Seniors present multidisciplinary engineering design projects

Projects range from artificial limb equipment to all terrain vehicle improvements

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A. Sue Weisler

Ashley Shoum explains how the team developed the Automatic Shift Controls for an ATV to Mark Kempski, professor of mechanical engineering.

A sign of spring is often the robins and returning geese. For RIT engineering students it’s a review of senior multidisciplinary design projects. More than 30 teams of students in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering presented both completed and mid-project reviews at the end-of-quarter program.

Engineering students are required to participate in the multidisciplinary senior design course, a two-quarter sequence. A poster session took place last week in the Erdle Commons complete with exhibits of robotics designs and all-terrain vehicle engine improvements.

One of the noisier, but more impressive presentations was the Air Muscle Artificial Limb Next Generation project. Eva Ames and Jim Breunig, both fifth-year mechanical engineering students, explained that the life-sized hand and arm is a tool to be used in surgical procedures.

Many gathered around Ashley Shoum, team lead for the Automatic Shift Controls project and the Polaris all-terrain racing vehicle. She and her team from mechanical, electrical and industrial and systems engineering explained the intricacies of developing ‘intelligent shifting’ for manual transmissions for the high-performance race ATV. Intelligent shifting is an automated process designed by the team to allow for automatic shift control with manual override for race as well as general use. Shoum and several others from the ATV team are also part of the Formula car team. (The 2009 Formula car will be unveiled in spring quarter.)