Need a six-pack chilled in two minutes, a virtual-reality interactive video game or a head-tracking device to steer a quadcopter? Or, on a more serious note, how about a super high-mileage vehicle, a new smart body-camera for law enforcement, a guide-drone for blind runners, a voice-operated door-locking device or an innovative battery charging station for autonomous vehicle? These innovations, and more, are designs built by teams of senior engineering students at the University of Nevada, Reno.
The engineering students finish their years of study at the University with a class project where they design solutions for real life challenges, create a product and, in many cases, prepare it to be brought to market. Senior Capstone Innovation Day will showcase 59 world-improving projects and 10 presentations developed by 250 students.
Innovation Day runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, May 1 in the Lawlor Events Center Silver and Blue Room.
At noon, students will hear from College of Engineering Dean Manos Maragakis, University President Marc Johnson and well-known engineering innovator Ed Zschau, a Senior Research Specialist in the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education. From 1997-2000, Zschau was professor of management at the Harvard Business School and a visiting professor at Princeton.
The morning is set aside for demonstrations for middle and high school students and the afternoon, from 1 to 4 p.m., will be demonstrations and presentations for industry and the public. Teams with autonomous systems, both ground and aerial, will be flying and operating their vehicles in demonstrations for visitors.
"Our vision is to promote the innovation of our students and faculty, provide them with opportunities to interact with industries and investors, while we also promote awareness to middle and high school students and the public about our college and University," Maragakis said.
All five departments within the college - Chemical and Materials, Civil and Environmental, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Biomedical, and Mechanical - are participating.
Members of the concrete canoe project will share their work and projects will be presented from the GK-12 E-Fellowship program, which partners graduate students with local schools to bring energy-related research into K-12 classrooms.
"Innovation Day is an exciting event for us because it exemplifies our work toward a number of the College's strategic goals, including innovation-based economic development," Maragakis said. "In line with our commitment to providing our students a globally competitive education, we are working to offer them the exposure to industry they need to join the workforce ready to contribute. Hands-on design projects like these demonstrate that our students understand the complexities of engineering design problems and can offer solutions that are developed with industry needs in mind."