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Students' inventions aim to better the world

05-19-2015

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Making it possible for people with shaky hands to feed themselves. Making it safer for emergency personnel working in disaster areas – and enabling them to reach victims faster. And making it more difficult for thieves to break into cabinets, lockers – even homes.

These are some of the real-life problems tackled by 34 Sacramento State seniors set to graduate this week with degrees in Computer Engineering or Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Two of their inventions, the One-Armed Wijit Wheelchair Electronic-Steering Assistance adapter and the SteadySpoon, have been granted provisional patents and likely are on their way to the marketplace.

“The list shows that this group of engineers is able to think outside the box and in terms of real-world needs,” says Russ Tatro, an Electrical and Electronic Engineering instructor. “We encourage the students to think big and to think broadly, so that they will be ready to create needed innovation that solves the types of problems facing society both now and in the future. One of these projects, the Simultaneous Location and Mapping (SLAM-Bot), with its monocular-vision camera, is Ph.D.-level research.”

The 34 students will graduate during Spring Commencement ceremonies for the College of Engineering and Computer Science, set for noon Friday, May 22, at Sleep Train Arena.

The students worked on their projects over two semesters and recently revealed their groundbreaking inventions at a campus “trade show”:

Simultaneous Location and Mapping (SLAM-Bot) – The autonomous robotic platform uses a single camera – a completely new idea for the marketplace – to map hazardous areas, such as disaster sites. The idea is to lessen the risk of danger to rescue personnel. Team: Chris Laney, Thomas Hayward, Curtis Muntz and Francisco Rojas.

Dark Inertial Navigation device – This device is worn by rescue personnel as they walk or crawl through a search area. It collects mapping data to ensure that the rescuers don’t cover the same ground twice in their search for victims. Team: Andre Julien, Yan Lin, Alexander Meadows and Joseph Youngblood.

LOKSYS – The web-based, keyless system is designed to securely lock cabinets, lockers or entry doors. Radio-frequency identification (RFID), with thousands of possible number combinations in the locking system, makes LOKSYS unique. Team: Adam Batakji, Joel Barrera, Phillip Davis and Phuc Nguyen.

SteadySpoon – The motion-compensated eating utensil allows people who are experiencing hand tremors as a result of Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease to feed themselves. “Unlike other devices currently on the market, the SteadySpoon incorporates an active dampening system that includes data collection,” the students wrote in their final presentation. “Only one other device addresses the problem using an active electromechanical solution, and it is still in its initial stages. This means that the SteadySpoon is ideally placed to enter the market.” Team: Nitish Khazane, Andrew Tscheope and Ian Watts-Willis.

Child Accident-Reduction Systems (CARS) – Using sensors and a wireless application, the students created an adaptable system to help parents properly install car seats and monitor their children while in the seats. “By making our device easily attachable to most of the child seats used in today’s market, we can reduce the cost on the parents themselves and encourage the use of our device,” the students wrote. “The accessibility will ensure the proper use of the child seat, which will reduce the amount of child deaths and injuries by approximately 71 percent.” Team: Heith Ballin, Ksenia Chistyakova, Gabriel Hernandez and Jasdip Uppal.

SafeScope – The stethoscope attachment has wireless connectors and eliminates the need for physicians or other medical personnel to have direct contact with patients suffering from a communicable disease. Team: Brandon Ortiz, Prem Bhaskara, Daniel Forer and George Medina Jr.

One-Armed Wijit Wheelchair Electronic-Steering Assistance – Wijit is a lever-drive and braking system that allows users to “stop safer, turn sharper, climb higher and go farther than in a standard push-rim wheelchair, without sore shoulders, torn gloves or dirty hands,” according to the company’s website. The Sac State students designed a wireless electronic steering-assist Wijit adapter for people with only one usable arm. Team: Jonathan Evangelista, Julio McClellan, Bogdan Svityashchuk, Steven Trinh and Xiaomeng Zhang.

LightPen – The Wii-based laser pen uses infrared-based interactive whiteboard technology and integrates it with classroom projectors and computers. The LightPen is a handy and inexpensive tool for educators. Team: Jonathan Giacomelli, Jonathan Lloyd, Erik Metzner, Jeff Moffet and Anthony Phan. – Dixie Reid