Design Day Projects 2016


Michelle Relin, a member of the Macular Degeneration Vision Aid senior design team of the Institute of Optics, helps Dr. Donald Glover test a Google Glass modified with an optical system to help people with macular degeneration see better. Glover, a retired ophthalmologist at the Medical Center who is the team's customer, said team members had made "excellent" progress in developing a prototype.


Automotive Ambient Cabin Noise Masking System: The audio source (radio, CD, aux) is equalized in (almost) real-time based on calculations made in the DSP algorithm, which assesses the power spectrum of the respective signals (input signal, noise signal) in the 25 critical bands of human hearing as outlined in the theory of auditory masking, and which then finds the appropriate gain per frequency band required for the input signal to mask the noise signal.
Team member: Myron Vasilik
Supervisor: Mark Bocko, ECE department chair

Study of Human Directional Sound Perception in Reverberant Environments;
The goal of HRTF processing is to manipulate headphone audio to provide virtual time and frequency-dependent intensity differences which allow the placement of sound sources in virtual locations. We study the usefulness of this technique for reverberant environments where there exist many sound reflections originating from different spatial locations. Our goal is to further understand and develop a weighting function that will rank the importance of these reflections in developing a sense of spaciousness for a given scenario.
Team member: Jeremy Hassett.
Supervisor: Mark Bocko, ECE department chair


Andrew Tomich who, in addition to being a student is an EMT for two local amulance services, explains how his noise cancelling stethoscope could make it easier for medical responders to use in situations where there is a lot of background noise, such as accident scenes. Tomich noted this is the 200th anniversary of the invention of the stethoscope.

Noise Cancelling Electronic Stethoscope: An electronic stethoscope, with variable amplification, filtering, and noise cancellation, is presented. Through the use of multiple microphones and processing circuitry, noise is cancelled for the provider, allowing the user to overcome the persistent problems of auscultation in austere conditions: low signal to noise ratio, low SPL level, and uncomfortable ear pieces.
Team member: Andrew Tomich
Supervisor: Mark Bocko, ECE department chair

Yellow Fever: an album by the University of Rochester YellowJackets. Each song is an a Capella recording, meaning that no instruments were used to generate sounds, only the human voice was used. Enjoy listening to covers of great artists such as OMI, Justin Bieber, and Fetty Wap!
Team member: Logan Stillings
Customer: University of Rochester Yellowjackets
Supervisor: Mark Bocko, ECE department chair


Ultranomics –The vast majority of ultrasound sonographers require treatment for Musculoskeletal disorders caused by repetitive, improper ergonomics while at work. We are using real time video motion processing and wearable motion sensors to monitor and log the kinematics of sonographers’ neck and shoulder continuously throughout ultrasound procedures. A GUI displays a graphical representation of ergonomic quality to the sonographer, while quantitative data is saved for further analysis. The information from our ergonomic monitor will identify habits of pathological movement, elucidate the source of injury, and assist with guiding preventative measures.
TEAM: Greg Palis, Megan Routzong, Yanwen Zhai, Mary Bucklin
Customer: Lynn LaPietra, Ph.D., Carestream Health
Supervisor: Diane Dalecki, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester


Jacob Parisi, a senior in Biomedical Engineering, works on his team's senior design project, to create a medication dispenser integrated with the current TouchStream scheduling system. Photo by J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester.

TouchStream Solutions Medication Management - Our project addresses the problems identified by TouchStream Solutions with the current pillbox for use with their medication scheduling system. We created a medication dispenser integrated with the current scheduling system that can be customized for various medications and customer needs for patients including individuals with mental disabilities and those above age 65. This medication dispenser will help improve customer interaction with the TouchStream system, assist customers with the management of daily medications and reduce instances of incorrect medication doses.
TEAM: Hayley Forrest, Brittany Garrison, Bethany Lennox, Rachel Melnyk, Jacob Parisi
Customer: Joel Benzel, TouchStream Solutions
Supervisor: Rick Waugh, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester

Team BAXTER – The height of an intravenous bag in relation to the attached infusion pump is capable of impacting the amount of medicine the system delivers. If the height difference is inappropriate, the scenario has potential to lead to lower success rates for treatments and further complications. By developing a mechanism to ensure that the height is consistently within a tolerable range of the ideal value, we aim to increase accuracy of infusions and reduce the risk to patients from incorrect dosages.
TEAM: Saadedine El-Homsi, Bennett Nidenberg, Yuxin Teng, Dylan Hoffman
Customer: Matt Bivens, Baxter Healthcare
Supervisor: Danielle Benoit, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester

ECG LeadURs - We aim to design an ECG lead wire that is capable of providing reliable ECG signals by connecting to tab and stud electrodes securely. The lead wire connection must be inexpensive to manufacture, efficient to sanitize, and comparable to market alternatives in ease of use and patient comfort. Most importantly, the ECG lead must increase electrode retention in an effort to minimize the alarm fatigue and inefficient ECG monitoring occurring in clinical settings worldwide.
TEAM: Taryn Amatruda, Jack Venuti, Jonathan Boualavong, Kyle Meyers
Customer: Theresa Hart, Curbell Medical Products, Inc.
Supervisor: Scott Seidman, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester

Fetal Cardiac MRI – MRI is the best option for diagnosing potential issues in fetal hearts, as the technology provides high resolution and lacks harmful ionizing radiation. However, MRI is limited due to the inability to measure the fetal heartbeat for selectively timing the image acquisition. By designing a device that can safely obtain an accurate fetal heart rate and communicate this information to the MRI machine without interfering with the imaging process, we aim to improve diagnosis of congenital heart defects before birth.
TEAM: Alex Choy, Andrew Graveley, Kevin Jin, Tae Jun Yoon
Customer: Mitchell Chess, M.D., Associate Professor, Diagnostic Imaging, UR Medicine
Supervisor: Stephen McAleavey, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester

Dialysim - Our product will act as a verification and validation device in a laboratory testing environment for Fresenius’s Dialysis Equipment. It will interface with the hemodialysis system and have the ability to simulate changes in blood pressure, blood temperature, and oxygen saturation and hematocrit. This will allow Fresenius to examine their equipment’s response to changes in the state of our model.
TEAM: Alycia Abbot, Zachary Jenkins, Ryan Spooner, Justin Delafontaine
Customer: Dirk Stevens, Fresenius Medical Care
Supervisor: James McGrath, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester

braille reader

Matthew Mender and Emily Kwan work on the Braille Reader they developed with fellow team members Christina Amaral, Emma Gira and Kevin McAlpine. (Photo by J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester)

Braille Reader Team - Seventy two percent of people with diabetes will develop diabetic neuropathy by their mid-fifties. For individuals who are visually impaired, the onset of severe diabetic neuropathy means they can read neither visually nor tactilely, through the use of braille. Our mission is to develop a device that will translate the braille documents of a person with diabetic neuropathy into an accessible output. Additionally, we envision this device as an aid to non-Braille readers in inclusive educational and workplace environments.
TEAM: Christina Amaral, Emma Gira, Emily Kwan, Kevin McAlpine, Matthew Mender
Customer: Joseph Kells, ABVI -Goodwill
Supervisor: Laurel Carney, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester

TripP: Primate Positioning People - We aim to design and fabricate a new head positioning apparatus to be used for retinal imaging in primates for the Advanced Retinal Imaging Alliance (ARIA). The apparatus must include precise pitch and azimuth rotation about the pupil, a safe way to position the primate, improved stability, and the ability to interface with ARIA’s imaging systems.
TEAM: Caeli Quiter, Zhou Xu, Thomas Varner, Erik Page
Customer: Jennifer Hunter, Ph.D., Advanced Retinal Imaging Alliance
Supervisor: Mark Buckley, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester

D.A.N.I. (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Innovation) Phantoms – Carestream Health, a provider of radiography equipment, has expressed difficulty assessing the performance of its imaging equipment using conventional radiographic phantoms. As such, this project was established to perform modifications to an existing phantom to measure dynamic latency, simulate flow and show sufficient contrast between flowing substances & surroundings.
TEAM: Sandra Oluoch, Chris Plunkett, Jenny Quintero, Susan Butler
Customer: Sam Richard, Ph.D, Senior Research Scientist, Carestream Health
Supervisor: Regine Choe, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester


The Pot Skirt team tests their prototype. From left, YeJin Jeong, Nikki Sroka, Jessica He, and Adam Langenbucher. Photo by J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester.

Pot Skirt Team – Due to dangers in deforestation, toxic byproduct emission, and financial strains for families in Kenya, there is a strong demand for pot skirts that can increase fuel efficiency by improving convective heat transfer in cookstoves. Consumers have also requested that the pot skirt be adjustable to several pot sizes. In correspondence to these customer needs, we have created a pot skirt design that is safe, cost effective, fuel-efficient, adjustable and is compatible with the upcoming line of wood-burning BURN cookstoves.
TEAM: Jessica He, Adam Langenbucher, Nikki Sroka, YeJin Jeong
Customer: Paul Means, Research and Testing Manager at BURN Stoves
Supervisor: Amy Lerner, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester

Vestibular Vibes - Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, BPPV, is a condition caused by detachment of otoconia (calcium carbonate crystals) from the otolith organs and subsequent migration of otoconia into the semicircular canals. Presence of these otoconia creates a false sense of acceleration in the patient by stimulating the vestibular hair cells, thus causing nausea and vertigo. Therefore, we intend to design a vibrational device that can be applied to the mastoid of the patient in order to deliver oscillations capable of breaking apart the clumped otoconia.
TEAM: Yuqi Wu, Luke Daily, Ian Baranowski, Allison Stiller, Tristan DeAlwis
Customer: Benjamin Crane, M.D., Department of Otolaryngology, UR Medicine
Supervisor: Anne Luebke, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester

Wrist Support Team – Individuals with wrist paralysis struggle with daily tasks that involve the manipulation of their environment and subsequently rely heavily on others for help. We have created a line actuated wrist brace that allows the user to perform a lateral pinch.
TEAM: Aaron Ketting-Olivier, Tianyi Lu, Erica Hange, Marshal Davidson, Christian Freitas
Customer: David Whalen, JD
Supervisor: Jong-Hoon Nam, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering & Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester

Scoliosis Brace Compliance – For adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis children between the ages of 10 and 15 years old, bracing has been shown to be effective at stopping curve progression and preventing unnecessary surgery. Due to low compliance, only a fraction of children get the full benefit of bracing. Our group seeks to increase patient compliance & thereby bracing efficacy by addressing patient concerns with current braces & bracing techniques.
TEAM: Marlen Mahendraratnam, Evan Sosnow, Samuel Perakis, Amanda Tian, Nathan Sowards
Customer: James Sanders, M.D., Pediatric Orthopaedics, UR Medicine
Supervisor: Hani Awad, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester

Endosign – Gastrointestinal endoscopies are the most frequently performed outpatient procedure in the United States, and the country’s aging population calls for a more efficient procedure. The procedure requires a gastroenterologist to feed biopsy forceps through the endoscope channel and back repeatedly, which is unnecessarily time consuming. The goal of our project is to reduce the passing time of the forceps through the instrument channel of the endoscope.
TEAM: Natalie Tjota, Gina DeMeo, Matt Todd, Sydney White
Customer: Truptesh Kothari, M.D., M.S., Gastroenterology/Interventional Endoscopy, UR Medicine
Supervisor: Ed Brown, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester

AnesthEZ Nerve Block Improvementa – Currently nerve block procedures require the presence of two anesthesiologists; the first being in charge of holding the ultrasound probe and guiding the needle, the second pressing on the syringe plunger to either dispense or aspirate anesthetics. The objective of our project is to improve the
efficiency of the nerve block procedure by replacing the second anesthesiologist with a footcontrolled syringe pump and thus reducing the procedure to a one-person job.
TEAM: Jake Gusman, Syed “Reefat” Aziz, Estefania Garza, Rose Mbaye
Customer: Daryl Smith, MD, UR Medicine
Supervisor: Catherine Kuo, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester



Angela Ryck demonstrates "Scolifit." (Photo by J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester)

"ScoliFit": Our mission is to help orthotists create the optimal brace for each patient’s unique spinal curvature. ScoliFit is a wearable torso-positioning device designed for use on adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients. This device can determine the torso position that immediately reduces a given patient’s spinal curvature and enables orthotists to incorporate that position into the profile of the patient’s final brace. Since the current method of making braces is subjective and has no such capacity for validation, ScoliFit is unique in its ability to establish the optimal brace design before the brace is made.
Team Members: Erica Marron, Angela Ryck, Danielle Wilson
Customers: Dr. James Sanders, MD, Orthopaedics M&D, UR Medicine and Sean Zeller, Chief Orthotics, Orthotics and Prosthetics, UR Medicine
Supervisors: Dr. Greg Gdowski, Ph.D, Executive Director, Center for Medical Technology and Innovation (CMTI) , Dr. Amy Lerner, Ph.D., Academic Director, CMTI, Martin Gira, Senior Research Engineer, CMTI

Advanced Medical Draining Technologies: We are developing a product to be used in conjunction with surgical drains in order to improve fluid removal from post-surgical cavities after invasive procedures, which will reduce the incidence of costly surgical site infections. The device consists of a porous, bio-absorbable mesh, allowing for tissue ingrowth, with a drain pattern throughout. It is placed during patient closure, functions while the drain is in place and then degrades over time. Novel 3D printing technology will be utilized.
Team Members: Tristan Richardson, Kayleigh Miller
Customers: Dr. Howard Langstein and Dr. Peter Koltz, UR Medicine
Supervisors: Dr. Greg Gdowski, Ph.D, Executive Director, Center for Medical Technology and Innovation (CMTI) , Dr. Amy Lerner, Ph.D., Academic Director, CMTI, Martin Gira, Senior Research Engineer, CMTI

StimSense: Our device aims to quantitatively monitor levels of neuromuscular blockade in patients undergoing surgery. Neuromuscular blocking drugs are used as muscle paralytics to prevent patients from reacting to surgical stimuli. Currently, anesthesiologists subjectively monitor dosing of neuromuscular blockade. Our device objectively monitors neuromuscular blockade throughout surgery to guide proper dosing, reduce post-op complications and achieve better recovery.
Team Members: Martin Gitomer, Shwe Pyie
Customers: Dr. Michal Eaton, Dr. Raymond Zollo, Dr. Daryl Smith, UR Medicine and George Anstadt
Supervisors: Dr. Greg Gdowski, Ph.D, Executive Director, Center for Medical Technology and Innovation (CMTI) , Dr. Amy Lerner, Ph.D., Academic Director, CMTI, Martin Gira, Senior Research Engineer, CMTI

Intelligent Cooler Enterprise (ICE): Our mission is to create a more robust device for blood transportation within hospitals while decreasing the workload of employees. Our insulating device can measure the temperature of its contents and keep blood within the regulated temperature range significantly longer then the current system. Our product can also connect to a network so that we can notify personnel of unexpected temperature events, and in turn create a safer, more efficient hospital for patients that may be at risk for transfusions.
Team Members: Scott Harrienger, Andrew Zeccola
Customers: Diane Bullock Medical Technical Specialist, BloodBank-Clinical Labs, UR Medicine and Deborah Masel, Blood Bank-Clinical Labs Chief Supervisor.
Supervisors: Dr. Greg Gdowski, Ph.D, Executive Director, Center for Medical Technology and Innovation (CMTI) , Dr. Amy Lerner, Ph.D., Academic Director, CMTI, Martin Gira, Senior Research Engineer, CMTI



SQUIDDLEMADUNK: Modular Robot Centipede (with Transport Applications): The team designed and implemented a modular legged robot transport device inspired by natural centipedes. The robot consists of a head/brain unit containing environmental sensors and guidance and control computation. This is followed by an arbitrary number of leg segment modules, each containing its own power and local control computation, and needing connection only to the unit in front of it. The whole functions somewhat like a legged train.
Team members: Sidhant Ahluwalia, Celine Anand, Connor Dent, Elizabeth Fox,  Joel Howard, Ruby Reynoso,  Elmer Rodrguez, Ana Tavares De Melo, Jiarui Yang, Lukas (Yu) Zheng
Supervisor: Prof. Randal Nelson


Dan Hassin says his Skedge website offers a "much more intuitive" way for University students to search for courses, explore them, and then make sure they all fit in their schedule before officially registering in them. "It includes socially integrated features so you can see what courses your friends are taking or have liked before," Hassin said. "It has had an extremely high adoption for being an unadverstised, unofficial university tool." In six months 2,200 students used the SKedge website to make their own schedules, representing about 20-25 percent of the College's undergraduate and graduate students. 

Skedge: Skedge is a website made for students to comfortably and effectively engage with the University’s course catalog. Skedge matches and surpasses the capabilities of the existing University tool, CDCS, and through collected usage data, demonstrates that a) its differences from and additions to CDCS have real-world need, b) the three major use-cases associated with course scheduling—direct, exploratory, and peer-guided search—are effectively accommodated, and c) its novel search mechanism is user-friendly and self-teaches to users over time.
Team member: Dan Hassin
Supervisor: Prof. Philip Guo


Designing an Automated Wastewater Treatment Process for the Extraction of Nickel
Team Cascade
Allison Colarusso, Solomon Gaim, Kevin Haddad, Steven Tau
Sponsor: Eric Janosko, ORAFOL Precision Technology
Advisors: Thor Olson, Rachel Monfredo
ORAFOL, a reflective materials manufacturer, generates waste water containing heavy metals such as copper and nickel. Due to the environmental and health risks these metals pose, wastewater nickel concentration must not exceed 2.37 ppm before disposal. The current treatment process at ORAFOL is not automated and therefore labor and time intensive. To address this limitation, a small scale automated waste treatment process, controlled by LabVIEW software programming, was constructed and tested to model the current process flow. This was successful and is ready to be scaled up for use in the plant.

Plastic Extrusion for Sustainable 3D Printing
Team Colden
MayLin Funkenbusch, Aqi He, Christopher Omicinski, Jacob Wegbreit
Advisor: Rachel Monfredo
3D printing has become an important tool in many technical fields because it is convenient, relatively inexpensive, and provides users with the freedom to produce specialized, unique objects. The goal of this project was to recycle common water bottles made of PET plastic into viable 1.75 mm diameter filament which can be used in 3D printers on this campus. A roller mechanism capable of winding and spooling extruded ABS plastic polymer was developed and controlled using LabVIEW code. The filament produced was used successfully in both a MakerBot 3D printer and a 3D pen. Future work will concentrate on addressing the multiple issues identified using recycled material for extrusion.

Design of a Gas-Phase Catalytic Packed Bed Reactor for the Dehydration of Ethanol over Gamma-Alumina
Team Marcy
Alexandra Barr, Elizabeth Hotvedt, Daniel Mooney, Brandon Newman
Advisor: Professor Wyatt Tenhaeff
A laboratory scale gas-phase packed bed reactor was designed, constructed and successfully operated to characterize the catalytic dehydration of ethanol over gamma-alumina by gas chromatography. Two parallel dehydration reactions, one producing diethyl ether and another producing ethylene were explored. Reactor temperature control was achieved through application of a LabVIEW control program.

Optimization of a Hot Melt Adhesive
Team Gothics
Anna Garvey, Alexander Herrmann, Stephen Phillips, Brian Tomenga
Sponsor: James A. Bonafini Consultants
Advisor: Pete Macarewicz, PhD
In the manufacture of ridged contact lenses, a disc of fluorosilicone acrylate is shaped on a spinning lathe to fit the prescription of a particular patient. During the shaping process, this disc must be adhered to the polymer lathe using an adhesive strong enough to keep shape during the manufacture and polishing process. The goal of this project was to create and optimize a water soluble hot melt adhesive that does not pose health risks to workers and meets a series of specifications set by Bonafini Consultants. Desired characteristics of the adhesive include high compression strength, viscosity of a paste, curing time between 30 and 90 seconds and high adhesive capabilities. Three potential mixtures were proposed as a result of testing and optimization of base polymer mixtures, combinations of fillers and percentage addition of “tackifiers”.

Supercritical 〖CO〗_2 Extraction of Ganoderma Lucidum
Team Haystack
Ross Dodson, Emily Downie, Ha Lee
Sponsor: Empire Medicinals Inc.
Advisor: Professor Matthew Yates
The feasibility of supercritical CO_2 extraction of active metabolites from Ganoderma Lucidum, a traditional Chinese medicinal mushroom, was investigated. Samples were supplied by Empire Medicinals, Inc. to study the effects of extraction time, pressure, and temperature, as well as the use of ethanol as a cosolvent. The extracted samples were analyzed using HPLC to determine the concentration of ganoderic acid A based on the retention times and peaks identified through an isolated basis test. Experimental results suggest that there is a significant distinction between utilizing supercritical CO_2 as an extraction solvent versus the traditional water and ethanol extraction methods.


Lu Gin demonstrates the new rotary vacuum drum filtration system her team designed and built for ORAFOL.

Rotary Vacuum Drum Filtration System for Wastewater Treatment
Team Algonquin
Michael Garber, Lu Gin, Alyssa Miller, Matthew Pacicco
Sponsor: Eric Janosko, ORAFOL Precision Technology
Advisors: Thor Olson, Rachel Monfredo
The project goal was to design, build and test a new filtration system for ORAFOL Precision Technology’s Henrietta wastewater treatment system that maintains the company’s environmental performance while offering time and manual labor savings. A laboratory scale continuous rotary vacuum drum filtration system was constructed and tested by analyzing the filtrate contaminate concentration, dryness of the solids and system durability. A combination of metal mesh and two fiber clothes proved successful in separating solid wastes, but clogged during each run. Future research potentials were identified which include construction modifications and chemistry optimization.

Analysis of Heat Exchange Properties of Small Scale Stirling Engines
Team Macomb
Jon Drake, Yatong Ge, Robert Harding, Jennifer Reisfeld
Advisor: Professor F. Doug Kelley
The Stirling Engine is an interesting technology for alternate energy due to its zero carbon emissions. This study focused on the ways that efficiency and performance were affected by the thermal conductivity of materials used for heat conduction, the working fluid used inside the engine’s piston and the addition of fins to the cold side of the engine. Heat exchangers made of copper, aluminum; steel and stainless steel were evaluated as well as helium, air and carbon dioxide as the working fluids.

Determining Vapor Pressure through a Gas Saturation Device
Team Saddleback
Brendan Coli, Martin Seamus McLaughlin, Aurelie Roche, Paul Szewczyk
Sponsor: Mark Juba, Molecular Glasses
Advisor: Professor F. Doug Kelley
The organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, is a semiconductor light source that improves upon existing LED technology offering a brighter, more flexible, and energy efficient display technology. The current purification process for the organic material, train sublimation, involves vaporizing organic material under conditions of low pressure and high temperature. These parameters are generally determined through trial and error. This project aimed to design a device which could be used to determine the heat of sublimation for organic materials in the purification process.

Lava Lamp Design
Team Santanoni
Jodi Armstrong, Jennie Ford, Tommy Radachy, Jeff Weinfeld
Advisor: Professor David Foster
The lava lamp is a novelty item that is typically used as an entertaining light source. The lamp consists of two immiscible fluids with initially similar densities but different thermal expansion coefficients. A heat source under the lamp heats the more dense fluid, causing it to expand, rise and eventually fall as it cools, creating the characteristic rising and falling of blobs. The goal of this project was to address the lack of information on lava lamps by reconciling design and chemical engineering principles with lava lamp operation. Working lava lamps of commercial quality were built and used to define design criteria needed to produce successful lamp operation.

Electric Dryer Optimization and ICP_MS Analysis of Rare Earth Elements
Team Sawteeth
Abdoulaye Diallo, Madeleine Laitz, David Shaut
Sponsor: John Zabrodsky, Advanced Manufacturing Techniques
Advisor: Professor F. Doug Kelley
The goal of this project was to create an optimized oven using pressure and temperature sensors in a novel way to enhance the efficiency and reduce waste in energy, materials and time. The oven used was an electric, air impingement oven with a turbulent environment. A “quiet zone” needed to be found for sensor positioning, data collection mechanisms designed, a ventilation shaft engineered, maximum temperature established and control code developed using LabVIEW. One product tested was fruit, both bananas and apples, to establish conditions at which moisture is eliminated, but the fruit is undamaged. The second phase of the project was to conduct an environmental analysis of rare earth elements by drying sediment samples from the Genesee River in the optimized oven. The sediment, unlike the fruit, was dried completely and then analyzed on an inductively-coupled plasma-mass spectrometer (ICP-MS), providing data about potentially hazardous concentrations.

Continuous Biodiesel Pilot Plant
Team Skylight
Branden Cole, Yi-Wen Liu, Christopher Martin, Alexandra Zack
Advisor: Pete Macarewicz, PhD
Clean, renewable energy is needed to reduce the environmental footprint from burning diesel fuel. A cleaner burning fuel made from waste vegetable oil is already compatible with current engines: biodiesel. This project’s aim was to design, build and test a pilot scale continuous biodiesel production plant consisting of three CSTR’s for the reaction stage and a coalescing separator for the separation stage. The average biodiesel produced by the continuous pilot plant had comparable physical characteristics to that of commercial grade biodiesel.

Characterization and Testing of Xerox Polystyrene Toner
Team Whiteface
Hunter Delany, Natalie Gunther, Hojun Lee, Ziwei Zhou
Sponsor; Chris Wolfe, Xerox Corporation
Advisor: Professor David Foster
Emulsion Aggregation (EA) Process has been developed by Xerox to grow 1~15µm toner particles from nanometer size constituents. EA toners require less energy to produce, less energy consumption when consumed by the end user as well as higher quality printed images. This project investigated the impact of impeller placement in the reaction vessel, number of impellers used and rotation rate on the quality of the resultant toner. Particle size distribution index (PDI) was used as the quality specification.


Martin Cooper, inventor of the cell phone, talks to Emily Wallmann and James Weitzel about their device for performing crystallization experiments along a linear temperature gradient. Cooper was guest speaker for Design Day. (Photo by J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester)

Controllable Temperature Gradient for Crystallization Experiments
Team Wolfjaw
Erik Benavidez, Joshua Jachuck, Emily Wallmann, James Weitzel
Advisor: Professor Andrew White
Dr. White’s lab group is researching the effects of temperature on the crystallization rates of glassy liquid crystal materials. The goal of this project was to design and offer proof of concept of a device to perform crystallization experiments along a linear temperature gradient. The system was designed to maintain a 20°C gradient along a 3”x1” silicon wafer surface anywhere between -20°C and 200°C. The system uses thermoelectric coolers to move heat to and from either end of the metal bridge to maintain a gradient. The bridge is isolated from the environment in an aluminum chassis. Using cartridge heaters, an external chiller unit, and a small fan, the chassis temperature is regulated to act as a thermal reservoir for the thermoelectric coolers. LabVIEW code was written to control the temperatures.


Project Kabuto Blu: Project Kabuto Blu is a gaming console powered by an FPGA and programmed in VHDL. On the Kabuto Blu you will be able to play classic games such as Space Invaders, Mastermind, and Pong. The console will allow for Pong to be played with two players and other games with one player. The system includes two 3D-printed controllers that utilize arcade-style LED buttons. When connected to a standard VGA port monitor, the console provides for a classic arcade game experience.
Team members: Abner Aquino, Seth Schober, Alan Shramuk
Customer: Prof. Derefinko

Greenhouse Automation: An internet connected greenhouse controller that aggregates plant environment conditions and uses a misting pump, fans, and grow lights to create an ideal plant growing environment. The user is able to view current and historical plant data and configure settings on both a web-based application and an iOS application, and feedback is provided to the user via iOS push notifications.
Team members: Jeffrey Baatz, Chase Conklin
Customer: Prof. Derefinko

Nerf Sentry Blaster: An automated toy blaster that searches for and identifies a bulls-eye target, pans and tilts to align with target, and then accurately shoots the target with a foam ball at distances of up to thirty feet.
Team members: Ugochukwu Ezanwa, Franco La Bruna, Rabi Shrestha, Sean Wang
Customer: Prof. Sharma


Minsoo Lee adjusts biometric glass device that could control access to locations or assets.

Biometric Glass: Compact, low voltage access panel which integrates facial recognition with a robust fingerprint sensor via a microcomputer as a bio-metric endpoint, one of many potential devices which can be easily managed over a closed, secure TCP/IP framework to control physical access to localities or assets.
Team members: William Dixon, Minsoo Lee, Nathaniel Powers, Daniel Warren.
Customer: Prof. Howard

Portable equipment tracking: PETRA (Portable Equipment TRAcking) tracks the location of portable classroom equipment as it moves throughout the River Campus. In this system, classrooms and storage locations are equipped with a reader and items to be tracked have an active (battery-powered) tag. The last known location of equipment is available on a web interface for an end-user to view.
Team members: Matthew Archibald, Nicholas Gekakis, Grayson Honan, Kiara Osolinsky, Nicholas Zaborowsky
Customer: Prof. Heinzelman

Electromagnetic Catapult System: An automated system that assists aircrafts to move into launching position, accelerate, and take off in a shorter distance.
Team members: Siyuan Chen, Akihiro Ishikawa, Xiaoyu Zhang
Customer: Prof. Derefinko


Thomas Tavolara and MEMVI. (Photo by J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester)

MEMVI: A Wearable Camera that Automatically Records What Interests You
Team members: Alexander Anker, Benjamin Mermelstein, Andrew Stern, Thomas Tavolara
Customer: Harris

Smart Keylock: Secure Keyless System is a bi-directional keyless car entry protocol that uses a combination of AES-128 encryption and time-based one-time passwords for wireless authentication. When communicating for the first time, the key fob and car system initialize a common secret key, which is then used to seed the time-based one-time passwords. Once the password is verified by the car system, it will enact the user requested function: lock, unlock, and panic.
Team members :Christianne Durham, David Gonzalez Garcia, Shurouq Hijazi
Customer: Prof. Heinzelman

Harris Water Bottle Project: A device, fitted to a water bottle, is designed to measure the amount of water consumed and to report that information wirelessly to a smartphone application. The phone application provides a daily goal of water consumption for the user according to their weight, exercise, and the intensity of the exercise.
Team members: Yuta Oryu, Mesfin Bedada, Kenneth Imade, Jose Ramirez
Customer: and supervisor Tri Nguyen, Harris Corporation



Click here to see a video of Mechanical Engineering seniors summarizing their projects.

Testing Mount for Scintillator Screens: Carestream expects us to design and manufacture a system capable of testing multiple scintillator screens for their X- ray imaging boards as part of the quality control/product validation steps of their manufacturing process. We will be responsible for designing the fixture, circuit board layout, protective shrouding, wiring/power supply layout, and scintillator mounting methods.
Team members: Hitendra Khemani, Isaiah Patterson, Peter Pilarz, Xinlu Shen
Sponsor: Bernard Pernot, Carestream Health
Superisor: Professor Christopher Muir, University of Rochester.

Optimization Of Cryogenic Valve For Helium Transportation: "During fusion reaction experiments at LLE, a spherical particle is coated with helium to be kept at cryogenic temperatures. A valve is used for regulating helium from the storage tank to the layering sphere (Position 1), from the layering sphere to the environment (Position 2), and from both the tank and the layering sphereto the environment (Position 3). The objective is to design a new three position valve with reduced vibration compared to the existing design."
Team members: Brian Knisely, Rudy Marin, Thomas Marone, Tong Zhang
Sponsor: Jeffrey Ulriech, Laboratory for Laser Energetics
Supervisor: Professor Christopher Muir, University of Rochester

LLE Debris Shield: The goal of the project is to create a device to cover the top of the lower pylon in the test chamber during non-cryogenic shots. The device must then be able to open to allow for the cryostat to enter during cryogenic shots. The shield must be able to operate without power under vacuum conditions.
Team members: Kathleen Dupre, Glenn Gates, Dylan Sharkey, Yuting Yang
Sponsor: Lance Lund, Laboratory for Laser Energetics
Supervisor: Professor Christopher Muir, University of Rochester

Robotic Camera Stage: This project involves building a mounting stage for a pair of cameras on an outdoor field research robot. The stage must allow for rotation of the cameras along the horizontal axis, and include a defined level of shock and vibration isolation.
Team members: Sheng Chen, Marlon Baez, Brandall Bernal, Matthew Ervin
Sponsor: Professor Thomas Howard, University of Rochester
Supervisor: Professor Christopher Muir, University of Rochester

Bike Connection Joint For A Full-Sized Foldable Frame: Bicycles are a very efficient mode of transportation, but their size can limit their use in everyday of life. By creating a joint that would allow for the bike frame to be folded in half, users could store the bike in the trunk of their car without needing a bike rack, and would make it easier to bring on to public transportation.
Team members: Tyler Buck, Luis Martinez, Rachel Klink, Brendan Knight
Sponsor: Peter Stull, The Bicycle Man
Supervisor: Professor Christopher Muir, University of Rochester


Victor Montano adjusts electrospinning device to convert cassava starch into nanoscale fibers that can be used as scaffolds for tissue engineering. (Photo by Brandon Vick/University of Rochester)

Robust Electrospinning Of Natural Fibers: Electrospinning is a technology of growing interest due to its ability to create submicron fibers from biopolymer solutions. These electrospun fibers have been widely studied in the past as scaffolds for tissue engineering. The goal of this design project is to construct an electrospinning device capable of spinning cassava starch at the University of Ghana (UG). Our sponsor at the UG would like to investigate the ability for fibers electrospun from this material to function as scaffolds.
Team members: Christopher Dawson, Victor Montano, Cleopatra Saira, Allesha Seenauth
Sponsor: Professor Elsie Kauffman, University of Ghana
Supervisor: Professor Paul Funkenbusch, University of Rochester

Spectrometer Optic Positioning: The purpose of this project is to create a stage that can precisely move to specific positions and orientations.
Team members: Boubacar Diallo, Jon Kuberka, Michael Lotosky, Jeffry Magloire
Sponsors: Optimax.
Supervisors: Professor Wayne Knox, Professor Christopher Muir, University of Rochester.

Foldable Trike: The goal of this project is to design a foldable tadpole trike using the patented hinge design created by The Bicycle Man, LLC. The trike design should be able to fit in the largest UPS box when folded while maintaining structural integrity in the unfolded state.
Team members: Brittany Heffernan, Jaideep Kapur, Nicholas Pegoli, Calvin Winchell,
Sponsor: Peter Stull, The Bicycle Man
Supervisor: Professor Christopher Muir.

Vision System to Detect Defects in the Surface Layer of Fuel Cells: The presence of cracks affects the efficiency and lifetime of the fuel cells once they have been assembled into a stack. If the defects can be determined prior to stack assembly, the problem sections can be removed, thus saving the company both time and money. The goal of this design process is to develop a proof of concept device to detect cracks and defects in the thin film by quantifying the surface of the thin film.
Team members: Matthew Isbell, Saadedine El-Homsi, Catherine Knox, Daniel Mangino
Sponsor: Andrew Bosco, General Motors
Supervisor: Professor Christopher Muir, University of Rochester

Press Fit Tolerance Study: A vane shaft and a rotary vane are required to be press-fitted together to function as an EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve actuator. The goal of the project is to design a press that is capable of pressing the two parts together while measuring the forces required to do so. Deliverables include a functioning press and a range of pressing forces that is expected to produce a satisfactory fit between the parts.
Team members: Jacob Gemballa, Michael Myers, Cheng Zhao, Jacob Zhu
Sponsor: Shawn Clapman, G.W. Lisk
Supervisor: Professor Christopher Muir, University of Rochester

path det

At left, a CAD drawing of the Pathogen Detector Integration project; at right, the actual prototype.

Pathogen Detector Integration: This joint Mechanical and Optical Engineering project worked to improve the design of and build and package a novel pathogen detection instrument developed at the University of Rochester by Dr. Lewis Rothberg. The device utilizes an optical system and Brewster Angle Straddle Interferometry (BASI) to detect the pathogens of a sample on a silicon wafer, and has a broad range of applications within the fields of public health and agricultural and environmental sciences.
Team members: Thomas Barrett, Connor Haddix, Nathan Hagstrom, Ryan Smith
Sponsor: Professor Lewis Rothberg, University of Rochester
Supervisor: Professor Christopher Muir, University of Rochester

Solar Concentrator: A low cost solar concentrator has a number of applications. One example is to be able to heat up water for cooking in remote locations or developing countries. A solar concentrator has been created as a benchmark using a vacuum box method with reflective Mylar as the optical surface. The goal of this project is to develop a new design that improves the efficiency as well as lowers the cost of the benchmark design.
Team members: Michal Adar, Jacob Blacksberg, Henry Pablo, Sean Reid
Sponsor: Professor Wayne Knox, University of Rochester
Supervisor: Professor Christopher Muir, University of Rochester

LLE Vibration Sensor: The objective of this project is to design a vibration monitoring tool which can be mounted on a pre¬existing diagnostic setup within the LLE’s OMEGA PE testing chamber. The tool will create baseline readings of the vibrations that arise from insertion and retraction of test specimen, to monitor the health of the system.
Team members: Mingyi Pan, Aaron Sadholz, Noah Woolfolk, Ray Chapman
Sponsor: Laboratory for Laser Energetics
Supervisor: Professor Christopher Muir, University of Rochester

Helioscribe: Using a convex lens and arduino code, our device will use the sun's power to engrave any image into a wooden board.
Team members: Theodore Burke, Bradley Kaufman, Benjamin Parkinson, Robert Williams
Sponsor: Professor Christopher Muir, University of Rochester
Supervisor: Joshua Romphf, University of Rochester

Vibration Analysis For Ball Bearing Quality Evaluation: This senior design team has worked with Robert Breslawski from Kodak Alaris to design a test fixture that quantitatively evaluates the quality of ball bearings that are inconsistently press-fit onto scanner shafts. After preliminary testing, it was determined that vibration analysis was the most efficient approach towards this task. While constraining the bearings and driving the shafts, differences in frequencies between good and bad bearings were observed. Statistical analysis was applied to the vibration data and a standard of quality was developed
Team members: Jiarui Yang, Suraj Subramanian, Conner Chen, Fangyuan Huang
Sponsor: Robert Breslawski , Kodak Alaris
Supervisors: Professor Sheryl Gracewski, Professor Christopher Muir, University of Rochester

OLED Encapsulation Mechanism: The goal of this project was to develop a new and more efficient way to apply a flexible laminate to an OLED device
Team members: Joseph Curtiss, Colin Fedor, Bennett Preston, Benjamin Smilen
Sponsor: Timothy Spencer, OLEDWorks
Supervisor: Professor Christopher Muir, University of Rochester

Collaborative Workstation: The goal of this project is to improve the efficiency of the mixed use areas in Rettner Hall. The focus is to create a multi-use collaborative workstation that will enhance teamwork while improving the utility of the space.
Team members: Harris Ackermann, Hye Jin Kim, Yuan Liao, Jake Meyerson
Sponsor: Professor Michael Jarvis, University of Rochester
Supervisors: Professor Christopher Muir, James Alkins, University of Rochester


Prof. Mike Jarvis and Yuan Liao examine a prototype for a more student-friendly computer work station for Rettner Hall. After consulting with Jarvis, the team settled on an wishbone-shaped desk with rounded edges that would “immerse” the students, and could also be joined together in various configurations to encourage collaboration. “As a student-designed product, they take into account ‘consumer’ needs,” Jarvis said. “They also break with the rigid grid layout that is so unfortunately the default in many institutional settings.”


Macular Degeneration Vision Aid: We are designing a visual aid to help people see who suffer from the disease Macular Degeneration. To do this, we engineered an optical system to work in cohesion with the Google Glass product. The optical system magnifies the central vision onto a virtual display screen via Google Glass. It is our hope that this device will enhance daily activity for those who suffer from this disease.
Team members: Michelle Relin, Huiqing Zhu, Haotian Jiang
Customer: Dr. Donald Glover, Retired Ophthamologist at Medical Center
Supervisor: Dr. Geunyoung Yoon and Dr. Mina Chung

Etched Silicon Metasurfaces for Mid Infrared Wavelength Filtering: Design and production of etched substrate filters as a cheaper, faster, alternative to current thin film technology.
Team members: Ty Adair, Peter Fiala, Andrew Kruse, Guntis Rutins
Customer: Michael Tatarek - Director of Technology, Materion LLC
Supervisor: Brian Mcintyre, Nicholas Vamivakas, James Mitchell

Sleek Analyzer: We are developing a scatterometer instrument to quickly differentiate between standard grade and laser grade optical flats. The standard grade optics have a typical RMS roughness of 8-10 angstroms, whereas laser grade optics have typical roughness values of only about 4 angstroms. Our scatterometer uses a 405 nm laser in transmission mode near Brewster’s angle. It will accommodate up to 13 inch diameter optical flats and will characterize the quality of the optic in under one minute per side.
Team members: Alex Anderson, Jenkins He, Tyler Berryman, Zhiqi Wang
Customer: Sydor Optics

ZTelescope: A low cost single telescope with a single mirror for planetary observation with a camera instead of an eye. The main objective is to get young students interested in astronomy/optics. The telescope should be able to be operated by children 12 years and older. The telescope should use a manual tracking to keep planets in field of view so multiple images can be taken as the object transits the field of view.
Team members: Yeyue Chen, Josh Hess, Akil Bhagat
Customer: Professor James Zavislan
Supervisor: Prof. Wayne Knox

Pathogen Detection with Brewster’s Angle Straddle Interferometer: An inexpensive and portable "pathogen detection" device will be designed and demonstrated. Unlabeled target molecules will be detected using a technique known as Brewster Angle Straddle Interferometry (BASI). Polarized light from an LED will reflect off of samples on a silicon wafer, and the images will reveal pathogens of interest. This form of biomedical sensing has applications in diagnostics, monitoring, and plant or food safety.
Team members: Lauren Brownlee, Pedro Vallejo-Ramirez, Sean Reid, Gary Ge.
Customer: Prof. Lewis Rothberg
Supervisors: Prof. Wayne Knox,


An interdepartmental team of optical and mechanical engineering students worked on perfecting Prof. Wayne Knox’s solar concentrator – a concave mirror that focuses sunlight on a small area. It could be used to sterilize drinking water and serve as a solar oven in developing countries. “The challenge we’re try to solve with our new frame design is how get rid of the wrinkles around the edge that plagued the original design,” said Sean Reid, an optical engineering student who is also getting a minor in MechE. “The wrinkling warped the parabolic shape and caused the spreading of the spot size. What we’re doing with our frame is to apply a clamping force from the top and bottom around the edge of the Mylar surface, rather than stretching it as much.” This photo shows team members testing their prototype on the roof of Wilmot. Jacob Blacksberg of MechE and Daniel Morgen and Michael Dupuis of Optics aim the concentrator, while Reid and Bryan Maas of Optics write down readings and observe. Henry Pablo of MechE aims an infrared thermometer and Fifi Song of Optics aims a thermal camera to document how quickly the concentrator heats its target. Michal Adar of MechE, seated, times the observations.

Light Weight/Low Cost/High Powered Solar Concentrator: Professor Wayne Knox, our customer, built a solar concentrator in his garage using plywood, reflective Mylar, tape, and a vacuum cleaner. This concave mirror is able to burn lumber, cook burgers, and scorch asphalt in a matter of seconds. Our optical engineering design team is pushing Knox’s design to the next level, increasing total concentrated power and efficiency, and working with a mechanical engineering team that is building a frame that will allow for an ideal optical surface.
Team members: Michael Dupuis, Bryan Maas, Daniel Morgen, Wanyue Song, Sean Reid
Customer and supervisor: Prof. Wayne Knox.

Multi-Spectral Imaging System Design Study: The design study will investigate tunable and custom bandpass filters, imaging lenses, and illumination effects in relation to creating multi-spectral images within constraints of the imaging system as specified by the customer. It is designed to assist the customer's understanding of the imaging system and the role of each component in system performance, and to guide the customer when making and implementing future design choices for the improvement of the system.
Team members: Joseph Difabio, Jiashi Maggie Han, Angel Morales, Marissa Traina
Customer: Dr. Roy S. Berns, from Rochester Institute of Technology
Supervisor: Dr. Jennifer Kruschwitz, from the University of Rochester

In-vivo Thyroid Photoacoustic Imaging System: An in-vivo real time c-scan photoacoustic imaging system used to detect malignant thyroid tissue under four near infrared wavelengths with chromophore analysis. The project includes interdisciplinary challenges of an optimal illumination design from the laser source to the imaging device, lens design of collimation optics, optical design of the reflector and beam shaper, mechanical design and fabrication of a 3D printed portable probe and final testing of the medical image acquisition.
Team members: Zhenzhi Xia, Tim Ehmann, Guanyao Wang, Jordan Teich
Customer: Dr. Navalgund Rao from RIT Imaging Sciences Department, Dr. Vikram Dogra from Ra
Supervisor: Prof. Julie Bentley, Institute of Optics

Deep Ultraviolet Spectrophotometer: Design report covering the methods of DUV spectrophotometry on curved surfaces in order to determine coating uniformity.
Team Members:  Zachary Evans, Weston Moore, Jacob Milberger.
Customer: Optimax Systems Inc.
Supervisor:  Pete Kupinski, Optimax

3D Volumetric Display: A new type of 3D display that uses the intersection of two lasers in a cloud of gas to create a 3D "voxel". This voxel is then scanned through the gas to create a 3D image.
Team Members: Amy Entin, Alex Rainville, Yucheng Wang, Lindsey Willstatter
Customer and supervisor: Curtis Broadbent, UR Ventures / UR Physics Dept.