“Gadgets and Gizmos” was the theme for the first HWeekend of 2017 on January 20-22, jointly sponsored by the College of Business and the College of Engineering.
In just one weekend, forty-seven students from business and engineering designed, built, and pitched their idea for a marketable product including temperature based alarm clock, a computer controlled potato launcher, a 3-D printed longboard fender, and a self-playing guitar.
It was the seventh iteration of the popular event that provides students from different disciplines an opportunity to work together in teams. Students came from a variety majors including business, bioengineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, environmental engineering, and mechanical engineering.
“This event is really cool, because I get to do things that I normally don’t get to do in my major,” said Alec Westbrook, a chemical engineering student who worked on the 3D printed longboard fender project. “I mean, how often can a guy that is mixing chemicals all day work with his hands and create something new?”
Mentors for this HWeekend included six industry members from Intel and two from Microsemi.
“People here are really excited about the things they are making,” said Aayush Pathak, a silicon architecture engineer from Intel who attended HWeekend as a mentor. “And to be a part of it and share what I have seen in my school and life — it’s a proud feeling.”
Staff from both the College of Business and the College of Engineering also helped mentor students through the creation and marketing of their projects.
“It’s an incredibly valuable partnership between business and engineering,” said Dale McCauley, the makerspace manager for the College of Business. “The students are getting the chance to build relationships that ordinarily wouldn’t form. If you get business students to understand how engineers think and vice versa, I think that is valuable.”
At the end of the weekend, the students received group awards for their dedication and hard work. The Executors award goes to the team that produces the best engineering execution of their idea to create the most polished final product, the Helping Hand is for the team that contributes the most to other teams, and the InnovationX Pitch awards go to two teams who had the best business pitches for selling their prototypes.
Executor: Temperature Based Alarm Clock team. The team included members Noah Hoffman, Taylor Johnston, Alexia Patterson, and Abdurrahman Elmaghbub.
Helping Hands: Checkpoint team. The team included members Andrey Kornilovich and Graham Barber
InnovationX Pitch: Checkpoint team and Temperature Based Alarm Clock team.
Students spent 30 consecutive hours of engineering design, teamwork, and development at HWeekend on October 8-9, sponsored by the College of Engineering. The theme was “Show’em What You Got!”, and participants did just that, creating some of the most complete projects of any HWeekend. The purpose of the theme was to encourage projects that could be submitted to national competitions.
It was the sixth iteration of the highly successful event that gives engineering and business students an entire weekend to develop an idea and prototype it. Forty-two students participated with majors in electrical and computer engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, and finance.
After some breakout brainstorming sessions and presentations of their ideas, participants split into 10 teams to work on their projects. The diverse ideas included a modified game of laser tag, a guitar that could tune itself, and a smart shin guard paired with a virtual reality environment.
One of the groups returned from the previous HWeekend held during Spring term. That group continued with their effort to build a ferrofluid display using individually wound electromagnets. The other groups were much newer to their projects, such as the mobile coffee heater group, which worked on finding components they could use to heat liquids in a drinking cup.
“The beautiful thing about this is that it’s fast paced and you really see results, even if they’re not exactly the results you hope for,” says Audrina Hahn, a mechanical engineering student, who worked on the Open Laser Tag project.
This event made use of the all-new Buxton Hall Makerspace, the Mastery Challenge lounge, and the Virtual Makerspace, which gave students access to 3D printing, soldering irons, a drill press, and laser cutting.
“It’s really amazing all the resources that we have available to us that are really simple to use and are things that are up-and-coming that we will probably continue to use into our careers,” Hahn says.
Mentors for this HWeekend included eight industry representatives. Martin Held from Microsemi returned to guide teams and answer hardware questions. Multiple mentors arrived from Intel in Hillsboro, including several recent graduates of Oregon State. These mentors split up to help on projects where their experience helped groups work with unfamiliar technologies. One group that benefitted was the motion tracking robot team, which received help with OpenCV from a mentor who revealed a personal interest in assembly programming.
Ben Buford was one of the recent graduates who came back from Intel to provide mentorship. He spent most of his time contributing to the ferrofluid display.
“I love seeing people come up with quick solutions that let them accomplish something and overcome obstacles that they didn’t know existed three hours prior,” Buford says.
Beyond the satisfaction of completing prototypes of their ideas, students at HWeekend compete for two group awards. The Executors award goes to the team that produces the best execution of their original idea to create the most polished final product and the Helping Hand is for the team that contributes the most to other teams. At this HWeekend, the Arbitrarily Tuned Stringed Instrument team was selected for both awards. The team included members Keaton Scheible, Youthamin “Bear” Philavastvanid, Elliot Highfill, and Savannah Loberger.
In just 30 hours, Oregon State University students created wearable technology projects at HWeekend on April 10-12, sponsored by the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Thirty-five students spanning several areas of engineering formed seven teams and built projects that ranged from a remote controlled arm to a video game.
The event was organized by Don Heer, instructor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who wanted to provide students an event similar to a start-up weekend or app hackathon, but for hardware. It was the fourth event for Heer who values real-world experiences that augment the student’s classroom experiences.
To build their projects the students had a variety of components available to them including tiny computers, NVIDIA Jetsons, motion sensors and motors, and as access to 3D printers.
“It’s surprising how much this relates to my classwork, but also how much fun I had with it,” said Mark Andrews, student of electrical and computer engineering and math. It was the second HWeekend for Andrews.
About half of the students at the spring HWeekend had participated in one of the previous three HWeekend events that were sponsored by Eaton, Rockwell Collins and Micron.
Two projects: The Hand of Glory by Mark Andrews, Paul Lantow, and Conner Yates; and Go Go Gadget Claw by Tyler Gilbert, Ryan Green, Rattanai Sawaspanich, and Keaton Scheible are featured in videos below. The Go Go Gadget team won the Most Innovative award and tied for the Most Helpful award with the Mechanical Calf Assisting Device team.
Projects like a prosthetic hand and a spinning LED display were completed in just 30 hours at Oregon State University’s second hardware weekend (HWeekend) on October 18-19. It was a feat that amazed everyone involved including representatives from the sponsoring company, Rockwell Collins.
“I’m really impressed with the energy level and enthusiasm and the challenges that they took on. They were pretty big scope projects, and it was amazing what they got done in 30 hours,” said Bob Woods, director of engineering at Rockwell Collins, Heads-up Guidance System.
Instructor, Don Heer, came up with the idea of a hardware weekend based on start-up weekends that focus on software projects. Heer wanted something that would incorporate all branches of engineering to give students an opportunity to have the experience of developing a prototype device under time pressure while working in diverse teams.
That appealed to computer science student, Vedanth Narayanan, who was used to working on software development projects with other like-minded computer science students, but wanted to see what it was like to try and communicate across the different engineering disciplines. After 30 hours of work with no sleep, he was still gushing about the experience.
“It’s awesome to see it all come together knowing that it wasn’t just one group that did it. It was multiple different disciplines that came together,” he said.
Narayanan was part of the largest team of eight students who are majors in electrical, mechanical, manufacturing and industrial engineering in addition to computer science. Sean McGlothlin, a senior in computer science, came up with the idea for the project — an R/C car controlled by an Android app. It could have been an unwieldy number of students to work successfully, but they split into two main groups — mechanical and software — and had a designated leader for each. The team included Aaron Sprunger, a fifth year senior from industrial engineering with vast leadership experience who led the mechanical side. McGlothlin led the software team and the project design for the entire project.
“It was a great privilege to have my idea — something that was just a concept in my head — worked on by a team of very intelligent people, and in less than two days I was able to hold that concept in my hands. I’m really proud of our team,” McGlothlin said.
McGlothlin said the real value of the weekend was the chance to develop skills in project management and embedded programming. “I feel like I learned more in two days than I’ve learned in an entire term for some classes,” he said.
The two awards (Executioners and Helping Hands) both went to the team who built a force feedback prosthetic hand. The team hit all their goals including a sensor suite to give the user both tactile and visual feedback. For example, an LED would turn from green to red in the presence of heat. Team leader, Karl Payne overcame a major glitch when the 3D printer quit printing before the hand was complete. So, with 4 hours to go in the competition he laser cut the rest of the hand, pinning and gluing it into place. The team was also renowned for helping out the other teams, in particular Simon McFarlane was named as a stand-out contributor across the teams.
If there had been an award for humor it would have gone to the Q-bot team whose presentation of their ambitious project of a spy robot had everyone laughing. “It is very proficient in sneaking around corners and going completely astray in its direction and delivering a .2 frames per second video feed which is utterly out of color sync,” quipped Aravind Parasurama.
Throughout the competition representatives from Rockwell Collins were on hand to provide mentorship. Evan Marshall, an Oregon State alumnus and software engineer at Rockwell Collins admits to at first feeling obligated to come help out his alma matter, and was surprised at how much he enjoyed the experience, even sticking it out through the whole night.
“Seeing the impossible happen — that was fun. The people who were here brought all their own energy and that was contagious,” he said. He was impressed with the expertise of the students who knew more about their specialized area than he did, so he mostly helped facilitate discussions and motivate the students by letting them know from an outside perspective they were doing great things.
The sponsorship of Rockwell Collins made the entire weekend, including meals, free to the students. Heer was pleased with the success of weekend, which he plans to hold twice a year, the next one in January of 2015.
“I’m always amazed at the quality of our students and how, given the slightest opportunity, they will go the extra mile to do something innovative,” Heer said.
Bit Car: An R/C car controlled by an Android app that was connected via Bluetooth. Kathleen Gladson, Joshua Grosserhode, Emmanuel Lopez-Aparicio, Sean McGlothlin, Vedanth Narayanan, Aaron Sprunger, Zachary Stark and Kyler Stole.
The Great Light Hype: A prototype for spinning volumetric display that could eventually render virtual objects mapped via localization to physical coordinates in a room. Kyle Cesare, Ryan Skeele, Jake Yazici and Soo-Hyun Yoo.
The Thing, Prosthetic Hand: A prosthetic hand that incorporated sensors and feedback, such as a pressure sensor that would trigger a vibration to indicate gripping force. Brenden Hatton, Judy Jiang, Scott Merrill, Simon McFarlane, Karl Payne and Fangyi Zhu.
Q-Bot: A voice controlled robot with an omnidirectional camera that streamed video to a smartphone or a tablet. Tyler Gilbert, James Harris, Keaton Scheible, Alwin Sudhana, Sorawis Nilparuk and Aravind Parasurama.
The inaugural hardware weekend (HWeekend) at Oregon State gave 19 engineering students a taste of creating a prototype under time pressure. Six teams developed their ideas as far as they could in 30 hours, starting in the morning of May 31 and finishing June 1. Hosted by the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science the free event was sponsored by Eaton Corporation that provided hardware and food. Mentors from Eaton Corporation and Hewlett-Packard were on hand to help guide the projects.
“There are start-up weekends and app development weekends, but there wasn’t a program for something that covered the whole gamut of engineering, and included user experience. And I thought, ‘We can do that,’” said Don Heer, organizer of the event and instructor for the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
The theme for the weekend event was automation and non-obtrusive technology. Projects were as diverse as a moving trash can, and a cane for people who are visually impaired that would vibrate the handle when nearby objects were detected.
The teams formed after having a chance to interact with each other one on one. Students with ideas for a project wrote them up on a white board and other students shopped around for a group. Cross-disciplinary groups formed with students from electrical and computer engineering, mechanical and industrial engineering, computer science and chemical and biological engineering.
Cory Rea, a power systems engineer for Eaton Corporation who served as a mentor, said the weekend was a great way for students to get some real-world experience.
“Every day in my job I work with a team across multiple disciplines — mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, sales, project managers. So, it’s important to be able to collaborate effectively,” he said.
Hannah Marvin, a freshman in electrical in computer engineering, said she came because she wanted to make connections with students outside her major. Marvin was a winner of one of the “Ironman Awards” given to 17 students who stuck it out the whole 30 hours.
“It went a lot faster than I perceived it would. It’s really cool looking at everybody else’s projects, so that makes it go by faster,” she said. And even after several hours with no sleep, she was still positive.
“It’s really fun! Everyone should have a chance to do this,” she said.
It was a collaborative atmosphere where students helped out other teams when they could. One team stood out to win the “Helper Award.” Elliott Highfill, Travis Hodgin, Austin Hodgin, Max Schmidt, and Bradly Thissen worked on a project to play a game of tag with the TekBot robots, but were also a great help to the other teams by loaning tools, offering ideas, and help with coding.
The top award for execution went to a team that built a device to augment the function of a human arm as an aid for people with limited strength or other disabilities. Kyle Cesare, John Fritter, Ryan Skeele and Soo-Hyun Yoo intend to continue to work on the project which they hope to eventually be an exoskeleton suit including both arms and legs that can be easily reproduced by others without highly specialized equipment.
Heer hopes that events like these will show people how cool engineering is. “Engineers should be rock stars…they are the ones that make the world run,” he said.