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Innovative Engineering Design Projects Garner Awards

ECS College Hosts Inaugural Student Award Competition and Showcase

May 15, 2014

hands-free crutch prototype

The "Exo-Limb" project, a hands-free crutch designed to replace standard underarm crutches, garnered the "Best in College Overall" award and a special mention for the "Ed Huizinga Innovative Idea/Best Multidisciplinary Project" award.

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Imagine an assistive walking device for people with below-the-knee injuries, the next-generation of an autonomous robot that can search an unknown terrain to look for samples, or a high-rise in a metropolitan area that can withstand a major earthquake.

Cal State Fullerton engineering students have not only envisioned these concepts, they've designed and built these projects. For their outstanding work, three teams won top prizes at the inaugural CSUF Engineering and Computer Science Student Projects Showcase and Awards. The ECS Showcase featured more than 25 student-designed projects, including 10 selected for the inaugural awards competition.

"These projects provide students with opportunities to further develop and showcase their creative design capabilities, while at the same time learning to work collaboratively with others — both with other students and colleagues from the community," said Nina Robson, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. "The main goals are to promote innovation in engineering design, give CSUF students the opportunity for community engagement and prepare them to be competent engineers for industry."

The winning projects, teams and faculty advisers are:

Best in College Overall: "Exo-Limb," $3,000 award

The "Exo-Limb" project required team members to work closely with kinesiology students and faculty members and with Ossur, a global leader in orthopaedics, in order to develop a prototype that is comfortable, cost-effective and closely mimics natural human gait, Robson explained. The goal was to design a hands-free crutch that is cost-effective and easier to use than standard crutches.

Mechanical engineering team members who are graduating and earning bachelor of science degrees are: Justin Chin, Bryan Holloway, Salar Nostratabadi, Larry Tlilayatzi and Michael Villavecer, as well as Victor Lopez, who is earning his master's degree. Another member of the team is sophomore Gaby Martinez. Faculty advisers are Robson and Scott K. Lynn, assistant professor of kinesiology. The team also garnered a special mention for the Ed Huizinga Innovative Idea/Best Multidisciplinary Project, receiving a $1,000 award.

Ed Huizinga Innovative Idea/Best Multidisciplinary Project: "A Sample Return Robot: The Titan Rover," $2,000 award

The "Titan Rover" is designed to navigate over unknown terrain, around obstacles and in varied lighting conditions, to identify, retrieve and return samples, all without using sensors that rely on the earth's magnetic field or earth-based navigation aids like GPS. The team will compete in the 2014 University Rover Challenge May 29-31 at the Mars Desert Research Station in Hanksville, Utah. A Western Digital Foundation grant helped to underwrite the project.

Members of the team are electrical engineering graduate students Ye Lu and Chung-Wei Yang, who is graduating this weekend; and undergraduate Cristovam Andre Trocoli de Moura. Mechanical engineering student team members are: Nicholas Bristow, Huy Do, Kelvin Ferris, Hector Guido, Maria Gutierrez, Adam Johnson, Christopher Nguyen and Enrique Villacorta. Faculty advisers are Robson and Jidong Huang, associate professor of electrical engineering.

Best in College-Civil Engineering: "Independence Tower," $1,000 award.

The civil engineering team recently won a first-place national award for its design of a 780,000-square-foot, 36-story contemporary corporate office building, incorporating modern architectural features, colonial style aesthetics and structural engineering techniques to build a safe structure. 

Team members are graduating seniors Abraham Flores and Cole Stafford, and seniors Jeffrey Addison and Tyler Kaplan. Their adviser is David Naish, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.

In hopes of inspiring future engineers, Robson and her students on Monday, May 19, will be presenting the Exo-Limb and several other projects featured at the recent ECS Showcase, as well as a graduate project on search and rescue robotics, to second-graders at Roch Courreges Elementary School in Fountain Valley.

For more photos from the ECS Showcase, visit the gallery online.


Tags:  Academics & Research