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ET senior project display features robotic hand, motion-sensor alarm

CORRECTION: This article corrects engineering technology’s status as a program within the Department of Electrical Engineering.

The engineering technology program’s first senior project display Friday night saw a wide range of innovative projects, from a tube amplifier to a 3D-printed robotic hand.

The open house showcased projects that senior engineering technology majors have created throughout the semester.

“[There are] people from the rest of campus who might like to see what we do because people see our building but don’t realize exactly what we do,” engineering technology professor William E. Lopez said.

Senior engineering technology major Mariel Cisneros said she values the real-world experience that her major offers because it is more hands on compared to electrical engineering, which focuses more on theory.

“We take the same classes that [electrical engineering students] do, but when we’re ready to go into the industry, we will know exactly how to work things, ” Cisneros said.

For her project, Cisneros created a 3D-printed hand containing wires in the fingers that were connected to a microprocessor, allowing users to program different commands with the sound of their voice.

“I talked to the rest of my classmates, and I knew none of them were doing a robotics-based project, so I decided to make a robotics-based project and thought, ‘Well, what better way to impress my classmates than to control a hand by my voice?’” Cisneros said.

Cisneros and 23 other classmates showcased seven projects to guests and representatives from the International Society of Automation (ISA), a nonprofit organization that provides training and helps develop industry standards, according to its website.

ISA representatives attended the open house to look at students’ work and possibly place the students in internships.

Another project, created by senior computer engineering technology major Joshua Pliss, was an alarm that used a wireless access point, a remote desktop and a passive infrared sensor.

“What it basically is, is an alarm in the morning that will play music, that also features a motion detector,” Pliss said. “So it will wait for you to get up and move, and it will show you the temperature or whatever else you program it to tell you.”

Lopez said that building these projects, which gives students hands-on experience, is important because the students will graduate and enter the industry soon.

He said hosting an event where students can display their projects also shows non-engineering students exactly what engineering involves and what engineers do.

“Think of these students as experimenters,” Lopez said. “Someone might go out and start a company and be the next Bill Gates.  This is where guys like that come from.”

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