Mechanized marvels

Their ingenious designs integrate mechanical and electrical systems into working prototypes that may zoom, zing, fly, agitate, pull, dispense or write their way into engineering glory. At the end of every semester, students in ME 102 “Mechatronics” demonstrate their final mechanical engineering design projects for the public during an open house in Etcheverry Hall.

Past projects have included a minesweeper and video surveillance system that captures hit-and-run car accidents as well as smart devices of a more collegiate nature: an automatic “S’Mores” maker and a robotic drinking game.

Last semester’s class, taught by ME professor Homayoon Kazerooni and aided by graduate student instructors Andy Hurwich and Sarah Wodin-Schwartz, featured 27 teams who demonstrated their projects last December. Devices ranged from a tennis ball collector to a fire extinguishing robot and an automatic card dealer.

“It was almost overwhelming to see what the students could not only dream up but also fabricate and test in such a short amount of time,” says Wodin-Schwartz. “They were able to gain confidence as practicing engineers through their projects, and I think every student left ME 102 feeling able to tackle real-world engineering problems. It is that confidence that is going to take them very far in the field.”

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