Design competition sparks creativity in electronics students

Engineering students Mohammad Kaddouh and Mohanad Elkafarneh demonstrate the robotic arm they designed and built.Engineering students Mohammad Kaddouh and Mohanad Elkafarneh demonstrate the robotic arm they designed and built.

A design competition for electrical engineering students brought their learning out of textbooks and into reality last week.

“It was interesting to apply the theory we learned in class to predict circuit behaviour and help troubleshoot,” said Emilie Bondy, whose team took home first place for designing a Multiple Option Input Responsive Beverage Mixer.

Bondy and her teammates, Muntasir Alam and Tristen Michaud-Laughton, received $180 in UWindsor Campus Bookstore gift certificates.

More than 100 electrical engineering students from professor Mitra Mirhassani’s third-year class, “Electronics II,” competed. As part of a course requirement, students were tasked with designing a product under a $30 budget using an analog circuit and various signal processors.

Jeff Bilek and Sam Cipkar received second place for designing a portable audio control board that uses three input signals to control frequency. Bilek and Cipkar’s design can control the volume and frequency of a guitar, microphone, and music playing on a smart phone.

“The biggest challenge was elimnating feedback,” Bilek said.

Mohammad Kaddouh and Mohanad Elkafarneh designed a bionic arm.

To minimize costs, the two built their own custom flex sensors to fit in a glove. The sensors in the glove used analog and digital signals to move the fingers on the bionic arm mechanically.

“Our robotic arm can assist someone with disabilities,” Elkafarneh said as he put on the glove to demonstrate how the bionic hand mimicked his movements.

The competition took place November 30 during an open house in the atrium of the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation. A panel of judges evaluated and selected the best overall project based on design, technical difficulty, presentation and a question-and-answer session.

Third place went to Kaipeng Zhang and Yidan Luo for their adaptive car-following system.

“This project encourages students to apply their knowledge and what they learned in class to design working prototypes,” Dr. Mirhassani said. “The projects help students learn the design process, and hopefully prepare them for their final capstone project and future engineering employment. I was very proud of the students and their dedication.”