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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Engineering seniors get ready for UA Design Day

Shane Bekian
Students browse booths at Engineering Design Day in the Student Union Memorial Center on Tuesday May 4, 2015. The Interdisciplinary Engineering Design Program divides seniors from the College of Engineering into teams, working with sponsors such as Raytheon, Tucson Electric Power and Honeywell.

After a full academic year of researching, designing, building and testing sponsored projects, teams of UA engineering students will present their work at the 14th annual Engineering Design Day next Tuesday.

The Interdisciplinary Engineering Design Program divided 500 engineering seniors into teams to work on design projects sponsored by faculty, UA clubs and companies like Raytheon, Honeywell Aerospace and Texas Instruments.

Ara Arabyan, aerospace and mechanical engineering associate professor, is the director of the Engineering Clinic at the UA and has organized Engineering Design Day since 2009.

“This is the biggest event of the year,” Arabyan said.

He said the event is a university-industry partnership—it not only provides undergraduate engineers with a real-life design experience, but also gives companies a fresh perspective from a team of graduating engineers.

The engineering seniors will display their work throughout the Grand Ballroom in the Student Union Memorial Center and along the UA Mall for the public to see and for judges to evaluate.

Arabyan said there are 130 judges from the industry who are broken up into 22 pods, each of which will have their own schedule of what projects to visit.

The pods of judges will then evaluate and nominate projects for the 22 awards before each is randomly assigned to an award, where they will visit the nominated projects and determine a winner.

Heather Moore, coordinator for career engagement, said this year there will be 99 projects competing for more than $17,000 in prizes and trophies. For the first time ever, there are students competing from every department in the College of Engineering.

“We have some very inspiring projects, including development of a 3-D printer to print temporary graft tissue, enhancing the launch capabilities for an automated life rescue boat, developing better environmental humidity inside a spacesuit and lots of different biomedical, biosystems and aerospace projects among other topics,” Moore said.

Arabyan said this year will bring an all time high of 500 student participants-—that’s up from 370 students from last year.

Design Day’s new smartphone app acts as a digital guide to the event. The app and the event website both give readers the chance to access a map of the event, schedule, project descriptions and other features.

Arabyan said the app—which cost around a few thousand dollars create, update and host on Google Play and Apple App Store—will allow attendees to access Design Day information easier.

He added that the Design Day website, which has a back end for organizers, has cost around a total of $75,000 to maintain over the years he’s run the program.

“All of this money doesn’t come from the university,” Arabyan said. “It comes from the companies, they pay for all this.”

Although many schools across the country hold a capstone similar to this, Arabyan said that he always hears from judges that the UA’s is the best.

“Nobody is as well organized as this,” Arabyan said. “They don’t have the website, they don’t have the app, they don’t have the tools.” 

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