Events, Featured

Student Design Symposium Showcases Personal Technical Projects

Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

On Friday, January 18, the Student Design Symposium held their second showcase in E5, presenting various second and third year student projects. The symposium was comprised primarily of personal technical projects and pet projects worked on and created outside of class or during their co-op terms, all during their free time.

The main purpose of this event is to provide students an opportunity to showcase their personal projects. The event organizers, Andrew Andrade and Derek Chow (2A and 3B Mechatronics) were assisted by Dr. William Melek and Christina Lashbook, both members of the Mechanical and Mechatronics Department, in hosting this symposium. The goal for this event is to encourage other students and professors in pursuing and creating personal projects of their own, applying what they’ve learned in class to projects outside of class.

A contest was also held during the symposium. Visitors were asked to vote on three projects that they thought were the best, noteworthy, or most interesting. The winners were announced at the end of the symposium.

In third place, Shivani Tyagi (2A Mechatronics) won with her language learning computer program. Her program would present a sound file of a word pronunciation and the user would be asked to repeat back the sound through a microphone, telling the user how accurately he or she pronounced the word. With this program, she hopes to assist people with learning a new language without requiring a teacher to be present to correct their pronunciation.

In second place, Derek Chow and George Cao (3B Mechatronics and Systems Design) won with their gripper and scanner devices. They presented a gripper made with coffee grinds, a balloon, a suction fan, and other inexpensive items. The scanner was controlled by a metallic programmable arm, but also had the option of being controlled using a PlayStation controller. The gripper would be used to pick up various items while the scanner scanned the item to determine what the item was. A more sophisticated version of their gripper and scanner combination could be used in factories and assembly lines, moving and scanning various objects without requiring someone to be present.

In first place, Chris Thiele (2A Electrical) presented various music-related electronics projects. One thing he presented was a DJ Sword, a sword prop that had attached speakers and a functioning turntable mixer. Other projects he had at his station were light blocks (a set of circuit boards that would act as a prop for a costume) and an LED cube, both of which would blink and light up based on audio input coming from an audio device.

The first Student Design Symposium was hosted last year during the Spring 2012 term. The organizers are planning to host more events in future terms, with a possibility of another Student Design Symposium occurring on an A-Soc term. Keep a look out for future Student Design Symposiums, as well as future student pet projects!

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