Engineering Students Demonstrate Projects that Solve ‘Real-World’ Problems

Engineering Students Demonstrate Projects that Solve ‘Real-World’ Problems




WHAT: Creative engineering solutions to common, everyday problems – demonstrations and presentations

WHO: Senior industrial engineering students at Rutgers University

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 4, 2009, 8:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

WHERE: First floor lobby and lecture hall, CoRE Building, 96 Frelinghuysen Road, Busch Campus, Piscataway. (Parking available in lot 64 at end of Brett Road)

BACKGROUND: A mailbox that notifies people that their mail or newspaper has arrived without them having to leave the comfort of their home or office. A car that displays road signs inside the vehicle on a driver’s dash board and an automated plant watering system for homes or commercial greenhouses. These are just a few of the engineering solutions to real-world problems that industrial engineering students at Rutgers University will exhibit in the 11th annual Design of Engineering Systems presentations.

The program serves as a learning tool for graduating seniors and a talent search for companies looking for new industrial engineers. Students work in teams to design and implement solutions; they then explain and demonstrate the solutions to fellow classmates, faculty and industry representatives.

“To arrive at their solutions, teams pull together their knowledge of physics, dynamics, materials properties, manufacturing processes and more,” said E. A. Elsayed, professor of industrial and systems engineering. “They use their skills of presenting, just as engineers do in their everyday jobs.”

A summary of projects with the names and hometowns of team members follows.



Shopping Cart


Scott Peters demonstrates a grocery cart that sends information toshoppers about what others are buying.

Shopping Cart with Impulse-Buying Strategy, by Eric Berntson, Berkeley Heights; Walter Kaminski, Long Valley; Scott Peters, Westfield; and Maggie Yang, Montville.

Impulse buying accounts for about 40 percent of all supermarket purchases, but it could be increased by sending information to shoppers about what others are buying. This project uses radio frequency ID technology to determine how well items are selling, and then it flags high-traffic items as specials and transmits that information to other shoppers. A customer entering a particular aisle may be informed on a grocery cart screen when 60 percent of customers have an item from that aisle in their carts.


Wireless Controlled Mailbox, by Damaus Harper, Hansport; Peter Mcguinness, Milford; Wilfredo Rodriguez, Perth Amboy; and Lizbeth Zuniga, Perth Amboy.

This project lets people know if their mail or newspaper has arrived without making them leave the comfort of their homes or office. An added benefit: it will alert people to the outside temperature before they go outside. It also has a radio-controlled locking mechanism to keep the mail or paper secure before people get the chance to retrieve it.


Automated Tennis Ball Server

, by Adarsh Dasika, Mahwah; Jayson Kolb, Branchburg; Christopher Krieger, Marlton; and Anthony Rosa, Hillsborough.

This a versatile tennis ball server releases balls from any location on a base line, in any direction, with forward or backward spins of the balls. The server’s controls generate instructions for which characteristics to apply the balls, considering the location of previous serves before determining the direction and characteristics of the next serve.

Automated Guidance System for the Blind, by Raymond Chan, East Hanover; Vicky Huang, Moonachie; Ying Tung Lau, Hong Kong; and Christopher Tanglaw, Ewing.

This system uses advances in global positioning to guide a blind person through traffic to his or her destination. The person enters an origin and destination using a Braille keyboard, and the system provides voice directions and warnings that guide the person to the destination. The system is designed to read traffic lights and sense obstacles, such as the height difference between street level and sidewalks.

Homes on Demand, by Fraz Ashraf, Vineland; Colman Cheung, New York, N.Y.; Jacob Fastiggi, Verona; and Ying Hong, Union.

From the building supply lot to final walk-through, average residential home construction takes six-to-nine months. This project demonstrates an automated construction system that could build houses far less time. The system examines the buyer’s layout and room dimensions, selects and retrieves the necessary materials, delivers them to the buyer’s home site and assembles them.

Road Awareness System, by Daniel Jeng, Princeton; Erik Kelmartin, Garwood; Eric Yu, Brick; and Mike Zhang, Hillsborough.

Sometimes drivers fail to notice signs on the side of the road, either due to lack of attention or because of weather conditions. This project shows how information on a road sign could be transmitted to a vehicle and displayed on the dashboard or spoken through the audio system. Radio frequency ID tags next to traffic signs transmit information to passing vehicles.

Fully Automated Plant Watering System, by Alyssa Gentz, Allentown (N.J.); Joshua Greenhaus, East Brunswick; Joel Lora Bayonne; and Ramey Packer, Boston, Mass.

This system, designed for residential and commercial plant growing, uses sensors to measure light level, moisture, and temperature and deliver the appropriate amount of water for optimal plant growth. It also uses a sunlamp to provide illumination during cloudy or cool periods and a fan for cooling when temperatures rise.

Fully Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS), by Marc Fridson, Edison; Kashyap Purohit, Old Bridge; Haithum Salem, Old Bridge; and Sunil Sanghani, Secaucus.

This project determines the optimum storage and retrieval tour for a system that stocks and picks items in settings such as warehouses or stores. It can retrieve items for packaging as well as for shipping to other locations.



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Media Contact: Carl Blesch
732-932-7084, ext. 616
E-mail: cblesch@ur.rutgers.edu