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550 students prepare for Design Day

Nov. 25, 2019

Design Day set for Friday, Dec. 6, in the MSU College of Engineering

More than 550 students will participate in Design Day on Friday, Dec. 6 – the highlight of the academic semester in the Michigan State University College of Engineering. Hundreds of students will showcase their technical, creative, and team-building skills to solve real-world challenges.

More than 550 students will showcase their projects on Design Day on Dec. 6. Projects will include a stamping mechanism created by Jacob Bruner, Audrey Schroeder, Matthew Rightor, and Megan Weiss.
More than 550 students will showcase their projects on Design Day on Dec. 6. Projects will include a stamping mechanism created by Jacob Bruner, Audrey Schroeder, Matthew Rightor, and Megan Weiss.

Design Day runs from 8 a.m. to noon in the Engineering Building, 428 S. Shaw Lane, East Lansing, with awards presented at 1:15 p.m. in Anthony Hall Room 1281. Design Day is free and open to the public.

Design Day Executive Director Wayne Dyksen, who is also a professor of computer science and engineering, said the College of Engineering builds design experiences into the engineering curriculum for all students.

“Design Day has evolved into the premier undergraduate event of the semester in the College of Engineering,” Dyksen said. “Our students show off what we do in MSU Engineering and how we do it.”

This fall’s Design Day incorporates projects from six degree programs and eight courses involving 552 students on 143 teams. The 15-week capstone course, which is required for graduation, provides a platform for students to apply the knowledge and experience gained throughout their engineering education at MSU, Dyksen explained. Working in teams of four or five, seniors put their best efforts into solving real-world problems for big and small companies, and present their products at Design Day.

Design Day on Friday, Dec. 6, is free and open to the public in the Engineering Building.
Design Day on Friday, Dec. 6, is free and open to the public in the Engineering Building.

Fall 2019 Design Day by the numbers
• 552 students
• 143 teams 

Capstone projects represent:
• 353 students
• 69 teams
• 53 Michigan-based companies and institutions (86 percent)

Pre-college outreach programming includes:
• 4 high schools, plus Women in Engineering
• 160 students in grades 9th-12th
• 25 teachers

Design Day Awards Ceremony
1:15 p.m., Anthony Hall Room 1281
• 11 awards conferred to top Design Day teams
• Judges include faculty and corporate representatives

Background on Design Day
• Six undergraduate degree programs represented this fall: civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, environmental engineering, and mechanical engineering.
• Twice yearly event on last day of fall and spring semester (before finals week)
• 26th Year for Design Day (initiated in 1994 by the Department of Mechanical Engineering) 

See the team members and their projects in the Fall 2019 Design Day project booklet. 

Some of the projects include:

ERP Air Force: Drone elephant recognition and tracking
Evolutio, a group of technology professionals, asked students to develop a drone elephant recognition and tracking application for the non-profit organization Elephants, Rhinos and People (ERP). The application will assist ERP with elephant recognition and predictive elephant tracking on the Dinokeng Reserve in South Africa. The application removes the need to manually analyze video footage, saving ERP hundreds of hours of time. Predictive tracking allows pilots to create flight paths that maximize the chance of flying over elephants, allows rangers to be deployed to the correct location for checkups or, in the case of an active poacher situation, to confront the poacher. The web dashboard is built with VueJS interfacing with a Python Flask RESTful API. Detection of elephants uses a YOLOv3 model. A recurrent neural network uses GPS collars to predict elephant movement.

United Airlines training scheduling and optimization
Students created a Training Scheduling and Optimization System web app for United Airlines to train personnel and schedule instructors, students, and courses across the country. This Design Day optimization project allows a scheduler in United’s Technical Operations to input a given time frame, a set of classes, and a set of locations. The optimizer then recommends an optimal schedule, including instructor and classroom assignments. The web app is built with ASP.NET Core, Angular 8, Node.js, an Entity Framework, and an Azure SQL database. The web app is hosted as an app service on Azure Cloud Platform.

Autonomous mowing and snow removal
MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities Landscape Services Department challenged a capstone team with creating a functional safety plan for MSU’s first SnowBot Pro, an autonomous vehicle that has the ability to perform snow removal and lawn mowing independently. A testing plan with multiple scenarios, objects, and conditions was created and executed to statistically evaluate the safety of the robot. The plan will be sent to MSU Risk Management for review. MSU’s Landscape Services mows 1500 acres of greenspace in the warm months and maintains 57 lane miles of roadways, 220 acres of parking lots, 113 miles of sidewalks and seven parking garages during winter. See video. 

Autonomous vehicle sensor integration
In 2017, the Society for Automotive Engineering, in partnership with General Motors, invited eight universities to participate in the AutoDrive Challenge - a three-year cycle of design, creation, and competition of an autonomous Chevy Bolt. For Design Day, a capstone team was tasked with designing weatherproof enclosures and thermal resistant mounts that are capable of resisting everyday environmental hazards such as bumps, debris, acceleration, and various weather conditions. The final design effectively provided dependable mounting to the vehicle with minimal vibrational impact considering the system’s operations and any automotive environment. Weather resistant materials were used.

Read more on Design Day at MSU Engineering. For more information, contact Wayne Dyksen (dyksen@msu.edu) or Jill Bielawski (bielawsk@msu.edu).