Electrical engineering students work on controllable vehicle window tinting.
Electrical engineering students work on controllable vehicle window tinting.
Image: Penn State

Senior projects today, safer living tomorrow: Engineering students present capstone designs

Penn State Harrisburg senior engineering and engineering technology students may be on to something big. Projects they’ve developed during their capstone design course have the potential to save lives in the workplace, make land and air transportation safer, and aid people with disabilities.

On Saturday April 21, students presented these senior projects and more during the college’s first Engineering Capstone Design Conference on the Penn State Harrisburg campus in Middletown.

Projects included:

  • A prototype vehicle fire suppression system that remotely triggers an extinguisher system, aiding a driver’s escape and extinguishing fires before they develop fully. (Student, major, hometown:  Kevin Dalbey, Mechanical Engineering, Harrisburg; Bryson Sheaffer, Mechanical Engineering, Mechanicsburg; and Theresa Bowie, Electrical Engineering, Mechanicsburg)
  • The “firefighter finder” which remotely monitors firefighters’ vital signs while they are on a call and pinpoints their location if they show signs of a heart attack or other distress.
    (Students: James Farley, Electrical Engineering, Bath, Pa.; Kristofer Knittle, Electrical Engineering, Etters; and Hisham Beshir, Electrical Engineering Technology, Hershey)
  • A system to detect ground crew workers’ locations in work zones and display those locations on a screen to heavy equipment operators. (Students: Zach Bahr, Electrical Engineering Technology, Bensalem; Ronald Scott, Electrical Engineering Technology, Prospect Park)
  • An alternative to the breathalyzer system, an impaired driver lockout system that uses a smartphone application. (Students: Vladimir Khodus, Electrical Engineering, Mechanicsburg; Christopher Kocuba, Electrical Engineering, Palmyra)
  • The auto-assistant, electronically-controlled clutch, a device to permit drivers with handicaps to operate a motor vehicle. (Students, all Mechanical Engineering Technology majors: Michael Carter, Houston, Tx.; Joval Shamsoum, Hartsdale, N.Y.; and Steven Georges, Elizabethtown)
  • An aircraft icing sensor and warning system (Students: Greg Scarborough, Electrical Engineering, York; Sean Kessler, Electrical Engineering, Stewartstown)

See the Capstone Conference program for a full list of projects and descriptions.

The Engineering Capstone Conference also featured speaker Dennis Butler, patent attorney with Panitch, Schwarze, Belisario and Nadel LLP in Philadelphia. Butler received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology from Penn State Harrisburg, a master’s in engineering mechanics from Penn State, and a law degree from Temple University. He specializes in intellectual property and technology law. With his wife Haley, Butler established the college’s School of Science, Engineering and Technology Award, a scholarship for undergraduate mechanical engineering and mechanical engineering technology students holding technology internships.

Several businesses headquartered in Central Pennsylvania have provided support to the capstone projects, including ArcelorMittal, Brenner Motors, and Phoenix Contact. Area businesses interested in sponsoring a project for next year's conference can find more details and submit a proposal online.