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May 15, 2013
By Kirstin Swagman
If you've ever burned your mouth on a scalding cup of coffee, Team EverHot has just the coffee mug for you.
The team designed a coffee cup that can rapidly cool a hot beverage and then maintain it at a customized temperature as part of their capstone class in electrical engineering. Their product can bring a hot cup of coffee down to a drinkable temperature about a minute faster than a traditional coffee cup.
"That's a precious minute when you need a caffeine fix," said Team EverHot CEO Russell Fredericks.
"Each year, the CSE senior projects showcase the knowledge, skills and capabilities of our undergraduate students," said course instructor Sergiu Dascalu, associate professor of computer science and engineering. "The students' creativity, innovation and enthusiasm for their projects are, to me, the most rewarding aspects of the course."
Computer science and engineering projects were the result of a year-long course that emphasized the application of modern engineering approaches to software development, culminating in an industry-relevant team project.
"A notable trend is that of creating applications for mobile devices," said Dascalu. "Four of the nine projects focused on this type of modern software engineering: a mobile application version of the Nevada Climate Change Portal, an OCR-based application that reads digital values displayed by GE equipment, a tool that helps users navigate inside buildings and a vehicle heads-up display."
A number of computer science and engineering students designed projects in partnership with local sponsors, including one group that developed an interface for Bally Technologies allowing communication between a web-based game and a casino machine.
Another group worked with the University of Nevada's Brain Lab to develop a graphical interface for the Lab's brain simulation software. The software allows researchers to view a 3D representation of a brain simulation in real time without needing the technical skills to understand existing, highly technical simulators.
"We're allowing neuroscientists to focus on neuroscience," said team member Alex Jones. "The main goal was to make it as accessible and portable as possible while still conveying the essential information."
The group is currently raising money to attend a computational neuroscience conference in Paris where they plan to introduce the neuroscience community to the tool.
The electrical engineering capstone experience is designed to give students a taste of what it's like to work as an electrical engineer, said Department Chair Mehdi Etezadi. Students work in teams to develop a new product, design a business plan around it and create a prototype, all in the course of one semester.
"One sign of success is the fact that all the prototypes worked, demonstrating proof-of-principle, during team presentations," said course instructor Nelson Publicover, an electrical and biomedical engineering professor.
Two of the senior projects were recognized at the IEEE Region 6 student paper competition: Team CodeLock, whose electronic locking system eliminates keys and combinations and gives users secure codes via text message, and Team Dynamic Acoustics, who built a speaker enclosure that dynamically adjusts its internal displacement to make audio frequencies resonate, allowing optimal sound quality with less power consumption.
Team CodeLock won 1st place in the technical paper competition and 2nd place in the design competition, while Team Dynamic Acoustics won 1st place in design and 2nd place in the paper competition.