2021 Capstone Symposium

Saturday May 1st 2021

Since August 2020senior engineering student teams have been working diligently to complete ten engineering capstone design projects in the following three areasRenewable Energy Technologies for Sustainable ImpactEnvironmental Solutions for Restoring Our Ecosystems, and Biomedical Engineering Innovations for Saving Lives. The time has now come for the teams to present their efforts in the first annual engineering capstone symposium! In alignment with Wake Forest University’s motto of “Pro Humanitate” (For Humanity), the Capstone Design Experience is envisioned and designed to bring real-world and authentic engineering projects to our engineering students. We desire for positive impact to be made, for innovative solutions to be produced, and for equity and justice to be reflected in the technological advancements that our students make.

We are extremely proud of the work that our inaugural class of engineering seniors have completed, and we are grateful to all of our faculty, staff, clients, and technical experts who have given their time and expertise to support our inaugural capstone design projects. We invite you to join us in celebrating our students’ achievements with both virtual student presentations via Zoom, and an in-person prototyping showcase at our newly renovated Wake Downtown Engineering Spaces.  Unfortunately, due to current COVID restrictions, only those who are affiliated with WFU will be able to attend the in-person showcase. However, we will be broadcasting each team’s showcase via Zoom, so all who desire will be able to participate in this event.  If you are interested in attending either of these events, please complete the following FORM. Due to security reasons, you must complete the RSVP to receive Zoom links for the virtual presentations and virtual prototype showcases

Please find additional information about the event and the projects that our students have been working on below: 

Schedule of Events: Saturday May 1st 2021

9:00 – Opening Remarks – Founding Chair and Professor, Olga Pierrakos, Visiting Assistant Professor, Hunter Bachman 

9:3– Concurrent Virtual Presentations Begin – Zoom links provided via email to the RSVP list 

Time  Zoom Room 1  Zoom Room 2 
9:30  Low Cost Solar System  Arteriovenous Bypass Graft Monitor 
10:00  Habitat for Humanity House  Appendiceal Cancer Detection Algorithm 
10:30  Improving Electric Vehicle Efficiency  Rainwater Capture and Filtration system 
11:00  Drone Mounted LiDAR Mapping System  Cell Seeding Bioreactor Design 
11:30  Sensor Activated Tracheostomy Monitor  Supercooled Water Museum Exhibit 

12:00 – Break for Lunch 

1:00  In Person and Virtual Design Showcase and tour of Engineering Facilities

*Affiliates of the university are welcome to attend in-person, and Zoom links will be provided to the RSVP list for virtual attendees 

Challenge 1: Renewable Energy Technologies for Sustainable Impact

Sustainable and renewable energy technologies are revolutionizing people’s lives while also improving the overall impact that humans have on the environment. The Capstone students embracing this challenge are encouraged to think critically and practically on ways that innovation can make our everyday lives more sustainable. By educating youth on the properties of water, advancing automotive efficiency, and increasing access to electricity and equitable housing, these teams are addressing the layered barriers to launching into a more sustainable future.

  • Project Description

    This team is working to create a flow harnessing device that will convert kinetic energy into electricity in order to recharge the battery of an electric vehicle in an effort to support the automotive industry’s drive to attract a broader range of customers into the electric vehicle market. The project is based on the concept of harnessing external flow energy to increase the range of an electric or hybrid vehicle. By creating this device, the team hopes to improve the overall performance of electrical or hybrid vehicles so that consumers are motivated to opt into this mode of transportation, rather than using fossil fuel-dependent vehicles, aiming to create a more environmentally and economically sustainable future.

    Watch Presentation Video

    Students: Max Album, Trevor Taub, Drew Foreman, Luis Pons
    Coaches: Dr. Olga Pierrakos & Dr. Hunter Bachman

  • Project Description

    To support Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County’s mission in creating affordable and decent living developments for local families, this team is creating a complete set of AutoCAD drawings to reinforce the nonprofit organization’s newest housing development which will seek to accommodate a diverse set of needs. The drawings will include floor plans, side elevations, wall sections, and roof plans with an overall emphasis on designing cost effective, sustainable, and optimum floor layouts which will provide new homeowners with a variety of buying options. Through the development of these innovative floor plans within the Stone Terrace land development project, the team hopes to further advance Habitat for Humanity’s great effort in building overall sustainable and energy-efficient low-income housing.

    Watch Presentation Video

    Client: Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County
    Dayton Diemel, Chloe Beatty, Adero Mandala, Goran Jovanovic
    Coach: Professor Lutzweiler

  • Project Description

    To support Kaleideum’s pursuit of creating a space for life-long learning through discovery, this team is developing an interactive exhibit on supercooled water in hopes of creating an engaging learning environment while also encouraging STEM education for young people. The interactive exhibit will be able to instantaneously demonstrate supercooling water to visitors of all ages and abilities in a safe and self-directed manner. By designing and implementing this complex and exciting exhibit, the team hopes that the instantaneously reliable and wonder-worthy illustration of the natural phenomenon of supercooled water will inspire visitors to feel excited about science while also aiding local school teachers in creating a memorable experience for their students.

    Watch Presentation Video

    Client: Kaleideum
     Charlotte Van Houtven, Sophie Ballou, Ayana Edwards, Hank Shaw
    Coach: Dr. Erin Henslee

  • Project Description

    To help citizens of the Bahamas reliably access electricity while transitioning towards renewable energy sources, this team is designing a low-cost and high efficiency solar thermal system. The solar thermal system will be created with environmental and structural confines in mind to provide a sustainable product that can maintain energy-access during hurricanes while proactively combating climate change by decreasing CO2 emissions. In developing this durable and stand-alone device, the team hopes to aid in the promotion of economic and cultural growth on the islands by creating jobs and providing off-the-grid electricity to remote areas.

    Watch Presentation Video

    Client: WFU Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials
    Morgan Wallace, Cameron King, Claire Griffin, Aidan McCormack, Hannah Grimm
    Coaches: Dr. Hunter Bachman & Dr. Paul Allaire

Challenge II: Environmental Solutions for Restoring Our Ecosystems

Revitalizing the ecosystems and communities affected by climate change is an important step in moving forward, together. Both as a people and as a planet. These Capstone teams recognize that this restoration is best accomplished by using environmentally-focused tactics and have thus accepted the challenge to employ creative and protective solutions to complex issues. By working on water filtration and conservation management, these teams are producing techniques that can be easily applicable to preservation and water management world-wide.

  • Project Description

    To support the Centro de Innovación Científica Amazónica (CINCIA)’s goal of mastering autonomous flight in order to study the Amazon rainforest more efficiently, this team is developing a new autonomous system to provide real-time mapping updates to the drones. The system will utilize Light Detection and Radar (LiDAR) technology to detect inconsistencies in the digital elevation models (DEMs) due to changes in the forest canopy such as growth or deforestation. Supplying the drones with this updated data will allow them to avoid new obstacles, fly closer to the canopy, and investigate areas that were inaccessible in out-dated maps. Disseminating map updates to all of the drones in the system will enable more accurate data collection to support conservation efforts and rainforest science.

    Watch Presentation Video

    Client: WFU Center for Energy, Environment & Sustainability
    Noah Handwerk, John Hobson, Maxim Belyayev, Charles Cadena
    Coach: Dr. Kyle Luthy

  • Project Description

    To support NGO Mwanzo’s mission of positively impacting the lives of Rabuor, Kenya’s residents, this team is designing a filtration and sanitation system to improve the village school’s rainwater capture and delivery system in hopes that the filtered water will also become available to the surrounding community. The team is working closely with stakeholders to modify the school’s existing cisterns to include a UV treatment system that is easy to maintain and affordable. By developing this cost-effective and long-lasting system, the team hopes to provide a reliable source of filtered water to the Rabuor community school which will simultaneously affect educational and economic growth as women and children will be able to dedicate water-collecting time to other initiatives.

    Watch Presentation Video

    Client: Mwanzo
    Kenneth Edwards, Liza Fahey, Nick Rucinski, Meredith Vaughn
    Coaches: Dr. Courtney Di Vittorio & Dr. Kyana Young

Challenge III: Biomedical Engineering Innovations for Saving Lives

The consequences of complications in a clinical setting are often drastic. At the cross section of innovation and optimal patient care, the Capstone teams who chose to take on this challenge are digging deep to push the bounds of current medicine. By working to minimize the limitations of tissue engineering, gaft monitoring, cancer diagnosis, and decannulation sensing, these teams are developing methodologies, technologies, and systems for the overall advancement of medical practice and the improvement of patient care.

  • Project Description

    To support a variety of entities who benefit from tissue engineering, this team is creating a hybrid method of cell seeding using both static and dynamic methods in order to encourage overall homogeneous cell seeding throughout a scaffold which is a major challenge within the field. The homogenous cell seeding procedure will use microbeads, an electrospun scaffold and a hybrid static-dynamic seeding method while also utilizing appropriate mechanical analysis to seed homogenous scaffolds reliably and consistently. By establishing this method, the team hopes to improve biomedical engineering research outcomes to allow for the development of more complex research tissues while also advancing regenerative medicine technologies for an overall heightened physician and patient experience.

    Watch Presentation Video

    Students: Regan O’Donnell, Marguerite Walk, Lucy Vaughn, Zack Pagnani, Jake Safee
    Coach: Dr. Carlos Kengla

  • Project Description

    To support renal patients, healthcare professionals in nephrology, and medical device manufacturers, this team is developing a sensor that accurately detects significant stenosis in arteriovenous grafts in order to avoid discrepancies during check-ups for hemodialysis patients. Stenosis is a blockage caused by endothelial damage, which causes blood flow turbulence and can lead to inadequate or failed dialysis treatment. Current monitoring methods are costly, not readily available, and require extensive nurse attention. By creating a minimally-invasive, self-contained, and more accessible sensor system, the team hopes to decrease the probability of life-threatening complications related to arteriovenous graft failure and improve the overall quality of life for hemodialysis patients, while also allowing healthcare providers to focus their time and energy on other human-dependent tasks.

    Watch Presentation Video

    Students: Danielle Cantoni, Brad Dhillon, Garrett Odell, Jemima Odetokun
    Coach: Dr. Saami Yazdani

  • Project Description

    To support pathologists, surgical oncologists, and appendiceal cancer patients in combating the challenge of misdiagnosis, this team is developing a machine learning algorithm in combination with an image processing algorithm to more accurately classify appendiceal cancer subtype. Due to its low prevalence, appendiceal cancer is understudied and is oftentimes detected only after a patient has developed symptoms of appendicitis. When patients are diagnosed, the subtype of cancer is often misclassified which causes the patient to undergo improper treatment since prognosis and treatment varies significantly with the subtype of appendiceal cancer. By using digital histological samples of appendiceal cancer specimens to train a subtype classification algorithm, the team hopes to contribute to the medical community’s overall understanding of this disease while improving classification rates and clinical outcomes.

    Watch Presentation Video

    Client: Wake Forest Baptist Health
    Gabrielle Prichard, Margaret Nyamadi, Bryan Bennett, Ethan Cooley, Hao Tong
    Coaches: Dr. Olga Pierrakos & Dr. Melissa Kenny

  • Project Description

    To support pediatric and otolaryngology healthcare providers and patients who require tracheostomy tubes, this team will be integrating a system of sensors into the design of a tracheostomy tube. This integration will enable immediate detection of decannulation, which occurs when a tracheostomy tube becomes dislodged from a patient’s airway, potentially causing serious health issues. Current monitoring systems do not react promptly and require the combined use of other medical equipment. By designing and delivering a prototype of this reusable, low-cost, integrated sensing system, the team hopes to provide the families of patients and healthcare providers with comfort, knowing that notification of decannulation will occur immediately.

    Watch Presentation Video

    Students: Jack Holekamp, Zhijun Zhang, Brayan Martinez, Wells Barefoot
    Coach: Dr. Hunter Bachman

A thank you to our sponsors and technical experts who supported our students:

2021 capstone sponsors' logos

Dr. Paul Allaire 

Dr. Blaine Levedahl 

Miranda Weitzel 

Jeff Meyers 

Adam Park 

Tony Schallert 

Bob Summers 

Dr. David Carroll 

Lindsey Gray 

Sarah Prather 

Traci Connor 

Dr. Philip Brown 

Dr. Heather Brown-Harding 

Dr. Andrea Mazzochi 

Dr. Metin Gurcan 

Dr. Pete Santago 

Dr. Victor Pauca 

Dr. Konstantinos Votanopoulos 

Dr. Marty Kohn 

Dr. Daniel Coldren 

Dr. David Klimstra 

Dr. Miles Silman 

Frederic Katz 

Fred Livingston 

Marcus Wright 

Matt Peterson 

Damien Di Vittorio 

Loyce Ong’udi 

Doug Winkie 

Dr. Shahriar Moossavi 

Dr. George Odell