Beneficial Tech

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There was no shortage of good ideas at the UC Santa Barbara College of Engineering’s 2019 Capstone and Engineering Design Expo. The annual undergrad engineering showcase — which took place Friday, June 7 — was the culmination of year-long special projects undertaken by senior year students, often in collaboration with industry partners or UCSB research labs.

Drone technology was big at the 2019 Capstone event, with several student teams working on technology to enable drones for a variety of applications, some of which include ocean habitat monitoring and forest canopy sampling. Another strong theme this year were the therapeutic devices meant to help those with cerebral palsy and diabetes, tech to assist surgeons with their jobs, or to help provide a little customized self-care.

In addition to the valuable engineering and industry interface chops the Capstone projects were meant to hone, several teams gained cash prizes and recognition for their efforts. FitNest, a therapeutic device for infants with cerebral palsy won the $3,000 Excellence in Mechanical Engineering prize; Rally Rig, a custom-built camera rig for people with physical limitations received the $2,000 Engineering Innovation in Mechanical Engineering prize, while FLIR Zero’s high-precision pan-tilt device was recognized with the $2,000 Best Technical Project in Mechanical Engineering prize and Northrop Grummon G.A.R.I. — presenting an automated innovation in circuit board reworking — won the $500 Best Pitch prize. Meanwhile, Altair Zen Pad — creators of wireless, smartphone- or tablet-controlled massage pads — received the $3,000 Excellence in Electrical Engineering prize and the LegTrek team’s assistive walking device took the $5,000 multidisciplinary Excellence in Engineering awards.