UTEP Undergraduate Electrical Engineering Seniors Present Capstone Project Posters
ANAHY DIAZ | February 10, 2020
Twelve teams from The University of Texas at El Paso’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) presented their Capstone Project Posters to fellow faculty and students in fall 2019.
A capstone project, is a multifaceted assignment that serves as a culminating academic experience for students by utilizing all the knowledge acquired in their first years of study and is a course requirement for graduation. Students work in teams to produce working models to help solve real world problems, granting students hands-on experience. The teams must produce a detailed presentation explaining their project, what problem they are trying to solve, and what technology their invention brings. The teams build a working model of their project and present it to fellow faculty and students. Each team has the opportunity to choose a project that is focused on applying and testing the comprehensive academic foundations they’ve learned as students in the College of Engineering.
“The whole idea behind the project is to give opportunities for students to combine everything they’ve learned along the way in their undergraduate program,” said Rodrigo Romero, Ph.D., Clinical Associate Professor who serves as the ECE Coordinator for Senior Lab. “This is actually serving their educational needs in many ways, from providing a valuable experience for students, preparing them for a good job interview and career in industry, to meeting their ECE academic accreditation needs. It’s an important part of the program.”
The two-semester project also teaches students how to be team players. The idea is that by working in teams, students learn how to collaborate with others to find a solution to a problem, a skill that most jobs demand in the real world.
“It was good working together, it depends on the people and how passionate they are,” said Crystal Delgado, who worked alongside students Stephany Najera and Ismael Marquez on a device that will aid early forest fire prevention.
Other projects included a Multipurpose Prototyping System - Man-Machine Interface: A man machine interface that can interact with multiple 3D printing technologies, by displaying temperature, jog gantry position and change tool settings. Radiation-Hardened GPU: A radiation-tolerant graphics processing unit (GPU), a device that can alter and manipulate memory to accelerate the creation of images, that can perform under the radiation experienced beyond earth’s atmosphere. Fossil Finder Laser Flash System: A device that can quickly take images of fossils over a widespread terrain.
The poster presentation gives students the platform to present their model, practice their presentation skills and receive constructive recommendations by faculty and fellow students.
“I think it’s pretty fun because sometimes people come up with these questions, which let us know things that we didn’t really think about ahead of time, and now we can fix them,” said Jenny Lopez, who partnered up with Andres Rodriguez to develop a fast imaging laser flash device that can take images of fossils, providing a helpful tool for research in paleontology.
“The biggest challenge is knowing what gaps to cover; but that’s another advantage of this project, problem-based learning, which is identifying a problem and learning about it so you actually solve it,” Romero said.