Senior Design Day 2024

Senior Design is 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. Senior Design Day is split between presentations in the morning and a poster session in the afternoon.


 AWSM Saucin’
 Avoid Waste + Season Meaningfully

Philadelphia-based startup AWSM Sauce (pronounced “awesome sauce”) is innovating in the world of sauce for the first time in decades by creating a line of dehydrated, powderized sauces that provide 4x lower shipping costs and scope 3 carbon emissions. These savings are especially attractive to bulk sauce consumers like quick-service restaurants and event venues which need to meet Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards and are looking to reduce costs on their large, repeated purchases.

However, AWSM Sauce powder needs to be reconstituted with water before enjoying; currently, this is a manual process done with large bowls and hand mixers. This extra step has proven to be a barrier, even a deal breaker, for some prospective customers. Our team has partnered with AWSM Sauce to make their sauce powder as easy to use as any other traditional bagged sauce.

To achieve this seamless transition to powdered sauce, our machine fully encloses and automates the mixing process. Restaurants adopting the powdered sauce with our solution no longer face a meaningful increase in labor. The automated mixer minimizes the number of components that come in contact with sauce and is fully dissemblable and dishwasher safe, promoting easy cleaning and regular inspections. We aim to enable significant growth in foodservice sales for AWSM Sauce by reducing unnecessary complexities for their customers.

Team AWSM Saucin’ is composed of Alex Bardwell, Charlie Bourget, Hugo Sandoval, and Charlie Schlager, and is advised by Professors Devin Carroll and Taylor Caputo and MEAM MSE candidate Thomas Swingley.

Autonomous Crack Sealing Robot for Runway Maintenance

Airport runways are subject to deterioration, resulting in cracks caused by fatigue and environmental factors. This necessitates frequent and efficient maintenance, given that unrepaired cracks steadily expand, undermining the structural integrity of runways and significantly escalating repair costs over time. Currently, crack sealing is dominated by manual repair techniques. Manual methods are labor-intensive and result in operational disruptions due to prolonged runway closures. Additionally, manual crack sealing poses safety risks to the maintenance crew who are exposed to toxic sealant fumes.

Crackle provides a safer and more streamlined approach to runway maintenance, catering to airport administrations and maintenance contractors. Our solution integrates a sealant heating and deposition system with state of the art computer vision and sensing into a fully autonomous robot that is ready to deploy on any runway. In the context of the United States, where approximately $2 billion is spent annually on runway maintenance, Crackle is poised to deliver significant cost savings and enhanced operational efficiency, while ensuring worker safety by reducing their exposure to hazardous environments.

Team Crackle is composed of Aditi Chintapalli, Runing Guan, Mei Han, Ilia Kheirkhah, and Shalika Neelaveni advised by Professor Mark Yim.

A Retractable, Actuated Hydrofoil Vessel For Carbon Footprint Mitigation In Recreational Boating Industry

Roughly 14 million metric tons of CO2 are released annually by recreational boaters, a number that represents almost half of the emissions generated annually by the world’s third largest airline. Recreational boaters, who number in the tens of millions worldwide, deal with increasing gas prices while boating fuel efficiencies remain stagnant at 3-5 mpg. Hydrofoil technology for decreasing drag and increasing efficiency has been around for over a century. Yet, today, no hydrofoil boat on the market is capable of meeting the speed, price range, and maneuvering needs of the average recreational consumer.

FoilFlex incorporates a new combination of technology to reduce drag on vessels in changing environments, drastically improving fuel efficiency and performance of recreational boats. After the vessel is raised above the water surface, riders will experience a remarkable 15-fold decrease in drag, resulting in a corresponding 90% boost in fuel consumption from a simple order of magnitude estimate. FoilFlex’s innovative design incorporates both actuation and retraction of the hydrofoil structures to retain normal functionality of the craft in both shallow and deep, rough or calm water conditions. Our automated control system detects water conditions and adjusts the hydrofoils’ angle of attack to keep the vessel stable without any input from the passengers. After a day of fun on the water, our customers can retract the hydrofoil structures flush with the hull for painless docking, transport, and storage.

Team FoilFlex is composed of Miles Batley, Christopher Dwyer, Luyando Kwenda, Jillian Pote, and Simone Vorperian and is advised by Professor Bruce Kothmann.

The countertop solution to reusable water bottle hygiene

With an increased emphasis on the importance of sustainability in the past decades, the popularity of reusable water bottles has increased dramatically. Reusable water bottles have cemented themselves as an essential item in people’s everyday lives worldwide with 60% of adults owning and using a reusable water bottle regularly. Despite their mass popularity, few people are aware that reusable water bottles can harbor more than 20 million colony-forming units of harmful bacteria if not sanitized properly which can result in detrimental health side effects.

Reusable water bottles are difficult if not impossible to clean by hand or with a sponge and their insulating seals can be damaged if exposed to a dishwasher’s detergent. Geyser is a countertop solution that uses directed steam to sanitize and clean reusable water bottles at temperatures reaching above 200°F. This solution benefits all reusable water bottle owners who lack an effective, safe, and simple way to clean and maintain their reusable water bottles.

Geyser is easily integrated into any countertop space and its use of steam to sanitize offers numerous benefits over alternative methods, such as avoiding damage to the water bottle, shorter cycle times, as well as a hands-free cleaning experience. With its intuitive and secure interface, this appliance streamlines user interaction and removes all potential risks that steam could pose to a user thanks to magnetic sensors and efficient ventilation systems.

Team Geyser is composed of Nicholas Cannistraci, Isaac Lang, Sergio Torres, Sebastian Magana, Nhat Le and is advised by Dr. Igor Bargatin, Dr. Devin Carroll, Dr. Karl Siegert, Rita Hueston, David Candia, and Razaq Aribidesi.

The Next Generation of Urban Micromobility

The global value of the micro-mobility industry is expected to double by 2030 to a total value of $440 billion. As this industry grows, there is increasing demand for a city-optimized personal transportation solution that combines the benefits of both stability and portability. Existing solutions fail to achieve a useful level of portability for the on-the-go travel required by college students and young professionals. Products in the market such as E-bikes and electric scooters are capable of traversing most obstacles encountered in urban commutes, but their inability to be easily stored between uses or to be transported easily by foot excludes a large segment of potential users. Morphboard provides a convenient solution with a small form factor that does not sacrifice the ride quality demanded by stakeholders.

Morphboard is a foldable, electric skateboard with an integrated suspension system to allow it to tackle obstacles encountered in cities such as trolley lines, curbs, or sidewalk cracks. Morphboard can be separated into three different subsystems: powertrain, suspension, and the deck. The powertrain is composed of in-hub motors capable of a 28 mph top speed and a battery pack with up to 11 miles of range. Morphboard uses an elegant torsion spring suspension integrated with a truck steering system to provide a compact shock reduction mechanism capable of smoothing out obstacles encountered during urban commutes. The board deck folds in half to reduce storage volume by nearly 50%, and allows for easy carrying with an integrated handle.

The team is composed of Daniel Izmirian, Anton Ludwig, and Zachary Masotto and is advised by Dr. Ottman Tertuliano.

Oh Buoy!
A Semi-Autonomous Oil Removal Buoy

The presence of oil in bodies of water can damage ecosystems and contaminate municipal watersheds. Current solutions focus on large-scale oil spill cleanup and are often labor-intensive, while Oh Buoy!, a semi-automated buoy-like device, aims to target smaller water bodies that contain significant concentrations of motor oil from recreational boating, such as harbors or marinas. This solution provides a scalable method of mitigating the environmental impact of small-scale oil pollution. Further clean-up efforts could include multiple Oh Buoy! devices to cover a larger area.

The device integrates an LED-based oil-detection sensor with a filtering system. Oh Buoy! senses oil layers as small as 0.2 mm. To increase the efficacy of the skimmer, the system pumps the oil/water mixture into a narrow container, from where the oil is skimmed into a separate tank and clean water is pumped back out. The current design will be tied down, allowing it to filter a small body of water; however, future designs would integrate a GPS system to cover larger areas.

If Oh Buoy! detects oil, it remains stationary until the oil is filtered out to no longer detectable levels. If no oil is detected, Oh Buoy! “searches” for oil with mobility provided by a motor attached to a servo. Similar models require a person to navigate the oil filtration device around an area while this system navigates without human involvement.

Team Oh Buoy! comprises Alexander Choi, Cara Feit, Erin Grilliot, Nicolas Khan, Ananya Malhotra, and Carina Suba and is advised by Professor Cynthia Sung.

Spotter Pro
Workout with Spotter Pro: Tracking not Slacking

Spotter Pro revolutionizes weightlifting through an integrated system of fitness devices engineered to optimize performance, prevent injury, and provide comprehensive feedback. Combining a sensor-equipped barbell clamp and shoe inserts with a user-friendly mobile application, where the ecosystem of devices addresses the challenge of inaccessible and inefficient workout tracking, offering an unparalleled lifting experience.

Spotter Pro delivers real-time feedback on key metrics such as bar path, lifting velocity, and force distribution while offering automated repetition tracking to make recording workouts easier and more efficient. Users can refine their technique for specific exercises through Spotter Pro’s form suggestions and personalized workout plans, ensuring they get the most out of their workouts while simultaneously minimizing the risk of injury. Our system will cost less than two hundred dollars and will be small enough to fit into a standard gym bag. Additionally, a battery life of at most four hours along with a Bluetooth range of up to ten feet allow for efficient, carefree use.

Spotter Pro effectively bridges the gap between elite training programs and everyday gym-goers. Our system sets a new standard in weightlifting technology, offering enhanced performance and reduced injury risks for all stakeholders. Through rigorous engineering standards and collaborative efforts, our system promises to redefine strength training while holding affordability, safety, and efficiency paramount.

Team Spotter Pro is composed of Teddy Constan, Alex LaBarca, Troy Hill, Krystian Kresso, Ahmed Laban, Eric Gao and is advised by Professor Eric Fouh.

SOS: Sharps Object Sweeper

The Greens
EcoTrays: A Universal Green Roof System

Green roofs have proven to be an effective tool to reduce global carbon emissions by: (1) regulating building temperature, thereby reducing HVAC energy needs, and (2) increasing
vegetation which replenishes environmental oxygen through photosynthesis. Environmentalist support has caused many local municipalities to encourage green roof development. New York City (“NYC”) offers a tax credit per square foot of green roof installed; but current green roof solutions are custom-made for each roof, costing significantly higher than the tax credit. Further, poll respondents expressed dissatisfaction with current green roof aesthetics, citing the appearance of sedum plants. This plant family is used in green roofs for its ability to survive with little water.

EcoTrays is a versatile green roof attachment which allows a standard roof to capture the benefits of green roofs without expensive upfront customization costs. EcoTrays includes an integrated Arduino-controlled watering system to allow the nurturing of non-sedum plants. EcoTrays is assemled by combining several square modules of uniform area, each containing the necessary layers to receive the NYC tax credit.

The Greens manufactured a mock roof to test the system’s compliance with NYC building codes. Tests confirmed the tile drains properly and is within regulated weight limits. Tests also confirmed the irrigation system effectively distributed even levels of moisture throughout the modules. Future improvements necessitate the determination of cheaper manufacturing methods for each EcoTray Exterior.

EcoTrays ultimately allows homeowners to install effective green roofs at a much cheaper price, thereby satisfying environmentalist demand for more green roof installation throughout society.

Team The Greens is composed of David Adler, Daniel De Jesus, Haley Kang, and Rowan Almonte.