically increased the ease of use for wheelchair users as the clamping range was much wider. Outcome: 2nd Place Figure 1: Basic Overview of System. A represents cylinder attachment move system. B and C represent clamps moved by cylinders that latch to UDIG system Diagram of bars




2007-08: System Integration of Universal Docking Interface Geometry with Mass Transit Buses (Reinvented!)


Results: We continued the 2006-2007 project by completely a more robust design! Outcome: 3rd Place




2008-09: Design and Feasibility of Implementing Photovoltaic Devices on Michigan Stadium


Design Problem: The University of Michigan (U-M) would like to reduce energy costs and address sustainability concerns on campus. Task: Conduct a feasibility study on the implementation of photovoltaic devices (solar cells) onto the roof of the Michigan Stadium and design an infrastructure model upon which they could be implemented. Results: We identified the requirements to be considered for the ideal solar cell implementation, including cost, durability to weather, expected lifetime, weight, and efficiency. After identifying these requirements, we researched the available solar cells on the market, assessed the candidates with respect to these requirements, and chose to implement UniSolar’s PVL 144 solar cell. Finally, we developed potential solar cell retrofit infrastructures and investigated the potential cost savings and logistical conflicts with these designs Figure 1: CAD Drawing of Stadium Model Design (dimensions in inches) Handdrawn diagram Figure 2: Proposed Design for Photovoltaic Field A Diagram of hose




2009-10: Energy Efficient Spin Pit with Regenerative Braking


Design Problem: Williams International, a world leader in the production of small gas turbine engines, tests its jet turbine engine rotors by simulating peak stress conditions the rotor will experience over its lifetime. This process includes accelerating the rotor from 1,000 revolutions per minute (rpm) to a target speed up to 65,000 rpm and then decelerating it back down to 1,000 rpm and is then repeated 15,000 times. The current system uses an inefficient and diesel-powered air cycle which costs $21,525 per test. This cost is due to extraneous fuel consumption. Task: Design an improved spin pit testing device that utilizes regenerative braking to reduce fuel costs and environmental impact. Results: After completing an in-depth trade study of pneumatic, hydraulic, and electric regenerative braking systems, we chose to pursue a hydraulic regenerative braking design as it is the most energy efficient, low maintenance, and reliable design, and we had technical resources available to us, as the Environmental Protection Agency in Ann Arbor does in-depth research with hydraulic regenerative braking. Outcome: 3rd place Figure 1: Summary of spin pit results indicates that our retrofit hydraulic regenerative braking design will include significant improvements to the current spin pit Table comparing Large vs. Small Rotors Figure 2: Schematic of hydraulic regenerative system for Williams International spin pit Hydraulic Spin Pit Diagram




2014-15: Neurological Skull Clamp


Design Problem: Skull clamps are used during neurosurgery to prevent cranial movement. Neurolock, a team born out of a BME senior desgin group, designed and created a model to improve on the current market of skull clamps. SWE Team Tech collaborated with Neurolock to make further improvements to the design to to increase safety and reliability of the clamp. Task: The original clamp was made out of metal making it unusable in MRI machines. Additionally, the original pressure sensor developed for the clamp was a single circuit and there could be improvements on making this sensor more precise. The team was tasked to find alternatives materials for the clamp, and also to improve the current pressure sensor for the clamp. Results: Do you only want positive results? Also, I should add that I don't remember all the specific here. We 3d printed the clamp (like the parts, but I don't remember super well if we reconstructed the clamp. I definitely remember that it was challenging to rebuild the 3d printed clamp though because we had a bunch of 3d printed screws that we couldn't do much with) The team used a 3d printer to model how a carbon based design would work for the clamp. The biggest success of the design though was the pressure sensor for the clamp. We used an MSP430, a small LCD, and an analog pressure sensor, we constructed a circuit for measuring the load on a pin.




2011-12: Improved Measuring Device for Room Dimensions and Schematic Layout


Design Problem: Pro Way Cleaning & Restoration Inc. is a company that aids residential customers in restoring their homes after devastation, providing services such as water damage restoration, sewage clean-up, model remediation, carpet cleaning, and crawl space clean-up. In general, these services are covered by home owners insurance and therefore it is necessary to accurately obtain the room dimensions and produce a schematic layout of the damaged room. This information must be sent to the insurance company in order for the expenses to be covered. Currently, this process is done by hand, measuring each room with the use of a measuring tape and hand drawing the schematic. This is a time-consuming process and is prone to human error. Task: ProWay Cleanging and Restoration Inc. is looking for a more user-friendly way to measure the dimensions of the room and produce a schematic. Efficiency not only benefits the company’s finances and decreases the demanding labor, it benefits the client. Depending on the room size, a day’s work of measuring can be reduced to a few minutes. Customers can have their homes safe and back to normal quicker. Results: The team will create a measuring device that is capable of collecting data that can be inputted to a program and produce a schematic diagram of a room. The proposed device will measure the dimensions by laser and mechanical means to reduce user involvement. Our prototype consists of a wireless webcam and a laser system housed in a manually rotatable tripod. The pointer projects a laser beam onto the wall to which the distance must be measured. The laser dot will appear in the webcam’s image of the wall as the brightest pixel and using a C++ software program the distance can be configured. This information will be transferred to a computer file so the user can easily input the information into the company’s software and it will be programmed to produce a schematic of the room based on the distances obtained. Therefore, we can conclude that this project was a success. The proposed prototype effectively assists the company in efficiency. This technology is applicable to many other fields including home repair and construction. Measuring devices are used in many places and this project can benefit many people Figure 1: Image of Prototype Camera on mount




2013-14: Automated Tissue Slicer


Design Problem: The process of slicing tissues using a macrotome is laborious, tedious and time consuming. Prolonged use results in hand irritation and monitoring sample size is difficult. Task: Dr. Lieberman, a physician at the University of Michigan Health Systems, asked the team to determine how to automate the process of moving a tissue sample through a macrotome Tissue Slicer. This device is used to slice tissues into intermediate samples that they can be further processed and used for diagnostic purposes. Results: The team was able to determine that motor automation would be the best method to improve the slicer. Using the existing model the team modified the functionality to allow one end to be controlled by motor rotation while the end-piece on the opposite side of the sample slides freely out. The team was able to complete a functional prototype to present at the competition. Outcome: 1st Place Figure 1: Tissue Slicer Prototype




2012-13: Prosthetic Limb Morph Pad


Design Problem: Detroit Engineered Products (DEP) is working to correct improper fit of prosthetic limbs on lower limb amputees. This will reduce injury associated with improper fit. Task: Design a method to quantify pressure of a prosthetic limb on a residual limb and use this data to reconstruct the socket using DEP’s MeshWorks Morpher software Results: The team was able to determine several possible designs selected the most feasible option to produce a functional prototype. Following the production of the prototype, the team moved to the testing phase. Collaboration with a graduate student in the department of Biomedical Engineering was fundamental in helping us obtain test results from an actual patient. DEP was happy with the team’s work and moved to secure a patent with our modified technology. Figure 1: Prototype of prostheic




2010-11: Improved Tree Measurement Device for use in Landscaping Industries


Design Problem: Great Oaks Landscape Associates, Inc. is a landscaping company that provides the installation and maintenance of landscaping designs for commercial and residential customers. Additionally, the company owns over 80 acres of land upon which it grows thousands of trees, which must be periodically inventoried, allowing the company’s value to be assessed. The value of a plot of land depends on the number of trees, the type of tree, and the width of each tree. Taking inventory consists of not only counting the number of trees being grown, but also measuring each tree’s diameter at 6” from the ground using standard hand calipers, which is tedious and time-consuming, and requires the worker performing inventory to repeatedly bend over. Task: Great Oaks Landscape is looking for a more user-friendly way to measure tree diameters. It should be noted, however, that there are over 50,000 potential users for this technology, including landscaping companies, contractors, and customers. Results: The team’s design is a hand-held device and a mechanical interface that can accurately measure the diameter of a tree and record the acquired data along with its GPS location in a spreadsheet for easy analysis. This improved design reduces the time required to measure each tree to 30 seconds per tree from about 67 seconds per tree, which is a 55% reduction in measurement time and therefore a 55% reduction in inventory costs. Therefore, it can be concluded that this project is a success. Outcome: 2nd Place Figure 1: Image of Prototype PBC pipe prototype




2015-16: Facial Recognition for Application Sign-in


Task: Worked with Duo Security on a proof of concept that used facial recognition to authenticate a user and open a wooden door. Two women smiling holding circuit boards wooden box with wires Three women using a multimeter




2016-17: Blowdown Gas Database


Task: Worked with consumers energy to create a database to measure lost and unaccounted for gas from blowdown valves that automatically reports the information via excel file to a Consumers Energy database. People working in lab on computers wires on a pipe woman and man using screwdriver on pipe





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