2023 Design and Research Conference

Electrical Engineering and Nanosystems Engineering

Integrated Engineering and Science Building 210.

1:00 p.m.

Analog Multiplexer

Team Members: Samuel Greer, Donald Martin, Chord Ramsey

Sponsor: US Army Corps of Engineers

Advisors: Dr. Matthew Hartmann and Dr. Sandra Zivanovic

This project stems from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) desire to increase the magnitude of their electrochemical analysis which is used to identify chemical compounds. A commercially available potentiostat device currently performs the electrochemical analysis. However, the ERDC has developed its own version, the ACEstat which is currently limited to only two detection channels due to bandwidth limitations. Our aim is to develop a modular circuit that increases the number of channels and easily integrates into larger systems. This new circuit will increase the efficiency of the ACEstat by eliminating the need for duplicate subsystems for each chemical being measured. Our goal is to design a multiplexing system on a printed circuit board (PCB) to condense data from 32 inputs to 1 output through a single transmission line. To accomplish this, our team has designed a multiplexer circuit that has 32 inputs and 5 select lines on the PCB, soldered external components, and written the Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI). The final design can control the 32 inputs with 5 select lines by toggling through each possible combination of the select lines at a set time.

1:30 p.m.

Tire Blowout Prevention System

Team Members: Wesley Granger, Kelly Walker, Austin Webre

Advisors: Dr. Matthew Hartmann and Dr. Sandra Zivanovic

The Tire Blowout Prevention System is an automated control system that uses multiple sensors to detect a possible tire malfunction before the tire blows out. These sensors record the temperature, pressure, vibration, and load associated with the tire. This recorded data is relayed wirelessly via Bluetooth to a control module that processes the current values being read by the sensors. The control module will then trigger an alarm to notify the user if the sensor data being recorded is outside of the set range of acceptable values determined by the user. The data is then sent to a digital interface that displays the sensor values for the user.

2:00 p.m.

Solar Follower Energy Storage Device

Team Members: Annabelle Broussard, Ashlee Stafford, Bailey Ziegel

Sponsor: Gayle Red

Advisor: Dr. Matthew Hartmann

There has been a steady decline in student interest in electrical engineering. In the United States, the graduation rate of engineers was down in 2020, and Louisiana Tech University’s undergraduate enrollment rate for Electrical Engineering has followed this decline. Our project is a portable demonstration device that will be taken to recruiting events for Louisiana Tech. The device takes energy from the sun using a dual-axis solar follower, stores the collected energy in batteries, and outputs energy through USB ports. Our project demonstrates the branches of electrical engineering and gives prospective students an overview of different electrical engineering disciplines like power, integrated circuits, communications, and controls. Our goal with this device is to give prospective students insight into what Electrical Engineering is about at Louisiana Tech. Allowing prospective students to engage with electrical engineering before entering college will generate more interest and expand the program.

2:30 p.m.

Induction Water Heater

Team Members: Logan Bailey, Abdullah Banajah, Jacob Paulk, Luke Warlen

Advisors: Dr. Matthew Hartmann and Dr. Sandra Zivanovic

Through the Induction Based Water Heater project, we aim to provide a tankless, electric alternative to gas-powered water heaters and to reduce the space required for water heating. The design is environmentally friendly, reducing the production of greenhouse gases. Our goal is to have a higher efficiency than natural gas tankless water heaters and greater dependability than traditional electric water heaters due to the removal of the “element” commonly associated with electric heating. By using induction heating to heat an iron alloy pipe, the estimated maintenance cost for our product is minimal as there are zero moving parts or physically connected, heated metal to weaken over time. Using a programmable logic controller to control the heating circuit our product can provide water heated to a safe regulated temperature that is optimal for single-family households.

3:00 p.m.

W.A.R.D.D.-N. Security

Team Members: Gregory Boyle, Gracson Byrd, Andrew Steen

Sponsors: Force Robotics, LLC. and US Army Corps of Engineers

Advisors: Dr. Matthew Hartmann and Dr. Sandra Zivanovic

Our project, the Wireless, Autonomous, and Rapidly Deployable Drone Network (W.A.R.D.D.-N.) is a portable and independent drone network security system designed to constantly monitor a specific area. Our current system design includes an automated drone, a landing platform, a charging system, and a camera system with human detection capabilities. The drone is equipped with a flight controller and GPS to fly along a predetermined path, land at a charging station, and recharge independently. A laptop is used to set the path and serves as the communication hub for the drone. The charging station is designed to minimize the precision required for the drone to land by mechanically directing it to the precise location needed for charging. The system is highly portable and easy to transport, making it an ideal solution for a wide range of applications, including private, military, and corporate use. The system’s ability to operate autonomously for extended periods with minimal user intervention provides reliable and continuous surveillance of the target location making it an invaluable asset for those seeking to enhance their security measures without additional personnel or infrastructure.

Integrated Engineering and Science Building 228.

1:00 p.m.

Three-Dimensional Bioprinter for Low-Gravity Environments

Team Members: Gabriel Peterman, Gavin Sylvan, Race Wicklund, Robert Woodrum

Sponsor: Louisiana SPACE Consortium

Advisor: Dr. Adarsh Radadia

Over the past decade, the American public has become fascinated with the idea of landing astronauts on Mars. However, human space exploration is currently hindered by the limitations of medical treatment during prolonged low-gravity travel. Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting has been studied as a possible solution for regenerative medicine in microgravity. Despite 3D bioprinters already existing on the International Space Station, the art of microgravity printing has yet to be perfected. When bioprinting in space, printer operators must worry about product displacement due to a lack of gravity. Furthermore, present techniques of containing bio-inks either result in a low product resolution or a decrease in cell viability. Our senior design team has designed and optimized a custom 3D bioprinter that employs embedded printing to prevent product displacement in microgravity. By using the Freeform Reversible Embedding of Suspended Hydrogels (FRESH) bioprinting methodology, we expect our bioprinter to be capable of both high-resolution and high-viability bioprinting in space. Current testing on Earth has indicated that our bioprinter can achieve a sub-100 µm resolution while printing a 1 cm3 cube of cell-laden sodium alginate.

1:30 p.m.

Automatic Large Game Feeder

Team Members: Kaylee Bourgeois, Cameron Dreher, Julia Everett, Reece Veron

Advisors: Dr. Matthew Hartmann and Dr. Sandra Zivanovic

Although automatic large-game feeders are available, current models have several problems: short battery life, lack of remote detection of feed moisture and level, and unoptimized feed output and distribution. Large game hunters must invest additional time and money to mitigate these difficulties. The proposed Autonomous Large Game Feeder is an innovative device that will solve these issues without aftermarket products and add-ons. The device will combine a power, communication, and control system, which will include humidity, temperature, barometric pressure, and ultrasonic sensors to create a smart device that gives hunters the ability to efficiently feed large game and monitor feeders from the comfort of their homes. The Autonomous Large Game Feeder implements solar panels to increase the longevity of the feeder’s battery life, a method of notifying the user of low feed levels and the presence of moisture through SMS, and a process to automatically optimize the amount of feed distributed based on temperature and barometric pressure conditions. The Autonomous Large Game Feeder is an innovative approach to providing remote monitoring, autonomous control of feed output, and an efficient battery recharging system for hunters.

2:00 p.m.

Analog Synthesizer

Team Members: Preston Debetaz, Jordan Savoie, Hayden Thigpen

Advisors: Dr. Matthew Hartmann and Dr. Sandra Zivanovic

Synthesizers produce sounds through purely electronic means rather than mechanical or electromechanical means as other musical instruments do. Broadly, they can be split into analog systems in which sounds are represented and manipulated as electrical signals in circuits, or digital systems in which sounds are represented and manipulated numerically before being converted into electrical signals at the output. Our synthesizer uses a mixed analog-digital architecture to create musical sounds based on commands from a musical instrument digital interface (MIDI), the industry standard protocol for digital music systems. The user forms these sounds by configuring digital settings through a keypad and adjusting analog parameters using knobs. The device produces sounds starting with square waves generated by the microprocessor. These square waves are copied and divided to create harmonics, which have weights that may be adjusted to change the sound. These sounds are further refined through a series of digitally controlled filters and envelope generators, then mixed and sent through line-out.

2:30 p.m.

Organic Solar Cell

Team Members: Joshua Cantrell, Neel Patel, Lezly Sierra

Advisor: Dr. Sandra Zivanovic

At present, the high cost and complicated manufacturing process of solar cell technology pose significant challenges to its widespread adoption. Organic solar cell technology provides a possible alternative. Utilizing the resources available at Louisiana Tech’s Institute for Micromanufacturing, our team fabricated prototypes for such a device. The techniques included spin-coating, photolithography, sol-gel derived zinc-oxide deposition, sputtering, and analyzing electrical and physical characteristics using 4-point probe tests, optical profilometry, and optical microscopy. The resulting solar cells function similarly to conventional silicon-based devices, with layers consisting of indium-tin-oxide (ITO) as the cathode, zinc-oxide as the electron transport layer, poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT), and [6,6]-phenyl C61-butyric acid methyl ester as the active layer, poly(3,4-ethylene-dioxythiophene) – poly(styrene-sulfonate) (PEDOT: PSS) as the hole transport layer (HTL), and silver as the anode. Notably, the structure of the solar cells investigated deviates from the more common ITO/PEDOT-PSS/P3HTPCBM/Al configuration. Additionally, one of the project’s objectives was to explore the feasibility of depositing the silver layer using sputtering, a technique that is more readily available than thermal or electron beam evaporation. Overall, this project demonstrates that organic solar cell technology can offer an alternative to conventional solar technology’s cost and complexity barriers.