Montana State University

Capstone projects take spotlight at MSU's Engineering Design Fair

April 25, 2014 -- By Sepp Jannotta, MSU News Service

Two College of Engineering seniors, Eric Mower, at right, and Daniel Hurst demonstrate the working model of their automatic cattle tattooing plier Thursday during Montana State University's Engineering Design Fair. The device will be employed by an area veterinarian to designate that cattle have received the brucellosis vaccination. MSU Photo by Sepp Jannotta.Scott Albares, a senior in mechanical engineering, shares the work that went into designing a testing prototype of a marine turbine during Thursday's College of Engineering annual Design Fair. In the real world, the turbine would produce electricity as it was spun by ocean tidal currents. The test rig allowed the students to take measurements from a variety of sensors used to test the design's performance. MSU Photo by Sepp Jannotta.Erin McDonald, a Montana State University senior in electrical and computer engineering, explains the work she and her teammates did to build and provide the computer code needed to operate a robotic arm to be used in the lab of Ed Dratz, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, at left, during Thursday's College of Engineering annual Design Fair. MSU Photo by Sepp Jannotta.Matt Scofield, a senior in mechanical engineering, demonstrates a hard drive crusher, which he and his teammates designed and built to allow Montana State University to safely dispose of old computers without risking the safety and propriety of sensitive data. The device, which the team built to U.S. Department of Defense specifications, destroys the computer disks by bringing a small piling down on the hard drive with 6,283 pounds of force.  MSU Photo by Sepp Jannotta.

Two College of Engineering seniors, Eric Mower, at right, and Daniel Hurst demonstrate the working model of their automatic cattle tattooing plier Thursday during Montana State University's Engineering Design Fair. The device will be employed by an area veterinarian to designate that cattle have received the brucellosis vaccination. MSU Photo by Sepp Jannotta.   High-Res Available

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BOZEMAN - Seniors from Montana State University's College of Engineering displayed their capstone projects during the Engineering Design Fair at the Strand Union Building. The work represents a culmination of the undergraduates' learning in their chosen field.

Projects ran the gamut from a variety of robotic vehicles and research devices, to implements to aid in ranching, to devices looking to create sustainable energy. 

Many of the capstone projects are done in conjunction with a club, which will enter the resulting design or creation into a competition. For example, MSU's submission to the Society of Auto Engineer's aero design competition, a remote-controlled plane designed to weigh less than 8 pounds, carry a static load of 15 pounds and drop a 3 pound object on a target, won second place in design and fifth overall out of an international field of 17 teams. 

The College of Engineering has been the fastest growing college at MSU for the past two academic years and reached a historic, all-time high enrollment of 3,102 students in the fall of 2013 –- up 12 percent from fall 2012. 

Contact: Sepp Jannotta, (406) 994-7371, seppjannotta@montana.edu.