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Engineering Students Showcase Innovative Work at Senior Design Competition

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Student inventions include a high-tech blanket that emits cool temperatures, a shelving system that will help wheelchair-bound people reach top kitchen shelves or a machine that automatically roles silverware into napkins.
Campus News  |  Apr 30, 2013  |  By Megan Downs
Media Contact: Megan Downs, Office of Media Relations (702) 895-0898
Students and judges gather around a project called the Ninth Island Wave Pool presented during the Fall 2012 Senior Design competition. This barreling, circular wave pool allows a surfer to ride the waves on a continuous loop. The team won first place in the civil engineering category. (Aaron Mayes / UNLV Photo Services)


Students from the UNLV Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering will showcase lessons learned from their undergraduate education when they display their commercially viable projects at the Spring 2013 Senior Design Competition.


Thursday, May 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


Cox Pavilion Concourse at UNLV


This semester students more than 30 teams created a variety of technologically innovative projects this semester, ranging including a high-tech blanket that emits cool temperatures, a shelving system that will help wheelchair- bound people reach high kitchen shelves, and or a machine that automatically roles silverware into napkins.

The Senior Design Competition is the culminating project for undergraduate engineering students at UNLV. The event is judged by local industry representatives and has thousands of dollars in prize money on the line. The competition introduces students to the spirit of entrepreneurship and the benefits of commercial application.

Note: A partial list of projects is outlined below. A complete list of all projects will soon be available at

Don't Walk Regulator - A device targeted for high volume pedestrian traffic on the Las Vegas Strip. It safely prevents pedestrians from unlawfully crossing the road as oncoming traffic enters a resort. When it's unsafe for pedestrians to walk, a lever is slowly dropped, creating a physical barrier between the pedestrians and the road. The barrier has LED lighting and can display digital advertisements. The device was created by team members Cesar Lopez and Hugo Corral.

Maji to Tuleeni - Everyday, thousands of African villagers in Moshi, Tanzania embark on a three-mile trek to obtain water from a spring. The villagers return carrying nearly 50 pounds of water. Close to the village, 82 orphans will soon live in the Tuleeni Orphanage and will have a great need for water. This team created a plan to bring water to the villagers and orphans. A water intake structure at the spring collects the water, a pipeline transports it and a cholorination tank disinfects it. This was created by students Annie Bouck, Christian Datuin, Eric Murphy and Brian Vincent.

Automatic Silverware Rolling Machine - This device allows a user to load silverware and napkins and then press a "start" button." The machine puts the silverware in the napkin and rolls it into a tight uniform roll, as quickly as a human would be able to do this manually. Created by team members Kyle Pointer and Kyle Ackley.

Thermopod - This high-tech blanket allows the user to create an optimal sleeping environment, which can warm the insides of the blanket for cold winter nights or create a simulated breeze that gently oscillates air to lull the user to sleep. It also allows users to conserve energy while decreasing power bills. This was created by students Patrick Arnold, Ryan Schroeder and Calvin Wong.

Super Math Matching Fun Time - This app is a twist on the game of Concentration, but instead of matching similar cards, students match cards that add up to a sum. This game is targeted at mostly pre-kindergarten through first grade students. The app was created by UNLV student Michael Branchini. Branchini works as a tutor for the America Reads/ America Counts program at UNLV, where local K-12 students receive free tutoring.

"Big Sammich" the Automation's Multi-tool - For most theater technicians, especially automation technicians, maintenance work can be a hassle because most tasks require many hand tools that need to be brought to obscure places, such as motor underneath stage lifts. This invention combines all the tools technicians need including wire clippers, strippers and a crimper, quarter-inch driver bits and a few other specialized hand tools. This invention was created by students in the Entertainment Engineering program, which prepares students for high-tech careers in the entertainment industry. The team members are Justine Benoit, Thomas Drach and Charles Ticer.

Motorized Shelving System - This team created a device that allows people who are confined to a wheelchair to reach all shelves in a kitchen. A pulley system and drawer slides enable the top shelf to come out of the cabinet and down to the user. This design gives people in wheelchairs more access to their overhead kitchen cabinets and the independence to use more of their kitchen without assistance. Team members include Tyler Ercolani, Philip Nix and Jacob Lynch.

Automated Pool Skimmer - This solar powered device, which is a little more than a foot wide, skims the surface of a pool to eliminate unwanted debris. It powers itself, sensing the walls of the pool to skim all leaves and other clutter from the water's surface. It was created by Russell Wells, Tyler Nickerson, Luis Gallegos and Alfred Johnson.