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Engineering, Computer Science Students Celebrate Innovation at 2024 Project Expo

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More than 300 students from over 75 student teams participated in the College of Engineering and Computer Science’s 2024 Student Project Innovation Expo on April 26. This event showcased the creativity, problem-solving acumen and hard work of students during the academic year. It was a universitywide effort as faculty, staff and students filled the Titan Student Union Pavilion with an impressive display of student effort.

These projects were largely sourced from the four departmental Senior Design Capstone courses. Over the academic year, student teams worked tirelessly to produce a prototype that represented their proposed solution to an engineering or computer science problem. A number of these student teams are supported via ECS Corporate Project Partners. These partners, which include such companies as Disneyland, Edwards Lifesciences and Southern California Edison, pitch projects to student teams in the early fall and provide mentors to guide them through the project lifecycle. This project-based learning experience provides valuable exposure to the industry and critical skills such as collaboration, communication, teamwork, project management and more. Corporate financial support is accessible to all teams in the college.

An early morning session saw 25 teams present their projects to a panel of faculty and industry judges. Students walked judges through their design and implementation process, fielding questions on their approach and results. Judges then conferred before determining 11 projects worthy of prize designation.

The event was open to public as the CSUF community, local community colleges, corporate partners, alumni and other supporters walked the expo floor, visiting with the 75 project teams. To close out the day, a program took place announcing the award winners. The program included Sagil James, associate professor of mechanical engineering; John Faller, professor of electrical and computer engineering; Susan Barua, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science; and Amir Dabirian, provost and vice president for academic affairs. 

Following a very successful crowdfunding campaign as part of #TitansGive in March 2024, the college increased the quantity and financial amount of student awards. In total, 47 donors supported $9,000 in awards.

“Seeing the sheer number of student projects from all the departments is so inspiring,” said Barua. “It’s a testament to the creative innovation and hard work of our ECS students. We are especially grateful to our corporate partners for their mentorship and direct support as well as #TitansGive donors who funded the student awards this year.”

The winning teams are:

  • Overall Best Project, $2,000, AISC Steel Bridge
  • Overall 1st Runner-Up, $1,500, Happy Helper
  • Overall 2nd Runner-Up, $1,000, TrueMe
  • Honorable Mention, $500, Titan Racing Formula
  • Best Project in Civil Engineering, $500, Model-Sized Mechanically Stabilized Earth Retaining Wall
  • Best Project in Electrical and Computer Engineering, $500, Digital Dough-Light
  • Best Project in Computer Science, $500, AI Mind Companion
  • Best Project in Mechanical Engineering, $500, Infrastructure Inspection
  • Best Legacy Project, $500, Titan Aero
  • Most Innovative Project of the Year, $750, Predicting Facial Harmony through Machine Learning
  • Best Corporate-Sponsored Team, $750, Edwards Lifesciences, Development of Underwater DIC

Winning Teams Showcase Innovative Problem-Solving

American Institute of Steel Construction Steel Bridge Competition 2024

  • Submission track: Civil and environmental engineering
  • Faculty adviser: David Naish, professor of civil and environmental engineering
  • Project background: The objective is to make a bridge that completes the requirements and specifications to complete an overall proposal for a land development project as part of the Pacific Southwest Symposium.
  • Project goals: For the project, the team focused on creating a design that would optimize deflection while having an ease of construction and cost efficiency. The main goal was to design a bridge with a load path that would reduce the forces seen on the under-truss frame and would relay more force distribution toward the stringers. Additional goals were also established through the design such as ease of construction, reduction of weight and the ease of fabrication of the design.
  • Key results: Based on the analysis of the structural integrity of the bridge using the software SAP2000, there was successful verification of the design to ideally fit within the parameters established through the AISC rules for steel bridge.

Happy Helper

  • Submission track: Mechanical engineering
  • Faculty adviser: Jin Woo Lee, assistant professor of mechanical engineering
  • Project background: In the U.S., almost 4 million people are wheelchair users and many of them struggle with stores that do not properly accommodate their specific needs to the point that they avoid going to these stores altogether. The Associated Students Inc. Food Pantry is an on-campus service that provides CSUF students with free groceries, but like many other grocery stores, wheelchair-using students may avoid this location due to lack of accommodations. In order to make The Pantry more accessible for wheelchair-using students, the group proposes a device that will allow the user to carry their groceries, so that they can easily move around The Pantry.
  • Project goals: The goal of the project is to provide a solution that accommodates the needs of wheelchair-using students to make The Pantry more accessible to a broader demographic of students. The group’s proposed design focuses on removing the basket from the user’s lap, but keeping it accessible enough to not hinder the user’s movement and keep the items within reach.
  • Key results: The prototype used aluminum extrusions for the frame because aluminum is lightweight. The wheels are made of steel so that they can withstand the load of a full basket and the rest of the device. To adjust for different wheelchairs, there is a slider mechanism that extends horizontally. The slider fits in the provided slot of the extrusion and locks by twisting the handle at the desired length. The tray is lightweight and durable enough to handle the weight of a full basket.


  • Submission track: Computer science
  • Faculty adviser: Bruce McKenzie, lecturer in computer science
  • Project background: In the modern beauty and wellness industry, individuals often struggle to find the right skincare and makeup products tailored to their specific needs. The immense variety of available options coupled with the diverse array of products catering to various purposes, can create a daunting and overwhelming experience for individuals seeking the ideal beauty regimen. With an abundance of options, consumers find themselves struggling not only with the product’s efficacy but also with the reputation, affordability and ethos of the brand and product. TrueMe seeks to revolutionize this experience by offering an innovative and personalized solution, addressing the multifaceted challenges faced by consumers in navigating the vast industry of skincare and makeup products.
  • Project goals: Provide accurate diagnoses of skin conditions through facial scanning and machine learning technology using facial datasets. We also aim to guide users to products that are tailored to their specific needs. The objectives can be broken down into data collection, algorithm development and UI design.
  • Key results: The team managed to get the app onto GooglePlay platform. TrueMe’s compatibility with iOS and Android devices from the last five years ensures accessibility to a wide range of users. By offering a user-friendly mobile application interface, TrueMe will be accessible to individuals of all ages and technological proficiencies, making personalized skincare recommendations available to a broader audience.

Faculty judges included Sampson Akwafuo, assistant professor of computer science; Bin Cong, professor of computer science; Phoolendra Mishra, chair and professor of civil and environmental engineering; Ankita Mohapatra, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering; Chris Ryu, professor of computer science; and Garrett Struckhoff, professor of civil and environmental engineering. Industry judges included Peter Bilello from Cimdata; Joshua Bowen from Raytheon;  Melody Brown, who retired from Raytheon; Lauren Gonzalez from Deloitte; Samir Mulgaonkar from Caltrans; Rocio Salguero from Google; and Jose Tapia from MeruAI.

College of Engineering and Computer Science faculty members James and Faller organized the competition, supported by key staff from the dean’s office.

“It is wonderful to see the students take such pride in their work,” said James. “These students, faculty advisers and corporate mentors have put such tremendous effort into these projects. We are happy to celebrate it. I am personally grateful for the work of our faculty and industry judges in helping determine the student awards.”

Alex Choperena