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An Engineering Technology Capstone Project: The Snow Load Network

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

ETD Capstone Projects

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count

13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27556

Download Count

18

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Paper Authors

biography

Christopher David Leblanc University of New Hampshire

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Christopher D. LeBlanc is currently the Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor for the Engineering Technology program at the University of New Hampshire Manchester campus. Prior to his faculty appointment he spent 16 years at International Business Machines (IBM) as an Analog Mixed Signal design engineer.

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Mihaela Sabin University of New Hampshire

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Mihaela Sabin is Associate Professor of Computer Science at UNH Manchester, University of New Hampshire. Her research interests are in computing education, open source software, and constraint satisfaction. Sabin's service to the computing education professional community includes: founding member and University liaison for the Computer Science Teacher Association NH Chapter; coordinator of the Aspirations in Computing ME-NH-VT regional affiliate; vice-chair for education of the Executive Committee of the ACM SIGITE; and chair of the ACM/IEEE-CS task group for the Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate IT Programs Report (IT2017).

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Christopher Dundorf 2KR Systems

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Christopher Dundorf is the Founder and President of 2KR Systems in Barrington, NH. He received his BSCE from the University of New Hampshire. 2KR Systems develops and manufactures electro-mechanical and software products used for environmental sensing, cable handling and on cell towers. 2KR also provides mechanical engineering services including, Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Design for Manufacturing (DFM) and training. Clients include Klein Marine Systems, Bluefin Robotics and WindSwept Designs, USA. Prior to founding 2KR Systems, Mr. Dundorf was responsible for mechanical design at L-3 Klein Associates in Salem, NH.
Web: www.2KRsystems.com
Phone: 1-603-397-3330
Email: chris.dundorf@2KRsystems.com

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Abstract

Capstone project courses have become an increasingly important part of Engineering Technology programs. These hands on projects can be useful in improving student outcomes and generating assessment data for accreditation. Administering capstone project coursework can be challenging for faculty. Depending on the number of students in the program finding projects with the appropriate technical scope can be problematic. Obtaining materials and funding can also be a substantial obstacle, particularly for undergraduate work.

One approach to administering Capstone projects that is gaining popularity is for faculty and students to partner with industry to connect students with real world engineering problems. This kind of academia/corporate collaboration has its own set of challenges. Depending on the company and the project, there will be various kinds of risk assumed by the involved parties. Students are typically focused on meeting program requirements and graduation. Faculty may be looking to support scholarship, perform curricular assessments, and to maintain future collaborations. Companies are usually focused on resource allocation, time to market, and cost.

This work describes an Engineering Technology Capstone project that took place over a two-year period with a team of five undergraduate students, two faculty members and a corporate mentor. The industry sponsor was a small one-person company that specializes in the design and assembly of mechanical and electrical sensing systems. Several state and federal programs provided funding for materials and student compensation.

The goal was to develop a solar powered remote network of sensors that could be installed on a building’s roof. The purpose of this network is to measure the characteristics of the roof’s snow load. For the experimental installation, mobile applications were developed to monitor the network’s data stream and issue warnings of possible hazardous structural conditions. The original prototype used open-source programmable microcontrollers that supported wireless communication and global positioning systems (GPS). The resulting systems were evaluated and tested. Several follow on revisions were developed to optimize the power budget and casing into a commercial product that could be manufactured at a competitive price point. The project provided students a significant technical challenge, was funded, supported faculty scholarship, and helped a small company successfully launch a new commercial product.

Leblanc, C. D., & Sabin, M., & Dundorf, C. (2017, June), An Engineering Technology Capstone Project: The Snow Load Network Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27556

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015