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ME Senior Design 2019

Completely Enclosed Water Cooled MINI-TX Computer Case

The goal of this project is to design a MINI-iTX small form factor computer case capable of cooling the components inside. Components of primary concern are the central processing unit (CPU) and the graphics processing unit (GPU). Both components are extremely powerful and thermally-sensitive. To maintain optimal performance they must be kept cool under standard operating conditions. 

The aim is for a CPU temperature of less than 50°C and a GPU temperature less than 70°C. To do this, our case design utilizes a parallel flow water cooling loop. Water is pumped from a single reservoir and diverted separately to the CPU and GPU. Following heat transfer between the CPU/GPU and specific cooling blocks, the flow is rejoined and fed through an internal radiator. The water reservoir is integrated into the side of the computer case to save internal space and provide additional cooling power. 

This product is aimed at the high-performance gaming industry which uses high-powered machines and would directly benefit from a smaller portable form. Our case design and cooling system is modular to fit any combination of CPU and GPU. These features allow the overall case size to remain competitive with similar products on the market with the added benefit of water cooling and full-size GPU capabilities.

Improved Design of Mobility Devices

Aging populations and individuals with physical limits often transition from the relative freedom of using a walker to the confinement of a wheelchair quickly. Our project goal was to design an improved assistive mobility device that helps the user maintain physical activity to help stay out of a wheelchair. The NewWalk improves three key features of the traditional walker: posture influence, adjustability and weight transfer. 

Current walkers require users to reach out in front of them causing bad posture and potential back problems. The NewWalk, however, features forearm supports at roughly elbow height that allow users to stand upright with adequate support. These arm supports also feature height, width and angle adjustment, an improvement over current walkers that allow height adjustment at best. This wide range of adjustability allows for a perfect fit for every individual. 

The direction and weight placement between the user and device also poses a problem. Most walkers require the user to bend over and transfers weight to their hands, which can be tiring and cause joint stress. NewWalk transfers weight directly to the shoulders. To relieve stress on joints, NewWalk includes gas shocks for the two forearm supports. These improvements mean NewWalk provides more mobility and relief to a wide range of users and improves their overall quality of life.

Mixed Reality Wearable

From the toothbrush you hold in the morning to the seat in your car, ergonomic products make your life more comfortable. Since consumers dictate the market, 3D scanning has recently grown in popularity, which has caused increased demand for more consumer-friendly and ergonomic products. The team’s sponsor works as a professional ergonomic engineer. He uses scanners to take 3D pictures of various body parts, allowing him to design ergonomic-oriented products such as cell phones, computer mice and game controllers. 

Current scanners have a limited field of view but increasing this field of view results in poor quality scans. Therefore, scan technicians must verbally navigate participants into position and orientation, increasing the time for scanning to 30 minutes. Our design strives to shorten these scan times to increase productivity and save money.

We designed a mixed reality wearable that tracks and displays position and orientation of a user’s hand. The AprilTag, similar to a QR code, clips onto a bracelet. The bracelet uses a quick-remove fastener to reduce motion blur. A 3D camera tracks and compiles position and orientation data from the wearable’s AprilTag. A computer finds the AprilTag and displays it as a 3D model on a nearby screen. 

Most likely a hand or head, the 3D model allows the participant to match their position to the prescribed position shown on the monitor. This allows participants to self-correct their position and orientation without any extra verbal direction. An ideal setup would not only allow this 3D camera to track full bodies but also track any body type without any verbal direction.

SAE Aero Design Competition

We designed a 3D aircraft model to compete in the SAE Aero Design Competition. The plane is built to compete against model aircrafts from other universities, and it challenged us to design a unique plane to differentiate us in the competition. The competition goal is to simulate an airliner that can fly multiple passengers and their luggage through a set course. These “passengers” are 10 standard size tennis balls. “Luggage” is a half-pound metal weight per passenger. Competition scoring depends on the weight the aircraft will hold throughout flight. 

Our challenge is that we used a 3D printed aircraft, instead of using more common materials such as balsa wood and carbon fiber. Various 3D printing techniques proved useful in improving the body form, weight and load carrying ability for the aircraft. The 3D printers available have a limited build size, so it was necessary to print the parts of the aircraft in sections, forming a modular design that is printable in various pieces. 

Printing added difficulty because the different sections led to a loss of stability and strength, so we added joints to compensate. We also designed parts to minimize the weight of the aircraft and decreased drag to ensure the highest chance of successful flight.

Valvoline

Sponsored by Valvoline and operating under a confidentiality agreement, this team worked on a mechanical engineering design project to re-envision the oil change process. The objective was to create technology to shorten the time required to change a vehicle’s oil at Valvoline Instant Oil Change centers. This project required the team to utilize a broad range of mechanical engineering principles to provide a unique solution for Valvoline. Note: This project has a Non-Disclosure Agreement in place.

Simulated Assembly Line and Processing Workstation

Tallahassee Community College (TCC) needs an assembly line system to utilize in their Advanced Manufacturing and Training Center as a Mechatronics certification tool. TCC requires a system for teaching their students to examine and diagnose common issues in a manufacturing setting. TCC’s educational need for the machine is paramount, requiring the team to design a system that can create many different challenges for students. 

A modular system provides the flexibility necessary for educational use. Objects travel across the conveyor belt where sensors determine size and material. A mechanical arm then sorts the objects into the appropriate bin. For the educational purpose, we provided pre-calculated failures as curriculum options. Similar systems are used in the food industry, the environment industry and the travel industry. Discovering and removing foreign materials is crucial to the success of production and for the safety of the people who use the product.

Housing and Chassis Design for Engine Electrical Components

Unison Industries specializes in manufacturing electrical and mechanical components for industrial aircraft. Our goal was to design a protective housing for the electrical parts inside an airplane engine’s ignition exciter box, while also reducing the total cost of creating the housing and decreasing the time to build the assembly. 

The current design features a stainless steel square housing with the electrical components glued in place. This adhesive takes 24 hours to harden and can be messy and difficult to use. The lengthy time needed for the adhesive curing slows down the assembly process and makes repairs difficult. The housing may undergo changes in temperatures and environmental conditions, and experience many vibrations during flight. 

We tested the model to ensure the design can support the temperature changes and the material will not fail during operation. We used a tight-fit molding design to account for the small amount of space inside the box. This compact design provides a specific location for each electrical component in the housing. Once each part is in its correct position, a second molding fits on top, enclosing the parts. This tight-fitting design helps to lessen vibrations. We added durable foam in between the top and bottom moldings for extra support.

The new design decreases the total time and cost needed to build the housing. Components can now be easily lowered into position and the box shuts with little effort or extra hardware needed.

Military Combat Targeting Training System

It is important for military personnel to train in environments similar to what they would face in real combat. Recently, wars have occurred in environments where targets are constantly moving. Our design solves the problem of readiness for an ever-evolving enemy technique, offering a training solution for soldiers to engage interactive targets.

Our project helps prepare a soldier for combat with its active, real-time simulation. We achieved this by designing an innovative target that uses interactive steel silhouettes as a training tool. 

A few key constraints on this task included weight, an independent power source and a compact design for easier transport. The basic procedure for our project is in three steps. First, the instructor sets the goal number of hits for each target. Second, the silhouette detects impact with a rear-mounted sensor. Receiving impact signals enables the software to count and compare with the entered values. Once a target is no longer a threat, a light turns on signaling the user to move on. Targets communicate through the main control center. Communication between targets creates a data package for instructors to identify soldiers’ opportunities for improvement.

Drone Disabling Device

About 10 million drones were sold around the world in 2018. Drones equipped with cameras or weapons pose a threat to restricted areas such as prisons and to populated areas and government buildings. Northrop Grumman sponsored our team to develop a product to detect and disable unauthorized drones and secure an airspace. The target consumer of this device is law enforcement and security teams, so they can disable drones in restricted areas. 

The device consists of an automatic detection system, a weighted net launcher and a backpack to house equipment. The system uses cameras to automatically detect drones and alerts users of a potential hazard. These cameras distinguish between drones and other objects using a trained program to prevent false alerts. Cameras mounted above the pack provide a 360-degree view of the area around the user. 

A net launched using high-pressure air neutralizes and potentially captures hostile drones. This rifle-sized launcher is portable. The backpack includes air tanks and computer systems stored inside, where air hoses connect the backpack to the launcher. Positioning the air tanks and other components in the pack allows the user to carry necessary components in one place and is comfortable to wear. The device has an expected assembly time of five minutes. If a drone comes within 30 feet of the user, the detection system will alert of the approaching danger. The overall system is safe for the user and environment and complies with legal regulations.

Stabilization of Payload for Legged Robots

Almost all legged robots depend on sensors, such as cameras, to move. When these robots run, the motion of the robot introduces noise into the data, making it hard to interpret. This project focuses on designing and creating a stabilization system to reduce motion of the sensors on the robots, thereby returning more useful and helpful data. 

The baseline of motion data for this project is from the Minitaur robot. Data collected from the Minitaur shows how much motion is acting on the sensors. Our project design involves a mechanical system that can attach to different platforms independently of the robot itself. It uses four servo motors to counteract the motion and steady the camera. Software and hardware actively respond to the robot motion and compensate with motors for sensor balance. 

The project system’s frame is 3D printed with cutouts in the linkages to reduce weight and connect the motors and the camera. This results in a lightweight product that also improves data clarity without compromising the operation or effectiveness of the robot. A camera serves as the main sensor, so video from the camera shows how the project improves data. Overall, the project can be applied to different platforms and improves sensor feedback.

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