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From 3D printing to ‘Mr. CatDog’, MTSU Mech-Tech E...

From 3D printing to ‘Mr. CatDog’, MTSU Mech-Tech Expo 2022 features robotics-driven projects

Cyeisha Hall, left, Sloan Brown, Nicole Sanders, Michael Makowski and Kirollos Maximos spent the fall and spring semesters creating and building their Mr. CatDog project, a quadra pet robot based on the Boston Dynamics dog Spot. Dozens of MTSU engineering technology and mechatronics engineering students exhibiting about 100 senior projects April 28 in the Miller Education Center’s second-floor atrium. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

Tennis ball launchers. 3D-printed brushless motors. A Rubik’s Cube solving robot. Mr. CatDog.

This is just a sampling of about 100 senior projects created by dozens of MTSU Engineering Technology and Mechatronics Engineering students and displayed recently during the biannual Mech-Tech Expo, held in the Miller Education Center’s second-floor atrium.

Tyson Hardy, left, explains his wireless remote robotic vehicle to an industry partner helping judge the recent MTSU Engineering Technology Mech-Tech Expo in the Miller Education Center’s second-floor atrium. Dozens of mostly seniors showing off their capstone projects participated in the event, which drew more than 200 people. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

Tyson Hardy, left, explains his wireless remote robotic vehicle to an industry partner helping judge the recent MTSU Engineering Technology Mech-Tech Expo in the Miller Education Center’s second-floor atrium. Dozens of mostly seniors showing off their capstone projects participated in the event, which drew more than 200 people. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

The expo, which featured robotics entries from mechatronics, shows off senior projects and posters they have been working on during the fall and spring semesters.

Most of the students will be graduating Saturday, May 7, during MTSU commencement ceremonies. Many will be headed to careers or graduate school.

Industry professionals attended and helped judge the entries, as did engineering technology faculty.

Dr. Ken Currie, chair, MTSU Engineering Technology

Dr. Ken Currie

Graduate and undergraduate students in Experimental Vehicles Program also participated in the April 28 event.

“This is the culminating event that every student has to demonstrate what they’ve learned in their capstone academic career,” first-year Engineering Technology Chair Ken Currie said.

“It pulls together all of the design components from all their courses to basically come up with design elements in a particular device,” he added. “A lot of the mechatronics and engineering technology students put a lot of time and effort into this. It really shows they’ve thought through a lot of things and go through an interview process where they have to consider a lot of design considerations.

“It is really a crowning achievement in their academic careers and, hopefully, to start their professional careers.”

Cyeisha Hall, left, Sloan Brown, Nicole Sanders, Michael Makowski and Kirollos Maximos spent the fall and spring semesters creating and building their Mr. CatDog project, a quadra pet robot based on the Boston Dynamics dog Spot. Dozens of MTSU engineering technology and mechatronics engineering students exhibiting about 100 senior projects April 28 in the Miller Education Center’s second-floor atrium. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

Cyeisha Hall, left, Sloan Brown, Nicole Sanders, Michael Makowski and Kirollos Maximos spent the fall and spring semesters creating and building their Mr. CatDog project, a quadra pet robot based on the Boston Dynamics dog Spot. Dozens of MTSU engineering technology and mechatronics engineering students exhibiting about 100 senior projects April 28 in the Miller Education Center’s second-floor atrium. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

A variety of projects

Nicole Sanders, 22, a mechatronics major from Hendersonville, Tennessee, was part of a mechatronics team creating  the Mr. CatDog robotic project.

“It’s a quadra pet robot based on the Boston Dynamics dog Spot,” Sanders said. “It can walk, sit, stand and turn around. It has three different walking gaits and a crawling gait. It has a manual control and automated programs.

“We use a full-body mount lab simulation for the walking gaits, so we can say how high we want a foot to go, how far out we want it to go and then we can shift the body left and right, up and down to change the center of gravity so that we can pick up a foot without it falling on that foot.”

A team call Cerberus — Nawaf Almutairi, Adam Blythe, Jacob Fawcett, Ryan Parker and Sumeet Ramdass — captured the judges’ first-place blue ribbon. Their entry included a video made in AutoCAD, showing how their robotic creation came together through the Arduino computer electronic platform.

MTSU senior Ashley Dunn of Jackson, Tenn., a mechatronics engineering major, looks at the tennis ball launcher she and teammates created this semester and shown publicly during the spring 2022 Engineering Technology Mech-Tech Expo Thursday, April 28, in the Miller Education Center second-floor atrium. Students who will be graduating May 7 displayed their posters and projects at the event. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

MTSU senior Ashley Dunn of Jackson, Tenn., a mechatronics engineering major, looks at the tennis ball launcher she and teammates created this semester and shown publicly during the spring 2022 Engineering Technology Mech-Tech Expo Thursday, April 28, in the Miller Education Center second-floor atrium. Students who will be graduating May 7 displayed their posters and projects at the event. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

Sharing top mechatronics honor

Emily Miller, MTSU mechatronics engineering student

Emily Miller

Emily Miller of Nashville, Tennessee, and Ashley Dunn of Jackson, Tennessee, were named the outstanding students in mechatronics engineering. Nominated by faculty, the award is based on academics, department involvement and extracurricular activities.

“I’m so happy our females have exceled in the program,” Currie said. “We need that diversity in the workforce, and I just hope they’re going to continue to shine and be a source of continual pride for the department.”

Miller, 22, switched to mechatronics her final three years after spending her freshmen year in mechanical engineering. She has interned with Faurecia in Spring Hill, Tennessee, where she will become a full-time automation engineer after graduation.

Ashley Dunn, MTSU mechatronics engineering student

Ashley Dunn

“It’s a great feeling to be recognized for all of the hard work that we put in our group projects,” Miller said.

Dunn, 21, said “the four years in engineering are very tough. The program is time-consuming. You work extremely hard on all your projects, especially this year with our senior design project. So, being able to be recognized with Emily for this award it was extremely exciting and fun being able to see all of our hard work come to fruition and really pay off at the end.”

Following graduation, Dunn plans to pursue a master’s degree in information systems, with a concentration in project management — and be a graduate assistant in the MTSU football program.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)


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