Seniors Pitch Their Products at Annual Capstone Competition and Earn Cash Prizes
Many graduating undergraduate students at NYU Tandon School of Engineering spend their final year creating, building, and designing their senior capstone project. A culminating project that embodies all of their academic and entrepreneurial skills they’ve developed during their time at NYU Tandon, the capstone provides students a chance to let their talents shine.
At the third annual Senior Capstone Competition and Showcase on May 7, 2018, a select group of students had the opportunity to not only present their final designs and prototypes, they even had a chance to garner cash prizes to support their continued work after they leave the halls of NYU Tandon.
Sponsored by the Convergence of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Institute, the 2018 Senior Capstone Competition featured 19 teams who took over the MakerSpace and guided crowds of students, faculty, and guests through demos of their designs. From the 19, six teams were selected by the capstone competition committee, which includes Industry Professor Michael Knox, MakerSpace Manager Victoria Bill, and Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and CIE Institute director Jin Montclare, to pitch their capstone projects to a panel of judges. The six teams had 10 minutes to present their work and field questions during a Q&A session with the judges, which included Julia Byrd, Assistant Director of PowerBridge NY; Kai Tham, an NYU Tandon alumnus and entrepreneur; Richard Rizza, an NYU Tandon alumnus and President of A6 Technology Company, Inc.; and Lee M. von Kraus, Founder of Nebulab.
Now in its third year, the Senior Capstone Competition fosters an entrepreneurial environment for students to test their ideas and products' viability. The judges’ panel selects the top three projects in the categories of Highest Entrepreneurial Potential, Best Design, and Greatest Social Impact; student attendees also bestow the Student’s Choice award to a special team. All of the capstones featured this year demonstrated the innovative and inventive spirit that our students acquire here at NYU Tandon.
Earning the award for “Best Design,” EXO2 is a soft robotics exoskeleton developed by Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering students Meraj Choudhury and Navindra Sawh. The duo designed a more cost-effective option for current robotic exoskeletons that are used in physical therapy, which tend to be very expensive. “Our project is a lower-limb, physical therapy exoskeleton that uses pneumatic artificial muscles as primary actuators. The primary function of the exoskeleton is to stimulate the neuromuscular system of the user by allowing them to perform simulated or assisted walking,” Sawh explained, adding that the exoskeleton can be used for certain types of paralysis and can help people with limited mobility. With many robotic exoskeletons costing upwards of $80,000, EXO2 would be a cheaper and effective option for patients undergoing physical therapy. Conceived during their Disability Studies course, Sawh and Choudhury wanted to focus on a physical therapy exoskeleton “because of our interest in robotics and bio-mechanics, but also because we wanted to challenge ourselves to create an innovative, cost-effective solution for physical therapy and rehabilitation, Sawh said.
Alexis Zerafa’s project Odmor received the prize for Greatest Social Impact, for her augmented reality (AR) mobile application and wearable that helps people with anxiety disorders. As Zerafa noted in her pitch, over 40 million adults in the U.S. currently experience anxiety, and 2-3% of Americans experience panic disorders in a year according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Zerafa, an Integrated Digital Media major, decided to create a mobile app and wearable ring that uses AR to guide people through breathing techniques in a discrete manner. Users hold up their phone to scan their ring, a flower appears on the screen over the ring, and opens and closes at calming intervals to slow down their heart rate. “While you’ll be able to learn these techniques within a month or two, the app times out, but the ring can be associated with comfort and worn to help you during a panic attack or heightened anxiety,” Zerafa said.
When firefighters enter buildings to combat a fire, or military personnel conduct an operation, they tend to use manual radio transmissions to estimate their locations, but situational factors can cause issues such as heavy smoke. Hoping to help firefighters and other emergency personnel more efficiently and accurately keep track of their team members during a rescue mission, the team behind Wi-Find developed a portable indoor localization device that employs LoRa wireless technology to track and monitor each person over Wi-Fi. Electrical engineering students Alex Concepcion, Nasif Islam, and Eshka-Ne Kumar selected LoRa for its long-range capabilities, which enables their device to transmit data to a remote computer, estimate distance traveled of each firefighter at a specific location, and also track the path history of each individual. Wi-Find garnered the award for the Highest Entrepreneurial Potential, marking their product as a viable and marketable design for the public safety industry.
Named the Students’ Choice at the Capstone Competition, Winging-It is an electric R/C aircraft that competed at the 2018 Society of Aerospace Engineers (SAE) Aero Design West Competition in California. After winning third place at the national competition and 10th place internationally where they competed against 37 teams, the NYU SAE Aero Design Team’s aircraft successfully completed five flights where it excelled at carrying a maximum payload similar to a commercial airliner. Team members Luciana Jaalouk, Eduardo Hernandez Vivar, Justin Talevski, Juhi Singh, Marc Rozman, and Shivam Suleria debuted their aircraft at the Senior Capstone Competition, and it will now be displayed in the MakerSpace for all to see.
Graduate School of Arts and Science
Master of Arts in English Literature, Class of 2018