Senior Design Expo 2015

The Columbia Engineering 2015 Senior Design Expo was a great success! The event showcased the work of undergrads from various Columbia Engineering departments. Read the full story and view the slideshow, and be sure to check out all the participants from last year's Expo!

Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics

Synthesis of PbS Quantum Dots and Their Size-Dependent Optical Properties

Robyn Ridley
Advisor: Prof. Irving Herman

The size-dependent properties of semiconductor nanoparticles, also called quantum dots, offer a wide variety of potential applications in devices such as solar cells, lasers, and sensors. To fully investigate these properties and utilize semiconductor nanoparticles in such applications, it is necessary to have highly repeatable synthesis methods resulting in monodisperse samples of quantum dots. This project demonstrates repeatable methods to synthesize highly monodisperse samples of PbS nanoparticles involving the thermal decomposition of an organometallic lead precursor, incitation of a rapid nucleation event by injection of a sulfur precursor, and growth controlling surfactants at high temperatures. Optical properties, such as the absorption and photoluminescence, of the synthesized PbS nanoparticles are measured using FTIR and spectrometry. Nanoparticle size is determined by the use of transmission electron microscopy (TEM). An analysis of the relationship between PbS quantum dot optical properties and size is carried out using the measurements obtained from these methods.

Click image to enlarge

Laser Crystallization of Zinc oxide Thin Films

Joseph W. Eun
Advisor: Prof. James Im

The primary purpose of this project was to determine and understand the effects of laser crystallization and temperature on Zinc oxide thin films, and to find regions at which the thin film underwent a phase transition and minimize cracking and ablation. My investigation involves a series of experiments (at various energy densities and temperatures) and observations using various modes of optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, etc.

Click image to enlarge

Benchmarking of Dectris Mythen 1K Strip Detector for Pair Distribution Function Analysis of Synchrotron Diffraction Data

Karim Tanju Mukaddem
Advisor: Prof. Simon Billinge

The Mythen 1K Strip Detector from Dectris is an x-ray detector that promises, among many other features, an excellent signal to noise ratio. The purpose of this project is to determine the suitability of the Mythen 1K for atomic pair distribution function (PDF) analysis of synchrotron powder diffraction data and to identify the challenges and advantages that come with it. The project entailed the collection and processing of data from samples with known structures using this detector and benchmarking the obtained PDFs.

Click image to enlarge

Understanding Load Transfer in Steel Suspension Bridge Cables though Pullout Testing and Neutron Diffraction

Srishti Goel
Advisor: Prof. Ismail C. Noyan

Suspension bridges are a vital part of the world's transportation infrastructure. Many of them, located in heavily populated areas (such as New York City), are also irreplaceable due to economic constraints. Therefore, it is critically important to have an understanding of load transfer in the cables of the bridge to best optimize maintenance and repair practices. While these practices currently have a solid theoretical basis, there is very little actual experimental data to support them. In this small portion of a much larger endeavor, I conducted a series of tests to understand the effects of novel geometries on load transfer in standard seven-wire bridge cable specimens. I was also able to be part of a deployment to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, SNS, during which the team conducted experiments using neutron diffraction to determine the effect of wire twist on load transfer in a standard seven-wire specimen as well as mapped the effect of clamping on wire interactions in a nineteen-wire sample.

Click image to enlarge

Maximization of Third Harmonic Generation in Few Layer Graphene

Christopher Florencio-Aleman
Advisor: Prof. Richard Osgood

Graphene has been a subject of immense interest as of lately but most research is dedicated to studying its electronic and mechanical properties. Graphene also displays promising optical properties suitable for photonic applications. This project seeks to explore the nonlinear optical properties of graphene and the ways in which it can increase the energy of light that it interacts with as a result of increasing the number of graphene layers present in the medium. As the medium increases in layers of graphene, its properties change such that they are desirable for certain photonic applications. The variation in layers changes the electronic structure of the material, which is the main determinant of its optical response. This project sought to find the number of layers at which graphene maximizes its nonlinear optical response as well as creating a model that describes that point.

Click image to enlarge

Laser Induced Phase Transformation of ZnO substrate and SiO2 buffer on a Silicon Wafer

Laticia Lee
Advisor: Prof. James Im

The ultimate goal of this project is to figure out properties of ZnO substrate and SiO2 buffer on silicon wafer and use those results to build better smartphone screens and for a variety of other applications.

Click image to enlarge


Biomedical Engineering


Alan Zhao, Kelly Liu, Naureen Ghani, Paul Chang
Advisor: Prof. Paul Sajda

Childhood absence seizures are characterized by a sudden loss in awareness and eye fluttering (~3 blinks per second). These seizures are brief (~2-10 seconds) but can occur up to hundreds of times per day, impairing child’s ability to pay attention during school or other daily activities. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, 45,000 children under the age of 15 develop epilepsy every year; 10-17% of these children are afflicted by absence epilepsy. Currently, neurologists use self-reported seizure occurrence data provided by families. However, the frequency of seizure occurrences is often underestimated, which leads to difficulties in achieving the correct medication dosage and tracking of epilepsy progression. To address this, AbsTrack has developed a portable electroencephalography (EEG) module and eye-tracking device for seizure monitoring. This combination provides families and clinicians with accurate, ongoing, at-home detection of absence seizures that does not interfere with a child’s normal activities.

Click image to enlarge


Christine Chen, Liane Darson, DeAnalisa Jones, Colette Woo
Advisor: Prof. Clark Hung

Spasticity, or stiffness in the muscles, is the defining physical symptom of CP, which requires physical therapy from a young age to attain and maintain mobility. Research shows that regular physical therapy, including at-home exercise regimens, can help children reach developmental milestones. However, it is challenging for caregivers to administer and monitor home exercises in a manner that is engaging, particularly for young children with CP. CerePlay brings a system that encourages active play therapy for children affected by CP while tracking exercise compliance. Our system allows the user to perform prescribed physical therapy exercises by playing interactive games. CerePlay provides a seamless integration of the home and the physical therapist’s office with a user-friendly interface for patients and self-generated reports for tracking exercise performance.

Click image to enlarge


Morgan Caglianone, Noyan Songur, Meredith Venerus, Byron Weiss
Advisor: Prof. Nicolas Chbat

In the United States, approximately 370,000 people have received transfemoral amputations. During the fitting of a prosthetic leg, it is important that the prosthesis is properly aligned both for static (standing) and dynamic (walking or running) conditions. Misalignment can result in discomfort, instability and compensatory gait habits, which can lead to chronic musculoskeletal damage. Traditionally, dynamic alignment is achieved through the prosthetist’s visual evaluation of gait and patient feedback. However, the accuracy of alignment achieved during a fitting appointment is limited by both prosthetist and patient subjectivity and the variability of patient gait habits over time. DynAlign provides an objective method to dynamically align leg prosthetics. Our device integrates pressure measurements within the socket with on-board motion tracking of the leg, providing a quantitative representation of transfemoral amputee gait habits not only in the prosthetist’s office, but in everyday life.

Click image to enlarge


Daniel Huang, Jason Suh, Shawn Thomas, Jennifer Xiong
Advisor: Prof. Barclay Morrison III

The U.S. military reports over 1,500 annual cases of heat illness attributable to dehydration. Military personnel are particularly prone to hydration-related issues due to extreme heat in field settings, heightened physical activity, inability to judge the severity of dehydration, and lack of continued water access. Even mild dehydration, characterized by 1% fluid loss, can impair cognitive abilities and physical performance that can have fatal consequences on the battlefield. Because one soldier’s dehydration can affect the performance of an entire unit, measures must be taken to ensure that every soldier is operating without impairment. To combat dehydration in field settings, Hydrassistant has developed a device that analyzes saliva as a biomarker for dehydration diagnosis. Our innovative design combines portability, accuracy, and noninvasiveness, making it ideal for military use.

Click image to enlarge


Daniel Campo, Ankita Gore, Willem Prins, Brian Zuckerman
Advisor: Prof. Elizabeth Olson

Noise induced hearing damage is one of the most prevalent causes of long term disability in U.S. veterans. In 2013, the U.S. Veterans Association provided compensation to over two million individuals for hearing loss. Noises as low as 85 dB can damage hearing, yet soldiers are often exposed to sounds above 140 dB from gunshots, explosions, engine noise, etc. While devices exist that provide hearing protection, they often non-selectively reduce all sound, and therefore compromise a soldier’s ability to discern what is occurring in the surrounding environment. As a result, soldiers often forgo hearing protection to retain situational awareness during field activities or combat. The MilitEar device enhances hearing protection through use of passive acoustic dampening in conjunction with dynamic compression that selectively attenuates loud noises. Initial testing demonstrates that the MilitEar device can successfully compress incoming audio in near real-time, reducing the dangerous sound levels to manageable levels while retaining situational awareness.

Click image to enlarge


Alan Czemerinski, Sandeep Palepu, Shruthi Nammalwar, Molly Karna, Wilson Ho
Advisor: Prof. Samuel Sia and Dr. Ravi Kiran

Approximately 1.8 million patients worldwide have undergone ostomy surgeries. In this procedure, the intestine is transected and redirected outside the abdomen through an opening called a stoma. Waste output is collected in ostomy bags, which adhere to the abdomen over the stoma and must be changed 2-3 times weekly. Leakage is a common complication that occurs with ostomy bag use and can lead to severe skin irritation and discomfort. The OstoCare Continence Device is an insertable ostomy bag coupler that prevents leakage during use and bag changing. The device consists of: a tube inserted into the stoma with an inflatable cuff that creates a secure seal within the intestine; a valve that prevents leakage during bag changing; and a flat wafer that improves adherence with ostomy bags to the irregular surface of the abdomen. Our device is easy-to-use, comfortable, affordable, and compatible with current ostomy bag systems.

Click image to enlarge


John Brady, Daniel Martinez, Shoshana San Solo, Stephanie Wells, Manali Yavatkar
Advisor: Prof. Andreas Hielscher

Currently 320,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears occur each year, of which 100,000 require reconstructive surgery. Despite enhanced surgical and postoperative rehabilitation techniques, a patient's risk of sustaining a second ACL tear within one year remains 16 times greater than individuals without prior injury. Much of the risk of re-injury is mitigated by proper and complete rehabilitative activity. Current rehabilitation methods are largely qualitative in nature; completion of a rehabilitative regimen is an inaccurate indicator of return-to-sport readiness. Given the high incidence of re-injury, there is a need for quantitative assessment of rehabilitation. QSport has designed a wearable device that measures leg muscle activity and knee angles, which objectively and accurately determines if a recovering ACL patient is physically ready to resume activity. This system will allow therapists/trainers to more accurately determine patients’ progress as they strive to return to their sport.

Click image to enlarge


Tolulope Akinade, Kathleen Atkatsh, Christina Boldosser, Clarice Zhou
Advisors: Prof. Henry Hess and Dr. Pasquale Casale

Ureteral stents are tubes that are cystoscopically placed in the ureter to maintain its structural integrity and patency. Each year in the U.S., an estimated 92,000 urologists use ureteral stents to ease kidney stone passage, treat ureteral strictures, or otherwise prevent or treat ureter blockage. One key problem with ureteral stents is recurrent encrustation due to calcification and adsorption of proteins to the stent surface. Current stents have a 47.5% and 91.5% incidence of encrustation after 3 and 6 months, respectively. Stent encrustation leads to complications such as stent fracture, ureter blockage, pain, and difficulty removing the stent. Our product, ResiSTENT, consists of a ferromagnetic sheath that can be translated along a stent as directed by an externally applied magnetic field, noninvasively removing encrustation from the stent surface. Used at regular intervals, our product can prevent encrustation and its concomitant complications.

Click image to enlarge


Siqi Cao, Andrew Jin, Timothy Tang, Albert Zhou
Advisor: Qi Wang

Lower back pain is amongst the most common reasons for doctor visits: Americans annually spend $80 billion treating this health issue. Poor posture is one of the leading causes of lower back pain, straining the abdominal muscles, shifting excessive pressure onto spinal ligaments and discs, and destabilizing the spine by redistributing the pressure unevenly across its length. It has been shown that good posture can partially alleviate nonspecific lower back pain. We have designed a portable, comfortable and wireless solution that assesses the user’s posture by monitoring critical spine angles. The system can alerts a user when their posture is poor and informs them on how to correct posture to prevent or reduce back pain. Initial testing has shown that SpineAlign is effective in reporting accurate angles from different locations along the back, making this a viable approach to alleviating lower back pain due to poor posture.

Click image to enlarge


Chemical Engineering

Aveeno Hand Cream Reformulation: A Shift Towards All Natural

Siphelele Mhlanga, Andrew Ryder, Andrew Tolbert, Emma Wagnon
Advisors: Prof. Venkat Venkatasubramanian, Dr. Euen Gunn (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Co.) and Dr. Kevin Joback (Molecular Knowledge Systems, Inc)

Dodecylhexadecanol is a synthetic surfactant in Aveeno’s Skin Strengthening Hand Cream. Unfortunately, as a petroleum derivative, it is considered by many consumers to be “unnatural” and potentially harmful. While dodecylhexadecanol can be synthesised from natural ingredients, the processing of these ingredients is far too complex for the final product to be considered natural as well. Thus, to find an efficacious replacement for this ingredient in the Aveeno formulation, five candidates were selected based on their structure and hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (HLB). All of the candidates were also deemed to be obtainable from natural sources. The feasibility of these candidates was then evaluated by comparing the HLB, critical packing parameter, melting point, and cost to that of dodecylhexadecanol. The recommended replacement, stearyl oleate, is a cost-effective solution that will maintain the product’s efficacy, and unlike the other candidates it possesses all of the required characteristics. Most significantly, unlike dodecylhexadecanol, stearyl oleate can be marketed as a natural ingredient, as it can be synthesized in 3 steps from sunflower seeds. With future laboratory investigation, stearyl oleate can be incorporated into Aveeno’s hand cream formulation enabling the product to benefit from the economic advantages of all natural marketing.

Click image to enlarge

Aveeno: A Problem of Natural Selection

Su Anne Lee, Kopano Ramsay, Jonah Richard, Nicole Riddle
Advisors: Prof. Venkat Venkatasubramanian, Dr. Euen Gunn (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Co.) and Dr. Kevin Joback (Molecular Knowledge Systems, Inc)

Aveeno prides itself as a brand which works to “Discover the most effective Active Natural ingredients sourced from nature … to deliver real skin care benefits for healthier, more beautiful skin”. However, the Aveeno Active Naturals Hand Cream contains Dodecyhexadecanol, which is not naturally derived. Our team worked to identify possible alternatives to replace dodecylhexadecanol whilst ensuring that a lamellar structure is maintained. The team identified three alternatives to dodecylhexadecanol: Olivem 1000, Cholesterol, and Beeswax, as well as a process in which dodecylhexadecanol can be naturally derived. The Guerbet Process would allow 2-dodecylhexadecanol to be synthesized via a natural route, which was determined to be the most suitable solution as the client would be guaranteed a working product, costs of extensive laboratory testing would be minimized, and the product can be quickly released to the public. However, should this process not be effective in naturally producing dodecylhexadecanol, the potential of Olivem 1000, Cholesterol, and Beeswax were also evaluated, and concluded to be feasible natural alternatives.

Click image to enlarge

Blackhead Remover

Siddharth Anandalingam, George Carlson, Cherry Chu, Emilio Fajardo
Advisors: Prof. Venkat Venkatasubramanian, Dr. Euen Gunn (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Co.) and Dr. Kevin Joback (Molecular Knowledge Systems, Inc)

We would like to design a face wash/exfoliating scrub for the Johnson and Johnson Company that can remove the presence of blackheads on a person’s face. While there are certainly a lot of products currently on the market, these products are aimed at cleaning the face, and removing the dirt or oil buildup in the pore, which causes the blackhead. The inherent problem with this approach is the fact that when the pore is cleaned, it can get dirty again. The solution we are looking for is one that actually changes the color of the blackhead, thus cosmetically fixing the problem. Our proposed solution is one involving retinoids and azelaic acid. In our report, we will discuss why we believe this is the best solution.

Click image to enlarge

Reformulating Aveeno Skin Lotion Using Natural Chemicals

Dillon Fleming, Madison Friedman, Timothy Gilboy, Vincent Grob, Michael Ong
Advisors: Prof. Venkat Venkatasubramanian, Dr. Euen Gunn (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Co.) and Dr. Kevin Joback (Molecular Knowledge Systems, Inc)

The public perception of a consumer product is the critical factor in the product’s success or failure. Aveeno, a skin lotion product produced by Johnson and Johnson, is a market leader in the skin care products industry and is renowned for its natural formulation. However, consumers are concerned with the petrochemical origins of dodecylhexadecanol, a key stabilizing component in the lotion. This project analyzes the role of dodecylhexadecanol in the Aveeno formulation especially focusing on its effects on the physical liquid crystal structure of the lotion and proposing alternatives with a more natural origin. Analysis of key physical properties of both the dodecylhexadecanol and potential alternatives through theoretical calculations and computerized molecular modeling allowed for a comparison of these alternatives and a mixture of 75% Nervonyl Alcohol and 25% Solanesol is proposed as a potential solution.

Click image to enlarge

Johnson & Johnson Blackhead Removal

Brandon Jowers, Christine Shim, Kabir Malkani, Minghuang Liu, Varun Jotwani
Advisors: Prof. Venkat Venkatasubramanian, Dr. Euen Gunn (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Co.) and Dr. Kevin Joback (Molecular Knowledge Systems, Inc)

The United States Library of Medicine describes blackheads as dark spots that occur when sebum, a lubricant trying to drain out of a pore’s opening, is exposed to air. Melanin is the sebum oxidizes with the surrounding air and becomes a dark color. Blackheads are also known to be the first stage of acne formation, occurring before bacteria enters the pores, preceding the formation of pimples. They can affect people of any type of skin, but are more common in teens, young adults, and those with oily skin. There are products out on the market that can dissolve the sebum and remove blackheads, but they tend to be harsh on the skin. Thus, the objective of this paper is to report our findings on possible remedies for the bleaching and/or cleansing and removal of blackheads without agitating the skin.

Sebum is an oily substance produced in the skin to lubricate the hair and skin, making them waterproof. In reference to blackheads, sebum also provides a protective layer that blocks attempts to remove the black coloring agent using water and other cleaning agents. Thus, the first step in blackhead curing is the removal of the sebum layer. Non-polar solvents are hydrophobic and are effective in removing oils on a person’s face. The level of hydrophobicity can be measured using the octanol/water partition coefficient. The larger the coefficient, the larger the octanol phase and potential oil removal capabilities. The size of the solvent components also determine the level of irritability. The larger the chain, the less irritability. For this project, we are thus searching for a large, non-polar solvent.

Click image to enlarge

Aveeno Skin Strengthening Hand Cream Proposal

Martin Rosenbaum, Bianca Sganga, Peri Shapiro, Caleb Solomon, & Rachel Tang
Advisors: Prof. Venkat Venkatasubramanian, Dr. Euen Gunn (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Co.) and Dr. Kevin Joback (Molecular Knowledge Systems, Inc)

Johnson & Johnson produces its Skin Strengthening Hand Cream under the Aveeno brand. The lotion’s structuring aid, 2-dodecylhexadecanol, contributes to the unique ability of the formulation to self-assemble into vesicles, providing consumers with an effective and textured lotion. Even though Dr. Gunn, the lead research director behind the lotion, states that 2-dodecylhexadecanol functions beautifully, consumer criticism has surfaced surrounding the source of this crucial ingredient.

Although Aveeno prides itself on its “Active NaturalsⓇ ingredients sourced from nature,”1 2-dodecylhexadecanol is a hydrocarbon based product, derived from petrochemicals. Dr. Gunn has encouraged us to replace 2-dodecylhexadecanol with an ingredient that is more congruous with Aveeno’s branding, without sacrificing the unique texture and healing power characteristic of the Skin Strengthening Hand Cream.

Our team began this project with the goal of finding a natural alternative for 2-dodecylhexadecanol. This straightforward goal developed into a multifaceted proposal incorporating a cohesive definition of “natural,” in-depth analysis of Aveeno’s current formulation, surfactant science, consumer perceptions, economic analysis, and extensive research. After analyzing the trade-offs between these competing forces, we recommend the following replacements for 2-dodecylhexadecanol: Isofol 24 or stearyl caprylate.

Click image to enlarge

Johnson & Johnson Gentle Blackhead Removal Product

Temi Tuby-Lukan, Michelle Ynsinare, William Yolen, Boning Zhu, Yani Zhang
Advisors: Prof. Venkat Venkatasubramanian, Dr. Euen Gunn (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Co.) and Dr. Kevin Joback (Molecular Knowledge Systems, Inc)

Millions of consumers in the world are affected by acne and its related skin symptoms such as blackheads. Blackheads are clogs in the pores on the skin that are filled with oil (sebum), dead skin cells, and a single strand of hair. Since blackheads can potentially lead to infections which later causes acne breakouts, consumers are looking for a common solution. Currently, affordable blackhead removing facial products are harsh to the skin and ineffective due to the high concentration of salicylic acid in the formula along with harmful chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide to break the dead skin and oil layer called the comedon. Expensive options offer protection to the skin as well as removal of blackheads, but they are not ideal for the majority of the consumers. We are looking for a solution that costs much closer to $0.04 per wash for Clean & Clear Blackhead Removal Face Wash than Dr. Jart’s $7.50 Master Blackhead Removing Strip that would remove blackheads with organic, natural active ingredients. Our solution will revolutionize the way our consumers wash their face and treat the impurities on their skin.

Click image to enlarge


Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics

The Bronx Stadium

Katherina Barguil, Imer del Cid, Alejandro Ortiz, Hao Pham, Mary Williams, Xili Zhou
Advisor: Prof. Tom Panayotidi

Despite being the world’s most popular sport, soccer does not yet have a home in New York City. This project presents a blueprint for the successful design, construction, and maintenance of a profitable soccer stadium in New York City. The proposed stadium has a circular layout with a 330 foot radius and is supported by a braced steel frame superstructure. It is able to comfortably accommodate 40,000 spectators, as well as players, security, and medical staff. The stadium features an elegant roof supported mainly by two arches running along the length of the field which are supported by four structurally independent pylons. The roof has semi-retractable ETFE, lightweight panels which protect the field from weather conditions.

The stadium’s proposed location in the Bronx was chosen so as to guarantee its financial viability and to sidestep the unique challenges and constraints posed by construction in a highly urbanized environment. The stadium is designed to be structurally sound and able to withstand dead, live, wind, snow, and seismic loads in accordance with ASCE 7-10 specifications. The design also aims to minimize the environmental impact of the proposed stadium by employing sustainable practices per LEED standards. This project makes extensive use of modern computer tools commonly employed in today’s high-paced environment. As building information modeling becomes increasingly ubiquitous, the basic structural design is done in Autodesk Revit. Structural analysis is performed with SAP2000, and the results are then judiciously used to determine structural member sections and sizes per the 2014 AISC Steel Construction Manual. Autodesk Maya is utilized to render realistic three dimensional models of the stadium. A small prototype is 3D printed for illustration purposes.

In sum and substance, the objective of this project is to design a breathtaking, innovative, financially viable, and sustainable stadium that will not only attract a diverse contingent of fans but will also be a source of pride for the local community and New York City as a whole.

Click image to enlarge

Multistory Office Building

Ilan Casper, Charles Iselin, Navjot Kaur, Katherine Rivera, Lindsey Wickman, Hannah Wilson
Advisor: Prof. Tom Panayotidi

Our project is the design for a concrete frame office building located in Queens, NY. The four-story L-shaped office building has dimensions of 140ft by 120ft and is located between Northern Boulevard at the front and the Sunnyside rail yards to the rear. The design capitalizes on this unique location with glass curtain walls on the exposed sides, which maximize natural light within the building to create a healthier work environment while insulating heat and sound. The building was designed in accordance with requirements of ASCE 7-10, ACI 318-11 as well as local zoning regulations. The structure is a monolithic reinforced concrete frame with concrete slab floors, resting on a reinforced concrete mat foundation to account for the poor soil conditions on site. The building and its interior were modeled in Revit and structural analysis was performed in SAP 2000. The design accounts for dead and live loads as well as location-specific earthquake, wind and snow loads. In addition to designing the structure we performed a cost estimation, project schedule and investigated ADA requirements and LEED certification.

Click image to enlarge

The Brunswick Heritage Crossing

Maika Abdallah, Phoenetia Browne, Heui Yung Do, Noureen Nanjee, Undrakh Sisunton
Advisor: Prof. Tom Panayotidi

North Brunswick Township, New Jersey, is a residential town with two central hubs of commercial and social interactions within the township: two strip malls just across each other filled with restaurants, stores, and offices. However, these two locations are separated by a six-lane highway that cannot be crossed by foot. In order to provide safe pedestrian access over the highway for a more time and energy efficient manner of shopping and socializing, we aimed to create a pedestrian, girder bridge in this location. This Brunswick Heritage Crossing will not only connect the two malls but also foster a pedestrian culture. Only a six-minute drive away from Rutgers University, we believe that the bridge will serve the students as well as the local population.

We designed our bridge with accessibility, community involvement, environmental and economic sustainability in mind. Our bridge type, the girder bridge, was chosen with an economic budget in mind and is designed with low carbon steel for durability, maintenance, and sustainability reasons. The bridge follows the ADA guidelines for accessibility and includes stairs, lights, and a roofing design to keep pedestrians protected from inclement weather. Our bridge also has a state-of-the-art elevator on both sides. The design, including the girders, floor beams, concrete slab, steel deck, rebar, and connections, follows the AISC, AASHTO, IBC, and NJ DOT building codes. Factors in our design include display, construction speed, lightness, stiffness, construction economy, and structural efficiency.

The Brunswick Heritage Crossing was designed to promote maximum community involvement and regional pride and relevance. Therefore, the bridge’s interior and skin design was inspired by Tim Howard, World Cup hero and goalkeeper for the United States men’s national soccer team. Howard was born and raised in North Brunswick. He graduated from North Brunswick Township High School and later played for the Central Jersey Cosmos before his professional soccer career launched. The community in North Brunswick takes pride in his local origins. To incorporate Tim Howard into our design, we put in a turf on the flooring of our interior deck with markings of a soccer field on it. This design creates a more interactive environment for locals of all ages.

Additionally, the bridge is a prime viewing location for the annual North Brunswick fireworks. The bridge in fully enclosed with a roof and glass walls, which ensure a safe and clear viewing area.

Our ultimate goal in designing the Brunswick Heritage Crossing was to provide a simple solution to residents and tourists while traveling between the two shopping centers in New Brunswick. The bridge promotes environmental awareness by limiting the use of vehicles, as they would no longer be required in order to travel between the two centers. All design considerations will be thoroughly checked so that the residents will be safe in their use of the bridge. Since only pedestrians will be crossing, we expect the bridge to have a long life.

Click image to enlarge

George Deodatis Field at SEAS Stadium at Dean Mary C. Boyce Athletic Complex

Jaclyn Fu, Jennifer Mahan, Devin McManus, Sam Park, Sam Wilson
Advisor: Prof. Tom Panayotidi

The objective of our Senior Design Project is to satisfactorily design a soccer stadium located in Flushing Meadows, Queens with regards to structural safety, construction management, and sustainability. The stadium is designed for a capacity of 40,000 spectators, and includes a roof support system that provides shade and rain cover for the spectators. The foundation is a deep pile system to withstand the less-than-ideal soil conditions. The roof is composed of two steel truss tied-arches with side trusses extending over the stands. The roof membrane consists of pretensioned PTFE sheets. All stand sections and concourses are composed of precast concrete, with beams and columns arranged in a boxed frame. The soccer stadium was first designed in sections with AutoCAD and Revit, and then imported into SAP2000 for full structural analysis. The building has been designed to withstand all wind loads, seismic load, live loads, and dead loads. In addition, the team has analyzed and determined the construction strategy for the stadium, including scheduling and quantity take-off to environmental and LEED concerns. A physical model of the stadium was also created to increase spatial understanding in a 3D environment.

The stadium fulfills all FIFA design requirements for stadium structures. All architectural and structural requirements were taken from the International Building Code (IBC) and the American Society of Civil Engineers Code 7-10 (ASCE 7-10).

Click image to enlarge

Liberty Stadium

Viktoriya Andonova, Maria Balsinde, Luke Henderson, Lisette Hermida, Adam Sherman
Advisor: Prof. Tom Panayotidi

Our project consists of a soccer stadium located on Randall’s Island. Our design accounts for all the FIFA technical suggestions and requirements, while at the same time adhering to the American Disabilities Act and the International Building Code, and all the appropriate load conditions and combinations for the area. The stadium is big enough for 40,000 spectators plus team members, coaches and staff. It also allocates space for training, lockers, concessions, restrooms, first aid and retail.

The playing field is 100 meters long by 68 meters wide, with additional surrounding field area of at least 8.5 meters on each side and 10 meters on each end. Spectator seating begins approximately 7 feet above the playing field, so as to prevent the spectators from disturbing the players. In its entirety, the stadium measures approximately 750 feet by 625 feet, and is about 140 feet high. The stadium is surrounded by towers, which are connected to a PTFE canvas by pre-stressed cables. The canvas covers the stadium, serving as a roof, not including the area right above the playing field.

The stadium is designed to have steel members and concrete floor slabs. All design requirements are met in accordance with AISC, ASCE 7-10, and IBC 2012 design requirements. Dead and live loads are accounted for and evaluated, including seismic, wind, rain and snow. The structural sections for beams and columns have been chosen based on structural analyses conducted in SAP2000. The stadium was also modeled in Rhino and Autocad for more detailed renderings. The foundation (footing) design takes into account the soil conditions of the area, and provides appropriate support for the structure.

The report also includes a work breakdown schedule including a critical path method schedule, as well as a cost estimate for the entire project. The stadium has also been designed with sustainability in mind, and is planned to meet certain LEED specifications

Click image to enlarge

Soccer Stadium Design—Nassau County

James Cumming, Jakub Karas, Xiaoran Li, Lucas Oliver, Valentina Paiva Acosta, Erick Quinteros
Advisor: Prof. Tom Panayotidi

Our senior design project has been to design a 40,000-person capacity soccer stadium in line with FIFA regulations for stadiums hosting international matches. The stadium we propose will be located in the town of Hempstead, NY on the site of the Nassau Coliseum, formerly home to the New York Islanders hockey team, which has relocated to Brooklyn. Our design is a hypothetical response to a Request For Proposals for the redesign of the Nassau Coliseum site, which was won by Forest City Ratner in September 2013.

The seating layout of our stadium is designed to produce optimal visibility for spectators while maximizing the number of seats the stadium may hold. Our stadium’s structure has been designed to withstand all loading conditions one might expect in civil infrastructure, including earthquake and wind loading. Additionally, a foundation for the stadium was designed based on studies of the soil conditions of the proposed site. As this stadium is being designed in post-Hurricane Sandy New York, several stormwater management techniques have been applied to the parking lot in order to minimize stormwater runoff from the site. Further sustainability measures for our design will reduce the stadium’s demand on the local water and power grids, and also mitigate construction impacts on the local environment. Other work includes preparing plans for parking spaces, conducting an accessibility study with regards to road transportation and hotel accommodations, and choosing environmentally-friendly materials.

Click image to enlarge

Designing the New York City Football Club Stadium

Efram Stone, Alyssa Ramos-Avila, Ezra Teferra, Michaela Reeser, Jenna Hermann
Advisor: Prof. Tom Panayotidi

A stadium is not just a functional sports venue, but also an architectural landmark that reflects and represents its community. The New York City Football Club (NYCFC), currently playing their first season in USA’s Major League Soccer (MLS), uses the Yankee Stadium for their matches in New York City. Evidently, NYCFC requires the construction of a new soccer stadium. Motivated by the architectural brilliance of the city itself, our capstone design proposal creates a stadium that will become a new symbol for the world’s sport, soccer. The initial design of the stadium came from an intersection of the team, the site, and the city. One of NYCFC’s logos includes an abstracted image of the top of the iconic Chrysler Building. The iteration of curves influenced the design of the three-layer roof of the stadium. The facade of the nearby Metlife Stadium is made up of a series of thin horizontal lines. In order to complement this existing building, the facade of the NYCFC stadium is made up of a series of wide vertical sections which are also reminiscent of the stripes on away-team soccer jerseys. As a result of these elements, the stadium’s role as the home of New York City’s soccer team will be unmistakable. The design is full of state of the art technology including a mechanically opening roof, state of the art thin film photovoltaics, net zero water design metrics, and a “self-watering” turf. Two tiers of stadium seating, including a level for club and media boxes, will accommodate a capacity of 41,000 spectators. All design aspects were determined by the engineers in accordance with ASCE 7-10, 2011 IBC, and 2011 FIFA Technical Recommendations and Requirements. The proposal of this includes seismic analysis, geotechnical consideration and an evaluation of dead, live, and wind loads. The structural design was based on analysis performed in SAP 2000. The report also includes a CPM schedule and the engineers’ cost estimate. This avant-garde design combined with cutting edge sustainable metrics, provides for a dynamic venue for the world’s most dynamic sport.

Click image to enlarge

KNAAK: Bringing Art and Innovation to the Urban Landscape

André Fuqua, Kathilee Kenlock, Kyra Price, Nahtahniel Reel, Aron Taamrat
Advisor: Prof. Tom Panayotidi

KNAAK is an experimental design collective that tackles issues surrounding urban art and creative development. The building features three distinct studio spaces that serve as creative hubs for research and artistic innovation: 1) SoundSpace, an audio think tank, 2) ArtSpace, a visual arts think tank, and 3) MuseoSpace, a contemporary gallery space showcasing artwork and projects by creatives within the urban sphere. The chosen site for building construction is an open landscape in Deptford, New Jersey, an ideal location due to its close proximity to the city of Philadelphia. The project criteria states that the building must be 3 stories, with out-to-out dimensions of 100 feet x 70 feet. The majority of the office building must be made of cast-in-place reinforced concrete, have a minimum ceiling height of 8 feet, and a maximum building height of 55 feet. The proposed design, supported by pile foundation, considers various loading conditions including seismic loading, wind loading, and snow loads in addition to standard building dead and live loads. The design was modeled and tested using a SAP 2000 model, after which an AutoCAD and Maya rendering was produced. After the design was finalized, the constructability and sustainability (including LEED certification) of the design was investigated. This involved construction management techniques such as cost estimating and project scheduling and took into consideration the energy footprint of the building's design elements.

Click image to enlarge


Earth and Environmental Engineering

Indirect Heater Design and Emissions Abatement for Dynamo Micropower, LLC

Tanay Doctor, Caitlin Fedio, Malini Nambiar, Sigal Shemesh
Advisors: Prof. Robert Farrauto and Ivan Wang (Dynamo Micropower, LLC)

The project aims to develop a comprehensive suite of solutions for Dynamo Micropower, LLC to achieve emissions reduction in their current and future range of heaters. Dynamo’s patented InfernoCore technology uses a gas turbine as a direct fired heater to provide a hot stream of air/exhaust mix used for heating. This project provides a heat exchanger design that will keep the exhaust and air streams separate. The primary goal is to abate emissions from the heat exchanger for use in indoor spaces, enabling a wider variety of fuels for combustion process. A number of design priorities have been outlined by the Dynamo design team for this indirect heater project. First, it must increase environmental health and safety by providing emissions control and abatement. Second, it must allow for greater fuel flexibility to reach untapped customer bases. Third, it must maintain Dynamo’s current value propositions of a highly robust and compact design (that is 25-50% lower than competitor offerings within the same heating capacity range). The project team believes that all of these goals have been accomplished through the comprehensive solution and alternatives outlined below.

Heat Exchanger
The primary objective of this project is to provide a design of a heat exchanger for Dynamo Micropower and integrate it into their current system. This will enable Dynamo to build it into a proposed line of indirect heaters, for deployment in the construction or oil and gas industries. The primary technology that will be developed should allow the heater to make use of flexible fuels (propane and flare gas) that will reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency. To meet these goals, the design team will present simulations of heat transfer and parameter optimization that inform the selection of an appropriate manufacturer. The customized solution will be visualized using CAD/Solidworks software.

Air Quality Regulations, Certifications, and Testing Frameworks
A secondary objective of this project is to conduct a comprehensive review of the regulations that Dynamo and their clients will be subject to. This involves domestic regulations regarding indoor and outdoor air quality as well as industry certifications regarding total emissions. Given the existing emissions data, the design team will highlight areas where Dynamo does not meet regulatory requirements or certification criteria. Furthermore, the design team will provide a detailed emissions testing framework that expands on the currently limited emissions data with cost estimates and recommendations.

Emissions Abatement
Finally, the last objective is the identification of potential emissions abatement systems applicable to Dynamo’s existing direct flameless heater range (Infernocore) and the proposed indirect heater product with a thorough cost-benefit analysis.


Click image to enlarge

Mill Basin Bridge Belt Parkway Stormwater Runoff Bioretention Solution

Eileen Li, Christine Liu, Brian McGrattan, Soo Young Yoon
Advisors: Prof. Robert Farrauto, Vjeko Matic, and Kathleen McCarthy (NYC Department of Parks)

This senior design project is an examination of the environmental effects on Four Sparrow Marsh from the reconstruction of the Mill Basin in Brooklyn. Our role is to examine the effects of stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces on the new bridge’s approach and bridge deck not currently considered by current environmental regulations. Using georeferencing tools and stormwater management calculators, we discovered that approximately 17,000 cubic feet of unaccounted, untreated stormwater will flow into the Four Sparrow Marsh during a 1.2 inch rainfall event. To mitigate this extra volume, we propose the installation of two additional bioretention areas which are collectively capable of treating approximately 18,000 cubic feet of stormwater. Since the original stormwater runoff prevention plan called for four bioretention areas, we have found that the additional cost will be marginal.

Click image to enlarge

Bronx River Restoration Project

Karah Collins, Sean Cohen, Liza Faber, Mariah Gladstone
Advisors: Prof. Robert Farrauto, Prof. Pierre Gentine, Prof. Wade Mcgillis, and Sarah Tobing (NYC Department of Parks)

This project consists of a series of proposed channel improvements along a river fork in the Bronx River. The river diverges around an island, which has created blockages along this section of the Bronx River. Included are our recommendations for improving recreational conditions in the river surrounding the island. These recommended solutions are based off hydraulic modeling, field testing, and additional research. Using data collected through field measurements, the characteristics of a single channel and a split channel flow were compared to determine whether concentrating flow in one channel or converting the second channel to a high flow channel might facilitate optimal conditions for canoeing and kayaking, and provide a healthier habitat for indigenous plant species. This proposal was written and prepared by students of Columbia University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering with guidance from professors and members of New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

Click image to enlarge


Electrical Engineering

Drum Trainer

Antonio Basukoski, Shahrod Khalkhali, Edwin Mejia, Hilary Mogul
Advisor: Prof. David Vallancourt

Learning how to play a new instrument on your own can be hard. With Drum Trainer, we hoped to create something that bridged the gap between beginner and expert. A learning musician can practice rudiments, perform pieces, and even record new programs to play through on Drum Trainer. With Instrument Mode, a user can play different programmable sounds using the practice pad as an electronic instrument. The Drum Trainer uses an array of force sensitive resistors as pressure sensors under the rubber of the practice pad to keep track of when, where, and how hard a user is playing. There are also three small cameras connected to Drum Trainer that capture the user’s sessions. The side camera is used to keep track of stick heights, the overhead camera for relative stick angles, and a front camera to capture the user during the session. Using the front camera data in conjunction with an expert instructor can provide the user with valuable information in terms of posture and tension when playing.

Click image to enlarge

Jaykhon: Wireless Security System

Olalekan Afuye, Jonathan Guzman, Jeremy Pachter, Hao Zheng
Advisor: Prof. David Vallancourt

Jaykhon Security is an easy to install wireless security system consisting of a central server connected to a series of wireless modules and sensors. The user can interact with the server wirelessly through a phone app to lock/unlock doors, arm the system, receive alarms, and so on. RFID tags replace keys to provide entry to the house, creating a “hands-free” way to unlock the door. The server-based nature of this project allows for easy addition of sensor modules and features.

Click image to enlarge

Narwhal Power

Michael Wang, Monika Mohacsi, Michelle Haines, Daniel Rosenthal
Advisor: Prof. David Vallancourt

Narwhal Power is a portable power system that replaces individual device batteries, which can run out during an outdoor expedition, with a high capacity battery pack that can be recharged in the field by solar, wind, bike-dynamo or any other source between 5V and 30V DC, or 120V AC if you’re at home. Outputs provide 5V DC, 12V DC, and 120V AC power. Capacity sufficient to fully recharge two laptop computers is available, and additional energy capacity can be added. The foldable solar panel augments the product’s ability to work outdoors by providing the user a powerful and portable power source with an expected peak power output of 96W. The product’s multiple power outputs, scalability, and compact size are great for outdoor enthusiasts, soldiers, field researchers, or anyone in a situation where electronics need to be charged, but power is not readily available.

Click image to enlarge

Smart Lock

Alex Gopinathan, Brett Provance, Luc Davidson, Joe Sweeney, Oliver Jin
Advisors: David Gidony and Jan Janak

The Smart Lock is a physical door lock based on a commercial product, but modified using an open architecture, protocols, and interfaces, all controlled wirelessly. The commercial master unit of the lock is connected to our auxiliary unit featuring a raspberry pi with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability. A system administrator can upload the access list for a given door lock remotely (instead of through a wired connection as is done currently), while users with proper credentials can unlock the door from their smartphone in addition to swiping with their student ID card. The Smart Lock is designed to be a simple mod to the commercial locks used in many Columbia buildings. Our vision is that they will be integrated throughout the campus.

Click image to enlarge

Visible Light Communication

Mun Shin (Lillian) Chik, Supanath (Mike) Juthacharoenwong, Andres Medina, Minh Trang Ngoc (Mindy) Nguyen, Jake Wood
Advisor: Prof. Alexander Gazman

Visible light is, on a fundamental physical level, no different from the radio and infrared waves currently used in data transmission. As high power LEDs replace incandescent and fluorescent lighting, transmitting data through visible light becomes possible - the same light source used to light a room can supply data. This was impossible with previous lighting, as modulation of intensity at useable data rates was impossible. In our prototype, the circuitry, LEDs and photodetectors are fit into a small form factor compatible with standard lighting fixtures. Each of our transceivers allows users to transmit files from computer to computer easily over a visible light channel.

Click image to enlarge

Remotely Controlled LED Modules (Window Pixels)

Aaron Burger, Shanny Li
Advisor: Prof. Alexander Gazman

We turn one of the sides of a building on campus into an interactive art display by installing in each window an LED module consisting of a receiver with two LED light strips. Passersby can interact and play with the display through a phone app.

Click image to enlarge

Multi-Channel Wireless Biomedical Signals Transmitter/Receiver

Elias Goodman
Advisor: David Gidony

This technology allows for the detection, wireless transmission, and deciphering of EMG signals from a target muscle group. A prototype of a less bulky, more comprehensive, full-body suit, it demonstrates the functionality of biometric fitness apparel soon to hit the market. The multiple channels isolate, modulate, and transmit the signals of interest via Bluetooth to a receiving station, which performs signal analysis. The processing, storing, and display of pertinent data may be conducted by a smart device when implemented in its marketable form.

Click image to enlarge

Cross-listed with Mechanical Engineering: Inverted Pendulum Omni Wheel Robot

William Miller, Andrew Nederlof, Byran Ptucha, Alexander Arsenault
Advisor: David Gidony

A robot will balance on an undrilled bowling ball. As the ball rolls, the robot will stay upright on top of it.

Click image to enlarge

Cross-listed with Mechanical Engineering: Smart Grip

Lydia Alfonso, Connie Phung, Jacqueline Nwabueze, David Boucard, Victor Campbell, Cristina Reveles
Advisor: Prof. Alexander Gazman

Autonomous package transportation systems are at the heart of large e-commerce. This project is an element of such a system, using a basic 4-bar linkage gripper to lift packages of variable weight (between 2 and 5 pounds), controlled by a Raspberry Pi that operates three motors. In operation, a camera module scans for the presence of a package; once a package is detected, one motor moves the gripper horizontally into position above the package, a second motor moves the gripper vertically, with feedback from an ultrasonic sensor, and a third motor is used to open and close the gripper’s hands, while feedback from load cells is used to secure the package as the gripper lifts it vertically.

Click image to enlarge

Cross-listed with Mechanical Engineering: Automatic Glass Idiophone

Andre-Jacques De Beer, Jang Won Suh, Abdul Leite, James Thompson
Advisor: Prof. David Vallancourt

The Automatic Glass Idiophone brings the ethereal sound of resonating glass into the 21st century, in the form of a familiar keyboard coupled to a mechanical and electrical system that “plays” spinning, upturned wine glasses. A wooden frame supports twenty-five wine glasses, a motor and drive system, a midi keyboard, and an irrigation system that keeps the glass rims moist. The glasses, tuned by filling with varying amounts of a gel, are arranged to produce a two-octave scale, and spun by an Arduino-based control system. Our Idiophone is designed to be played live, but will play midi files too.

Click image to enlarge


Industrial Engineering and Operations Research

Delivery Schedule Optimization

Jun Sen Ang, Chang Woong Yoon, Haseeb Jahangir, Yunhe Wang, Zhe Hu
Advisor: Prof. Lucius Riccio

One Acre Fund is a non-profit organization that was established to alleviate poverty in Africa. The company targets smallholder farmers and provides them with an array of resources to boost harvest and improve their livelihood. One of their key operations is seed and fertilizer distribution to these farmers. Our client Carla Pellegrini, the primary lead of their Kenya Logistics Team, is responsible for delivering over 10,000 metric tons of seed and fertilizer to 150,000 subsistence farmers through seven warehouses. Due to differences in truck capacities and numerous farmer locations, the complexity of the problem is greatly increased. Thus, we took on the task of creating a system to calculate optimal truck and route deployments in order to maximize reachability while minimizing transportation costs.

Although we had access to a previous team’s solution that utilized a non-linear programming model (developed using the LINGO software), it had two main drawbacks: it was too complicated to utilize (since it lacked a user-interface) and it employed a paid solver (LINGO) that the client was unwilling to invest in. Thus, we created a new linear programming model (using the free open-source PyOpt module in Python) coupled with an intuitive front-end GUI (Graphical User Interface) to simplify interaction. Our system generated a significant 24.9% cost savings for year 2014 (saved 46794.2 KSH) and 17.8% cost savings (saved 30,552 KSH) for year 2015 in comparison to their traditional manual approach for truck and route allocation. For future iterations of the program, data from GPS trackers on the trucks could be incorporated to determine exact distance measurements to improve cost estimation as opposed to utilizing the current distance matrices in the code.



Mechanical Engineering

Pistol Trigger Safety

A R M A: Yiqin Chen, Joshua Kin, Jay Shim, Michael Yu

A safety mechanism that will prevent a pistol from being fired by any unauthorized individual. The safety is locked and unlocked wirelessly by the user. May be patentable.

Click image to enlarge

Quad Rotor Ball Cart

YEMEX: Xavier Alvarado, Elise Burch, Erik Elbieh, Yevgeniy Kvashnin, Mitchell Leoung

A rolling ball which is powered by a quadrotor helicopter. Rolling is much more efficient than flying for the quadrotor. The system can fly over any obstacle that it encounters.

Click image to enlarge

Robotic Hand Gripper

Turbo Inferno: Mohamed Abdelmaksoud, Wensong Li, Donald Lovejoy, Justin Rehfeldt, Marsalis Roddy

NASA requested a Senior Design project in a hand gripper. The underactuated scaled up 3 finger gripper (requiring only 1 motor to actuate) will grab a rail of the same dimensions as the outside rails on the International Space Station.

Click image to enlarge

Dart Throwing Robot

DartBot: Brendan Chamberlain-Simon, Caroline Herald, Cooper Matthieson, Kevin Roark

A 3 degree of freedom (DOF) cable-driven robot arm that uses computer vision to throw darts at a dartboard in its field of view.

Click image to enlarge

Collapsible Table

Rambunctious Solutions: Daniel Bish, Daniel Stark, Zachery Wills

Inspired by pop-up books, the collapsible table will fold flat on the floor and be capable of opening to table height. The table is fabricated with a unique material which was tested extensively. This may be patentable.

Click image to enlarge

Robotic Saxophone Player

Saximus: Lauritz David, Giancarlo Lezama, Jose Mendez, Jessica Taylor

A mechanism capable of playing a standard alto saxophone. The project was proposed by the Columbia Music Department who wanted an instrument that can play notes in a way that imitates a human musician.

Click image to enlarge

Delta Robot

Delta Force: Dylan Laurin, Bruce Lee, Christopher Muff, Stephan Stansfield. Erik Udbye

A delta robot is a type of parallel robot which consists of three arms connected to universal joints at the base. The robot keeps the end effector (the device at the end of the robot arm that can pick up parts) parallel to the work surface.

Click image to enlarge

Mechanical Mimicking Hand

MimEx: Nicola Celi, Nicole Lewis, Kevin McCullough, Rachel Price

A strictly mechanical device (no electronics) that mimics the movement of a human hand and forearm. The human puts his/her hand in a glove which is connected to the mimic by cables.

Click image to enlarge

Robotic Bass Guitar

Normcore: Justin Birmingham, Justin Martin, Noah Rauschkolb, Abegim Undieh

A mechanism that can play a standard bass guitar. The project was proposed by the Columbia Music Department. The system consists of a guitar body for the bridge and soundboard, a mechanism to select the note and pluck the string and weights to provide tension.

Click image to enlarge

Expandable Circular Desk

Dirty T & the Boys: Marcelo De Rada Ocampo, Christopher Peritore, Nicholas Savage, William Van Noppen, Tanya Zakowich

A strictly mechanical device (no electronics) that allows a desk to expand to a circular conference table. The leaves of the conference table are stored under the desk and move into place with gas springs.

Click image to enlarge

Robotic Air Hockey Player

Turn Down for Watt: Seth Cawoski, Henrique Maia, Jessica Parker, Andrew Shoemaker

A mechanism that plays air hockey against a human opponent. The mechanism can move both in the x and the y direction so it can both block the puck and return it. A camera captures the motion of the puck and a microcomputer calculates the trajectory.

Click image to enlarge

Flywheel Storage Device

Rotary Solutions: Gerardo Arevalo, Kiersten Gourlay, David Littlejohn-Carrillo, Matan Markind, Matthew Zebiak

A flywheel can be used to store energy and return it to the system for useful work. This system can connect to a cart or bicycle to accelerate the flywheel as the vehicle breaks and return the energy to the vehicle.

Click image to enlarge

Cross-listed with Electrical Engineering: Ball Balancing Robot

I.P.O.W.R: William Miller, Andrew Nederlof, Byran Ptucha, Alexander Arsenault

A robot will balance on an undrilled bowling ball. As the ball rolls, the robot will stay upright on top of it.

Click image to enlarge

Cross-listed with Electrical Engineering: Robotic Package Gripper

NTR: Lydia Alfonso, Connie Phung, Jacqueline Nwabueze, David Boucard, Victor Campbell, Cristina Reveles

Amazon has proposed a drone that can carry packages to its customers. This robotic package gripper can locate a standard cardboard box and grip it with a measured force.

Click image to enlarge

Cross-listed with Electrical Engineering: Robotic Glass Harp

NEPOLLO: Andre-Jacques De Beer, Jang Won Suh, Abdul Leite, James Thompson

You can produce sound by wetting your finger and moving it around the rim of a wine glass. The robotic glass harp is a mechanism to produce music by having multiple wetted finger-like mechanism momentarily contact the rims of many rotating glasses filled to different levels.

Click image to enlarge


500 W. 120th St., Mudd 510, New York, NY 10027    212-854-2993