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School of Engineering

2015 Teams

Capstone IDC | Engineering Service Learning | Mobile App Challenge

Capstone (IDC) Teams (25) | Spring 2015

Team 1 – IV League (IV Pole Redesign)

Sponsor/Mentor: Valley Children's Hospital

Faculty Lead: Prof. Changqing Li

The mechanical design of current intravenous (IV) poles pose risks including poor load distribution and instability when traversing elevator and door thresholds. Current IV pole base designs cause top-heavy imbalances when loads are added along with storage issues. To address these issues, the IV League aims to create a prototype which improves patient safety, transportation efficiency, and storage methods.

Team 2 – Breathe Easy (Aerosol Delivery System)

Sponsor/Mentor: Valley Children's Hospital

Faculty Lead: Prof. Changqing Li

For our capstone project, our group was asked to devise a system that would help ease patient discomfort, as well as medication loss. To come up with an innovative solution to the problem we first had to examine the current system. Once we analyzed the current system we were able to come up with a solution and designed a system that controls the inflow of medication through an electrically controlled solenoid valve. Thus, medication would only flow to the patient on an inspiration of air, thereby reducing the amount of medication is lost within the system.

Team 3 - Ventum (Wind on UAVs)

Sponsor/Mentor: PG&E

Faculty Lead: Prof. Yangquan Chen

Ventum is partnering with PG&E to develop a supplementary methodology to PG&E’s current methane detection protocol. PG&E is currently facing issues with source leak detection due to variable wind speed and direction. Ventum will develop a modular system of sensors that will determine global positioning and wind characteristics off an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for better detecting methane advection.

Team 4 - Desert Shield (Sand Storm Shield)

Sponsor/Mentors: Pelco by Schneider Electric

Faculty Lead: Prof. Venkattraman Ayyaswamy

Due to sandstorms in harsh environments camera enclosures are susceptible to sand accumulation and abrasive wearing which hinders optical clarity. Our product will be able to extract weather data over the Internet and be capable of closing and protecting the enclosure from an oncoming storm. As a result, Desert Shield strives to produce an efficient and quality engineering camera attachment to Pelco / Schneider Electric to protect the camera screen from the harsh environment.

Team 5 – Monitoring Motion System (Pan/Tilt Module)

Sponsor/Mentors: Pelco by Schneider Electric

Faculty Lead: Prof. Venkattraman Ayyaswamy

Monitoring Motion System seeks to provide effective and responsive engineering services to Pelco by Schneider Electric. We will provide a thorough design and analysis process resulting in a security camera mount that is capable of-of basic pan/tilt motion with cost-effective materials and methods.

Team 6 – Water Quality Control (Ion-Exchange Water Production)

Sponsor/Mentors: DWR (Department of Water Resources)

Faculty Lead: Prof. Wolfgang Rogge

In association with the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Innovation and Design Clinic Capstone program at the University of California Merced, the Water Quality Control (WQC) endeavor seeks to automate a water softening process to allow for further purification procedures, particularly a mobile Vapor Compression Distillation Unit. The WQC team holds safety, economy, and efficiency as pillars of its organizational integrity.

Team 7 – Seal Team 11 (Soda Syrup Bag Drip Strip)

Sponsor/Mentor: Scholle Corp.

Faculty Lead: Prof. Anand Subramaniam

Scholle Packaging Company is one of the leading producers of flexible packaging that provides first-rate storage and distribution to highly expansive & lucrative businesses. An Automatic Bag Maker or ABM is the heart of this company; ABM’s 11 & 12 produce soda syrups bags for Coca-Cola. Each bag includes a dip strip, which when inserted into the bag aids the evacuation of soda syrup, using a process known as capillary action. However, the current process of inserting a dip-strip encounters reliability and maintenance issues. Our goal is to provide a redesign of the subassembly for the Scholle Packaging Company that will improve the reliability of their automated bag making equipment in which product conversion costs do not rise, safety measurements are not compromised, and product quality remains impeccable.

Team 8 – Cold Runners (Scrap Reduction)

Sponsor/Mentor: Scholle Corp.

Faculty Lead: Prof. Anand Subramaniam

During the production of the disposable tap used in boxed wine, tea, and other liquids, there is a significant fraction of plastic that is not utilized during fabrication of the liquid-tight seal inside of the tap. Scholle Packaging, a major food packaging company in the area, seeks a solution to this problem for environmental and economic means. To manage the excess scrap, the Cold Runners team has been tasked with finding a way to recycle this wasted plastic back into the process. To ensure effective recycling, a major component of the Cold Runners' analysis will be ensuring that introducing reprocessed material does not alter the characteristics, such as flow properties and color, of the final product. These pieces are generally in high demand, so foiled production runs are not an option. The team is finding a solution that is effective, efficient, inexpensive, and safe without compromising the qualities of the beverage taps. With this solution, the environment and Scholle’s revenue will be greatly benefitted.

Team 9 - Streamline (Monitoring Pneumatic Network)

Sponsor/Mentor: Olam International

Faculty Lead: Dr. Robert Rice

StreamLine is partnering with OLAM International to design a system which monitors the flow of material in a pneumatic conveyor network. OLAM’s Firebaugh Onion Facility uses a pneumatic conveyance system to process their onions, and our aim is to maximize efficiency while minimizing the waste by optimizing the air speed of the system. We will achieve this by utilizing a network of pressure sensors which will monitor the flow and detect potential blockages.

Team 10 – MOTley Crew (Flume Rock and Foreign Catch)

Sponsor/Mentor: Olam International

Faculty Lead: Dr. Robert Rice

Our sponsor, Olam in Lemoore is a processing plant for tomato products. During July- October, the tomatoes are harvested along with material other than tomato (MOT). Olam is currently using an ineffective flume system that can't remove the MOT, resulting in equipment failure. Our mission as MOTley Crew is to implement an automated design to safely extract the MOT.

Team 11 – Hydro Valley (Spillway Hydraulics for Max Flood)

Sponsor/Mentor: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC)

Faculty Lead: Dr. Robert Rice

In this project, Hydro Valley plans to assist the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission with their concern over the Pilarcitos Dam and Spillway. Our mission is to assess whether the Pilarcitos Dam will withstand a Probable Maximum Flood using the Hydrologic Engineering Center’s Hydrologic Modeling System (HEC-HMS) developed by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. The spillway will be analyzed using the criteria set by the Department of Safety of Dams. In the event that the spillway does not provide sufficient discharge, overtopping of the dam can occur, subjecting the dam to fail. Dam failure can potentially damage areas surrounding the city of Half Moon Bay. Depending on our analysis, we will provide possible spillway alterations that will ensure that the spillway can withstand the Probable Maximum Flood.

Team 12 – Optiflow Solutions (Low-Flow Siphon for Environmental Release)

Sponsor/Mentor: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC)

Faculty Lead: Dr. Robert Rice

The San Francisco Public Utility Commission has given our team, Optiflow Solutions, the task to improve the efficiency of the current siphon located at the Pilarcitos Reservoir just 11 miles south of San Francisco. Our team will be analyzing the siphon for loss in pressure head, friction, flow and overall design. We will be using AutoCAD to simulate environmental conditions and build a scaled down model for our presentation. Team Optiflow Solutions strives to fulfill our client’s economical goals while continuing SFPUC’s efforts of sustaining the endangered species below Pilarcitos Dam.

Team 13 – JM Engineering (Electric General Aviation Vehicle)

Sponsor/Mentor: UC Merced

Faculty Lead: Prof. Venkattraman Ayyaswamy

JM Engineering is a team of mechanical engineers working together to plan and design a futuristic electrical plane that will be built in the year 2020 by NASA. The team of engineers is striving towards building a more efficient, reliable and economically friendly electric aircraft. JM Engineering will achieve this by utilizing alternative power sources such as solar power, ion batteries, and fuel cells.

Team 14 – F.A.I.R.E (Personal Automated Flossing)

Sponsor/Mentor: Pearl Family Dentistry

Faculty Lead: Prof. Changqing Li

Flossing daily is a necessary task in maintaining proper dental care. However many neglect the task because it is considered painful and/or time-consuming. Because of this there is a high prevalence of periodontitis, a common gum disease, amongst adults in the U.S. that range from mild to severe. Team F.A.I.R.E. (Flossing Automatically with Innovative Removal Efficency) wishes to design a personalized flossing device that can be easily incorporated into a patient’s daily regimen. We hope that the device can replace the tedious and labor intensive task of flossing with a quick, efficient and safe alternative and in doing so reduce the prevalence of periodontitis.

Team 15 – Knock on Wood Engineering Consulting (Water Source Lumber Drying)

Sponsor/Mentor: Sierra Pacific Industries

Faculty Lead: Dr. Nihal Orfi

Knock on Wood Engineering Consulting Group is working with Sierra Pacific Industries located in Sonora, CA. Sierra Pacific Industries is a distributor of dimensions, timbers, and specialty lumber. Through an innovative design of an external steam generator, Knock on Wood plans to use the treated water steam already generated by the co-generation system to evaporate untreated water retrieved from an on-site ground well or pond. From there, untreated water will be turned into steam and used in the steaming process of lumber. The mission of Knock on Wood is to design an efficient and effective system to reduce treated water usage during the conditioning stage of lumber.

Team 16 – Sweet Mother of Plants (Sweet Potato Planting)

Sponsor/Mentor: D&S Farms

Faculty Lead: Prof. Ashlie Martini

Sweet Mother of Plants (SMoP) seeks to deliver effective and progressive engineering services to D&S Farms. We strive to assess current sweet potato harvesting methods and procedures and implement new strategies of automation to increase efficiency and future-proof the farm.

Team 17 – Solar Waste Solutions (Composting Toilets)

Sponsor/Mentor: Yosemite National Park Services (Steve Shackelton)

Faculty Lead: Prof. Roland Winston

Throughout history, humans have used the sun to dry out livestock waste for fuel or compost on a small scale. However, this process was never applied to humans. Further, this drying process halts at 32F. We aim to expand our tradition, using new technology (the XCPC array developed at UC Solar) to dry vast quantities of human waste in rural, frozen areas like alpine wilderness areas in America, and throughout the Tibetan steppes. The sun will heat baby oil, which will circulate through our oven and radiate heat. This will boil off up 50% of the moisture from input human waste. Our final product will be inert, light, dry, and safe.

Team 18 – A.T.L.A.S. (Turbine Lifting Device)

Sponsor/Mentor: Merced Irrigation District (MID)

Faculty Lead: Prof. Venkattraman Ayyaswamy

Team ATLAS’s (Automated Turbine Lifting Attitude System) goal is to design a method of providing tilt and angular adjustment for the turbine lifting system used at MID’s New Exchequer Hydroelectric Plant. We will be modifying the machinery currently used to install and uninstall the dam’s generator turbine whenever it is in need of maintenance. At this time, the process of installing the turbine is tedious, requiring many man hours to properly align it to within tolerance specifications. With our modifications, we will minimize the installation time, while also decreasing the operator’s risk of injury by automating the process as much as possible. The following two images are of the current lifting system, which does not allow any angular adjustment of the turbine, and of our modified system, which would allow one operator to lift and adjust the turbine to within specifications.

Team 19 - MoonLight (Lighted Bike Wheel)

Sponsor/Mentor: Helios

Faculty Lead: Dr. Nihal Orfi

Every year, there are over 500,000 bicycle related injuries reported in the US alone. Many of these incidents occur at night due to poor visibility of cyclists in both rear and sides of the rider. Our sponsors, Helios, understand the risks of sharing a road with automobiles and believe that bikes should be just as visible as any other vehicle on the road. The mission of MoonLight is to develop and design a self-powered lighting system for the commuter cyclist to increase conspicuity during dim light conditions and reduce bicycle-related incidents.

Team 20 – Great Grapes (Gondola Wash)

Sponsor/Mentor: E&J Gallo Winery

Faculty Lead: Prof. Anand Subramaniam

Great Grapes is dedicated to the improvement and efficiency of the grape gondola (large containers) washing through the use of innovative technology and meticulous designs. Our goal is to design and implement an automated washing system that will improve the grape gondola washing procedure, increasing water use efficiency and decreasing processing time. The system should provide ample water spray on a large enough surface area to remove sticky residue and debris left in the gondola, but also monitor water usage to reduce waste and increase wine quality.

Team 21 – Innovative Invasion (Bag in Box Line Optimization)

Sponsor/Mentor: E&J Gallo Winery

Faculty Lead: Prof. Anand Subramaniam

Founded in January of 2015, Innovative Invasion designs innovative and accessible solutions for production companies like E&J Gallo Winery. We exist to optimize processes and embrace creative minds by providing thoughtful, functional, and well-designed improvements that meet and exceeds a company’s needs. Innovative Invasion is proud to be partnering with E&J Gallo Winery to improve Bag-In-Box line efficiency.

Team 22 – Wrist Management (Wrist Fracture Reduction)

Sponsor/Mentor: UC Merced

Faculty Lead: Prof. Changqing Li

Wrist fractures are a common injury in the elderly and young children. Two methods to treat these fractures are conscious sedation and use of a finger trap traction device. Sedation is expensive and requires patients to be observed under constant watch. Current wrist fracture reduction devices are painful and time-consuming. Therefore, Wrist Management has worked to design a more comfortable and time-efficient apparatus.

Team 23 – Team Phantom (Vivarium Irradiator)

Sponsor/Mentor: UC Merced

Faculty Lead: Prof. Changqing Li

The University of California, Merced Department of Animal Research Services (UCM DARS) serves as a home for the animals used for scientific research. This department also houses an irradiator that opens the door to research with high energy gamma radiation. However, the irradiator's calibration data has been in question due to skewed research results within the Natural Science department. Team Phantom strives to develop a cost effective phantom for UCM DARS as well as provide accurate calibration data and a protocol for future calibration

Team 24 - CatShield (Public Safety Messaging System)

Sponsor/Mentor: UC Merced

Faculty Lead: Dr. Nihal Orfi

The University Of California, Merced Department of Public Safety uses multiple systems to disperse information in the event of an emergency. These in place systems can prove tedious and at times have a delay. During an emergency every second counts. The mission of CatShield is to create a system that not only integrates current methods of information dispersal but also incorporates other methods into one easy step. Our system would increase efficiency and the volume of people reached.

Team 25 - Bioink (Better Bioprinter)

Sponsor/Mentor: UC Merced

Faculty Lead: Prof. Kara McCloskey

Over the past three decades, a variety of 3D printing technologies has evolved that have transformed the idea of direct printing of parts for numerous applications. It is envisioned that application of 3D printing will revolutionize the field of biomedical devices and tissue engineering due to its inherent flexibility in manufacturing complex parts using various materials. Bioink aspires to revolutionize medical research by designing a bioprinter with an ejection system that maintains the viability of printed stem cells.

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Engineering Service Learning Teams (9) | Spring 2015

Get S.E.T.

Faculty Adviser: Professor Christopher Viney

Tagline: Revolutionizing K-12 instruction in Merced County

Our Project

Team Get S.E.T. (Science, Engineering, and Technology) works to with local educators within the Merced County Office of Education (MCOE) to develop supplementary science curricula to support local K-12 teaching efforts in Merced County schools. The educational supplements cover basic math, physics and other sciences and various aspects of technology, such as robotics and rocketry. Team Get S.E.T. designs labs and educational projects that improve learning outcomes and increase students’ interest in these subjects.

Instructional Lab 1

Faculty Adviser: Professor Sachin Goyal

Tagline: Improving user experiences

Our Project

The instructional lab 1 Engineering Service Learning team works to improve student experiences within the Strength and Materials course by improving how lab equipment is used and designing comparative numerical simulations for the labs.

Instructional Lab 2

Faculty Adviser: Professor Gerardo Diaz

Tagline: Next generation solar collectors

Our Project:

The instructional lab 2 Engineering Service Learning team focuses on the design and construction of a next-generation, high-efficiency solar-powered water collector to be used by multiple engineering-heat-transfer labs and UC Merced research groups. The high-efficiency collector could improve efficiencies 40 percent over models in use today. The high-efficiency solar collector will utilize significant technical engineering, commutation, and planning and operational skill sets.

Merit Partners

Faculty Adviser: Professor Tanya Golash-Boza

Tagline: Improving rehabilitation among incarcerated youth

Our project:

The Merit Partners Engineering Service Learning team works to evaluate the successfulness of the Merit ePartners program in improving rehabilitation rates of participants of the Merit program, an e-waste job-skills-development program at the O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility in Stockton.

This student team works to empirically validate the rehabilitation rates reported by Merit ePartners (a 42 percent increase compared to statewide averages), identify the components of the Merit ePartners program that lead to success and develop strategies that will lead to expanding ePartners’ capacity.

The Merit Partners team is scheduled to complete this project in Fall 2016 and will rely extensively on project planning, management, research, technical social science, and technical engineering and policy skill sets.

Community Development Analytics

Faculty Adviser: Professor Alex Whalley

Tagline: Mapping the Economic Development of Merced County

The Merced County Office of Planning and Community Development helps attract businesses into Merced County. To aid in land-use management and the future growth of the Castle Airport Aviation and Development Center, the Community Development Analytics Engineering Service Learning team plans to create a Castle Land Use Management tool aimed to allow users to access vital land-use resource data available at the Castle site.

This project will focus on land-use planning and management, engineering, spatial assessments through GIS, local policy, societal impact and project management. The Castle Land Use tool is expected to be completed in the Fall 2015 semester.

Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve

Faculty Adviser: Professor Martha Conklin

Tagline: Historic windmill restoration

The Merced Vernal Pools Grassland Reserve and the Vernal Pool Reserve (VPR) Engineering Service Learning team are setting out to improve the visibility of the reserve adjacent to the UC Merced campus.

Building on the success of recent projects, this student-led team is conducting the first phases of the windmill restoration project. The team plans to restore the windmill – which helps in ecosystem management -- by 2016.

San Joaquin River

Faculty Adviser: Professor Thomas Harmon

Tagline: Connecting water use and environmental restoration

The San Joaquin River Engineering Service Learning team (SJR) aims to inspire positive change by educating the public on the connections between water, sustainability, and climate as they relate to the lives of San Joaquin Valley residents.

Through a partnership with the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust, the SJR Engineering Service Learning team is designing an interactive kiosk to help inform and educate users of the complexities of managing the San Joaquin River and its resources. The kiosk focuses on public communication, graphic and visual arts, local, state and federal policy compliance, engineering, biological sciences, and project and resource management.

The kiosk project is slated for completion in the Spring 2015 semester where it will be displayed at the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust river house.


Faculty Adviser: Professor Valerie Leppert

Tagline: Combining nanotechnology and science education

The Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net) is a national community of researchers and informal science educators dedicated to fostering public awareness, engagement in and understanding of nanoscale science, engineering and technology.

The NISE Net Engineering Service Learning team works with local educators to create museum quality nano-themed activities used by K-12 and public educators around the world. The current cellular-transport project merges nanoscience applications with traditional cell biology curriculum.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Faculty Adviser: Professor YangQuan Chen

Tagline: Informing agricultural practices through automated scanning

The developing technologies of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are systems with broad applications, from defense to film. The UAV Engineering Service Learning team along with the Merced County Cooperative Extension (MCCE) is designing and implementing a UAV solution to help local, small-scale farmers solve ongoing precision agricultural problems in from pest management that will result in healthier, higher-value yields.

The Pest Identification project uses many technical engineering, public communication, biological, environmental, policy and legal skill sets. The Pest Identification project is scheduled to deliver results in the Fall 2016 semester.

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Mobile App Challenge Teams

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