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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Engineering on display

This+weekend%2C+189+student+engineering+projects+were+judged+by+industry+profssionals+during+the+2017+Engineering+Project+Showcase.
Photo by Photo by Jenny Hollowell

This weekend, 189 student engineering projects were judged by industry profssionals during the 2017 Engineering Project Showcase.

A full semester’s worth of students’ engineering work and the accumulation of a lifetime of knowledge and education was on display this weekend for industry professionals to judge and admire.
More than 1,000 students working on 189 different projects took part in the 2017 Engineering Project Showcase Friday. The various teams presented work from engineering capstone projects, design competitions and even the top freshman Engineering 112 projects.
Three of the top teams walked away with $1,000 and an additional 12 $500 awards were given to the top projects for various departments. Among the leaders this year was a project emphasizing rescuing turtles and a project focusing on CPU cooling. The event’s fifth year was the biggest yet, according to Magda Lagoudas, executive director for Industry Partners and organizer of the event.
“This is the first time we are showing the work of over 1,000 students — this hasn’t happened before,” Lagoudas said. “This is the first time we actually have 100 industry judges — we’ve had a couple hundred industry people but we’ve never had 100 judges from industry. It’s amazing to talk to them and hear what they have to say.”
Jane Prusakova, software engineer for Improving Enterprises and industry judge, said she was impressed with the diversity of projects and the tight timeline many of the students faced.
“I get to see the next generation of science make their wave and I get to see how smart these people are,” Prusakova said. “Most of what I’ve seen is software technology in some state or form and A&M is really creating a great new generation of software engineers — it’s awesome.”
One of the presentations Prusakova judged was Ignis, a customizable firefighting simulator developed over the course of the semester as part of a capstone project. Forrest Hicks, computer science senior and member of the Ignis team, said the team wanted to aim to create an infrastructure, which could then be used by fire chiefs to create accurate scenarios.
“Essentially, you can go through, you can place objects on the scene, you can build up a scenario to teach,” Hicks said. “You can also do an interactive demo or a video demo so it places a lot of creative power in the hands of the training chiefs themselves and gives them the power to teach whatever they want to teach.”
Another project two booths down from Ignis created a machine designed to scan microfilm automatically, easily and much cheaper than most available microfilm scanners, according to computer science senior and team member Oron Hazi.
Hazi said he was disappointed that the team did not have more time to improve the project, but was excited to see so many different types of projects in one place.
“There is a lot of talented people out here doing talented things and it’s great to see that all in one place,” Hazi said. “We’re all seniors here so we are on our way out looking back seeing what we’ve accomplished and this is really a culmination of that.”
Other projects present at the showcase included the Formula SAE design team, the Texas A&M Hyperloop team, a presentation of a nautical archeology virtual reality simulator, designs for a NASA and an autonomous garden system.  
Katherine Banks, dean of the College of Engineering, said she felt the showcase is a great representation of the college’s aim to encourage students to participate in out of classroom research.
“You will find in every one of these presentations a passion which you may not necessarily see in the classroom,” Banks said. “These students find themselves through these presentations, through describing what they are doing, and they are truly moving from students to professionals — this is the first step.”
Lagoudas said she is excited to see the showcase continue to grow in the future and to be a place for students and industry to engage and work to solve real world problems.
“We are looking to industry to join us in even greater numbers than they have in the past because today we have the capability,” Lagoudas said. “Do you have a problem that you would like our students to engage?”

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