Engineering Students Show Off Projects

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RENO, NV - Some of the brightest students at the University of Nevada showed off their best work on Friday. For the last two semesters they have been working on projects that are so advanced, they would normally be handled by professionals. What they've come up with is pretty cool.

If you walked into Lawlor Events Center Friday, you were greeted by a robot tour guide created by an engineering student.

"I mostly work in perception kinds of problems, so how a robot can perceive its environment, whether that is with a laser range finder or with a camera," said Tim Sweet.

The robot is one of 50 Capstone Projects created by 200 engineering students at UNR.

"It's the last thing they do before heading up to graduation; they build a working prototype of their project," said Emil Geiger, Assistant Professor of Engineering.

The projects are all pretty advanced; this group took on the challenge of helping out a disabled student in need. They built him an adaptive go-kart that allows him more mobility.

"You crunch a number; you get an answer; it's right or wrong. But you don't get to crunch a number, get a right answer and it's always going to work when you're designing or fabricating something. So we have had to learn to be very flexible in what we do," said Alyx Colburn.

Other students had the idea of creating something that could be sold on the free market, like a new biometric security system.

"It identifies the user by just gripping anything," said Michelle Rebaleati, co-inventor of Tight Squeeze.

They fitted a cylinder with hundreds of buttons. Each person grabs it differently. The buttons they press are their key.

"With our matches, we have never found anybody able to replicate a person's match. So when you are using it for locking mechanisms, it's completely secure," said Rebaleati.

This team hopes to patent the project. Most students involved in the entire event will use the experience gained here to get an engineering job after they graduate later this month.