By Caroline OstermanThe Berkeley Master of Engineering program boasts a unique curriculum that encourages an exploration of real-world applications to shape tomorrow’s innovators. In addition to leadership training and technical coursework across seven engineering departments, candidates of the MEng cohort are assigned a year-long capstone project. Teams of several students are paired with UC Berkeley faculty members to address pressing industry or societal needs by designing innovative and data-backed solutions. Projects by the MEng Class of 2018 have included a self-driving e-bike, an educational underwater VR game, and an exoskeleton for stroke rehabilitation. This May, all 100 teams congregated at the Fung Institute to present their project designs and exhibit their prototypes. Each team gave a 10-minute presentation followed by a live Q&A with the public audience. Wednesday, May 2, 2018 kicked off the first day of the event and featured 70 team presentations on topics ranging from Data Science to Product Design.
A few highlights from the first day:One team to start off Capstone presentations was Nanoscale Manufacturing of Van der Waals Bonded Multilayers by Shu-Ting Ko, Nai-wen Hu, and Jingchao Yang. These three worked with Berkeley faculty to explore the methods and applications of covalent bond exfoliation, or CoBEx. “We innovated a new method called the CoBEx process which can exfoliate multilayers at a simpler and faster rate,” the team reported. Essentially, this means the ability to replicate and transfer small 2D materials can be much more achievable and efficient. This would be especially useful in mass production for parts such as microchips — this nano-scaling through exfoliation would increase their speed and density. The Renault Human Centered Design team had quite an interactive prototype to showcase: a car seat “chair” with a haptic array built into the armrest. The team, comprised of Stephanie Cantu, Satish Kanagaraj, and Etienne Marecal, aimed to design an immersive, multi-sensory experience for autonomous vehicles. The haptic array within the armrest produces different patterns of motion, which can simulate various “environments,” like a gentle rocking to make you feel as if you’re at sea. The technology for self-driving cars is here — but the Renault team asks, how do we spend our newfound time behind the wheel, if not driving? Haptic arrays located through out the car’s infrastructure could provide an entirely new and relaxing user experience while riding to work. Another team to present on Day 1 of the showcase was Sanatomics: An Overdue Change for Medical Isotope Production. The team of Alex Clithero, Han Lee, Grace Bailey, Josh Rothman, Morgan Fox, Mitchell Sinclair, Kelsae Adame, and Joshua McCumber, all share a vision of using nuclear medicine to more accurately and efficiently administer healthcare. Radioisotopes are naturally decaying atoms that release energetic particles, which can be used to detect and measure diseases like cancer through a process called Positron Emission Topography (PET). Isotope production has fallen drastically over the past few years, however, while the demand has never been higher. Sanatomics has designed a compact neutron generator to produce these medical isotopes and replace the need for these closing reactors. These generators can be placed in any hospital, improving both speed and accessibility for vital nuclear medicines. These three teams, among many others, were proud to come together at the Fung Institute this May after a year of hard work to present their solutions to society’s biggest needs. It was truly a day of celebration as visitors came to hear the soon-to-be MEng graduates share their insightful ideas to spread light and innovation in the world. Read about more MEng team presentations in the Day 2 recap of this year’s Capstone Showcase. Stay up to date with us by following us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram!
Celebrating social innovation at annual Capstone Showcase: Day 1 was originally published in Berkeley Master of Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.