Senior Design: The future is in the hands of Florida Tech seniors

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The Senior Design Showcase: the day that seniors have been working for all year long. It’s a chance to finally show their innovations to judges and receive recognition for their year long efforts.

Excitement and hope hung in the air on Friday, as hundreds of senior Florida Tech students find their displays in the Clemente Center. These next seven hours are theirs, to explain to, and excite judges, professors and future employers with groundbreaking innovations, and to see a year of work come together.

Among the innovations were multiple autonomous systems; one being a quadcopter drone used for taking video for sporting events and other outdoor activities. The other was ALTS, the Autonomous Luggage Transportation System.

This team designed and built a GPS guided luggage carrier that can completely drive itself.

“You can set waypoints for the system to follow,” said Bradley Jones, a senior in mechanical engineering, “at each waypoint it can turn or stop or drive straight through.”

The ALTS brought home an award for the mechanical engineering category. Three dimensional printing technologies have quickly becoming a highly popular alternative to traditional production methods, and many of the future designers at the showcase utilized this technology.

PriMA Prosthetics’ use of three dimensional printing helped them receive three awards on Friday; one of these was the President’s Cup for Engineering. PriMA Prosthetics’ research lead to the development of a three dimensional printed prosthetic system that is strong and lifelike, all at an affordable cost $1500.

“The team with the prosthetic arm was incredible,” said President Catanese. “The showcase has become science, technology, but also related to application, entrepreneurship and business.”

Engineering students were not the only ones to receive accolades for their work, the College of Science had their winners as well.

Jasmine Pimentel received best in showcase of cellular and molecular biology for her work in researching the role of inorganic pyrophosphatase in Alzheimer’s disease. Montana Steell received the best in showcase in Sustainability for her work in catalyzing sustainable seafood purchasing in Brevard County. The President’s Cup for science was awarded to Zoe Ashton for her work on classifying chronic kidney disease patients as fast or slow progressors. “This could go into doctors offices today, and they can begin to use this to decide what to do with kidney patients,” said Catanese.

The Senior Design Showcase has slowly grown over the years, and every year has been better than previous ones.

“This is our competitive advantage as a university, and for our students,” said T. Dwayne McCay, executive vice president and chief operating officer.  “From all the companies I’ve talked to, the emphasis is on hands on experience.”

McCay plans on more sponsorship for next year, allowing seniors to fully explore their ideas.

“I’ve done this fourteen times, and this was the best ever,” said Catanese. “Exactly the way I wanted to go out, with the best Senior Showcase ever.”