Brian Tucker stood beside a white foam board labeled “UI Flywheel Energy Storage System (UIFESS)” in the International Ballroom of the Bruce Pitman Center Friday. He gestured to the board packed with many years of research as he explained the rotating battery to a pair of visiting high school students.
“It”s an ongoing project done with the U of I,” Tucker said. “It was initially started by faculty, then it was passed to grad students, then it was passed to us for our senior design project.”
Tucker was among the many graduating students within the University of Idaho”s College of Engineering to showcase their senior capstone projects at the 23rd annual Engineering and Design EXPO, presented by The Micron Foundation and Engineering Outreach at UI.
“It”s honestly really fun,” Tucker said. “A lot of people are excited to see the projects, and it”s always fun to share your research with people who are interested.”
Engineering students often work on capstone projects in groups, and each project showcased at the event was a collaboration between three or more students.
Similar to Tucker and the three other students who worked on the Flywheel, Thomas Stewart”s capstone team expanded upon research first conducted at the university in 2011.
For their capstone, Project Ivory, Stewart said UI partnered with the Sound of Idaho to develop a new way to operate a drum set called the Band-Beeston.
“Every year, a team takes it over and updates it,” Stewart said. “We took the drum set and reworked the drive system so it will operate better and can be used by marching bands.”
Stewart said the next phase of the project is developing a remote-controlled piano that can be used by marching bands.
A few tables down from Stewart”s, a large white and blue plane was suspended at an angle. Visiting high school students, UI students and community members gathered around the dynamically-scaled model made by a team of five students, including Benjamin Clark.
While some seniors decide to expand upon research from previous years, other engineering students, like Clark, are paired with a company and commissioned to design a product.
Clark said the model was the product of a partnership with Quest Aircraft.
“A scale model of this plane is half the size of the plane, it”s a half-scale model,” Clark said. “A dynamically-scaled model is scaled by using fluid properties and how it acts in the air.”
Designing a dynamically-scaled model is a more efficient and less expensive process than designing a scale model, Clark said.
“On this model, there”s auto-pilot built in, a fail safe for the controller and a data collector that collects measurements from forces around the plane,” Clark said.
Other projects, such as Robin Rakowski and team”s Janssen Engineering Building Touch Screen Kiosk, were aimed at designing new technologies to be used around campus.
Beyond the project or purpose of the design, Clark said having the opportunity to participate in the event was valuable.
“It”s really nice to be able to have the opportunity to share what you”ve worked on with people and to pitch it to people,” Clark said. “It”s an opportunity that you don”t have in the classroom.”