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2012 Senior design project overview

Student design teams presented the final results of a year-long capstone design project sponsored by industry, research laboratories and faculty, under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

During the first semester, student teams determine design requirements, perform detailed planning, identify project needs and establish goals leading toward the successful completion of the project. Periodic design reviews and reports, applications of engineering skills, project management and formal presentations are major components of the program. Successful completion of the project requires the application of electronics, applied physics, numerical computation, signal processing and other electrical engineering techniques to real engineering problems.

The continuation of the capstone design projects comes in the second semester, when student teams bring their design projects to successful completion. Status reports, a final presentation to faculty and reviewers and the submission of a senior thesis are included in the program.

This year, student teams also designed a data acquisition system, analyzed the IEEE code of Ethics, and discussed articles on contemporary issues and lifelong learning.

Beam Tunnel Monitoring Robot

Students: Aaron Bentley, Byron Marohn, James Mason, and Beryl Wootton
Sponsors: David Bonal (National Instruments) and James Sedillo (Los Alamos National Labs)
Faculty Advisor: Hector Erives

Los Alamos Neutron Science Center at LANL in Los Alamos, New Mexico operates a nearly mile long linear particle accelerator that is used for various scientific research projects. Due to the possible presence of gamma radiation, human researchers are not allowed in the beam tunnel during operation. In order to address blind spots in the tunnel, LANL has teamed up with National Instruments to commission the construction of a remote-controlled robot to aid the engineers and researchers in monitoring the accelerator during operation. This robot will present real time data to the operator from useful sensors such as a color camera, thermal camera, microphones, and muon detectors. By the end of the project, a fully functional remote-controlled diagnostics robot, a separate charging/docking station, Windows control software, and appropriate documentation will be completed and delivered to LANL.

Ballistics Analysis

Students: Charles Bernson, William Frankland, Deepak Rai, and Vinny Ravindran
Sponsor: Scott W. Teare (NMT)
Faculty Advisor: Robert Bond

The Ballistics Analysis Team has been tasked with determining the feasibility of acoustically characterizing bullet drag. The team has designed an array of microphones which can measure the time-of-flight and flight distance of a fired bullet. This information is then passed on to a computer which runs simulations until it can find a drag relation which would predict the measured results. This drag relation can then be used by a similar program the team has developed to advise the shooter how to aim to compensate for drag and other effects.

Satellite Structural Health Monitoring

Students: Alan Benalil, Daniel Guillette, Matthew Landavazo, John Schilling, and Chris Yelton
Sponsors: Anders M. Jorgensen and Andrei Zagrai (NMT)
Faculty Advisor: Scott W. Teare

The SHM project is a multidisciplinary endeavor to provide a low-cost, active-sensing, piezoelectric transducer (PZT) based solution to detect structural damage on small, Cubesat satellites. Damage detection is desired by satellite design engineers and mission planners to increase system longevity and characterize structural changes due to space weather and other external events. The end product will be designs and prototypes for a low-power, scalable, plug-and-play PC board, which will lay the groundwork for future projects and systems such as NMTSAT and various suborbital and high-altitude balloon experiments.

Lightning Mapping Array

Students: Matthew Godman, Jason Michnovicz, Richard Rivera, and Nicole Sims
Sponsor: William Rison (Langmuir Lab - NMT)
Faculty Advisor: Kevin Wedeward

The Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) is a system developed at New Mexico Tech for lightning research. It is an array of antennas which detect spikes of electromagnetic radiation from lightning flashes. The data collected from the LMA are used to create three-dimensional images of lightning strikes. Our team was tasked with redesigning the data collection systems used in the LMA. These data collection systems must be able to detect spikes in a very high frequency signal, time tag them very accurately using GPS technology, and store their amplitudes and times to a CompactFlash card for later retrieval. This redesign will make the LMA stations smaller and use less power, enabling them to be deployed in remote locations.