UNLV student teams showcased their innovative solutions to real-world challenges during the Fred and Harriet Cox Senior Design Competition at the Thomas & Mack Center on May 5, which returned live for the first time since 2019.
Throughout the all-day event, industry experts judged ingenious student projects, including the first fully programmable robot trash collector; a collapsible cane seat that allows those with mobility issues to rest and walk at the same time; and the Aqualibrium, an environmentally friendly, fully electric propeller system for aquatic vehicles; among many other inventions on display.
A capstone to every student’s academic career at UNLV’s Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering, the Senior Design Competition saw students use all their knowledge and experience to create practical, real-world solutions to engineering challenges. Each student chose, planned, designed and prototyped an innovative, commercially viable product.
Select projects included:
When contractors order concrete for a job, they regularly acquire 10% more than is needed to ensure ample, on-site supply. But what happens to that excess concrete? In Nevada, an estimated 6,000 cubic feet annually is taken, unused, from job sites and deposited at Lone Mountain, where it has been accumulating for the past 30 years.
The Eco-Fill is a sustainable solution to the environmental impact of discarded concrete, and looks to repurpose these materials into controlled low strength materials, or, “flowable fill.” The Eco-Fill aims to reduce landfill use and carbon emissions while lowering material and labor costs.
Video Games for Students with Disabilities
Video games are mostly designed for people without disabilities or impairments, leaving a large potential customer pool feeling left out, and denying manufacturers a potential revenue stream.
The game designed by UNLV students specifically seeks to include a visually impaired audience, and is playable—and fully enjoyable—by those with or without visual impairments. Through a mix of audio cues and a specific programming engine designed to increase accessibility to those with disabilities, the game can expose a whole new population to video games, and video game companies to a whole customer base.
The Hydroponic Kitchen Cart
Inner-city residents and those without nearby healthy and affordable food options live in what’s known as “food deserts,” which exist throughout the United States, including Southern Nevada.
The hydroponic kitchen cart makes hydroponics accessible to beginner gardeners, fits conveniently within a standard-sized apartment, and supports up to six plants. Numerous sensors control water levels and monitor temperatures, while the unit itself features an intuitive touchscreen design – all of which work together to increase the gardener’s chances of success, and contribute to pushing back against “food deserts.”