Team Spot On Takes Capstone's Top Prize

The 2014 Capstone Design Expo featured more than 900 students and 170 teams from eight schools and three colleges tackling real-world problems. Choosing the best of the bunch was no easy task for the judges who came from a range of professional and academic backgrounds. In the end Team Spot On was awarded the prize for best overall project.

The interdisciplinary team of mechanical and biomedical engineers was sponsored by Smith and Nephew, who tasked Spot On with devising a better way to insert screws into the metal rods, or nails, that hold fractured femurs together.

“It was a fun but challenging project,” said team member Elizabeth Morris. “We were an interdisciplinary team from different countries and different backgrounds, but that’s how teams function in the real world. This was a great way to learn to work together across disciplines. It was so rewarding to be able to show our sponsors a final product that works and we’re excited to win the top prize.”

Georgia Tech’s Capstone Design Expo showcases projects from the undergraduate senior design courses in which students work together to design products or tackle real-world problems, sometimes at the behest of sponsors. This year’s event was held on April 24 at McCamish Pavilion and was the largest Spring Expo to date.

More than 5,000 visitors roamed the premises checking out projects that ranged from life-saving medical devices to tools to make life easier. There was a treatment for cauliflower ear (an ear injury common among wrestlers and boxers), a smart digital bike sign, a device that prevents drivers from texting while their car is in motion, an improved sleep apnea diagnostic tool, a chair lift for airplane stairs, a gel-free sonogram attachment, and many, many more fascinating projects.

Some teams worked on projects that they think could be commercially viable, like Team Hemo Halt which developed a low-cost hemorrhage control device to address preventable military hemorrhage fatalities which are the leading cause of potentially survivable deaths among American soldiers.

“This whole Capstone experience is unlike anything else,” said team member Tyler Harmon (BME). “I feel like I’m creating my own future and my own business. We’ve taken ownership of this project. We had plenty of late nights, but we didn’t question what we were doing. We knew this project could save lives.”

Other teams focused on solving problems that confront people in their day-to-day lives, like the BBQ Grill Control team which developed an automated temperature control system for a grill, or Flags of Our Fathers who developed a tangle-proof flag tethering system at the request of a veteran. Neither team has plans to take their product to market, but they took satisfaction of following the design process through to the end to come up with solutions that worked.

Addressing the participants, judges, and attendees at the awards ceremony Dr. Gary S. May, dean of the College of Engineering, said “I have seen the future, and it is right here in this room. Your ideas and projects represent the future of engineering. I am constantly amazed at the breadth and depth of work being presented here.”

“It is clear that innovation and entrepreneurship are hallmark trait of our students,” he continued. “Industry will be impressed by how well-prepared you are to contribute right away.”

Having a record number of schools and colleges participating in the competition resulted in a record number of awards being handed out. Below are the winners of the 2014 Spring Capstone Design Expo, which included awards for each major as well as two people's choice awards, a sponsor award from Seelio, and the best overall project award.

Aerospace Engineering
Rotorcraft Senior Design Team #2- Developed a high speed vertical takeoff preliminary design to meet AHS RFP requirements. The team's concept is a fan-in-wing design, with the fans powered by ducted exhaust from two turbofans during hover.
Team Members
Brett Kubica
Andrew Aldrich
Joshua Bareket
Mike Ross
Ethan Sarikas
Yuanji Zhu
Brendan Haber
William Keller
Cliff Sircar
Mateus Pereira

Biomedical Engineering
Abdo Surgical- Designed a device to effectively close abdominal incisions after damage control surgery.
Team Members
Brandon Miller
Alvin Lee
Jordan Chestnut
Sarah Nayebosadri

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Plasma Princesses- Developed an HIV viral load test for the CDC using microfluidic chip technology in a point-of-care device that enables samples to be processed without electricity, laboratory equipment, or highly trained technicians.
Team Members
Ashleigh Dodd
Jacquelyn Wehling
Carey Susina

Electrical and Computer Engineering
CJ3- Built an electric vehicle with the ability to gather energy and charge batteries with braking. The goal of utilizing this charging method is to increase the distance per charge of small personal vehicles like scooters, electric wheelchairs, etc.
Team Members
Mary Sherman
Jacob Zeigler
Ryan McGee
Luke Reichling
David Burg

Industrial Design
Team Water- Designed a system that provides clean water at the point of use for rural families in Northern Uganda.
Team Members
Greg Klingshirn (Industrial Design)
Zachary Pitts (Mechanical Engineering)
Mitchell Whittington (Mechanical Engineering)
Charles Whitely (Mechanical Engineering)
Erica Yang (Industrial Design)

Industrial and Systems Engineering: To be determined at an ISyE competition. Finalists:
Heidelberg Spare Parts- Gian Marco Di Carlo, Benedict Herbst, Christoph Koehler, Lior Koren, Andrea Pava, Mark Vaisberg, Daniel Zuleta
Manheim Auto Buyback- Connor Perkett, David Weigel, Kirstin Egan , Katherine Worch, Julianna Monteleone, Kelsey Sargis, Alex King
United Nations Food Program- Maria Ayers, Lakshmi Gadepalli , Ashfaque Kachwala , Tahsin Munir, Cane Punma , Gabriel Rodriguez, Yuvraj Singh

Materials Science and Engineering
Simmons Bedding Company- Investigated the implementation of a wave spring core mattress as an alternative to conventional coil spring core mattresses.
Team Members
Michael McDonald
Kevin Bogaert
Parker Frost
Nick Savage
Hank Marcacci

Mechanical Engineering
Knee-On- This project is a hybridization of an athletic knee brace and a post operation (immobilizer) knee brace. This brace eliminates the need for multiple braces as the patient progresses through the rehabilitation process.
Team Members
Josh Byerly
Claire Powell
Justin Hamley
Laura Page
Zhihan Wang
Ruoyu Song

Public Policy Award
Urban Ag Swag- Devised an urban agriculture policy to guide the City of Atlanta’s zoning codes in a way that sustains and promotes urban agriculture.
Team Members
Sahra Jabbehdari
Ryan Hedrich
Jonathan Vallecillo
Tim Lin

People’s Choice- Monodisciplinary
Team UPS- created a solution that will increase UPS’s profitability in their global healthcare department, particularly concerning the transportation of refrigerated pharmaceuticals by examining the current policy for selecting and routing active containers.
Team Members
Jason Bello (Industrial Engineering)
Asia Ellington (Industrial Engineering)
Norman Gyamfi (Industrial Engineering)
Jing Qin (Industrial Engineering)
Shanyu Lin (Industrial Engineering)

People’s Choice Interdisciplinary
SonoFAST- SonoFAST Ultrasound Kit is a product consolidating the multiple steps of an ultrasound exam into an efficient and easy one-step process merging the sterilization of the probe, the application of the gel, and the cleaning of the device into a product that can be directly placed on the probe and easily removed after the exam.
Team Members
Stephanie Camstra (Mechanical Engineering)
Gabriela Lamas (Biomedical Engineering)
Jorge Mena (Biomedical Engineering)
Keller Tomassi (Mechanical Engineering)

Seelio Award for Best Online Portfolio
LumbarJax- Developed a “stand-alone” lumbar inter body fusion device that offers adjustable correction to provide the best outcome possible for each patient.
Team Members
Alec DeFilippo
Kyle Huckeba
John Mahoney
Ryan Smith

Best Overall Prize
Spot On- Developed a simple, safe, and low-cost technique for improving the process of inserting distal locking screws into intramedullary nails used in treat femoral fractures.
Team Members
Allison Gainer (Biomedical Engineering)
Elizabeth Morris (Biomedical Engineering)
Rachel Patel (Biomedical Engineering)
Tushar Goel (Mechanical Engineering)
Stephen Waller (Mechanical Engineering)