University of Windsor engineering students present landmark projects


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After almost three years without a rocket, engineering students at the University of Windsor were proud to present one on Friday.

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“This is the first rocket project for the university since 2019,” said Christopher Francia, 21, a member of a nine-person team from the university’s mechanical engineering program that successfully launched a rocket. rocket as the flagship project this year.

The “Windsoars” rocket was just one of dozens of flagship projects on display Friday at an open house at the Ed Lumley Center for Engineering Innovation.

More than 280 fourth-year engineering students filled the first-floor hallway and the building’s mechanical test lab to show off their team efforts.

Faculty members and local industry representatives toured the exhibits and their evaluations determined the winner of a $5,000 prize for the most innovative project.

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University of Windsor engineering students and faculty fill the mechanical testing lab at the Ed Lumley Center for Engineering Innovation on July 29, 2022.
University of Windsor engineering students and faculty fill the mechanical testing lab at the Ed Lumley Center for Engineering Innovation on July 29, 2022. Photo by Dalson Chen /Windsor Star

Francia said her team’s rocket project has already won accolades: It placed fourth in its category at the Spaceport America Cup intercollegiate rocket engineering competition in New Mexico earlier this year.

During its test launches in Essex County, the “Windsoars” rocket reached an apogee of 33,649 feet.

“We came to this team not knowing too much about rockets.” said France. “Joining a project of this magnitude really pushed us to work together.”

The 'Windsoars' rocket launches at Spaceport America in New Mexico in June 2022. Image by Tahoma Photography, courtesy of the 'Windsoars' team at the University of Windsor.
The ‘Windsoars’ rocket launches at Spaceport America in New Mexico in June 2022. Image by Tahoma Photography, courtesy of the ‘Windsoars’ team at the University of Windsor. Photo by Tahoma Photography /Windsor Star

COVID restrictions limited in-person collaboration on capstone projects in 2020 and 2021. While those years had teams developing rockets and other designs, many students were unable to physically work on their projects during this period.

But there were no such reservations at the Ed Lumley Center on Friday, with students standing side by side to pitch a wide variety of projects representing all areas of engineering at the university.

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Computer engineering students Shahed El Baba, 21, and Philip Lewoc, 22, spent two semesters building software that could recognize and categorize random Lego pieces.

“What we wanted to do was demonstrate machine learning in classification tasks,” El Baba explained. “We did this by creating a system where you can have a stack of Lego pieces scattered around, and it will rank each Lego piece.”

University of Windsor computer engineering students Shahed El Baba, 21, and Philip Lewoc, 22, show off the Lego recognition system they created for their capstone project - part of the exhibits at the Ed Center Lumley for Engineering Innovation on July 29, 2022.
University of Windsor computer engineering students Shahed El Baba, 21, and Philip Lewoc, 22, show off the Lego recognition system they created for their capstone project – part of the exhibits at the Ed Center Lumley for Engineering Innovation on July 29, 2022. Photo by Dalson Chen /Windsor Star
Machine learning software created by University of Windsor engineering students recognizing random Lego pieces on July 29, 2022.
Machine learning software created by University of Windsor engineering students recognizing random Lego pieces on July 29, 2022. Photo by Dalson Chen /Windsor Star

When a handful of Lego is thrown into a camera box, the system takes a picture from top to bottom, analyzes the image and distinguishes Lego plates, bricks and bridges based on their size and shape .

El Baba and Lewoc believe that commercial applications for such software are plentiful – for example, manufacturing and quality assurance.

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“In industrial processes, you might be looking at the grain of a piece of metal that’s not easily identifiable to the human eye,” Lewoc said. “But if you have a high enough quality camera, you can send that data to our model and have them grade the room for you.”

Left to right: University of Windsor civil engineering students Jue Wang, Tunde Omotosho, Yifei Sun and Sam Bachtold hold prestressed concrete samples - part of their synthesis project exhibit at the Ed Lumley Center for engineering innovation on July 29, 2022.
Left to right: University of Windsor civil engineering students Jue Wang, Tunde Omotosho, Yifei Sun and Sam Bachtold hold prestressed concrete samples – part of their synthesis project exhibit at the Ed Lumley Center for engineering innovation on July 29, 2022. Photo by Dalson Chen /Windsor Star

Meanwhile, civil engineering students Yifei Sun, 25, Jue Wang, 25, Sam Bachtold, 21, and Tunde Omotosho, 22, worked on improving a prestressed concrete ‘Big Beam’ for construction purposes.

Sun said collaborating on the project as a team and conducting his own research was very rewarding. “At the time of starting this project, no one from all of this knew much about it. We tried to learn things ourselves.

Sun intends to pursue graduate studies in civil engineering. But his teammate Omotosho plans to enter the industry as soon as possible.

“I’m moving to Toronto to look for a job,” Omotosho said. “I realized that I really liked it.”

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University of Windsor engineering students Christine Denotter and Matt Rac-Sabo show off their flagship dumbbell project made with recycled materials - part of the exhibits at the Ed Lumley Center for Engineering Innovation on July 29, 2022.
University of Windsor engineering students Christine Denotter and Matt Rac-Sabo showcase their flagship dumbbell project made from recycled materials – as part of the Ed Lumley Center for Engineering Innovation exhibits on July 29 2022. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

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