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Engineering students present innovative capstone design projects

Engineering students will display innovative technologies representing the future of their field at Penn State Harrisburg’s fourth annual Engineering Capstone Design Conference on Friday, May 8 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at various locations on campus. 

Senior engineering students are required to complete a capstone project, which combines classroom learning with real-life applications and is the culmination of their educational experience.  In addition, students often collaborate with industry sponsors on projects of interest to these businesses. A few of this year’s more than 40 projects include:

  • A design of the Penn State Harrisburg Student Enrichment Center (SEC) from the students’ perspective.  The SEC is a new70,000 – square foot three-story facility that will provide student activity and meeting spaces, food services, an auditorium, and administrative offices.
  • A fully automated chessboard that allows chess players around the world to compete against each other while having the experience of moving physical pieces on a board. It can be used in either a casual or competitive setting. This utilizes the full capabilities of a micro-controller, internet networking, electromagnetic theory, and control-system modeling.
  • A project based on the NASA Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concept – Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) competition with the goal of designing a self-sufficient human habitat on Mars, capable of hosting up to 24 inhabitants. After 2054, the habitat must be capable of operation without any support from Earth. All aspects of the mission must be accounted for in the project including transportation, scientific research, and in situation resource utilization. The proposed solution uses a modular base to house astronauts and equipment during construction of the permanent outpost.
  • A Baja SAE® project, which simulates real-world engineering design projects as students are tasked to design and build an off-road vehicle that will survive the severe punishment of rough terrain. The project involves design, planning and manufacturing tasks found when introducing a new product to the consumer industrial market. Students must function as a team to design, build, test, and race a vehicle.

In addition to project presentations, featured speakers include Peter Tubolino, Mid-Atlantic area manager at Siemens Industry, Inc., and Michael J. Sullivan, P.E., senior vice president, operations and engineering at Pepco Holdings, Inc.

Area high school students will be in attendance to view the project exhibits.

The Engineering Capstone Design Conference is supported in perpetuity by an endowment created by TE Connectivity. Additional sponsors include Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architecture Planning and Interior Design; Carlisle Construction Materials; Emtrol-Buell Technologies; Enders Insurance Associates; ERREx Inc; Friends of Hershey Trolley; Hirschmann; Penn State Harrisburg Intercollegiate Athletics; Penn State Harrisburg Maintenance and Operations; Phoenix Contact; Polaris; Readco Kurimoto, LLC.; and Siemens.

Area businesses interested in sponsoring a project for next year's conference can find more details and submit a proposal online.