Usually the Faculty of Applied Science’s Design and Innovation Day is a bustling all day event that fills multiple buildings on campus with students demonstrating the final design projects that are the culmination of their undergraduate studies. For the past two spring terms this celebration of student design has been transformed into an online showcase due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead of taking over two floors of the Engineering Design Centre with devices and posters, the Mechanical Engineering class of 2021 has showcased their capstone projects through video presentations on the UBC Faculty of Applied Sciences’ Design and Innovation Day website. These projects are sponsored by companies, non-profits, and sometimes UBC research labs who have a problem they need to solve, and work with students to create a solution. This year-long project gives students experience with a real-world design problem, that prepares them for graduation and entering the world of industry.
This year’s projects included the creation of a multi-nozzle 3D printer that can merge soft and stiff materials in the same print, an artificial intelligence hardhat that monitors the wearer’s brainwaves in real-time with electroencephalography (EEG) sensors, and more. Every year awards are given to the most outstanding projects, and this year the capstone instructor team selected the following two projects after considering both the technical work and the dossier documentation completed by the students:
Video not available, due to NDA.
Project: Surgical tool tracking
The MECH Capstone students advanced the development of a surgical instrument tracking system using computer vision to reduce the occurrence of retained surgical instruments (RSIs). RSIs pose serious health risks to patients and are considered an entirely preventable mistake. Current control methods require nurses to double-count the instruments before and after a surgery and record the counts on paper sheets. The system under development automates this process by using computer vision and machine learning to identify and track instruments presented by a nurse.
Thank you to Dr. Christopher Nguan, Associate Professor in the UBC Dept. of Urologic Sciences and Surgical Director of the Kidney Transplant Program at VGH, for sponsoring this project.
Project: COVID PPE for those with limited ability
In this project, the Tetra Society of North America sought a hands-free solution to assist individuals with motion impairments to use everyday COVID PPE. The student team developed solutions for a face mask and hand-sanitizing device for this audience.The mask solution reduces the strain on the user’s arm by reducing the amount of flexion required at the elbow. A finger or thumb can easily protrude in/out of the cross shaped finger catch, which gives grasp-less control to the user. The 3d printed base is over-molded with silicone both for comfort and functionality as straps. This solution is low cost and can be manufactured quickly and easily. The hand sanitizer solution features a device which automatically sprays hand sanitizer when the user’s hand is detected by an IR sensor. The functioning prototype features a slim design, easily removable covers for back panel access, and versatile mounting.
Thank you to Eric Molendyk, National Program Coordinator with the Tetra Society of North America, for sponsoring this project.
Congratulations to these two teams on their outstanding work, and to all of our 2021 capstone students on their achievements during this challenging school year. Thank you to this year’s project sponsors for their support and mentorship of our students:
A and K Robotics
Dr. Ahmad Mohammadpanah
UBC Aquatic Centre
Dr. Jean-Sébastien Blouin and Dr. Lyndia Wu
Canadian Space Agency
UBC Formula E
Hevvy Toyo Pumps
Bill Lind and Dan McGreer
Human Motion Biomechanics Lab
UBC Manufacturing Program
UBC Micro-Electrical-Mechanical Systems Lab
Product Care Association
Reaction Dynamics Lab
Tetra Society of North America
Dr. Peter Black and Dr. Drew Phillips, UBC Dept. of Urologic Sciences
Dr. Chris Nguan, UBC Dept. of Urologic Sciences