Engineering design is the process of devising a system, component, or process to meet desired needs. It is a decision-making process (often iterative), in which the basic sciences, mathematics, and engineering sciences are applied to convert resources optimally to meet a stated objective. Among the fundamental elements of the design process are the establishment of objectives and criteria, synthesis, analysis, construction, testing and evaluation.
Engineering design includes development of creativity, use of open-ended problems, development and use of modern design theory and methodology, formulation of design problem statements and specifications, consideration of alternative solutions, feasibility considerations, production processes, concurrent engineering design, and detailed system descriptions. It is essential to include a variety of realistic constraints such as economic factors, safety, reliability, aesthetics, ethics, and social impact.
The Senior Design Sequence is the most important challenge of the Senior Year. This project offers the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills gained in classes and labs to a real-life application of product design, system solution, or process improvement. It may be completed individually or with a small team and may involve from one to three semesters of preparation, planning and implementation.
During this period, students form teams, select an area of interest, and create and present design proposals to the faculty advisors. Some projects address specific requests from local industry, while others are innovative inventions. After spending the designated semesters working on solutions to their design problems, students assemble a formal report which they present at the Senior Design Presentation Day scheduled at the end of both the Fall and Spring semesters.
Up to 55 student projects are presented to students, administrators, faculty, parents, and industry representatives. Prototypes, visuals, data, summary posters--as well as professional dress--are required. The students submit senior project papers to department faculty and staff as well as many outside corporate officials from companies such as Motorola, Caterpillar, BlackHawk Molding , etc.
The Senior Design Project is a real world problem or a new concept where students are challenged to find a solution. This problem will encompass many areas of engineering and concepts throughout the industry as possible. Students learn how to handle problems which may arise in design situations in industry where a solution is unknown. In addition, they learn to create presentations and written documentation on products, problems, or new concepts.
In general, students have the freedom to choose the teammates that they will be working with and the projects to be done. Students form a team of three to four, not necessarily from the same discipline. The teams will then search for several realistic problems and choose one.
The next step is to find a Faculty Advisor who will act as your team's "consultant" in the project. This should be a faulty member who performs research in this area or is in a related field. This Advisor will help narrow the scope of the project to find a small problem to address. A formal proposal is written up and submitted and a oral presentation will be completed.