As they prepare to enter the workforce, seniors in West Virginia University’s Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering are gearing up to present their capstone design projects to the public.

Part of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, the Lane Department’s Senior Design Expo will take place from noon to 2 p.m. on Monday (April 21) in the ground floor atrium and corridor of the Engineering Sciences Building on WVU’s Evansdale Campus.

Students have been displaying their designs and projects for more than 25 years at the expo, which teaches students how to communicate critical aspects of technical projects.

“The goal of the Lane Department capstone program is to provide our seniors an opportunity to work on real-world problems in a group setting,” said Ramana Reddy, professor of computer science and electrical engineering. “This will enable them to acquire important skills such as time management, public speaking and working with group dynamics.”

The 17 projects on display for 2014 include a “big data” analyzing program, virtual reality-based video games and a navigation system to assist blind people in buildings.

“This project links what we’ve learned in lectures to real-world circumstances by allowing us to choose a challenging new idea and develop it from the ground up,” said Austen Barrett, a senior computer engineering major from Athens, W.Va.

His team will be presenting a project idea called NexTouch. Barrett and his partners researched a product that projects a user interface onto any surface that allows users to interact with different devices (desktops, smart phones, etc.) by touch, using 3-D mapping sensor technology.

“We are presenting the concept for the prototype,” said Barrett. “This prototype will show people some of the things that the actual product of NexTouch will be capable of.”

Barrett has already started a business to develop this product called Barrett Interactive Technologies, which he plans to pursue fully after graduation.

“Our particular idea is the beginning of a real business venture,” said Barrett. “We are learning how to accomplish big tasks in a team environment and realizing how much work goes into developing cutting edge technology.”

This event also gives students a leg up when they interview for prospective jobs.

“Capstone projects done by them can be used to showcase their technical accomplishments as well as their communication skills,” said Reddy.

The event is free and open to the public. Students will be on hand to answer questions about their projects.



CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

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