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Student projects shine at Innovation Showcase

May 24, 2011

More than 80 student projects were on display at the College of Technology & Innovation’s first annual Innovation Showcase at the ASU Polytechnic campus this month. The projects showed off the ingenuity and hands-on problem solving skills of the College of Technology & Innovation students as they tackled real world challenges.

The semester-long projects were carried out by teams of students and faculty members, some sponsored by local and national companies.  Project sponsors included ON Semiconductor, AMD, Honeywell, Go Daddy, Physics Lab of Lake Havasu, Sandia National Laboratories, Paypal, Colorado River Discovery and SRP.  Student projects focused on a wide range of areas, including alternative energy, video gaming development, aviation management and medical technologies.

“Our students and faculty work together across disciplines to create, design and develop innovative solutions to real problems,” said Mitzi Montoya, university vice provost and dean of the College of Technology and Innovation (CTI).  “The projects represented work from students in all of our departments.  CTI has an innovative blend of science, engineering, technology, math, entrepreneurship and management programs – or ST(EM)2 as we like to call it."

In one project, ON Semiconductor enlisted the help of a team of electrical engineering majors to study one of its computer power supplies and recommend ways to more efficiently dissipate heat. In studying the problem, the team uncovered something new – a significant voltage drop that could have been limiting the system’s performance.

In another project, graduate student Samir Wehbe and two colleagues created a prototype generator that utilizes heat from stoves or cooking fires to turn a turbine and power a laptop or other device. The idea is to produce an inexpensive and easy- to-use electrical source for developing countries.

Chell Roberts, executive dean of CTI and chair of the engineering department, said each project showed the potential of the students who worked on them, and helped the students understand the constraints of real world challenges.

“We have the capacity to go from concept generation to functional prototypes, and with any project sponsored by a company, their employees engage in project oversight and provide the real life elements of science, engineering and/or business to the students," Roberts said.