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By Russ Cooper
Engineering is all about innovation – making things work better is the linchpin of the discipline. The same goes for a steadfast tradition such as the capstones.
Each year, the capstone projects are a chance for engineering students in their final year to show the world what they can do. Over April 1 and 2 in the EV atrium, students from three departments showcased final projects from their respective 490 classes.
Design Project Specialist Dmitry Rozhdestvenskiy, who's been the capstone's technical coordinator on the electrical and computer side for three years, is now supervising third-year electrical and computer engineering students. This marks the first year they are taking part in a class that helps prepare them for the fourth-year competition.
"A smaller scale capstone," according to Rozhdestvenskiy, COEN/ELEC 390 is the department's initiative to give students more practical, hands-on experience in developing working products. Unlike the final year assignment where students address a situation of their choosing and develop their own projects, the students from 390 split into teams of four and choose one of two set problems to solve.
On April 14 and 15, the class displayed their projects: This year, students developed robots for either the 'line-follow' (designed to emulate a robot who delivers goods in a factory) or the 'playground' (the robot must independently find an object in an 8'x8' box and stop next to it).
"It's not just paperwork and dummy projects," he says. "At the end of the year, they have to deliver something that performs, something that works."
As for the 490 capstones, civil, building and environmental as well as mechanical and industrial students exhibited their projects on April 1 while electrical and computer science shared their expertise over two sessions on April 2.
The first to hold their awards ceremony, mechanical and industrial tabulated their results ahead of the other two departments. On April 14, the ‘piezoelectric’ mechanical heart valve from Sarah Dort, Mehdi Ghamari, Mohammad Reza Gorginpour, Jakub Szczepanski, Christophe Tardif and Fatemeh Vatani took home the top prize.
Tardif explains 250 000 artificial bi-leaflet valves are implanted each year, but are susceptible to failure and may require the user to take anti-coagulants. To address the problem, the team developed an artificial tri-leaflet valve that mimics a natural valve but has improved flow capabilities and is less prone to malfunction. In addition, the valve's 'piezoelectric' quality emits a voltage detectable outside the body to indicate when it's not functioning properly.
After the ceremony, team member Tardif graciously recognized his team and the acclaim the award brings. "It feels pretty good to be acknowledged by your peers and teachers," Rozhdestvenskiy says.
"This year, I see many of the students' projects are making sense. Many of the products they're developing will be very marketable in the future," he says.
The winners of both the 390 and 490 projects will be announced at the electrical and computer science capstone awards, set for a tentative date of May 28. Civil, building and environmental does not hold an awards ceremony.
For photos and further detail about this year's capstone awards and projects, including a full list of recognition awards received by mechanical and industrial staff and faculty, visit cjournal.concordia.ca.