Senior Design

In the fall and spring, Engineering Design MECE E3420 and MECE E3430 (collectively called Senior Design) constitute the capstone design course in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Columbia University. Students form teams to research, design and produce a prototype of an original system of their own design.  These courses bring together many of the concepts that were introduced in the undergraduate curriculum. 

Current Projects

Team # 01 - The Off Campus Crew - Spider Robot - A custom-built 6-legged robot (hexapod) with integrated balancing functionality. Will walk and simultaneously balance a ball on a touchpad plate. 

Team # 02 - The Knit Wits - Knitter - The knitting machine is capable of human-like knitting using two straight needles controlled by a set of cams and motors. The goal of the project is to create a personalized machine for in-home use where users can program the type of knitted fabric they want to create. 

Team # 03 - The Stretchers - Instron - The development of an interactive and affordable miniature tensile tester to help high school level students explore fundamental engineering concepts and material properties (stress versus strain). Material testing samples that can be tested to failure will be provided. 

Team # 04 - HorsePower - Equine Therapy - The development of an equine therapy chair to emulate the motion of a horse for the benefit of people with spinal cord injuries and neurological disabilities. The physical motion developed in the human spine while riding a horse (hippotherapy) has been shown to improve the motor function and alleviate spasticity of patients with these disorders. 

Team # 05 - The Quad Squad - Quadruped - A compact, mechanically stable quadruped robot designed with eight degrees of freedom, all of which are controlled simultaneously via a control system. The robot will perform a forward walking motion, maintaining stabilization throughout the motion. 

Team # 06 - StrollerMotion - Stroller - In a world of environmental awareness and emerging regenerative technology, such as bikes and skateboards, this project investigates a regenerative stroller. Power your stroller while walking and jogging to get uphill assistance -- a parent and child have never been greener! 

Team # 07 - Team in Tension - Tensegrity Robot - A biologically-inspired, tensegrity robot uses peristaltic motion to generate forward movement. By combining this unique method of locomotion with tensegrity design principles, this flexible, lightweight, and robust rrobot is well-suited to the exploration of unknown terrain, with applications in space-exploration, pipe monitoring, and search-and- rescue. 

Team # 08 - Gear Grinders - Chip Collector - NASA's Micro-G Next Competition includes a need for a microgravity chip collector. The device must be able to break off chips of an asteroid, collect them and store them without cross contamination between different sites. The device is subject to several other constraints detailed in the competition guidelines. 

Team # 09 - Something Fantastic - Golf Putter - A miniature, mecanum wheel, autonomous robot will play mini-golf. Utilizing image processing and omni-directional drive capability, this robot will approach the golf ball and putt completely on its own! 

Team # 10 - SEAS Control - Cable Gantry - This project models the dynamics of a gantry crane and uses the model to design a control system that damps undesirable sway in the payload. The model and control system have been validated through implementation on a scale model. 

Team # 11 - The Hustlers - Pool Playing Robot - The goal for this senior design project is to successfully build and program a pool-playing robot that will be able to autonomously detect a pool ball, move into position, and sink the ball into a chosen pocket. We will demonstrate proof of concept by having the robot clear a table of balls on its own, and at its highest level, be able to play against a human competitor. 

Team # 12 - The Tactile Tutors - Braille Teacher - The Braille Box is an affordable product aimed to promote Braille literacy, awareness, and self-learning. The portable device is capable of providing feedback in reading and writing braille that would otherwise require trained or professional teachers. 

Team # 13 - Courtmates - Tennis Ball Fetcher - Courtmate is an autonomous tennis ball retrieval robot meant to decrease downtime during tennis training sessions. It uses machine vision to identify tennis balls and calculates the optimal retrieval path to take to collect all of them and bring them to the ball thrower machine so that the person being trained doesn’t have to. 

Team # 14 - Jaxon 5 - Jumping Robot - Inspired by nature, and the work of The MIT Leg Lab, the goal of this project is to create a one-legged dynamically stable hopping robot, capable of continuous locomotion through efficient recycling of its elastic potential energy. 

Previous Projects



500 W. 120th St., Mudd 220, New York, NY 10027    212-854-2966           
©2012 Columbia University