Student ingenuity abuzz on Design and Innovation Day 2024

Two students at Design and Innovation Day 2024
On April 11, 201 capstone projects were on display at the 2024 Design and Innovation Day showcase. The projects represented the culmination of months of dedicated effort and creative problem-solving by teams of final-year engineering students.

From addressing environmental challenges to enhancing human well-being, the 201 capstone projects on display at last Thursday's 2024 Design and Innovation Day showcase were a testament to the ingenuity and commitment of UBC’s aspiring engineers. The diverse array of projects represented the culmination of months of dedicated effort and creative problem-solving by teams of final-year engineering students, who tackled real-world problems proposed by community partners.

One project that had attendees buzzing was centred on an Internet of Things (IoT) solution for beekeeping. Recognizing the critical decline in bee populations and its implications for agriculture, this team of electrical and computer engineering students partnered with the Foundation of the Energy Collective to devise an innovative solution for urban beekeeping. Their modular beehive design allows individuals to host beehives in their backyards or on rooftops. Equipped with a sensor board, the hive monitors vital parameters such as temperature, humidity and weight, ensuring optimal conditions for bee health and productivity, and fostering sustainable beekeeping practices in urban environments.

IoT solution for beekeeping: Five electrical and computer engineering students partnered with the Foundation of the Energy Collective to devise an innovative solution for urban beekeeping.

Another capstone team from the School of Biomedical Engineering developed a robust electromyography (EMG) control scheme for amputees. With the goal of enhancing the quality of life for upper arm amputees, they set out to bridge the gap between human intention and prosthetic function. Existing research showed promise in interpreting nerve signals to facilitate intuitive hand gestures and movements in a lab environment, but these students are incorporating machine learning to gather data and replicate the same success in the real world. Through meticulous data collection and methodological refinement, they are laying the groundwork for a more robust and reliable prosthetic arm technology.

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Robust EMG control scheme
A team from the School of Biomedical Engineering developed a robust electromyography (EMG) control scheme for amputees.

As students presented their projects to curious attendees, it was evident that they had not only acquired technical skills, but also learned the values of interdisciplinary collaboration, perseverance and innovation — qualities that are integral to success in engineering.

In response to the increasing threat of wildfires to residential communities, a team of engineering and business students from the New Venture Design (NVD) course — a collaboration between UBC Faculty of Applied Science and Sauder School of Business — developed an innovative wildfire defence system. Their modular automated prototype provides two-fold protection for homes against ember attacks, which account for a significant portion of wildfire-related loss of homes. By lining the roof with Class A fire retardant foam and creating a humidity bubble around the roof using mist, this three-week self-sustaining system is designed to prevent embers from igniting flammable materials, thereby safeguarding homes during wildfire events. With its scalable design and robust functionality, the system offers a practical and reliable solution for mitigating the impact of wildfires on vulnerable communities.

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Wildfire defence system prototype
This modular automated prototype provides two-fold protection for homes against ember attacks, which account for a significant portion of wildfire-related loss of homes. 

“Design and Innovation Day embodies the UBC Engineering spirit of exploration, collaboration and relentless pursuit of knowledge,” said James Olson, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science. “At this event, we witnessed the convergence of creativity and skill, yielding solutions with the potential to reshape industries and improve lives. As educators and mentors, it is our privilege to nurture and guide these innovations towards real-world impact.” 

Design and Innovation Day is an annual event that showcases the best of what UBC engineering students have to offer to community partners. UBC engineering students bring a spirit of creativity, curiosity and continuous learning to problem solving and addressing the complex challenges of our time.  

UBC Okanagan School of Engineering also held their showcase on April 12. Fourth-year engineering students displayed 48 year-end projects based on the categories of advanced manufacturing, biocompatible systems, complex systems, infrastructure and sustainability.

Learn more about capstone projects

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