Student Work

2018-19 Senior Design Projects

C15 Autonomous Mobile Robot

At 2 ft tall with LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology and mecanum wheels, the robot (dubbed C15CO or C15 for short) uses intelligent sensing and control algorithms to move in a large office environment with many desks and cubicles. C15 has the ability to recognize the human form and will help employees transport reusable dishes from the four floors of one of Cisco’s buildings to the kitchen for cleaning. C15 is designed to operate during the day on a single charge, recharge overnight and be ready to work again the next day.

2017-18 Senior Design Projects

Giant Animatronic Sculpture in New York City’s Times Square

Wake, a moving sculpture 60 feet long, 34 feet wide and 24 feet tall, was designed, engineered, sculpted and fabricated in UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio by mechatronics engineering students along with students in other disciplines and community artists, all under the leadership of artist Mel Chin. Wake was trucked in parts from Asheville to New York City, to be viewed by millions in Times Square between the July 11 opening and the Sept. 5 closing. Students worked in teams round-the-clock over three days to install it in time for its official unveiling at a public event covered by news media from around the world.

Read more in the UNC Asheville Magazine, the Times Square Arts website, and Broadway World.

Robotic Forklift Vehicle for Use on Aircraft Carriers

Naval Air Systems Command, NAVAIR, needed a tele-operated machine for the installation, removal and transport, in very tight spaces, of its eCASS (electronic Consolidated Automated Support System) avionics system for aircraft carriers in the U.S. Navy. Students successfully completed the prototype tethered, hand-controlled vehicle, able to lift 500 pounds, to move, remove, and replace the electronic cabinet.

Q-CPR (Quadcopter Crash Prevention Restraint)

One of the greatest obstacles facing quadcopter hobbyists and researchers alike is safely testing new algorithms without risk of crashes. The student team worked to develop an adjustable testing bed that allows safe testing in four degrees of freedom: the yaw, pitch, and roll principal axes of rotation, as well functionality to test vertical translation. The design consists of an outer carbon fiber hoop mounted to a set of vertical rails. Two inner carbon fiber hoops rotate like a gyroscope on nearly frictionless bearings. The translational motion is permitted by pulleys, balanced to offset the weight of the hoops. The hoops are light enough to have a minimal effect on the mass moment of inertia of the quadcopter, which ensures accurate testing results.

The Capstone Senior Design Project courses in Mechatronics Engineering (JEM 484 & 485) require students to work in an team environment to develop a solution to a specific real world problem.  Past projects are presented below.


Five senior design projects in mechatronics engineering were conducted:

Montanas Del Sol:  A Solar Charging Station (for laptops and cell phones)

The purpose of the charging station is to create an avenue for students to be productive outside while receiving the benefits of sunlight and fresh air.  Artistic form coupled with engineering functionality and sustainability provide a stress-reducing environment in which students can comfortably work.

SowBot Automation  - Automatic Seed Planting System

The focus of this project was to develop a semi-automated tray seeding system.  It was intended for use by small scale professional operations for saving time during the seeing process.  It was intended to increase profitability through a sigificant reduction in labor and material costs as well as a low front-end investment.

An Open Source Platform for Robotic Reinforcement Learning

Q-Learning is a machine learning algorithm which is often a starting point for understanding and developing reinforcement learning concepts. This project involved building a crawler robot that can teach itself to walk.  The team plans to develop a robot kit with associated software that includes example machine learning code and a visualization environment.  The goal is to contribute to reinforcement learning research by making concepts accessible to more people.

Automatic Residential Load Offsetting via Battery Energy Storage System

Electric power delivery is based on a real-time supply and demand process.  Residential consumers using electrical grid, off-grid and photovoltaic collection systems can benefit from secondary energy storage. The goal of this project was to develop a convenient system to allow homeowners to optimize their electrical usage through an aotmated controller and battery energy storage system (BESS).

Magnetorheological Suspension System for a Downhill Mountain Bike

Active and semi-active suspensions offer many advantages over traditional passive systems in both performance and safety.  Magnetorheological dampers in a semi-active system offer a substantial performance increase over passive damping.  The introduction of sensor feedback and electronic micro-controller actuation turns a traditional mechanical system into a modern mechatronic device.


Four senior design projects in mechatronics engineering were conducted:

PowerPoint Presentation

Adventurous Mobility

This project was supported by the Asheville-based OutriderUSA company which produces electric mountain tricycles. The purpose of the project was to offer fun and adventurous mobility to those who might not be able to enjoy it due to disabilities.  The mechatronics student team created a control system which could be activated by a joystick or by remote control.

Mantra Automomous Agricultural Services Vehicle

This project involved a stock ATV vehicle which the student team equipped with a simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) system for an agricultural purpose - navigating and mapping a banana orchard. The system made use of Robot Operating System (ROS) in collaboration with the open source robotics community.

Quantifying Electromechanical Delay

This project was done in conjunction with Dr. Jason Wingert of the UNCA Health and Wellness Program. Dr. Wingert's research explores the effects of a specialized physical therapy while working with Diabetic patients experiencing Sensory Processing Disorder.  The mechatronics students designed and produced a device which could quantify the electromechanical delay of a muscle and observe the effects of a specialized physical therapy treatment plan.  The ultimate goal is to decrease the EM delay of the muscle to decrease fall rates of patients.

Interactive Mechanical Display - a mechanical mirror

This project produced a mechanical display intended to promote the Mechatronics Program.   A mechanical mirror was chosen.  It is essentially a "mirror on the wall" which captures the viewer (via a camera) and displays the viewer to some effect mechanically such that the viewer "sees themselves" within the mechanical display.