Engineering Design and Development, The CARPA Initiative

Systems Engineer
September 2014 - June 2015

Engineering Design and Development (EDD) was a project-based capstone engineering course at the California Academy of Mathematics and Science (CAMS). The main task was to build a volcano exploration robot capable of digging a path into the side of a simulated volcano, collecting empirical data once inside, and then transmitting the data to the command center. Part of the challenge was building up a team identity, obtaining sponsors, and holding design reviews with engineers from local companies like SpaceX, Raytheon, and Boeing. Each design review marked a major milestone that led to a tradeshow booth competition in which both teams presented the final prototype and attempted the challenge.

As the systems engineer, I helped lead the design and manufacturing of this robot. The cones at the front were meant to grate the volcano wall and create an opening for the robot, while the independent suspension of the wheels allowed the profile of the robot to shrink enough to enter the cavity. The back compartment held various sensors that collected empirical data once inside the volcano and then transferred the data to the transmitters in the spheres in the front compartment. These spheres were then launched out of the volcano to establish a connection with the command center.

At each design review, we were critiqued by local professional engineers, many of which were evaluating our company for sponsorship. The first two design reviews were formatted as presentations, but the third took the form of a tradeshow booth presentation, and the last was where we performed the simulated mission.

A major part of the project was creating a team identity. Having greatly valued our STEM-focused education, we decided that one of our company goals was to promote STEM, so we partnered with local schools to teach the students engineering basics through projects like straw bridges and balloon-powered cars.