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Saturday, September 30, 2023

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The Road to SDSU’s Senior Design Day 2023

Over 80 groups of engineering seniors are hard at work on the finishing touches for their sponsored projects in preparation for the biggest engineering event of the year.
By Melinda Sevilla

For the last several months, Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences Room 200 has been buzzing with productivity.


In one corner, students practice their presentation skills in front of peers and senior design professor Scott Shaffar.


In another, students move heavy metal pieces to their company and faculty-sponsored projects spanning from recycling crunchers to advanced pilot trainer jets. The clock is ticking for May 3.


This is the road to Senior Design Day.


Show Your Stuff


Senior Design Day is the largest College of Engineering annual event. Design Day showcases the exciting and innovative design projects conceived, designed and built by undergraduate engineering students during the academic year.


The students, placed in groups with departmental colleagues or interdepartmental collaborative projects, work together to use the culmination of the technical knowledge they have developed during their time at San Diego State University.


The projects provide the students with real-world experience that involve design constraints, budgets, reviews, and deadlines. Through these projects, our students learn to apply and develop their critical thinking skills, recognize human and societal needs, and design novel, sustainable engineering solutions.


Teams represent senior design classes in aerospace engineering, civil, construction & environmental engineering, electrical & computer engineering, and mechanical engineering. 


The Electric Makos


The mechanical engineering design team, “The Electric Makos,” is working on a car transmission nicknamed the EMTAC, or electromechanical technology assist component. The design, which is to be used by the Aztec Baja club’s car for competition, is said to be simpler and easier to implement due to it being partially mechanical and partially electrical at once. 


“It gives us the reliability of the mechanical aspect, but the tunability and adaptability of the electric component,” said team member Kyle Bona, a senior mechanical engineering student in charge of electronics and controls for the club.


“The biggest problem we’re facing is how to demonstrate the system at Design Day,” said Marcus Good, who is in charge of electronics and controls. “We can see it move but can’t see it function as an active system on the car,” said Stephen Drummy, also a mechanical engineering senior, who is in charge of the 3D printing for the project.


In the meantime, the team is preparing for test review.


“We went to the desert in Imperial Valley last weekend,” said Drummy, saying the team worked on bench testing in preparation for the big day. 


A “LUV” For Engineering


In another lab, an electrical and mechanical engineering design team works on their project sponsored by Masimo - a noninvasive medical device company headquartered in Irvine, California with a familiar CEO: SDSU Engineering alumnus Joe Kiani (‘84, ‘88).


Team LUV Engineering has collaborated with Masimo engineers to design, document, and fabricate a system that emits UV-C light to all sides of various bagged and packaged medical objects for a known and controlled amount of time. 


Masimo uses UV-C light to disinfect finished medical products in a factory-line environment. This project aims to improve the UV-C disinfecting process that is currently used at Masimo by maximizing throughput and enhancing operational safety.


“LUV stands for "Luminous Ultraviolet,” explained engineering senior Micaela Rafael, who serves on part of the mechanical engineering team of the project. 


A Community Effort


As students prepare for the event, the college prepares to invite hundreds of students, community members, industry professionals, and alumni back to campus to celebrate the inventions of the Class of 2023.


College Dean Eugene Olevsky said the success of the event benefits from the support of project sponsors, including ASML, Caltrans, County of San Diego, Dexcom, D&K Engineering, J.R. Filanc Construction Co., Fluidra, Masimo, Michael Baker International, NASA, Nordson ASYMTEK, Northrop Grumman, T.Y. Lin International, and Quality of Life Plus.


“Many of these sponsors are integrally involved with the student design teams and serve as mentors to the teams,” said Olevsky. “This provides meaningful projects of value and instills a professional orientation in the student teams. We appreciate all of our sponsors and their support for the student teams.”



SDSU’s Engineering Senior Design Day is from 1:30-4 pm May 3 in Montezuma Hall and is open to the public. Additional information is posted on the Senior Design Day website.


About SDSU College of Engineering: The college delivers a broad-spectrum, world-class engineering education, combined with practical research experience. The College now occupies five buildings across campus with expansion planned in the newly acquired Mission Valley campus. The Aerospace Engineering graduate program is ranked 50th in the nation by U.S. News, and in the last six years, over 60% of the faculty are new hires and research award dollars have tripled. The college has earned 9 NSF CAREER Awards in the last two years. All departments in the College are in the Top 25 for generating engineering workforce in the US. SDSU Engineering is dedicated to innovative education, discovery, and dissemination of knowledge.