ECE: Electrical & Computer Engineering
Accredited by ABET
Undergraduate Programs

ME Capstone and Tech Electives

Fall 2016 textbook list

The Fall 2016 ECE textbook list is available online for students.

Current Prerequisites & Course Offering

For current prerequisites for a particular course, and to view course offerings for a particular semester, see the Virginia Tech Course Timetables.

The following projects are available to CPE and EE seniors as Capstone Design and Technical electives for the academic year Fall '10/Spring '11. The commitment is for 1 academic year, and students will gain 3 credits of Technical elective the first semester and 3 credits of Capstone Design the second semester. This is a great opportunity to work on an interdisciplinary team.

Interested students may use this information while planning courses.

Please check the ME undergraduate course site for updates to this list. More projects are likely to be added, and CRNs (Course Request Numbers) and meeting times are subject to change. To verify that you have the correct CRN for your design project, please go to the online timetable and click on the CRN — the project title and any important notes will appear in a pop-up window. For more information about specific design projects, please consult the faculty advisors and websites listed below. Note that prerequisite checking will be enforced after course request.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle Project

CRN 94232, 7:00-8:20 M and 9:30-10:45 R, Professor Doug Nelson

The Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team (HEVT) of Virginia Tech is an organization that designs and builds hybrid electric and alternative-fueled vehicles. A 3-year competition sponsored by GM and the US Department of Energy, called EcoCAR; the NeXt Challenge began in Fall 2008 to establish a vehicle design and begin control system development. The Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) powertrain design from the first year (2008-2009) was built and integrated into the actual GM crossover vehicle (Saturn Vue) during the second year (2009-2010). For the third year (2010-2011) students will model, simulate, and test powertrain components and refine the vehicle control strategy to minimize petroleum energy use, tailpipe emissions and greenhouse gas impact, and meet performance goals. Students will also develop controls, vehicle test plans, as well as modify and add new features to the project vehicle. Students interested in participating in this project are encouraged to also take ME 4554 Advanced Technology Vehicles in Fall 2010 for vehicle modeling background. For more information, see the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team web site at Max Enrollment = 24 (+4-5 ECE students desired, more students may be added with instructor’s approval).

Assistive Technology for Disabled and Aging Farmers: Human Powered Lifts

CRN 94227, Meeting times TBA, Advisors Don Ohanehi (ESM), Bobby Grisso (BSE)

The design project will fill a crucial need for properly engineered, improved-safety, affordable lifts for disabled or aging agricultural workers. The agricultural working population is aging and many have significant mobility problems with no access to agricultural vehicles (tractors & combines). Consequently, there is a clear need for affordable vehicle lifts for disabled or aging agricultural workers. There are commercially vehicle lifts available but are expensive and need custom installation. Some farmers use cheap homemade lifts employing off-the-shelf, poorly selected components like cable winches from local hardware stores. Use of homemade lifts frequently leads to secondary injuries. The project goal is to use “universal design” concepts to develop a “safe” affordable lift for disabled agricultural workers. A human powered lift can be a suitable solution where the worker has appropriate upper-body or lower-body strength to power the lift. Such lifts have auxiliary advantages such as physical therapy and exercise, environmental sustainability, design simplicity, and increased reliability due to the elimination of other power sources. A student team will be challenged to develop, build, and test a full scale or scaled model of a human-powered lift for a disabled agricultural worker using a tractor or a commercial lawn mower. The lift will transport the worker into a tractor (or lawn mower), and must meet safety, durability, ease-of-use, and cost requirements and standards. The team will be required to interact with other VT human-powered vehicle projects and with the client (the disabled agricultural worker and a very helpful team of extension agents/rehab engineers). The team will select and develop an effective novel means to promote the product through demonstrating its environmental sustainability advantages or its built-in as-you-work exercise and therapy. Additional info is available from (231-6538). Max Enrollment = 4.
Resources: at the University of Missouri

Educational Tools for High School Students in the Local FIRST Robotics Class

CRN 94228, 6-8 M/W, Professors Mary Kasarda and Brend Brand (School of Education)

In this project, VT students are charged with designing and building an educational tool for use by teachers and students in the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) FIRST robotics class. Students in this VT senior design project will need to incorporate and mentor their customer (MCPS students and teachers) in the design and engineering process, and therefore, will be required to regularly attend the MCPS class in Christiansburg (Old Christiansburg Middle School) from 6-8 PM on M/W (VT students will likely require their own transportation – VT Transit bus scheduling to that area appears to be sporadic). Previous educational tools developed in this senior design project have included a motor dyno, remote control/autonomous lawn tractor, a demo robot, and a competition crate and pit area. The tool for 2010-2011 has not yet been determined. For more info on the FIRST competition, the website is: For more information on the local robotics class/Team 401 FIRST competition team the website is: Questions can be addressed to Dr. Kasarda ( Max Enrollment = 5 (ECE students also desired).

Humanoid Robot CHARLI-H

CRN 94250, 5-6:15 T/R, Professor Dennis Hong

CHARLI (Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence) was the very first full-sized, autonomous, bipedal walking humanoid robot developed in the United States (think Honda's ASIMO, but made in the USA by Hokies!) Inspired by how some joints are spanned by biarticular muscles in the human leg, the new 45 kg CHARLI-H ("H" as in "Heavy") uses custom designed linear actuators with cable-pulley systems in a unique parallel configuration with integrated compliance to even potentially enable powerful motions like jumping. For this project, the students will be working closely with two PhD students to design and fabricate the upper body, and help on the redesign of the lower body of the next generation CHARLI-H. Students must have excellent CAD skills and hands-on fabrication experiences. Students will also be willing to learn how to operate a CNC/machining center and various fabrication techniques such as vacuum forming and carbon fiber layup, etc. Expect to work long hours besides the normally expected ME4015-4016 work hours, but also be a part of one of the most exciting senior design projects in the US! More information can be found at Max Enrollment = 6 (more students may be added with advisor's approval).

Humanoid Robot CHARLI-L

CRN 94238, 5-6:15 T/R, Professor Dennis Hong

CHARLI (Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence) was the very first full-sized, autonomous, bipedal walking humanoid robot developed in the United States (think Honda's ASIMO, but made in the USA by Hokies!) The 12 kg CHARLI-L ("L" as in "Lightweight") uses a double four-bar mechanism with special servo actuators in the legs to keep it lightweight for safety and to implement new types of walking algorithms for gait research. CHARL-L will also be Virginia Tech'e entry into the international autonomous robot soccer competition, RoboCup 2011, in the new adult size division. This year, the students will be working closely with a PhD student to redesign the original CHARLI to further reduce the weight by optimization and by using carbon fiber composites materials. New covers will also be designed and fabricated. The students will also have a chance to participate in the research portion of the work including studying the kinematics, dynamics, control, motion planning, localization, vision, and autonomous behavior. Students must have excellent CAD skills and hands-on fabrication experiences. Students will also be willing to learn how to operate a CNC/machining center and various fabrication techniques such as vacuum forming and carbon fiber layup, etc. Expect to work long hours besides the normally expected ME4015-4016 work hours, but also be a part of one of the most exciting senior design projects in the US! More information can be found at This project is funded by the National Science Foundation. Max Enrollment = 6 (more students may be added with advisor's approval).

Humanoid Robot DARwIn-HP/LC

CRN 94242, 5-6:15 T/R, Professor Dennis Hong

From the successful 'DARwIn' family miniature humanoid robots for RoboCup, and from the NSF sponsored low cost 'miniHUBO' miniature humanoid for research and education, comes the next generation miniature humanoid robots DARwIn-HP (High Performance) and DARwIn-LC (Low Cost). These new DARwIn-humanoid-robot platforms with advance computational power, sophisticated sensors, high payload capacity, and dynamic motion ability will enable many exciting research, education, and outreach activities. This year, the students will be working closely with two PhD students to redesign, fabricate prototypes, generate documentations (fabrication and assembly manuals, a comprehensive web site), and mass produce these robots for distribution to 11 partner universities (including major research universities, RUI institutions, and a women's college) to foster a humanoid-robotics community. Unlike most other senior design projects, the students will be required to generate actual end-products for distribution and for real use by these partner universities to utilize them in their classroom teaching and research projects as well as outreach activities. The students will have many opportunities for travel for public demonstrations at workshops and at various high-impact events such as FIRST robotics competitions. Machining, hands-on fabrication, and CAD skills are desirable, and the students should be willing to learn how to operate a CNC/machining center and various fabrication techniques such as vacuum forming, etc. Besides the designing of the robots, mass production of these robots is a requirement thus a lot of hands-on fabrication (partially automated with the machining center) and assembly will be required. Professional quality manuals and a useful website to foster a DARwIn users community are also required deliverables. This project will have a significant impact as we position these robots as the standard miniature humanoid robotics platform for research and education in the US. More information can be found at This project is funded by the National Science Foundation. Max Enrollment = 8 (more students may be added with advisor's approval).

Blind Driver Challenge

CRN 94219, 5-6:15 T/R, Professor Dennis Hong

RoMeLa has developed the world's very first and only vehicle that can be driven by the blind. As known as the Blind Driver Challenge, this project has been featured on numerous pubic media including on the front page of Washington Post, CBS Early Show, Discovery Channel, on the cover of a number of magazines, and newspapers worldwide. On July 2011, we will be making history again with the next generation BDC vehicle called DAVID (Demonstrative Automobile for the Visually Impaired Driver) and VIVIAN (Visually Impaired Vehicle Interfaces for Advanced Navigation) with a public demonstration of the vehicles driven by a blind person from Baltimore MD to Orlando FL. This year's senior design project team will be leading this project while working with TORC Technologies, Inc. The base vehicle will be Ford Escape hybrid vehicles with technologies developed from Team VictorTango's award winning DARPA Urban Challenge vehicle Odin. Extensive domestic travel is required and participation in the big demo event on July 2011 is important. Be a part of the team and make history! More information can be found at This project is funded by the National Federation of the Blind. Max Enrollment = 8 (more students may be added with advisor's approval).

Project BOLT - Battery Operated Land Transportation

CRN 94252, 3:30-4:45 T/R, Professor Saied Taheri

The goal of the BOLT team is to evolve electric vehicle technology through design, construction, and demonstration of a high performance electric motorcycle. Currently, the team is working with a sponsor to redesign and upgrade his existing electric motorcycle and enter it in the North American TTXGP championship race series. The team has also investigated emerging electric vehicle technologies and worked on designing a practical electric commuter motorcycle. By earning a strong finish in the TTXGP, the team hopes to increase the visibility of electric motorcycles to the mainstream while proving the viability of the technology itself. Max Enrollment = 10.

Design of an Electronically Steerable Audio Speaker

CRN 94247, Meeting times TBA, Professor Chris Fuller

This project involves the development, construction and testing of a speaker whose radiation can be electronically steerable to desired locations. The steerable speaker consists of an array of small speakers whose input signals are passed through an electronic phase delay line in order to change the direction of the major radiation lobe. The project involves audio, acoustics, electronics, signal processing and testing and is a continuation of the work started in 2009. An electronically steerable speaker would have many applications where it is desired to project sound signal to limited zones such as in museums, airports, auditoriums etc. Maximum Enrollment: 8 (ECE students also desired).

Instrumented Surf Board

CRN 94248, Meeting times TBA, Professor Chris Fuller

This project will involve developing a real time system for monitoring the dynamics of a surfboard while being ridden. The approach will be similar to that used in NASCAR to monitor the dynamics of race cars. The surfboard will be instrumented with water proofed electronics and strain gauges. Wireless transmission will be used to transmit the signals to a land located computer. A Finite Element Model of the surfboard will be developed and used in conjunction with the strain gauge and accelerometer information to construct a real time animations of the stress distribution of the board while being ridden in various maneuvers. The project will involve design, construction and testing of the system under realistic conditions. The information will be valuable for more efficient design and construction of surfboards. It is unknown at this stage, for example, which part of the surfboard has the highest stress load while turning. Maximum Enrollment: 8 (ECE students also desired).

Turbocharger Bearing Support Design

CRN94225, 11-12:15 T/R, Professor Gordon Kirk

This project will be a continuation of the turbocharger analysis and experimental testing project that has been offered for the past five years. This year in addition to learning how to operate a 130 HP diesel engine test stand , the details of rebuilding the high speed turbocharger and collecting vibration data, the students will design a new bearing support system to enhance the turbocharger stability. Prior experience with turbochargers is a plus but not mandatory. Both analysis and experimental testing will be conducted for the stock bearings and then the new support system. It would be helpful to also enroll in ME 5504 Introduction to Rotor Dynamics this coming fall, but it is not mandatory. Maximum Enrollment: 8.

Bio-Inspired Sonar Head

CRN 94233, Meeting times TBA, Professor Rolf Mueller

The goal of the project is to design a bio-inspired sonarhead ("bat head") that includes bio-inspired baffle shapes for sound emission and reception, actuation of the shapes (and shape parts), ultrasonic transducers for emission and reception, signal amplification and processing, control of the actuators. The design of the project will start with the analysis of prior art (existing designs) and include new features from life while at the same time ensuring that the resulting design is for an engineering product. Besides the sonar function, other properties (e.g., the drag coefficient) will be considered. The insights for the novel features will be drawn from research results of my group. At the end of the project, considerable portions of the design should be realized in hardware, ideally all components should function together. Maximum Enrollment: 12 ME students, 6 ECE students.

Full-Body Human-Like Robots

CRN 94210, Meeting times TBA, Professor Shashank Priya

The goal of this project is to develop fully functional human-like robots utilizing several different components such as synthetic skin, servo actuators, smart actuators, sensors, composite skull and control system. We have already developed human-like skin, face and hand. The artificial skin not only has physical appearance similar to that human but also has similar hydrophobicity. The hand has similar DOF as human hand and was shown to type 20 words per minute on normal computer keyboard. The goal of this design team will be to develop neck mechanism, shoulders, and integration of all the parts with the body. The application of the robot will be in medical simulations so it will be either lying on the bed or sitting on the chair. The team will be provided with solidworks model of the current humanoid architecture. The major components of the project are: (i) mechanical linkage mechanism to combine the actuators and skin for realizing human-like movements, (ii) placement of sensors and their control such that robot responds to external stimuli, (iii) design and fabrication of the neck mechanism with multiple DOF, and (iv) construction of the full-body system. All the components required to fabricate the robot will be made available. Contact information, Nick Thayer ( Max enrollment = 10.

Small Scale Windmill

CRN 94211, Meeting times TBA, Professor Shashank Priya

The goal of this project is to develop a lightweight, small-size, robust windmill which can generate ~1W power from wind speeds of 1 – 12 mph. The efficiency of the windmill is of major concern as it will dictate the final size. Another aspect of this project is to make the design of windmill hierarchal such that it can be assembled on demand. Thus, the windmill can be packaged in a small carrier box and assembled when required. The testing of the windmill will be done as a function of altitude in city environments. The application of the windmill will be for charging the electronic devices such as wireless sensor networks. Thus, the team will design and develop control electronics to integrate charging system with the windmill. The team will be provided with previous versions of windmill which currently provide 150 mW at 8 mph. The design will constitute investigating two different transduction mechanism, DC generators and piezoelectrics. If commercial generators are not efficient and does not exhibit high power density then the team may have to improve the existing generator to achieve the final goal of 1W. The testing of the windmills will be conducted on several bridges (within and outside Virginia) that have been identified by our sponsor and show the feasibility of powering wireless sensor nodes. Contact information, Scott Bressers ( Max enrollment = 10.

Mid Scale Windmill

CRN 94251, Meeting times TBA, Professor Shashank Priya

This year’s senior design team initiated the project with theme of “One windmill per house” that has the goal of creating light and small windmills with output power of ~10W for residential housing. The team was able to develop and verify the concepts for increasing the power without increasing the blade diameter. Also, the current team made significant progress in lowering the start-up speed of the windmill with some innovation in blade design. Continuing on this development, the goal of the project will be to build and test the windmill in city environments. Improvements for future design will focus on considerations for residential applications such as noise control and factor of safety. All the facilities required to build the turbine, blade, and mounting sections will be provided. This program is being sponsored by “Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems (CEHMS)” which is operating as NSF I/UCRC. Contact information, Scott Bressers ( Max enrollment = 10.

Biomimetic Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (UUVs)

CRN 94215, Meeting times TBA, Professor Shashank Priya

Our group has made significant progress in the design and characterization of artificial jellyfish. We have shown performance from these artificial vehicles approaching that of natural species. The goal of this project will be to re-design the current generation vehicles using inspiration from Mastigia species such that UUV is capable of carrying the payload (sensors and communication systems) and has on-board energy harvesting systems to re-charge the batteries. The main thrust of the program will be to create the propulsion mechanism used by Mastigia. This project is being sponsored by Office of Naval Research and is part of a large program consisting of five universities and Naval Undersea Warfare Center. It will be unique opportunity for the students to participate in a large and diverse team. Contact information, Alex Villanueva ( and Colin Smith ( Maximum enrollment = 15.

Cellulose Bale Unwrapper

CRN: 94218, Meeting times TBA, Professors Al Wicks, John Cundiff (BSE)

Alternative energy methods are being developed burning cellulose in the form of switchgrass bales. To effectively use these bales, it is required that they are unwrapped and chopped before entering the combustion chamber. This project will involve the design and development of the device to unwrap and chop the switchgrass bales. Max enrollment: 4.

Wind Speed Logger for Wind Farms

CRN: 94213, Meeting times TBA, Professor Al Wicks

Students will design and development a portable, inexpensive wind speed indicator and logger to evaluate possible sites for wind farms Max enrollment: 4 (1 ECE student desired).

Pediatric Medical Devices

CRN 94216, Meeting times TBA, Professor Al Wicks

The Pediatric Medical Device Institute (PMDI) is a non-profit dedicated to the development of devices to improve medical care for children. A variety projects are available from developing transducers for measuring air flow in tracheotomy tubes to data monitoring systems for use in the ER. Participants will be required work with medical personnel to develop the device, acquire IRB certification and present device specs and clinical trial information to the FDA. Max enrollment: 6 students (3 per project).

Autonomous Vehicle Project

CRN 94256, Meeting times TBA, Professor Al Wicks

Contact for more information. Max enrollment: 4 students (1 ECE student desired).

AUVSI Autonomous Surface Vehicle Competition

CRN 94222, 3:30-4:45 T/R, Professor Alex Leonessa

The goal of this competition is to provide an opportunity for students to experience the challenges of and develop skills in system engineering by accomplishing realistic missions with autonomous vehicles in the maritime environment and to foster ties between young engineers and the organizations developing Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) technologies. The competition is comprised of two parts: design and performance. The design part is based on an innovative system concept, rigorous engineering, and the well-crafted construction of a functional vehicle to perform the mission. The performance part is an in-situ demonstration of the vehicle’s capabilities to execute specified mission tasks. More details on the 2010 competition can be found on the AUVSI Foundation website. Max Enrollment: 10 (2ECE, 2 AOE students desired).

Nuclear Engineering Project

CRN 94235, 2:00-3:15 T/R, Professor Mark Pierson

This project will entail continuation of the design and building of a “fusor” reactor. This is a fusion reactor based on inertial electrostatic confinement. In technical terms, the concept behind inertial electrostatic confinement fusion (IECF) is to create a non-maxwellian, ionic environment conducive to fusion in velocity space. We will use an ionized deuterium gas which is accelerated through a high voltage field to produce a deuterium-deuterium (D-D) fusion reaction. Fusion is indicated when neutrons are detected outside of the reaction zone. A video camera will be used to capture the reaction zone and see the resulting miniature star in the center of the reactor. This reactor will be for demonstration of fusion for outreach and for research. This project will involve improving the previous year's design and design a neutron activation device to add to the reactor. Please contact Dr. Pierson at mark.pierson@vt. for more information. Max Enrollment: 12.

Solar Energy Projects and Wind Power-Hydrogen Project

CRN 94231, 3:30-4:45 T/R, Professor Uri Vandsburger

This year we shall be engaged in the specific projects listed below. Depending on the size of the class, certain projects may not be executed.
Project 1: Water electrolysis for H2 generation; driven by wind turbines. (year 3 and last year). Design and construction will continue from point reached by last years team. Max Enrollment: 10.
Project 2: Integration of PV Solar technology in technical systems for daily use. Students will have to propose systems, analyze viability, design, build and test them. Max Enrollment: 10.

Baja SAE

CRN 94234, 9:30-10:45 T/R, Professor Richard Goff

Baja SAE is a large team design and realization project of a complex system. Students design an off-road vehicle; then build, test, and compete in intercollegiate events. There is a common lecture, meeting once a week, covering such topics as design process, project management, cost analysis, and teamwork as well as guest lecturers from industry. In the twice a week Baja SAE group meetings, team business is conducted. The team is usually divided into drive-train, suspension, and chassis design groups. The team and project are managed by members of the team with advice and assistance from faculty. This project is educational, fun, rewarding and time intensive. Go to for many photos and details about the team and project and for an application. Note: Must apply and be accepted to join this team – do not sign up for this CRN if you have not been accepted to the team. Max Enrollment = 25.

Formula SAE Race Car Team

CRN 94224, 2-3:15 T/R, Professors Bob West, John Ferris, & Srinath Ekkad

The Formula SAE® competition is for SAE student members to conceive, design, fabricate, and compete with small formula-style racing cars. The cars are built with a team effort over a period of about one year as a senior design project and are taken to the annual competition in Detroit, MI, in May for judging and comparison with approximately 140 other vehicles from colleges and universities throughout the world. Note: Must apply and be accepted to join this team – do not sign up for this CRN if you have not been accepted to the team. Max Enrollment = 20.

Pace Automotive Projects

CRN 94223, 11-12:15 T/R, Professor Jan Helge Bohn

Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE) is a global industry-university partnership centered around General Motors and its key partner universities around the world. The projects have a real-world automotive focus, and often involve direct collaboration with General Motors engineers on a regular basis. The projects also involve collaborating with colleagues at other PACE universities around the world using state-of-the-art video conference technologies, team collaboration software, product data management software, and high-end computer aided engineering software used in the automotive industry. To enable this global collaboration, the students around the world must all use NX to describe their engineering designs. The specific details of the 2010-2011 project will be identified over the next several months, subject to student demand and project availability. The following outlines the 2009-2010 PACE automotive projects at VT:
- CarTec -- The design of a vehicle for the Mexican market win collaboration with Monterrey Tec (Mexico);
- PACE Global Emerging Markets Vehicle -- The design of a vehicle for the global emerging markets, teaming with Tuskegee University (Alabama) and headquartered at the University of São Paulo (Brazil); and
- GMM Universal Fixtures -- The design of universal fixtures for holding carpets and soft interior side panels during inspection prior to installation into vehicles, working with students at Monterrey Tec and General Motors Mexico engineers.
Max Enrollment = 16. (This project is open to VT students in other departments that allow it to count as a senior technical elective or as a senior capstone design project.)

AUVSI International Aerial Robotics Competition

CRN 94241, 2-3:15 T/R, Professor Kevin Kochersberger

This project is an undergraduate competition based on the design, control and construction of an autonomous vehicle capable of performing a surveillance mission. The current competition is an indoor surveillance mission that takes place in a nuclear reactor control room after an accident. Since the radiation levels are too high for people to safely enter and assess the situation, an aerial robot must be launched into the building to find a blinking light that is next to a gauge that must be read. The robot must not only find the gauge, but relay the image of the gauge back to the ground control station. All stages of the competition (surveillance flight, target identification, imaging) must be conducted autonomously. In past years, the team has used LabView for programming and has designed and fabricated dedicated printed circuit boards to reduce the size, weight and power requirements of the system. Virginia Tech has led the competition since 2005, and hopes to build on past achievements for a successful 2010. More information about Tech’s team, the Autonomous Aerial Vehicle Team (AAVT), can be found at Max enrollment = 15.

SCRAM Jet Propulsion System Design

CRN 94212, 1:25-3:45 W, Professor Walter O’Brien

The overall goal of the 2010-2011 scramjet student design team program is to improve the design and construction of a supersonic combustion test rig that was designed and tested by the 2009-2010 scramjet design group. The design of a combustor that will produce and sustain supersonic combustion is difficult, and there are a lot of unknowns. This design group will use the designs and performance results from the previous group to produce an improved design. The design analysis, construction techniques, combustion igniter and flameholder, and the measurement methods will all be reviewed, analyzed, and improved. We will plan to test your improved design in the Aerojet Corporation supersonic wind tunnel at Orange, Va. This project will require design team members with interest and skills in CAD design and systems integration, materials, combustion and ignition, measurement and instrumentation, fuels, fuel supply and controls, compressible flow analysis, and planning and scheduling. The project is challenging, and fun. You must be willing to devote adequate time to get the job done, which would be attendance at a weekly student lab group meeting, and work outside of class. A reasonable effort would be 8-9 hours per week devoted to the project, with your lab and class hour counting as about 4 hours. Each student must get and keep an engineering notebook recording your individual work on the project, and where appropriate, the work of your team. Max Enrollment = 12 (ECE students needed).

Biomedical Engineering Projects

CRN 94217, Meeting times TBA, Professor Pavlos Vlachos

Biomedical Projects will include:

Inspired Fluids Engineering: Life in Fluid Motion (co-advisor: Jake Socha, ESM)
-“Flying” snakes (genus Chrysopela) glide like no other animal. With no appendages or membranes to use as lift-generating surfaces, Chrysopelea instead flatten their body and glide using their body as a single “wing.” In flight, these snakes both send traveling waves from head to tail and oscillate the posterior body and tail in the vertical axis; the body’s three dimensional posture constantly changes during the glide. Despite their highly unconventional and dynamic mode of gliding, aerial performance of gliding snakes is on par with or surpasses that of many other gliding vertebrates. This project will investigate the fundamental aerodynamic principles of this unique form of flying and will use these principles to inspire the design of innovative flying planforms. The project will bridge biomechanics, biology and fluid mechanics, will involve analysis of field data, development of lab prototypes and fluids experiments.
- Basilisk lizards are well known for their ability to run on water. Most other small animals that support their submerged body in water through buoyant forces must contend with hindered locomotion from high drag forces due to viscous and wave effects. In contrast, the basilisk lizard (as in many shore birds) is able to move very fast on top of the water by capitalizing on an intricate locomotion mechanism. With impulsive strokes of its feet the basilisk lizard generates cavities in water that, through the combination of momentum and surface tension, hydrodynamic forces create a reaction force that supports the lizard’s weight. However, despite many years of research and efforts to reproduce mechanically this unique locomotion, a complete understanding of this mechanism remains elusive. This project will first study the kinematics of the basilisk lizard and will perform bench top experiments of representative body-water-entry situations in order to quantify the forces exerted and reveal the basics of the cavity formation process. Subsequently, this knowledge will be used to inspire the design of a mechanical prototype that capitalizes on these principles and enables a small light-weight autonomous structure (robot) to walk on water. This interdisciplinary project will bridge biology, biomechanics, fluid mechanics, and kinematics and will involve experiments, simulations, and modeling that will be used to develop biologically inspired water-walking systems.

Design, Modeling, and Analysis of Cardiovascular Stents
A stent is a wire mesh tube that is inserted into an occluded artery during an intravascular catheterization procedure similar to balloon angioplasty. Once the stent is inserted and expanded at the site of the arterial blockage, it allows regular blood flow to resume through the artery and helps in maintaining the patency of the lumen. Although stents have experienced a tremendous level of success and more than 1 million stenting procedures are performed each year, there is a great need for innovative designs and specialized stents such that the interventional cardiologists can treat more complex lesions. In addition to creating innovative stent designs, this project also involves developing innovative mechanisms/processes of stent testing and evaluation (taking into account the fluid-structure interaction). The stent senior design project will examine the deformation of stented arteries under physiologic pressure loading. This will involve Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of the stented artery, coupled with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis of the blood within the artery. Abnormally high stresses within the arterial wall have been correlated by previous studies to restenosis (re-narrowing) of he vessel in previous studies. For this reason, a significant portion of the project will be to study how variation of different stent parameters such as strut spacing and thickness change the maximum stresses in the arterial tissue. The ultimate goal of this project is to develop new stent designs which provide reduced risk of restenosis, and improved long term clinical outcomes. Max Enrollment = 25.