Industry-Sponsored Student Design Project
Companies See Fresh Faces and Fresh Ideas
For Corporate Affiliates Program (CAP) members, sponsoring
student design projects is a great way to explore new technology while supporting
Jacobs School students designed a rollercoaster
inspection system. The vehicle is controlled wirelessly via a laptop
and transmits images of the track back to the operator.
Take ATA Engineering, which asked a Jacobs School student team to design
a wireless rollercoaster inspection system to evaluate welds in difficult-to-reach
places, such as corkscrews and loops, and reduce the need for inspectors
to physically traverse the track. The students built the inspection mechanism,
created the graphical user interface, and designed the necessary control
ATA provides mechanical and structural engineering consulting services
to the amusement park industry, and the prototype was made for Arrow Dynamics
Inc.’s Viper roller coaster in Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia,
CA. The coaster features the world’s tallest vertical loop.
“The UCSD project has provided a cost-effective way to develop
a prototype inspection system that one day may develop further into a
fully functional product, said Joshua Davis, an engineer with ATA Engineering.
“We believe that we have a duty to the engineering community to
provide students with real-life practical challenges.”
Companies can sponsor design projects through both mechanical engineering
and electrical engineering capstone courses. Participating companies pay
for the cost of materials and provide direction to the student team. In
return, the students present a final prototype and design report at the
end of the quarter.
“The students benefit from exposure to industry and the chance
to apply the theory they’ve learned to real-world problems,”
says mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Nate Delson. “The
companies get a world-class group of students working on a problem for
a fraction of the cost of outsourcing the research. It’s a partnership
that truly benefits both sides. Some projects have led to additional grants
for companies and some have even resulted in patent filings.”
To learn more about sponsoring student design projects, contact Jeff
Nagle, firstname.lastname@example.org, (858) 822-1803.