Designing smarter traffic lights. Restoring farmlands to wetlands. Printing 3D violins so students in low-income and remote areas have access to instruments.
These are just a few examples of projects UToledo engineering students will present to the public at the Senior Design Expo. The event will take place Friday, Dec. 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Nitschke Hall and the Brady Center at The University of Toledo.
As part of required senior design/capstone projects, about 60 UToledo engineering teams worked with local businesses, industries and federal agencies to help solve technical and business challenges. Students will present their final prototypes, provide hands-on demonstrations, and answer questions about their experiences at the expo.
Caroline Shipman’s five-member team worked on the violin project with the Toledo Symphony and music director Alain Trudel. The group developed and printed a 3D violin, composed of five parts. They wanted the violin to “be as easy to assemble as a Lego kit,” said Shipman, a mechanical engineering senior who will graduate in December.
Shipman has played violin for more than 15 years and says she was excited to combine her passions for STEM and music on the project. The 3D violin costs about $150, as opposed to a starter violin that usually costs $400.
“It was awesome to see it go from concept to holding a physical prototype in your hands,” she said. “To give access to a child who didn’t think they could play an instrument — who knows? One day they could become a concert master.”
Engineers are problem-solvers at heart. The challenges the UToledo students tried to solve with their senior projects could make life easier for manufacturers, homeowners, those with disabilities, and anyone who drives a car. Many of their projects address timely issues such as school security or environmental problems, along with a host of other topics that include:
• Helping the Toledo Zoo recycle grey water created by its splash pad;
• Designing goggles to aid in the remote diagnosis of strokes;
• Creating an immersive training tool to help users learn how to defend against cyber threats;
• Building a fishing rod that will allow a man with limited arm mobility pursue his passion; and
• Designing a speaker/microphone system for a woman with ALS to use near or under an oxygen mask so people can hear her better.
The expo also will feature a high school design competition from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Nitschke Auditorium.
Some UToledo and high school projects address autonomous vehicles. The vehicles have been a focus of a number of events sponsored by the College of Engineering throughout 2019. The final Technology Takes the Wheel program will be held in conjunction with the Senior Design Expo.
The seventh event in the seminar series will take place Friday, Dec. 6, from 8 to 10 a.m. in Nitschke Auditorium. The “Preparing Your Workforce for the Future” panel discussion will be moderated by WTVG reporter Lissa Guyton and feature representatives from AAA, SSOE Group and Sinclair Community College. A Tesla will be the featured on-stage vehicle, and attendees will hear from Dr. Jack Marchbanks, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, and Rich Granger, managing director of workforce development for DriveOhio.
Attendees are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys for the annual Hope for the Holidays campaign. UToledo is partnering with 13abc Action News and the Salvation Army. Rocky and Rocksy will be there to collect donations.