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Engineering, architecture students to showcase creative innovations at Tech Symposium

Engineering, architecture students to showcase creative innovations at Tech Symposium

NOVEMBER 22, 2021 — An event that challenges engineering students to think bold and solve humanity’s grand challenges will return in-person this week.

The UTSA College of Engineering and Integrated Design’s (CEID) Tech Symposium, a semi-annual showcase, will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, November 23, at the H-E-B Student Union Ballrooms (HSU 1.104/106).

More than 400 students from every engineering major are participating in this culminating experience for their degree programs. They spend one academic year working in teams on a project that is related to their major and showcase their technical expertise and business acumen.

“These collaborations with our students and industry partners really help solve problems and provide solutions.”

“Many benefits come from the Tech Symposium,” said Jill Ford, assistant dean and director of the CEID Student Success Center. “Students gain experience working in a team environment on an interesting project. Plus, they enhance their presentation skills by having to explain their projects effectively, along with the concepts they used and the challenges that they had.”

The presentations are divided into two sections. Senior Design I is for engineering students in the first semester of their senior year. They present a practical concept related to their major through a visual display such as a poster.

Senior Design II is for graduating engineering students in their second senior semester. They advance their idea from Design I and develop a prototype device. Professionals with an engineering background in each major category judge the entries.

The winners receive cash prizes. The first, second and third place Senior Design II teams are awarded $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. The top three Senior Design I teams each receive a $1,000 prize.

The Tech Symposium is an excellent opportunity for UTSA and the CEID to evolve relationships with the business community.

“These collaborations with our students and industry partners really help solve problems and provide solutions to companies in and around our community,” Ford added. “UTSA is synonymous with San Antonio and the connections that students establish through the Tech Symposium are a great example of that.”

Some high-profile local companies sponsor various Tech Symposium projects. H-E-B, for example, presented senior engineering students with opportunities to solve or advance manufacturing challenges for the company. Student teams then pitched their solutions to H-E-B officials. The grocery company selected the best concepts from five teams and funded their projects. These projects will be on display at this week’s symposium.

Two teams are working on a Catcher Automaton Package Transfer System. Each team designed its own version of a robotic arm to identify packages of jalapeño poppers and either accept or reject them based on packaging criteria. Team G3R includes Jackeline Gutierrez, Sterling Reynolds, Marcos Rodriguez and Adrian Rodriguez. Team TAHF includes Andy Fundureanu, Hector Torres, Roberto Hudson and Hoang Au. All eight students are graduating this fall with their mechanical engineering degrees.

The students estimate they have collectively devoted more than 60,000 hours to developing their robotic processing arms. They spent almost all of it in UTSA’s Maker Space, utilizing the resources available to complete the project.

“It’s been a pretty awesome experience,” Gutierrez said. “H-E-B gave us a lot of trust to design and invested a lot of money for the equipment.”

 “We’re all really proud of how our robotic devices can accurately process jalapeño poppers,” Torres added. “This could really help H-E-B improve processing similar types of packages from the meat department.”

Tech Symposium winners will be announced at the end of Tuesday’s event. Some of the winners could take their prototype designs to compete in the $100,000 Student Technology Venture competition that will be hosted by UTSA Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship in spring 2022.

Learn more about the UTSA College of Engineering and Integrated Design.
Explore UTSA’s Maker Space.

The Fall 2021 Tech Symposium is the first under the newly established CEID, which brought together the College of Engineering and the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning. This is the first year that architecture students will share their innovations at the symposium. One team and six individual architecture students will present their unique design concepts on Tuesday.

Bruce Forey

UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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