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UNF engineering students team up to create impact in the community

The UNF engineering students working on a project for Innovation Day

Each year, the University of North Florida showcases the work of graduating engineers at Innovation Day. This year, students presented 27 projects for 20 leading organizations, highlighting how the next generations of engineers will overcome engineering challenges and make a big impact in Northeast Florida.

Beginning in September, UNF Senior Design students were assigned to teams and worked together to develop multiple solutions to a unique design challenge and apply what they’ve learned throughout their time at UNF. Throughout the year-long course, the teams delivered several rounds of progress reports in the form of technical papers and oral presentations.

Engineering students working on their projects for Innovation DayNearly all projects come from nonprofit organizations, local government and companies within the Jacksonville community. Several of the projects are focused on research and development and most will be implemented in the community. The projects presented are designed for many leading companies including Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, APR Energy, Solar Stik, EZ-Systems and more.

Engineering student presenting at Innovation Day in front of a poster board, holding up his inventionFor civil engineering projects, the designs are reviewed by a board of professional engineers (Pes) from the Jacksonville engineering community. For the electrical and mechanical engineering projects, there is a design, build and test requirement critiqued by UNF professors and community mentors that mimics design reviews in the industry.

There were also awards given to the best projects.

  • Best Civil Engineering Project: Hendricks Road & Amelia Concourse Connections, sponsored by Engineering Services – Nassau County. The goal of this project was to design a comprehensive plan for connecting Hendricks Road, Old Nassauville Road and Amelia Concourse. The team was also tasked to account for a school and residential complex that will be built in the near future using their design. It was a multidisciplinary project which covered multiple areas of civil engineering including transportation, geotechnical, structural, drainage and environmental engineering.
  • Best Mechanical Engineering Project: Fuel Cell Golf Cart, sponsored by Dr. Jim Fletcher. Fletcher works in clean and renewable energy with a specialization in fuel cell technologies. He tasked the team with modifying a golf cart vehicle for safe and reliable transport on campus between the engineering building and labs at the Golf Complex. The team built an entire system from the ground up. The vehicle safely runs off hydrogen and can travel for weeks without refueling in between.
  • Best Electrical Engineering Project: Industrial Lifting Drone in Air Battery Recharging, sponsored by Apellix. Apellix is a Jacksonville start-up that makes "working" drones, which can complete tasks like cleaning, painting and measuring in difficult-to-reach locations. The team was tasked with developing a power management system to assist the drone in important operations without drawing from the onboard backup battery. The team built a full battery control system prototype and demonstrated the ability to conserve backup battery power.
  • Best Interdisciplinary: Automatic Battery Z-Fold Machine, sponsored by Saft Batteries. Saft Battery is an international company with a facility in Jacksonville that produces leading-edge Li-Ion battery technologies. Saft tasked the team with creating a fabrication rig to create their batteries on a small scale for prototyping and testing. The team built an entire battery assembly machine from scratch and it successfully demonstrated its functionality.

Visit the Senior Design Innovation Day webpage to see what other projects and companies students worked with.