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UNLV Engineering Students Display High-Tech Inventions at Senior Design Competition Dec. 5

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Inventions include a baby vitals monitor, an unmanned aerial vehicle and a green-friendly alternative for concrete
Campus News  |  Dec 2, 2013  |  By Megan Downs
Media Contact: Megan Downs, Office of Media Relations (702) 895-0898


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 Fall 2013 Senior Design Competition.


8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 5

All projects will be shown for the duration of the event, with a scheduled break from noon to 1 p.m.


UNLV Campus, Foundations Building, Blasco Event Wing, 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy.


This semester students from 19 teams accomplished a variety of technologically innovative projects such as a baby vitals monitor, an unmanned aerial vehicle and a green-friendly alternative for concrete.

The Senior Design Competition is the culminating project for undergraduate engineering students at UNLV. Each student in his or her senior year chooses, plans, designs and prototypes a product. 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

Koko To'bii'yii Waterline Sustainability: Currently, 56 residents that make up the community of Coppermine, Ariz., in the northwest region of the Navajo Nation, have no running water or sewage system. Civil engineering students designed a way for the community to have a sustainable source of potable water and a sewage system. If successful, this system could be expanded into other areas of the Navajo nation. About 40 percent of the nation of 173,667 people currently has no running water, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Project Greencrete: Concrete production accounts for 5 percent to 7 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. This team created "greencrete," a sustainable, alternative to concrete that is made from the waste products created from smelting metal during the manufacturing process. This solution helps the environment and reduces landfill waste because traditional cement byproducts are classified as hazardous waste. According to this team of student engineers, greencrete has proven to be a very high quality material through initial testing, with strength levels equal to those used when constructing buildings that need to withstand high earthquake activity.

Automated Sports Ball Launcher: Using the concept behind a pitching machine for baseball, this team of student engineers took the idea one step further to develop a machine that can aim a ball at any place on the field at the touch of a button. Additionally, the design features a hopper-feeder device that allows the balls to be loaded once and then fed automatically into the launcher without the need for human interaction.

Electric Generating Turbo: This design uses waste exhaust gases from a vehicle's engine to produce electricity. The electricity can be used to charge a battery or power minor electronic equipment in the vehicle. The team envisions this technology could be used best in hybrid vehicles, which already have a gasoline engine that generates exhaust gases to power the battery of electric motor. The turbo device would increase the amount of power the electric motor provides.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): The team developed a UAV using a saucer-shaped invention that can be flown from a remote control device. An embedded computer and high-definition camera is used to stream video through a wireless network, which provides reconnaissance capabilities. UNLV is soon implementing a minor program that will focus on the technology used for unmanned aerial systems.

Baby Vitals Monitor: This team of student engineers developed a monitor that measures the baby's heart rate, temperature, and body position. The device triggers an alarm if an infant's heart rate drops below 100 beats per minute or exceeds 180 beats per minute, if the child's temperature reaches 101 degrees Fahrenheit or if the infant rolls on his or her stomach while sleeping, a potential position for suffocation. The device is target toward budget-conscious parents, which an estimated sales price of $75. Most devices on the market range from $150 to $200.