As We See It

UNLV awards another crop of engineering wonders

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The Precision T-Shirt Cannon was one project on display at UNLV Engineering’s annual Senior Design Competition.
Photo: Steve Marcus

Don’t know how to play the violin? Want to surf the longest waterslide in the world? Can’t find your kid’s must-have toy in the mess?

Enter UNLV’s senior engineering students, who’ve been working all spring on technology-assisted fixes for “real-world” problems, like an app that teaches you to play a string instrument or a mechanism that organizes your child’s toy box.

The 28 student teams unveiled their projects at UNLV’s annual Senior Design Competition May 7, presenting to a panel of judges working in tech advancement. And with a $4,000 grand prize and thousands more in categorical cash awards, these students weren’t just résumé building before graduation. Just look to the 2013 Senior Design Competition winner, Skyworks Aerial Systems, whose creators went on to partner with UNLV MBA candidates and ultimately win the Southern Nevada Business Plan Competition. Skyworks is now a fully functioning local company offering drone products and development kits.

While many of this year’s concepts were completely practical—from retaining-wall reinforcements to compressive sensing stockings that better facilitate blood flow—some ideas filled colorful niches, like the Precision T-Shirt Cannon, which pinpoints exact spots in an arena to deliver sportswear to fans, or the Wunder smartphone app, which uses an “artificially intelligent algorithm” to plan a day-trip itinerary for those in unfamiliar locations.

The top prize went to team Robo-hand for its prosthetic hand that grips through arm-movement sensing. But next semester, other projects will have a shot at that Southern Nevada Business Plan Competition (check out the tech wonders at unlv.edu/engineering).

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