Students from the UNLV Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering showcased their commercially viable projects May 8 at the annual Spring Senior Design Competition.
The event was part science fair and part pitch session, and the projects varied from an app to find free attractions in Las Vegas to a mobile radiation detection device.
There were projects from 29 teams on display from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Cox Pavilion Concourse at UNLV, 4505 S. Maryland Parkway. The event was judged by local industry representatives, and thousands of dollars in prize money was awarded at a dinner ceremony in the evening.
Some of the projects solved a simple, specific problem, such as the one Cody Bostick, Aaron Butler and Cody Helbert tackled.
Bostick’s family is involved in the farrier business, shoeing horses. The process involves a lot of heating and hammering to get a shoe to fit a horse. The team asked the family if there were any problems that could be solved or tools they needed to make their job easier and more efficient.
“There are five different size horseshoes and millions of size hooves,” Helbert said. “The process makes the farrier go back and forth between the horse and heating and hammering at the forge oven. When you do that, you’re altering the property materials of the shoe.”
The process is tedious and can be dangerous.
“Every time you leave the side of the horse or come back, there’s an element of danger,” Butler said.
A hand tool called a spreader makes the shoe wider. What Bostick, Butler and Helbert devised and built a prototype for is the opposite: it narrows a shoe.
“It takes a lot more force to push in against the curve of a horseshoe,” Helbert said. “Our tool provides leverage, and with it, you can adjust the shoe without leaving the horse.”
The team said it has field tested the product with great results. In fact, it won first place in the Mechanical Engineering category at the Spring Senior Design Competition.
Nick Eggan, Ami Ilagan, Ernie Corn and Layla Rouas, the creators of a project called growUP Urban Food Supply Solution, envision a farmers market featuring food grown on the roof of the Fremont Street Experience parking garage in a 3,200-square-foot complex with solar panels and a greenhouse full of 140 hydroponic towers.
“The solar panels would provide power for lights and pumps,” Eggan said. “The towers are designed so you can get around them to work on them easily.”
The project won first place in the Civil & Environmental Engineering and Construction category.
The second-place winner in that category was a project by Tanner DuShane, Roxanne Feige and Kyle Mellies that was inspired by personal experience. They have encountered traffic problems at the intersection of the 215 Beltway and Eastern Avenue.
“The intersection is so bad that a lot of people get off a stop before at Windmill (Lane) or Pecos (Road),” DuShane said.
They say their counter-intuitive design would make the interchange more efficient and reduce the time spent stuck in traffic there.
“It looks strange because it moves the traffic to the left side of the road, but the traffic lights would be reduced from 160 seconds to 90,” DuShane said. “Our models show that the wait time on the southern intersection would go down from 104 seconds to 25.”
Contact East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-4532.