The Undergraduate Senior Design Capstone Competition is back, better than ever

group of male students displaying winning capstone project

Team members of Built Different display their dual unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is capable of docking and undocking with each other in mid-air,  for use in search-and-rescue operations.

At most schools, senior capstone projects give students a chance to leverage their problem-solving abilities, critical-thinking skills, research prowess, and collaborative spirit. At Tandon, capstones provide all that — plus a chance to win actual cash prizes.

Although COVID-19 restrictions prevented the competition from being held in 2020 and 2021, this year the event was back in a big way, with talented teams displaying what they had learned over their four years of bachelor’s studies and countless hours of hard work.

The judges — who included Professor David Lefer; Frank Vallese, Tandon’s Director of Strategic Partnerships; Adjunct Professor Sara Thermer; and Associate Director of Engineering Technology Transfer Chris Synder — were also called upon to work hard, given the high quality and innovation of the projects, but when the dust settled, two teams emerged victorious:

  • Team Built Different (mechanical engineering students Sebastian Abreu, Ethan Taub, Adam Kang, Charles Xie, JC Guerrero, and Chris Glenn) took home both the Best Design Prize of $1,000 and Students’ Choice Award of  $500. Built Different is a dual unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of docking and undocking with each other in mid-air autonomously, for use in search-and-rescue operations.
  • Claudia Shao (from the Integrated Design & Media program) was the winner of prizes totaling $2,000 for Highest Entrepreneurial Potential and Most Social Impact. Her project, dubbed Ride, is an accessible transportation solution for wheelchair users that provides them with the information needed to reach their destinations with confidence and ease.

student holding certificate alongside capstone judges
Claudia Shao displaying her certificates of achievement

“Tandon students are both deeply immersed in practical real-world issues and highly creative,” said Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Jin Montclare, who heads the Convergence for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Institute and oversees the competition. “It’s a pleasure to see them develop entrepreneurial mindsets and to be able to offer them the resources they need to create projects like these. We would like to thank Dr. Kurt Becker and the Institute for Invention, Innovation & Entrepreneurship for sponsoring the prize funds and making 2022’s Capstone Competition possible.”