There was nothing usual about the end of the spring semester. Senior Design, the traditional hands-on group lab and capstone experience for graduating EE and CpE seniors, was entirely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent movement to online classes. For ECE students completing their final labs for their degree, it was a real unknown how they would finish the projects that were in already in progress. How, for example, were they to build and prototype their devices from home, without access to the physical lab spaces in the New Engineering Building (NEB)?
A great deal of improvisation and innovation was required. Professor Karl Gugel and staff engineers Mike Stapleton and Eric Liebner quickly moved all meetings with student teams to the Zoom teleconferencing platform. In some cases, soldering and assembly had to be done on site by Stapleton and Liebner, with finished parts being shipped to students. Students in turn, had to ship parts back and forth with their partners. Testing and simulation had to be done remotely.
Despite all the hardships and new challenges, this year’s crop of Senior Design projects impressed our ECE External Advisory Board members, on hand virtually to select the rankings of the final five student projects. Again using the Zoom platform, students virtually showcased their projects, explained the underlying technologies, and described the struggles and successes in completing their work. The results of the judging are below.
|Analog/Digital Effects for guitar w/tube preamp and spring reverb
|Rubik’s Cube AI Mechanical Solution Engine