Paul Weckler 2016-08-24 04:11:22
The BAE Capstone design course sequence allows students to demonstrate their ability to develop solutions for real-world, open-ended projects for clients in private industry and government agencies. Project suggestions come from departmental faculty, alumni, the external advisory committee, and business. Occasionally, projects focus on a design problem for a philanthropic or charitable organization. Students are often very eager to perform “public service” engineering design. Collin Craige, a 2013 BAE graduate says, “My team and I were able to use classroom skills to design, develop, and manufacture an ultrafiltration technology to increase drinking water availability in developing regions of the world. Senior design prepared me well to enter the professional engineering community.” The OSU Applications Engineers are a major source of project suggestions. The Applications Engineering Program is a partnership between Oklahoma State University, the Oklahoma Alliance for Manufacturing Excellence, and the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST), which brings engineering assistance to rural Oklahoma’s small manufacturers. These small companies often lack the technical expertise required to solve their problems, or the problem might not be their most pressing priority. The Applications Engineering Program has been a pipeline for companies willing to sponsor a senior design project. The OSU Food and Agricultural Products Center (FAPC) and the OSU New Product Development Center (NPDC) are also sources for and partners in BAE senior design projects. The BAE senior design class has had a significant economic development impact. Over $345,000 in cost savings have been realized by clients, as well as 49 jobs created and at least 30 jobs retained. The Oklahoma Alliance for Manufacturing Excellence conducts assessments of the Applications Engineering Program and the benefits to the program’s clients. Their data summarize the economic impact of senior design projects instigated through the FAPC and Applications Engineering Program. In spring 2014, we took on a different design challenge. An interdisciplinary group of OSU faculty submitted a proposal to the NASA eXploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge program. The proposal was for an interdisciplinary senior design project to design, build, and evaluate a deployable greenhouse for food production on long-duration missions to the Moon or Mars. The proposal was funded with more than $25,000 for the 2014-2015 academic year. The project included a short-term goal of an interdisciplinary senior design project to design, build, and evaluate a horizontally oriented habitat and a long-term goal to develop capabilities in education, research, and outreach in the field of space habitat design. This included both technical engineering and outreach efforts and will continue our ongoing work to build a complete habitat mockup for use in research and education. This project was the focal point of our efforts in the 2014-2015 academic year and is part of OSU’s continuing development of a formal interdisciplinary program in space engineering and architecture. This development includes diverse specialties from the various schools involved, with the ultimate goal of developing technology and designs to facilitate human habitation in space.
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