Last Friday (May 1), the University of Idaho hosted the 22nd Annual Engineering Design Expo. Billing itself as “the Pacific Northwest’s longest-running interdisciplinary exposition showcasing the world of engineering and technological innovation,” the Expo was chock-full of amazing projects and presentations.
Begun as a way for college seniors to show off their design projects, it also makes their work visible to industry professionals, alumni, and the community in general. As the Expo is free, it’s a wonderful opportunity for future engineers and young students to see some of the fun work that is going on and can be done in engineering.
The morning of the Expo was full of events for the students, judges, and sponsors. At 9 a.m., the Expo hall (the Brian Pitman Center) opened for the public. Technical sessions where students could showcase their senior design projects individually ran concurrently with the general expo until noon. The keynote address took place at 2:30, when the students began to take down their posters and demos.
I was invited to attend by Richard Wall, a retiring professor of electrical engineering. Walking up to exhibit hall, I was immediately drawn into the large projects that sat outside — diesel motors, agricultural filtration systems, and even a large sewage project. As soon as I got inside, my eye was immediately drawn to the senior design project that used Digilent’s own Atlys board to run an LED display!
While one can find a comprehensive list of the senior design projects displayed, some of my favorites included a sustainable water supply project in Bolivia, a Microsoft Hyper-V Ethtool Support project (it enables virtual control of a PC running on a different OS, specifically allowing interfacing between Windows and Linux), and a project that created a cartographic robot for inspecting small animal lairs.
I had so much fun attending the Expo and look forward to next year’s! Check out the incredibly innovative work that local students have done and let us know which is your favorite by commenting on this post.