Thursday, January 4, 2024

UTSA engineering students showcase bold innovations at November 17 Tech Symposium

UTSA engineering students showcase bold innovations at November 17 Tech Symposium

NOVEMBER 14, 2023 — When UTSA computer engineering student Sara Mustafa’s uncle became paralyzed during cancer treatment and could not feed himself, she witnessed how the loss of independence affected him. He served as the inspiration and namesake for the Optimized Meal Assistance Robot, also known as OMAR.

The OMAR is an assistive robotic arm that gives physically impaired individuals the ability to feed themselves without the assistance of caregivers. It features facial tracking software, customized utensils, user buttons, and a mobile application.

The technology is designed to grant independence and alleviate Caregiver Stress Syndrome (CSS), which is characterized by an increased risk of stress, depression and anxiety in people who need daily care. CSS may affect people who are disabled by limiting an individual’s ability to provide adequate care, which may lead to cases of neglect and mistreatment.

“Our team comprises individuals with diverse skills, including software, hardware and electrical engineering.”

Mustafa and teammates Josie Torres, Elijah Guzman, Caleb Champion, Rafael Robles and Damario Harris are presenting their technology at UTSA’s 2023 Fall Tech Symposium. The semi-annual event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, November 17, in the H-E-B Student Union Ballrooms (HSU 1.104/106) on the university’s Main Campus.

Hosted by the Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design (Klesse College), the Tech Symposium offers students the opportunity to showcase their ingenuity, as teams from each of the college’s engineering disciplines present their senior design projects.

Optimized Meal Assistance Robot

“Throughout the process leading up to the Tech Symposium, one major lesson my team and I learned is the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration,” Mustafa said. “Our team comprises individuals with diverse skills, including software, hardware and electrical engineering. Coordinating efforts across these disciplines required effective communication and a shared understanding of each team member's expertise. Furthermore, successful teams are built on open communication channels. This not only enhances efficiency but also fosters a collaborative spirit that is crucial for tackling complex projects.”

More than 300 students from every engineering major are participating in this culminating experience for their degree programs. The Tech Symposium is an excellent opportunity for students to apply their knowledge toward real-word solutions and gain a competitive edge in the job market. It is also an effective way for students from the Klesse College to strengthen their relationships with the business community.

Presentations are divided into two sections. Senior Design I enables engineering students in the first semester of their senior year to present a scientific poster exploring a practical concept related to their major.


The team will be presented their project, Optimized Meal Assistance Robot, at the Tech Symposium on Friday, November 17.

Senior Design II is for graduating engineering students in their second semester. These students advance their idea from Design I and develop a prototype.

The winners compete for cash awards. The first, second and third place Senior Design II teams receive prizes of $4,000, $3,000 and $2,000, respectively. The top three Senior Design I teams each receive a $1,000 prize. Professionals with an engineering background in each major category judge the entries.

Tech Symposium winners will be announced at the end of Friday’s event.

Ari Castañeda

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

Send your feedback to

UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.



University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.