Senior Design Competition

As the capstone of Penn's practice-integrated mechanical engineering curriculum, the two-semester senior design sequence challenges students to bring theory, skills, general knowledge, and inventive energy to bear on substantial engineering problems. There is no "typical" project and the variety is always surprising: some projects lead to marketable products; some explore a theoretical principle; some are just for fun.  But taken together, they reflect the breadth and diversity of mechanical engineering.

Our 2014 Winners:

Sawyer Brooks, Emily Samuelson, Sebastian Schloesser and Cristina Sorice, winners of the Francis G. Tatnall Prize for an outstanding project showing ingenuity, proficiency and usefulness.

SPARC, or small-scale solar-powered automated oceanic research vessel and sensing platform, is a vessel whose capabilities include self-righting catamaran design, automated navigation via compass and GPS, and versatile sensor interface for data collection. Design is easily scalable in size to meet the needs of a variety of users. This team also participated in the Cornell Cup.

Alex Neier, Joe Hill, Joe Polin and Justin Starr, winners of the William K. Gemill Memorial Prize for outstanding creativity.

PubLock is an electromechanical, ground-mounted community bike lock network. Capabilities include extreme tamper resistance, modularity, scalability, and access via RFID and/or Bluetooth communication protocols.


Jonathan Cousins, Rafi Pelles, Brandon Jennings, Jon Nino and Iason Stamatiadis, winners of the Couloucoundis Prize for best senior design presentation.

Persona is a bed-mounted robotic arm with three joints developed to assist a mute quadriplegic with daily tasks. Capabilities include direct control via internet-based interface, automated control for specific repetitive tasks, and replaceable end effecter.

Keelen Collins, Kate Wessels, Sarah Martezian, Jon Law and Kristin Marra, winners of the Judges Choice Award for excellence based on the discretion of the judges.

trueWheel is an automated electromechanical bicycle wheel truing system. Capabilities include wheel rim displacement sensing, automated spoke nipple manipulation and wheel rotation, and predictive programming for optimized wheel truing based on wheel rim displacement and inputs such as spoke number and spoke lacing pattern.