Seniors go head-to-head with their capstone projects

student examining project

Students taking part in this year’s Senior Design Capstone Contest vied for a share of $3,500 in prizes

Many schools require senior capstones — multidisciplinary projects that showcase the problem-solving abilities and critical-thinking skills that students have developed over the preceding years, as well as their research prowess, proficiency in planning, and willingness to engage in teamwork.

At Tandon, however, capstone projects can be much more than a chance to prove your ability or earn a good grade: they can actually win you cash prizes.

Students who took part in this year’s Senior Design Capstone Contest on May 7 vied for a share of $3,500 in prizes in a variety of categories. The judges — Uriel Eisen, manager of Tandon’s Prototyping Space; Joann Halpern, director of the Hasso Plattner Institute; VR Americas co-founder and CEO Rosario B. Casas, and Lou Auguste, founder and CEO of AlexaPath — were hard-pressed to decide, but after they finished deliberating, the victors included:

Team Smart Mirror (Md Raz and Mohammed Fahim)
Highest Entrepreneurial Potential ($1,000 prize)

The Smart Mirror keeps you prepared, informed, and looking your best and helps you keep your goals, deadlines, and important dates at a glance on your way out the door.

Team Hugo (Htoo Min, Victoria Sykora-Lovaas, Joe Kracz, and Ujjwal Singhania)
Best Design ($1,000 prize)

Hugo is an academic course management platform designed to decrease the workload on faculty by reducing the number of emails received from students. At the core of the platform is an artificial intelligence-fueled chatbot that allows students to ask questions ranging from logistical (where is my class?) to course-related (what is AI?).

Team U Trade Locker (Brian Boyle, Enson Chen, and Andy Huang)
Greatest Social Impact ($1,000 prize)

Convenience . . . delivered. The product provides a combined hardware and software solution for the safe and secure exchange of goods.

Team AERIOUS (Fangni Zeng, William Hsu, Elaine Li, Terry Tong, Benson Li, Joey Wong)
Students’ Choice ($500 prize)

The AERIOUS project is an all-electric aircraft designed and modeled after commercial aircraft today. Built to carry passengers and payload within the requirements of university-level SAE competitions (battery performance, wingspan length, and penalties for empty passenger seating, for example), the project challenged its developers’ knowledge of aircraft design as well their ability to construct an effective, high-performing aircraft.

“This year we had a wonderful mix of project topics,” Industry Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Mike Knox, who helped organize the competition, said. “Tandon students are taught to think creatively about real-world issues and are encouraged to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, and this competition proved the benefits of that approach.”

“Tandon’s Institute for Invention, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (IIIE), its Convergence of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Institute, Design Lab and the Tandon Undergraduate Student Council were all instrumental is sponsoring this year’s competition,” said Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Jin Kim Montclare, who heads the CIE’s efforts. “Our students benefit greatly from working in an atmosphere in which so many resources are at their disposal, helping them to progress from ideation to prototype and even beyond, and their hard work really paid off!”