The success of project FaultLine could not have been possible without the help and support of our capstone director Dr. Sunak, and our technical directors Brenden Smerbeck, Najib Ishaq, Mike Majdalani, and Bill Owens. Dr. Sunak was extremely generous in providing any and all means required to pursue the directions we wanted to go with the project. Our technical directors, particularly Brenden and Najib who we met with twice weekly, were instrumental in guiding the team through any problem areas that arose. With their help, the team gained valuable experience working with professionals in their field, as well as experience working as a team long-term to see a project through to the end, which includes improving skills in writing regular detailed reports, and developing and adhering to project schedules.
The computer engineers have had the chance to see how software engineering will work in the real world. In terms of gaining experience how it is like to be assigned a task and to be responsible as a team to deliver deliverables in a period of time has been invaluable. It has opened the eyes of what it will take to be a good software engineer in the real world. The Capstone Design program and this project has taught us that to be a good software engineer you need to have strong fundamentals so that you can switch to any language to do work on. Our TD’s Brenden and Najib have been irreplaceable; they have paved the way for how one should prepare for the real world as software engineers. We would like to shout out and thank our TD Najib for his invaluable help with the machine learning aspects that took place in this project.
With this project, electrical engineers had the opportunity to delve into the fundamentals of AC and three-phase power, concepts not typically encountered in the standard curriculum. Additionally, for those less familiar with the responsibilities of an electrical engineer in a more hands-on/lab-centric role, substantial improvement was had in skills like soldering and wiring. The more mundane tasks of real-world work, like navigating shipping sites and creating and approving BOMS, were also various and helpful in preparing for work after graduation.
Harish Sunak’s ELECOMP Capstone Program has provided us with a wonderful working experience that tested our knowledge of electrical/computer engineering. By working with real life companies, Dr. Sunak allows his students to be able to apply and develop their skills they have learned during their electrical engineering and/or computer engineering classes at the University of Rhode Island. Our capstone company, Acumentrics, helped us with guiding our knowledge of electrical engineering and putting it into use in our capstone project. Technical directors Brenden Smerbeck and Mike Majdalani helped guide us through their typical product development procedures and gave us recommendations of improvement. Through this, we were able to improve and better develop as passionate engineers. This experience has greatly prepared us for the future jobs that we will hold as engineers.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program at URI is an excellent opportunity for senior engineering students to gain hands-on experience in the engineering field. There is great insight to be gained when working alongside a company to solve a real-world problem. Our team learned that knowledge gained in the classroom does not compare to real world experience. As engineers, we learn best when we are able to actually implement what we learn. Capstone Design facilitates creativity, passion, and hard work through a sophisticated design project. Working in a multidisciplinary team also has its various benefits. Our team consists of three electrical engineers and two computer engineers. Each of us worked in a cross disciplinary manner and supported each other throughout the duration of the project. Our technical director, Dan Wertz, mentored us this year by assisting with technical design aspects and by facilitating conversations about the implications of the project itself. Each of us learned a lot by researching batteries and battery management systems, designing electronic circuits, developing data collection algorithms, and coding in python to develop a user interface. There was a learning curve to each aspect of this project and the team did a great job overcoming our challenges. Through the course of this Capstone Design project, the team has not only gained valuable technical skills, but life skills as well which will help us professionally and personally. In our future endeavors, the team will see the value in having a passion for our work, be able to work alongside multiple disciplines, and know the importance of having an open outlook when solving problems. The COVID-19 Pandemic proved to be a challenging obstacle for our team as we had several COVID-related setbacks which we had to overcome. Overall, team AM-BATS is grateful for the opportunity to have been able to work alongside Dan Wertz and EaglePicher. This experience has provided us the opportunity to overcome many challenges while also honing our technical skills as we step into the real world as young professionals.
This year was full of many challenges. Capstone proved to be one of them. In retrospect, I am extremely grateful for that. Capstone is meant to be challenging – it puts students who have very little experience designing real-world systems into a situation where they have to pool all of their technical knowledge together to build real usable technical connections. It can be irritating at the beginning, as you apply snippets of knowledge from your coursework to your project. However, as time goes on and you are mentored by your technical directors, you begin to see how all your engineering skills are connected, and how every little detail in a technical design matters. You become driven to think outside of your comfort zone to find solutions that excite you. You realize that engineering will always pose complex challenges, and that you will never stop learning. You must be open-minded and adaptable. I am extremely thankful for this experience to see what it is like to work towards a real-world engineering problem after years of regular coursework and labs. I greatly enjoyed working with Dan Wertz from EaglePicher. He portrayed how knowledgeable you can become with a career in engineering, and I aspire to be as successful as him in my future career.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program is truly the accumulation of all collective knowledge that the University of Rhode Island has instilled within its students. We all entered as aspiring engineers, equipped with the tools needed to succeed, but those tools were truly refined throughout this program. Through the helpful guidance and encouragement of our Technical Directors, we were able to leave this program with the necessary skill set to excel in the professional world. In the Fall, the mountain we all needed to climb seemed steep, immovable, and intimidating. Looking back at the summit of that mountain, all that we have accomplished throughout this year has proven that we have what it takes to succeed in the face of adversity. Doctor Sunak has meticulously laid out the groundwork for students to flourish under his leadership, and through the link between the program and the sponsoring companies, everyone involved is able to benefit.
Although the Capstone Design Program can be incredibly valuable to any student enrolled, you only get out of it what you put into it. The quality of work you complete, the time you invest, and the passion you show for your project will be reflected back at you ten-fold. Without passion, students will look back on their time in the Capstone Design Program as a shadow of what it could have been. To a student who desires to succeed, to do the best they possibly can, the Capstone Design Program will be the cornerstone they build their professional career upon. This is a unique opportunity and experience only for ELECOMP students at the University of Rhode Island, no other engineering student can claim the accomplishments that ELECOMP students can. This bridge between academic knowledge and professional experience, and the ability to cross it while still being considered a student, is invaluable.
For the BE-SAFE team, we found this entire experience to be the perfect test of our abilities after growing in skill throughout our time at the University. The passion that Doctor Sunak shows for the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program is unmatched, and it encourages students to try their hardest in return. We would like to sincerely thank Doctor Sunak for all he has done for us throughout this year. We would also like to thank everyone at EaglePicher, especially our Technical Director Dan Noreck. The immense knowledge he possesses, and his ability to lead us in the right direction, has proven invaluable in this project. Lastly, we would like to thank our Consulting Technical Director Brenden Smerbeck, for always being there to offer guidance when we were up against a wall. The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program is an unforgettable experience, one that will stick with all of us for years to come as we enter our professional careers.
We are incredibly grateful for our involvement in the ELECOMP Capstone program. Finally putting our engineering knowledge to the test by solving a meaningful engineering problem was an extremely valuable experience. Knowing that the work we did throughout the year will be used to improve the next generation of FarSounder’s sonar systems is intensely rewarding. Throughout the year, we learned the importance of communication, organization, perseverance, and teamwork in achieving the best possible outcome of any project. We faced some challenges that seemed impossible at first, but with hard work, we were able to overcome all of them. We would like to thank Dr. Sunak and the ELECOMP Capstone staff for their role in organizing this program, despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. We would also like to thank our Technical Directors for always being there to help us overcome obstacles by providing support and encouragement. Overall, we found this program to be a great way to challenge ourselves before embarking on a career in engineering.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program has proved to be an incredible opportunity in which we were able to apply the knowledge that we have gained throughout the ELECOMP program. This program has given us a learning experience that will be applicable to our careers. Our consulting director, Alex, was helpful when it came to answering any questions we had and kept us on track to achieve the ABO. Our Technical Directors, Adam, Art and Doug, gave us insight on what is expected of us when we become part of the engineering workforce. Dr. Sunak’s leadership and dedication for the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program has been an inspiration to our team as he has sacrificed his time to ensure that we have the resources to become successful in our field. We would like to thank everyone’s involvement in achieving our ABO as it motivates us to complete the project with passion and urgency.
The ELECOMP Capstone program provides real world engineering experience that goes far beyond the classroom. Similar to an internship, it allows the students to work with a company to get an insight into the work they can expect post graduation. However, unlike a standard internship, all work on the project from design to realization of the final product is done by the student. Jon O’Hare, our technical director from Hexagon gave us excellent guidance throughout the year to keep us on track, reach our ABO, and think about the implications of our project beyond the scope of capstone. Dr. Sodhi, our technical director from URI helped to be responsible for the deadlines we promised to meet and to organize our workflow more efficiently. Finally, Dr. Sunak who has spent many countless hours orchestrating the program has put us appropriately in this project to suit our own interests and talents. We are grateful for all of those who guided us through this capstone project so we may become better engineers and have a successful project.
While learning in the classroom is great, we feel our engineering skills have been truly put to the test with a hands-on project at an actual company. This is what the ELECOMP Capstone Program has provided to each of us over the course of our senior year. Our Technical Directors from In-Depth Engineering: Bill Matzusak, David Helms, and John Vernaglia, greatly aided us by providing great instruction/direction for our anticipated best outcome, as well as swift and in-depth responses to the questions we had along the way. All of us were able to communicate seamlessly and effectively to achieve the goals we set up for ourselves. In addition, while working on this project we were able to deal with many different concepts that we had not learned about in the classroom, such as Machine Learning. Overall we feel this program was a truly worthwhile experience, and a great way to end our college careers.
We would also like to give a special thanks to Dr. Sunak for putting in the time and effort required to match each of us to a rewarding and valuable project that fit all of us on team In-Depth.
The ELECOMP Capstone Program was supposed to be a culmination of all the skills we have learned up to this point, but we feel that this experience has been tarnished by the pandemic that has occurred over the past year. Despite passion and effort from team members and the technical directors, the team was unable to reach the ABO which was very disappointing. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to meet with our technical directors in an in person lab setting, detrimentally affecting our project. Because we could not meet in person everything was done through email and Webex meetings and it made it tough to communicate what was wrong and get things done.
Nonetheless, we were still able to learn from the Capstone Design experience, most notably how to troubleshoot and debug complex circuits using lab equipment in a timely and efficient manner. This was achieved through applying the knowledge from our previous electronics classes as well as the technical directors helping through webcam. Though the webcam was not ideal it did serve as a good learning opportunity. Additionally, we are very grateful for the patience and effort of our technical directors as well as our consulting technical director, Alex DePetrillo, and our excellent professor Dr. Sunak.
In order to successfully complete a project, we would recommend using a collaborative scheduling software such as Slack that can be easily updated and is a place where instructions can be sent weekly.
The ELECOMP capstone design program has proved to be a great opportunity for many reasons. We, as a team, have gained important knowledge and experience for our lines of work. We have been able to see and be a part of the process of improving an existing product. The whole process was very professional and truly eye-opening for us. Dr. Harish Sunak carefully selected the teams for each project based on a profile that each team member had created. As engineers, we were given amazing guidance but also the freedom to use our own creativity to create solutions for our project. Starting all the way from planning and creating flowcharts, the team has been able to work together and improve essential teamwork skills. Throughout the project, we maintained thorough documentation which helped us keep track of our progress and will help this project as it continues in the future. On our development journey we were able to work with and connect with industry professionals who aided us as we designed and planned out our software. This professional field experience will help us all as we move into our future careers.
John Travis Hunter:
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program has provided me with the skills needed to succeed in the field of autonomous marine vehicle software engineering. The Capstone program’s documentation requirements at first seemed tedious, but as our development on the project progressed, having detailed documentation proved useful. Being able to see and track the work as the project evolved day by day was satisfying and allowed us to make sure we stayed on track during the development. I learned the importance of requirements traceability in a software development environment. I intended on using my Computer Engineering skills in a different field, however after completing this project I discovered a passion for marine robotics and software engineering, which I hope to continue working with after graduating.
The integration of a senior project is something all engineering students look forward to from the beginning of their time at the University of Rhode Island. The idea that a final culmination of all aspects of their education can be used to showcase the skills learned and test their perseverance to complete a given project excites all engineers. As a team we are exceedingly grateful for this experience and for our placement together especially regarding the trying times all teams endured this year. We believe Dr. Sunak placed us all together based on our interest in this specific project, but also because of our different skills and those we have in common. This dynamic setup allows for a variety of learning opportunities based in the differing viewpoints that come from each of our backgrounds. Together we worked through many disagreements and issues that arise from the project over the course of this past year that ultimately strengthened our relationships. Getting to work as part of a team to accomplish a goal was challenging but offered an opportunity to experience what working on a project engineering team entails.
Speaking in terms of the “real world,” we believe that this project prepared us to face all aspects of the careers we are about to pursue. We understand that there is a lot we still have to learn from where we decide to go with our degrees, but a lot can be said about what we have learned thus far. First and most importantly we must look at the aspect of working as a team. Working with a team of new people is always challenging as you must learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses and then learn to use all these together to create a final product that is not only acceptable to those receiving it, but also to the team presenting it. We learned a lot about each other and also a lot about what each of us was capable of and that proved most useful to giving a final product that we are all proud of. The next aspect to look at was our invaluable technical directors. We understand that in the future there may still be managers who function as a technical director, but not all will be nearly as helpful and understanding as ours were. Our directors gave us a lot of freedom in designing a solution based around the enclosure, the electrical setup, and the software used to develop our solution. With this freedom there were also a few materials that we were required to use including the i.MX6, the Radiolynx chip, and the Buildroot system. The Buildroot system was a major source of where our discussions focused as we were able to look elsewhere when solutions were not working in our favor, but ultimately we came to appreciate the decision and hope it will be useful in our future endeavors. It was amazing to have directors that valued our input and allowed open discussions for things we may or may not agree with and also for changes we think may have helped the final product. All in all, we believe these experiences will prove to be extremely valuable in our future careers and we are readily prepared to enter the real world.
Our passions as a team flourished with the deliverables expected of us. We all had a great deal of interest in embedded systems and linux development platforms which allowed for a project that never became boring. From these deliverables we learned that patience and input from anywhere can be the most important thing in working on a given project. Many times we encountered roadblocks that stopped us from working toward our ABO and these required taking a step back and working on different deliverables or just taking the night off. These moments away gave way into free thinking that often brought about new ideas or solutions to a problem we could not overcome. For example, in completing the boot process of the i.MX6, the process we completed was extremely specific and only worked that certain way, but finding this solution took many weeks of troubleshooting and it was not until one of our members was doing outside research that we saw the issue in the file-system composition. It was these moments that we think became most important to learning that not everything can be completed at once or even smoothly. In terms of technical skills, we all learned a lot about how touchy and difficult embedded systems can be to work with, but we now have a lot of knowledge that can be used in future applications to find a solution quicker than before.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were forced to find new ways of working together and also how to work with directors that were a thousand miles away. Most importantly we learned that working together does not always have to be in the same room or even at the same time. Although we had scheduled meeting times on Tuesdays and Fridays, we all worked on separate sections outside of these times both together and apart. It was also helpful to understand how much the outside world can influence the goals and time constraints set for a project. If we had more time, we certainly could have completed all ABO milestones, but that is also saying that if COVID-19 never happened, we also could have completed all ABO milestones.
For the incoming student’s class 2021-2022, we hope that you will not have to deal with the same regulations and restrictions we had to. Although we were grateful to still have the opportunity to work on these projects, we can see how much more beneficial it would have been to work without covid restrictions and constant quarantines. In more technical terms, take every step of the way as an opportunity to learn something new. Each of us learned a lot about embedded systems and Linux, but we also learned a lot about working as a team and contributing to the final product. The journey may not always look like the end goal, but every piece is just as important as the one before and the one after. We hope you take every step in stride and enjoy the experience as much as we did. Thank you to all of our Technical Directors, Dr. Sunak, and Jack Murphy for all of their guidance and help throughout the process and also for the reminders to keep focused and finish on time.
As senior engineering students, our time at the University of Rhode Island is coming to an end. Looking back on our four years at URI, the ELECOMP Capstone experience is one that is unforgettable. Over the course of the past 9 months, we faced many challenges within our project that tested our will and problem-solving skills. This project gave us a taste of how the real world works and allowed us to work for a company that has a need to fill. Being put on the Phoenix Electric Corp team is something that we are all grateful for, as the three of us work together great and stay motivated through the encouragement we give each other. The largest lesson we have taken away from the ELECOMP capstone project is how to recover from failure. There were many times that we had setbacks that we had to adapt and overcome.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design was an amazing program that left us with great research and development experience. As part of our curriculum it seemed a little daunting when we first started out; but with the help of our capstone director, Dr.Sunak, we were all able to find a project where we all fit in well. Our project provided us with great real-world experience of problem solving and finding creative solutions that will forever stick with us. It is very much a place where you get out what you put in, and tackling your work with passion and enthusiasm is the best path to success. ELECOMP Capstone gives URI graduates a strong head start into the professional world with early exposure to business meetings (both in-person and virtual), work distribution, working within a team, deadlines, and deliverables. Although the weekly assignments and updates did seem a little annoying, we know we are well prepared for our professional careers ahead. If we were to say one thing to next year’s capstone designers is to keep pushing hard and keep doing what motivates you. Always do things that you are most passionate about and fortune will follow.
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about my year as a part of a capstone team is ‘you get out what you put in’. Our project started out as an extension to a summer internship that I, Seth, was a part of but wasn’t able to complete by the end of summer before my senior year. After talking to Dr. Sunak and a couple of people at the NSF, I was able to secure my summer internship as a capstone project. I could not have been more proud of myself when Dr. Sunak accepted my proposal, again ‘You get what you give’. After months of toiling on code, many dead ends, many more hours wisely wasted on more dead ends, many trips to the beach with a drone to realize that we forgot a battery or it was too windy to fly, many days of no motivation followed by weeks of everything working in our favor, I can say that the best thing I learnt from capstone is that I know what motivates me and how I learn best. Although we did learn valuable lessons about working with technical directors, research, time management and hard work, the most important takeaway from capstone is to do something that interests you and inspires you, naturally hard work will follow.
The aspiration of every up-and-coming engineer is to make a meaningful impact and contribution in their field of study. Every engineer reflects and relies on the skills they have acquired throughout their studies to assist them in tackling whatever challenge is placed in their immediate direction. The ELECOMP Senior Capstone Design Project presented the opportunity for every engineer involved to tackle a present issue that local companies have been challenged with and to work towards a resolution that would be to the benefit of both the company and engineers alike. In its entirety, this experience has been truly eye opening as our team was able to expand upon the skill sets that we have built throughout our academic careers and transition them into a “real world” setting. Unlike any of our core courses, Capstone presented us with the chance to progress not just academically but professionally as well. Dr. Sunak took decisive consideration when pairing students with their intended projects, evaluating each candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, and personal preferences to determine which project each student seemed best fit to complete. This allowed each student to work within groups of their peers that they may not have had the chance to work with throughout their time at the university and would be able to bounce ideas to and from each other for the anticipated best outcome. Granted, as with each project, a grace period is necessary for each team member to adjust to their new responsibilities, knowing what will be asked for them to complete during this time.
For our team, there were many challenges we had to overcome. Being our project was primarily programming based, much of the challenges we faced dealt with common programming struggles. What helped us achieve our goals along the way was the guidance of our Technical Directors who have faced similar situations as us and the articles and reference guides found on the MathWorks website and in “the Rust Book” to steer us closer to the necessary steps to overcome these struggles.
Our Technical Directors presented us with considerable guidance, technically and professional, over the course of the last eight months. Through their experience, we were able to gain more knowledge in delivering results. Instead of being vague in our responsibilities and what we want to achieve, we were continuously reminded to break down our responsibilities into small, attainable goals. We would like to thank our Technical Directors for not only their guidance, but for giving us the freedom to explore all possibilities when it came to achieving our goals. Tom Santos and Al Gaines helped our team stay on the necessary and right path to reach our goals, advising us throughout what steps are normally taken in industry and how to apply that to our setting. Dana Brown was a key asset for the electrical engineering team, helping to understand certain MATLAB commands and functions. Dr. Noah Daniels and Najib Ishaq were great assets for the computer engineering team as it came to the configuration of a functioning Rust code.
This year has been truly unique as the COVID-19 Pandemic has been the main external force that every team has had to work around. Leading into this project, our team was already aware that communication would be the most important non-technical skill needed to succeed. This year, however, would be different as every meeting would be conducted through video conferencing. A bright spot in this scenario would be that it allowed our team to enhance our presentation skills when delivering valuable information between ourselves and our Technical Directors. Depending on the duration of the pandemic, our advice for the incoming Capstone class of 2021-2022 is to have patience and persevere. Many times the project will not be going in your favor, and in these times it is helpful to take a second to step back and access the situation. Only from there will your team be able to progress.
Thank you once again to our Technical Directors, Tom Santos, Noah Daniels, Al Gaines, Dana Brown, and Najib Ishaq for their aid and guidance throughout this year, as well as Dr. Sunak for this enriching experience.
The Senior Capstone design project has given us a great opportunity and insight of what we will be expected to do in the outside world after graduating. Transitioning us students into jobs and positions that will be expected of us. With using all the knowledge that was gained throughout the past three years of class and producing an outcome. Our team consists of a computer engineer along with an electrical engineer. Putting both of our minds together to complete what was asked of us. The past year was a combination of research, hardware, and software design. We would like to thank Dr. Sunak, Director of Programs, for the opportunity to work with him, along with the time he committed to ensure our success within our project. We would also like to thank our Technical Director, Thomas Santos, Chuck Angell, Akintoye Onikoyi, and Ken Hartlaub for hiding us throughout the year.
The ELECOMP Capstone Program was an invaluable experience during our time at the University of Rhode Island. We were pushed to apply our skills in practical, industry applications, acquire new skills, and keep up with firm deadlines. As a result of all this, we became more well-rounded engineers and discovered where our passions lie. This would not have been possible without the program director, Dr. Harish Sunak. He worked tirelessly to organize the ELECOMP program with a variety of company sponsors and carefully placed each senior into fitting teams. The interdisciplinary teams helped us collaborate and learn from each other and truly prepared us for our future endeavors.
We would like to sincerely thank our technical directors, Richard Arthur and Peter Jones, and our consulting technical director, Mike Smith. Without their guidance and mentorship, the project would not have been possible. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute our own ideas to this project.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program is the heart of URI’s Engineering Program. It was clear that being able to partake in the program was going to be a challenge during the pandemic. Essentially the whole premise of Capstone is to teach us the meaning of cooperation and what it is like to work in an engineering environment. Being able to work in Supfina provided great insight on everything as we saw how much team effort required. It was exhilarating being able to work amongst each other and some of the employees at Supfina.
Over the course of the semester, the team worked hard on our project. We would always collaborate our ideas during and out of meetings. Whenever the group would get stuck on certain roadblocks, our technical directors were always willing to provide the assistance that we needed. What we mostly learned was that nearly all technology that was created was not from scratch. Engineers never start from the beginning and work on improving the machinery already made.
Overall, being able to take part in the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program during a pandemic was a captivating experience. We are more than grateful to be able to participate in the program.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design program provides an invaluable learning experience and is a cornerstone of the Electrical and Computer Engineering degree program at URI. The selection process employed by Dr. Sunak is very thorough and succeeds in bringing together the right combination of students to achieve the anticipated outcome of each individual project. Although we all take a variety of the same classes together, everyone has their own strengths, weaknesses, and perspectives that allow for a successful collaboration on an engineering problem.
Working together with technical directors and learning from their engineering experience was an introduction to the field of engineering that some of us had never been a part of before. Aside from the technical aspects of the project that involved independent research, we were also able to gain insight into the design process that none of us were familiar with. Having the motivation for a product, envisioning what that product would look like, and then bringing it to fruition was more valuable than any homework or lab problem from previous classes. Dealing with the economic impact of the project and taking into consideration the cost benefit of certain components over others was a new and valuable concept for us.
Weekly meetings and collaborating remotely was a new challenge specific to the circumstances of Covid-19 that was especially challenging and needed adjusting to. Being able to cope with the new environment and adjust accordingly was something the entire world has had to do, and we were able to show that it could be done at an academic level. Not ever having met in person with our technical directors yet still achieving all that we did to finish this project was an accomplishment in and of itself.
After learning the basic fundamentals of engineering and acquiring the necessary skill sets, the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills that they have been working hard for in the past few years to real work applications. One can always read and absorb information, however without applying that knowledge to real life applications, one will never be able to truly understand the topic at hand. The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program prepares its students for their future careers by providing them with the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom to complex projects that are not available elsewhere. Through this program, students will understand the importance of working together as a team and the importance of teamwork in the workplace. Students will encounter problems that they have never seen before and learn to overcome them. After completing the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program, students should expect an increase in technical skills, teamwork, leadership skills, organization, time management, problem solving, and communication skills. With this year’s Capstone program being online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, students also learned how to adapt to different work environments whether it’s virtually or in-person. The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program is a program like no other as not many institutions can provide their engineering students with the opportunity to participate in a program such as this. We would like to thank Dr. Sunak, the director of the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program, for organizing this program and providing us with all of the projects and resources. We would also like to thank Taco Comfort Solutions and our Technical Directors, Philip Manning and Nick Costello, for providing us with the project in addition to all of the help, mentoring, and resources that were needed in order to complete our project.
We are grateful to be given this opportunity at the University of Rhode Island. This is an extremely beneficial program for the students and the companies involved. The knowledge and skills gained while working for the ICRL on the Mini-Drone project will translate incredibly in the real word while we are pursuing our dream careers. We believe that this is an essential program for all college students so they are pushed out of their comfort zones and grow as engineers. Thank you to Dr. Sunak for facilitating such a great program, and to our technical director Dr. Stegagno for the exceptional guidance throughout the process.
Capstone isn’t simply a course you take senior year, it’s a technical bootcamp preparing you for entering the world as an engineer. You are assigned a project which at first feels impossibly complex and daunting and you will be amazed at how quickly you grow to understand and apply the knowledge you have gained the past 3 years. Capstone is a challenge, but it will be one of the most rewarding experiences you have at URI.
Capstone is an extremely challenging course. It has helped me grow familiar with the field of robotics. I have fallen in love with this type of material. Overall this has exceeded my expectations in the way that it is supposed to prepare students for the real world as an engineer. I am extremely grateful to be matched up with two great teammates, and an incredibly intelligent technical director. Capstone is one of the memorable experiences I have had at URI.
Jacob St. Germain:
This course allowed me to grow as a person, and also an emerging engineer. Although we didn’t fully complete our ABO, we still were able to learn an immense amount of knowledge on how a professional project such as this one goes from start to finish. This entire experience working in the robotics lab has helped me realize that one cannot obtain all of the needed skills to be a master in this field in just one year. Without the help from my two amazing teammates and also our wonderful TD, I would’ve learned much less about what it is to be an engineering student at URI. Thank you for everything.
Senior Capstone has been an invaluable experience which has allowed us to apply our learning outside a classroom setting for the first time. This precious opportunity was only available to us due to the tireless work of Dr. Sunak. He did an admirable job of finding enough Capstone projects for our large class in spite of the disruption of the pandemic. We were sorted into projects which best captured our specific passions, and added to interdisciplinary teams. These teams allow us to cover for each other’s weaknesses and collaborate to create something impossible for the individual. Our technical director Professor Stegagno was a vital resource in the completion of our project, our project would not have been possible without his understanding and support. His passion for robotics motivated us to strive to do our best.The strict guidelines for deliverables helped give us a sense of the expectations required of us in the real world. Covid restrictions did not allow for much face to face communication, so we had to adapt to this, and gained the skills to work effectively without in person communication. The Capstone project has been one of the highlights of our academic careers.
A. Throughout this academic year this project has given us a wealth of knowledge and experience in the professional field of engineering of which we thank both the URI ELECOMP Capstone program and its director, Professor Sunak. We were able to be placed into a project which we had personal interest in and paired with team members that shared our passion and enthusiasm for Capstone as a whole. The Technical Directors assigned to our project were professional, knowledgeable and excellent teachers for the trials and problems encountered throughout the duration of the project. Questions were well received, and they fostered an environment for creative and intuitive thinking. During the project, important skills in communication and teamwork as well as workload allocation enabled us to grow as a team as well as individual professionals. Frequent updates and reports to our technical directors showed us the importance of staying on track with project road maps and deadlines, enabling us to better allocate our time towards the project. Overall, this project helped us develop not only as engineers ready to enter the professional world, but as individuals as well.
Our sincere thanks go to our Technical Directors Al Binder, and Nathan Shake, as well as Professor Sunak for this fantastic program, as well as encouraging us to apply ourselves and grow as engineers.
ELECOMP Capstone is a class truly befitting the name. At its spearhead is Doctor Sunack whose passion for the quality of work created by the students sets a high bar for the seniors of the Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering disciplines at URI. Professor Sunack worked tirelessly to round up the best companies in New England to provide the students with their toughest challenge yet. Our project, provided by XMOS allowed us our best experience to see and work with professionals in the field we would be going into. Working with their hardware allowed us the opportunity to get a sense of how a professional company which develops hardware components. Working with their software allowed us to learn about the complexities that enable modern day programs to operate. Both members of this team feel that we have learned a tremendous amount of practical knowledge that can be missing from a lot of single semester classes which are limited in the scope of their homework and project assignments. Prior to this the largest assignments that could be expected would be utilized in place of final projects and were limited to the knowledge that the students had learned within the class. Capstone breaks the mold by encouraging students to work hard at their project during each semester and even over winter break.
We extend our thanks to the ELECOMP CAPSTONE organization for making it possible to be part of this well put together program. In the beginning, it was a very unpredictable event with no trail or clue of which people you would partner up with. This makes it even more special because life is full of surprises. Next, you get to meet the people of your team and wonder if you all correctly match or question whether the team is right for you or not. The realness of life unravels itself before you. You meet them then realize that you are all humans and have been brought together to accomplish one goal, making the project work. Our team feels much more prepared to work in a real-life engineering environment after 8 months of experience. Our understanding of the project was clearer as we proceeded with it, and we are confident now to tackle any project. Some key technical skills we learned from this project were critical thinking, prototype design, design with embedded systems, and how to work as an engineering team to accomplish a goal. Through Covid-19, we gained skills on how to work as a team remotely, and how to communicate effectively while at home. Advice that we would give future classes would be to get a head start and do your research early, as there will be unexpected problems that can halt your success later on. Team Zebra cherishes the friendships that have been created with our group mates and the quality of work that we have achieved at the end of the program. A special thanks goes out to Matthew Corvese, Alex DePetrillo, Patrick Hegarty, Professor Mike Smith, Professor Harish Sunak, and Jack Murphy for making this possible and giving the best opportunity for Team Zebra to succeed.
The true value of the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program is not apparent at first glance. Everyone enters the program with an open-mind and determination; however, we could have never imagined that Capstone would provide such an intensive, character building experience. As our project comes to a close, our team reminisces about our year-long experience. From biweekly meetings with Technical Directors to long nights in the FCAE, the program provides a unique motivation to students: the satisfaction of completing a challenging real-world engineering project. In this regard, the program is an unparalleled creation that all came to fruition under the guidance of our Program Director, Dr. Harish Sunak.
The passion and devotion that is put forth by Dr. Sunak is the driving motivation that pushes the program to exceed its own limitations. This passion guides students to achieve that same potential on their sponsoring company projects. This allows us to apply classroom knowledge to accomplish tasks that professional engineers deal with in their daily routine. From recording project details in a Logbook to working alongside our colleagues to accomplish a project’s anticipated best outcome, ELECOMP Capstone gives us aspiring engineers a taste of a professional engineering career. The system in place allows for exceptional growth of time management capabilities. It’s unfathomable how much work can be completed across the fall and spring semesters through effective communication and developing a rich team dynamic.
Acumentrics had presented two distinct projects, one of which was our very own Team FaultLine. This project accounted for the largest group of five students amongst the proposed sixteen projects this academic year. Despite the size, we quickly realized that effective communication was crucial to achieving success. Each of our individual thought processes played a vital part in the outcome we obtained. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, our combined efforts were tested even further. It obstructed the amount of physical interaction in the second half of the spring semester, which was critical for working on our project. Although this situation was unprecedented, it pushed the FaultLine team to adapt and pull together so that we can produce an outcome that we could be satisfied with.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program has proven to be extremely constructive and valuable in understanding what lies beyond the boundaries of our academic careers. The amount of time that is put into developing such a prestigious program is unthinkable, and our team would like to sincerely thank Dr. Sunak for all his dedication and conscientious work towards creating a world-renown program. For providing our team with a challenging and admirable project, we would also like to thank our sponsoring company, Acumentrics Inc., and also for providing our team with the resources and advice to achieve our objective. Our Technical Director, Brenden Smerbeck, was also a great mentor and provided crucial guidance in times of uncertainty. Lastly, we would also like to thank Najib Ishaq for his immense knowledge and aid with the computer engineers throughout the project. The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program is an unforgettable and beneficial investment that will continue to provoke generations of students to realize their passion and true potential.
Our ELECOMP Capstone project was a huge success and we could not have done it without the guidance of Professor Sunak and our technical director Brenden Smerbeck. By committing a minimum of 15 hours a week to a single project, a lot of work was able to get done. Throughout the year it was easy to see that with a passionate, hardworking team, anything is possible. We learned to communicate effectively and accomplish tasks as a group, technical writing skills through weekly reports, how to maintain a logbook with all technical accomplishments and data, and many other skills that are essential to becoming professional engineers. Dr. Sunak and Brenden were always supportive and helped motivate each team towards reaching their Anticipated Best Outcome. We gained experience working with a large variety of technical equipment and software applications, as well as working with skillful engineers at Acumentrics. Being able to travel to the site of our sponsoring company helped give us insight and allowed us to see the difference our project would make for the company. ELECOMP Capstone is truly one of the highlights of senior year and is a class to look forward to as an electrical engineer. Besides the valuable technical skills gained, we also were able to grow closer as the class of 2020 Electrical Engineers. Thank you Professor Sunak, Brenden, and the Acumentrics team for making our senior year a time that will always be remembered.
The ELECOMP Capstone program is one of the best experiences I have had at the University of Rhode Island. Working with a professional company on a real project is not something many students are lucky enough to be able to include on their resume. Although I have had internships prior, I developed a vast repertoire of skills throughout my senior year participating on this project team. I was able to practice my public speaking skills, advance my technical writing skills, and learn what aspects of electrical engineering I truly enjoy. ELECOMP Capstone is the time to use all of the knowledge gained in undergrad and become a true engineer before graduation and I am eternally grateful I had this opportunity.
All senior level Capstone classes should strive to be as great as the ELECOMP Capstone program we have had the pleasure to be a part of. It gives students the opportunity to gain real world experience, in real world working environments, under the mentorship of the TD’s and help of those present at the respective companies that have graced us with mind stimulating projects. As a student who did not have the opportunity to participate in a direct internship, I was able to take away much from this course. The ELECOMP Capstone program truly puts students to the test by allowing them the chance to apply all their learned knowledge. I am looking forward to taking these skills and experience into my future career and will not forget what an advantage this was.
I had an amazing experience taking ELE 480 and 481 with Professor Sunak. He did a great job assigning each group into a project that each student felt most passionate about. He let us pick the top 7 projects that most interested us and I got my first choice. Capstone helped me grow as an Electrical Engineer by teaching me how to do written reports, work effectively in groups, and orally present technical work that we have worked on for several months. Working with Acumentrics was a great experience as well. Our capstone director Brenden Smerbeck was very helpful with all of the problems we faced and made this project very fun to work on. He challenged us with many problems and gave us the correct guidance/materials to help us solve all these problems. He welcomed us into Acumentrics by showing us around and making us feel very comfortable. He also introduced us to the head Engineer and CEO which was a very surreal experience. Professor Sunak brought the class of 2020 Electrical Engineers all together every Tuesday night where we would eat dinner and talk to each other about our projects and schoolwork. Although our year ended early from COVID-19, I was still able to accomplish our goals and finish our project. This era taught me that in order to succeed in life, you must be able to adapt even in the harshest of times. My advice for incoming seniors would be to make sure you keep your logbook updated and to make capstone and school a main priority. Professor Sunak and Brenden surely made my senior year an extremely memorable one and it wouldn’t have happened without them.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design program is a great opportunity to explore a variety of different industries in the Computer and Electrical Engineering fields and gain invaluable practical experience. This past year, we have had the privilege of working with Analogic Corporation to develop a software package that has the capability to model the AG700 gradient amplifier, which will eventually supplement the MRI systems in which it is being used. We are grateful that we were able to take part in the product development lifecycle, and help contribute to the planning, designing, research and development, testing, and debugging of the software. At each step of the way, we had to consider time constraints and tradeoffs, user convenience, competitor initiatives, and best practices. This program is rigorous and challenging, but it is exactly these challenges which contributed so greatly to our professional and personal growth as incoming engineers. The Capstone process has translated directly into skills that have helped us find employment post-graduation and will undoubtedly continue to have an enriching impact on our careers. This project would not have been possible without the support from our Director, Technical Directors and Consulting Technical Directors. Each week, the insight and advice given by Jeremy Peacock was useful and encouraging to the team, and we truly appreciate his efforts and dedication to his role. In addition, our Technical Directors from Analogic – Phil Houle, Tim Prouty, and Ye Zhao – have been extremely supportive through this process, dedicating extra time and resources from their schedules to supplement our learning. We are thankful that Capstone has provided us the opportunity to work with such professionals in this industry. Finally, we applaud Director Harish Sunak, whose determination and passion has led to the development of this entire program. He takes the time to accumulate a variety of different Capstone projects, and to truly understand the unique skill sets of each designer. It is through his painstaking work, and keen ability to match students to projects that match their interests, that has ultimately built this program into such the success it is today.
As a team, we are grateful for the mere existence of this program. Having the opportunity to work with a real company on a project that matters is an invaluable experience to have as an undergrad. Dr. Sunak has done an amazing job of creating a program involving so many great outside companies that provide worthwhile projects for senior electrical and computer engineering students. Also, it goes without saying that we couldn’t have done very much of this project at all without the help and guidance of our three technical directors. They fielded so many questions and remotely debugged so many lines of code with us throughout this project, while also having the rest of their jobs to attend to. Mentorship like this is something that is not included in an undergraduate engineering education, and not often included in some internships.
Lastly, we would like to recognize the community that this program creates. Dr. Sunak, Jack, the consulting TDs, and the entire class in the capstone room on Tuesday nights really were a highlight of this project. It was of great comfort to know that even if a part of our project was challenging, there were a dozen other teams that we’re working through their own issues with the proper support and guidance behind them to get the job done. We as a class went into this year as a relatively connected senior class, but we feel that this was just amplified by our experiences together in Capstone.
I have really learned a lot throughout the capstone process this past school year. Having the opportunity to be a part of an interdisciplinary team working on a real project has helped me develop new skills and refine others. Our technical directors were so great in guiding us along while also helping us to learn in the process. Participating in our weekly check in meetings with our TDs, both before the Spring semester was moved online and after have allowed me to catch a glimpse of what working on an engineering team is like. One of the most enjoyable parts of this project for me was knowing how great of a support system I had behind me through this program. Dr. Sunak does such a great job of managing so many different ever-changing factors in this program. Of the many things he does he works hard to obtain sponsors, place orders, and refine
presentations, all while always thinking on how to improve the program for capstone designers for years to come. Our particular consulting technical director Mike Smith provided us with a great resource during Tuesday nights to ask technical questions of and bounce ideas off of. I would advise incoming students to stay attentive and work hard on these projects. There is so much to gain from working in an environment like this. The things you learn from this project will likely be about yourself and how you work best and what you enjoy working on. These are all extremely valuable if you can learn them before taking a permanent job.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program is an essential part of the URI Computer and Electrical Engineering curriculum because of how different it is to other work done in a strictly academic setting. ELECOMP Capstone is a very real-world experience with an outside company, incredibly useful for anyone who has not had an internship or other substantial technical experience. It is very much a place where you get out what you take in, and tackling your work with passion and enthusiasm is the best path to success. ELECOMP Capstone gives URI graduates a strong head start into the professional world with early exposure to business meetings, work distribution, deadlines, and deliverables. We would also like to thank Dr. Sunak for the work put in to make the Capstone Design program such a success. The sponsors for these projects are drawn to his passion for the program and this brings huge benefits to those given the opportunity to work on these projects.
What differentiates our capstone program from the other engineering capstone programs is that we are given a taste of the workforce by working on a project for an actual company. Our technical director, Patrick Byrne of FM Approvals, gave us a fantastic freedom of design while maintaining a sense of guidance. Any questions we had would be immediately answered with no shortage of explanation. He truly treated us as professionals, and we could not thank him enough for that.Despite never meeting with each other before Capstone, the team never skipped a beat when communicating our design ideas and concerns. Rather than randomly selecting students out of the proverbial hat, Dr. Sunak had each student create a profile far before the school year had even begun. He carefully surveyed the list of students and spent an entire weekend grouping the students together into the most productive teams he could imagine. Needless to say, he did a mighty fine job. The fashion in which Dr. Sunak had tailored his students into professionals is something a student’s parents would marvel at when accompanying a campus tour. Dr. Sunak’s passion for the program is unparalleled and team “J A cubed” could not thank him enough for leading by example.
Senior Capstone project has been an amazing experience. Not only do we have the opportunity to apply the knowledge we learn in class in practical use, but we also work under the tutelage of industry professionals. It is a rare experience that engineering students rarely have outside of the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program. Our capstone team consisted of members from multidisciplinary engineering backgrounds, including one electrical, one computer and two systems engineer. Throughout the Fall and Spring semesters, our team has worked through the entire cycle of the project design process, including researching, consulting with technical directors, project cost-analysis, finalizing the design, and achieving individual deliverables. All of which, to some extent, resembles the challenges that we will face in the job environment, and this experience is valuable, perhaps priceless for undergraduate engineering students because it distinguishes us from many new graduates in job interviews. In the end, we would especially like to thank Dr. Sunak, Director of the Program, for the time that he devoted to this program, and the tremendous amount of effort that he put in for both semesters to make sure, that we succeed in our senior year. And, we would like to thank our Technical Directors, Jonathan O’Hare and Dr. Sodhi, for all the help and guidance with this project.
Where we stand right now – near the conclusion of our project – we are happy to report that the ELECOMP Capstone Design program has been an incredibly enriching experience to our team as a whole. The implications on our careers by providing real-world experience with an industry leader in their field has been a luxury that cannot be overstated. We are grateful to our technical directors; Robert Corvese and Raymond Leland, as well as the rest of the team at IGT who has helped us along the way. We would also like to thank Dr. Sunak for connecting us with IGT. Dr. Sunak has set up the program to function as a bridge between the educational world we experience at the University, and the real-world we will be in post-graduation. By working hard to connect the program with impressive sponsors he has given every group in the capstone program, not just ours, an opportunity that is unparalleled in value at the undergraduate level. The TouchPoint Companions – Modeling Digital Twins project has given us a chance to lay the foundation for something that further down the road could be used to have a significant impact on their bottom-line operations as a company. Working on something like that feels meaningful as you hope that the time put in will be put to good use. While at IGT we were given tours of their large facility in areas including engineering, software development, and device repair. Throughout these experiences we gained valuable insight into how to better go about completing our project, but also how a company function within itself. In addition, Robert and Raymond connected us with many of the experts within their company that were able to help us with the project. Overall, we are grateful for the experience and look forward to applying the skills we learned out in the real-world.
Uncertainty is a monster we all have to overcome sometime in our lives. It is something that can come out of nowhere and send the future into turmoil. Our Senior Capstone Design project faced much uncertainty, whether from a change in direction halfway through the year, or a global pandemic causing our academic semester to change how we learn. Each time our team faced uncertain futures for our project, we knew that we weren’t alone. With the help of our technical director, Dr. Michael Mielke, and the passionate leadership of our Capstone Program
Director, Professor Harish Sunak, we were able to adjust and learn something that isn’t taught in lecture or lab: nothing is certain. While in class, there is almost always an answer or a solution, but in industry, that isn’t always the case. Engineers need to be adaptable and willing to change a viewpoint or mindset to provide a reasonable solution to a problem. We would like to extend our gratitude to Dr. Michael Mielke and the Iradion staff for their support during this past academic year. Without them, we would not have a Capstone project. Without them, we would not have been able to learn how to be effective engineers outside an academic setting. We are grateful for this experience, through all bumps in the journey.
We would also like to extend our gratitude to Professor Harish Sunak for everything he does to make this Capstone program one of the best in the country. Professor Sunak is extremely passionate about this program, and dedicates much of his time and energy for each project and each student so that they all reach their full potential. He strives to provide the best opportunities for the Capstone designers by seeking excellent companies to sponsor the Capstone projects, and by carefully assigning each designer to their project based on each designer’s top three choices. This way, each designer can explore and grow as an engineer while doing meaningful work alongside an existing company.
The ELECOMP Capstone Program provided us with an amazing opportunity to apply and develop the skills we have acquired throughout our undergraduate education at the University of Rhode Island. This is accomplished through the Program Director, Dr. Harish Sunak’s careful selection of projects that are sponsored by companies and the assignment of students to those projects. Our selection to Team ON Semiconductor was the result of our interests and passions along with our experiences in engineering. Through this, a solid foundation for the project was established which allowed us to take the steps to successfully complete it. With the experience of Capstone, we have the necessary background to begin a successful career in engineering.
ELECOMP Capstone provided me with a chance to develop and refine important engineering skills. Skills such as technical knowledge, technical writing, and strong communication. Going into Capstone, I expected this to happen. Dr. Sunak has run a great program since he began doing the program, and that has been well documented. What I did not expect to get out of Capstone was the development of leadership skills. Capstone provided me the opportunity to work with a team of outstanding students. Through my experiences with them and the program, I learned how to fairly divide work and maintain a project schedule. I feel that with the experience I had this past year that I could successfully manage an engineering project. I owe that to the Capstone Program and my team members.
The ELECOMP capstone program is like no other class or program at URI. The structure of working with a real-world engineering company allows us to apply our skills we have learned at college over the past 4 years. What we as a team liked most about capstone project was the technical freedom of our project. We were faced with the challenge of making a prototype device that had to meet certain specifications within certain constraints. However even with these constraints there were millions of ways that we could work towards achieving our Anticipated Best Outcome. While many projects have great technical freedom, Capstone is still rigorous with deadlines and expectations. Once you have been placed in a project get ready to hit the ground running, with weekly updates, meetings with your company, and technical progress. This environment is much like working in the real world.
A special thanks to Dr. Sunak who took the time and effort to reach out to these companies and persuade them to work with us. As well as taking the time to analyze our skills and place us on a project that is best fit for us and our teammates.
Rarely in life is one presented with an opportunity to better themselves to the degree that the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program provides. Students exit perhaps the hardest academic year of their lives to become seniors, having been tested to the extremes, and having recently been given most of the tools one would possess as a bachelored engineer. The final step in their education is for an institution to use these tools, as well as any real-world experience they may have acquired, to shape these young and bright students into the powerhouses the world will expect to drive technology into the modern era. This is assuredly a daunting task for any institution to handle, understanding that this period must be handled with both criticism and inspiration. One must be driven to make choices that will soon be expected of them, both receiving the support and inspiration to take chances and explore, while being checked on their decisions, and receiving comprehensive feedback as to how well these decisions worked out. The right balance here is critical and has the potential to produce the finest of engineers.
The University of Rhode Island has tasked Professor Dr. Harish R.D. Sunak with creating such a program, and together with his staff of Consulting Technical Directors, the support of the University and their Capstone Design Sponsors, and his raw unadulterated passion for the craft, has managed to not just create such a program but refine and perfect it. The excellence in the program though truly lies not in what it requires, but what it offers. Who we become in the end is truly the sum of our choices, and it is those choices which define whether we will either be just okay, or excellent. Such opportunities which breed excellence are few and far between in this world, but those who bite in and decide to truly take advantage of what is offered to them are the ones who will go on to be truly great. The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program is and has been, without a doubt, one of the strongest opportunities of this kind in our lives.
The ELECOMP Capstone design Project was an amazing experience which taught us several life lessons and gave us experience with industry. Throughout our senior year we were challenged to adapt and overcome several hurdles with several solutions. With the guidance from our technical directors, supporting technical directors and Professor Sunak we were able to overcome and excel. We learned how to create schedules and outlines and report on our progress in an efficient and consistent manner. We had to function at a high level as a team, not just individuals. We pushed each other to communicate and solve problems that required multiple members if not the whole team. These were just a few of the many ways we were challenged as a team that were similar to industry standards. It was apparent from the beginning what we were working on had several positive implications for our company. Our research and findings would have economic benefits, save money, time and reduce waste. This program has prepared us for industry and having a project in which we are proud of and can show off to future employers is invaluable.
The project was very fun to work on. As a team we enjoyed the project because at the beginning we all chose to work with Teknor Apex for one reason or another. Walking the factory floor and learning how plastic extruders work was interesting. Then researching and developing new control loops which are still under development was exciting yet difficult. Being hands on and creating a test bench with a single zone of an extruder provided to us by Teknor Apex was enjoyable as well.
We would also like to thank Professor Sunak the director for all his hard work. He was always there to help us with whatever we needed and when we were struggling, he would nudge us in the right direction. His outlines guided us for our reports subsequently making it the most professional document any of us have ever written. His passion is unparalleled and without his leadership and dedication to this program none of what we accomplished would be possible.
Professor Sunak takes the placement of each senior into a project very seriously. He carefully and thoroughly finds out your passion and strengths/ possible areas of improvement and selects a group you will be able to complete the desired task at hand with. For our group, we all mesh well together, and each have our areas of expertise. The project prepares us for the real world by throwing an abstract problem at us and requires us to come up with a well-designed solution. It proved to be helpful to work alongside team members to get feedback and bounce ideas off one another. We were able to each add our bits of advice and most of the time come up with clever solutions to any problems we encountered.
The deliverables during the project are akin to reports that a real-world company may require you to submit on a regular basis. It is great practice to make sure you can deliver necessary items when required. The COVID-19 Pandemic has drastically changed the way we go about everyday life. We were forced to adapt to online /virtual meeting methods. We have learned that together we can work to overcome adversity and achieve more despite the circumstances.
After participating in the URI ELECOMP Capstone program, we can firmly say that we have nothing but the utmost respect for the program, as well as the director, Professor Sunak. The Capstone program gave us invaluable experience that no normal course would be able to provide. By handpicking each team based on their skills and passion for the project, Professor Sunak gave us the ability to excel and reach 110% work ethic in order to make the most out of this program. We have made valuable connections; with both the teammates we were paired with as well as the Technical Directors we were fortunate enough to work with. We all learned valuable lessons about how to communicate effectively in order to work effectively. This skill translates even beyond work, as good communication is an invaluable skill to have in all situations. Together, we were able to adapt and overcome any situation or design challenge that came our way. We learned the importance of having a project management plan and being able to stick to that plan and stay consistent. We believe this program has set us up for success in the real world, as we have gained invaluable experience working with a company like Vicor. The knowledge passed down to us from our Technical Directors is unlike anything we could ever hope to receive from a normal course. Despite the amount of experience our Technical Directors have, they still allowed us the opportunity to give input into the project and express our creativity and design decisions. Our Technical Directors both guided us and were open to receiving our own input and questions during the design process, which ultimately made for a productive, collaborative and innovation-focused environment, which we will be better equipped for in our future endeavors. Not only did the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program teach us discipline and how to be comfortable with presenting complex ideas to a technologically diverse audience, but also flexibility, tolerance, openness, adaptability, how to face and deal with challenges whenever they arose, and above all, how to be a better leader.
Thank you again to our technical directors, Chris Sanzo, Andreas Ladas, and Al Binder, as well as Professor Sunak for this amazing program and opportunity.
When we began capstone in September, it was clear that the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program was going to have a significant impact on our undergraduate education. For students, the early stages of the program, where teams are selected can be overwhelming. However, Professor Sunak is skilled and thoughtful as he places each student in their group based on their strengths. Once the teams were selected, we quickly identified what knowledge from our undergraduate courses would help us in our project. We understood our project goals through research, and quickly refined our existing skills in accordance to our project.
Some of the best aspects of this program, that future students should look forward to, is the unwavering guidance from Technical Directors and continuous support from Professor Sunak.
Whenever we had a question, our Technical Director, Brenden Smerbeck, was always available to us. Brenden’s commitment to the capstone program in the past few years has made him an excellent resource for many of the problems that arise in a lot of the projects. His dedication to helping the students has been noted from not just our team, but the other teams he assists. In addition, Professor Sunak is one of the most attentive professors we have ever encountered. He is always organized, dependable, and paying attention to the status of each project. It really makes a difference to have a professor that cares about the students and their success.
Overall, the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program was a great experience and we are more than grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this program.
To say the least, ELECOMP Capstone was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to develop our knowledge on what’s to come in the future. From this program, we are well prepared and ready to enter the workforce. Much of this credit goes to the Technical Directors and Consultant Technical Directors. From a student’s perspective, much of the struggle felt was due to a lack of knowledge in the project area. But with research and time spent working, these lacking skills were honed and developed until the project’s responsibilities could be tackled with ease. Not only learning new skills, but how the workforce handles project situations and their environment. Knowing how the systems works, one can confidently manage their everyday life at work and the challenges presented. The pace set by Professor Sunak was ideal for facilitating learning, development, and achievement. At no point did we fall behind on other work. Rather, the project influenced us to work harder, achieve greater, and stay on track. This semester was one of the most productive of our academic careers. Professor Sunak’s guidance and passion for the Capstone Design Program is unrivaled and is the reason for the program’s success.
To be enrolled in the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program at URI takes serious dedication and hard work. Making it through the first three years of engineering and reaching that point is quite an accomplishment for any student, but the hard work and dedication doesn’t end there. It continues throughout this final year; from the beginning of the Fall semester, until the final presentation of your project. This program can be extremely challenging, and at times was very difficult to navigate through; due to the complexity and the areas of engineering that were new to our team. At the same time, it is extremely rewarding and personally satisfying to know that all of those long days, late nights, and weekends of work that was put in allowed our team to ultimately produce a product that is both functional and exceeds expectations in design.
Along the way, there were many times that we had issues with specific areas of our design that came up during the process. In some cases, there were issues that seemed beyond the scope of our knowledge. With the assistance and guidance from our Technical Directors we were fortunate enough to have the ability to experiment and engineer every facet of our project while utilizing all resources that were available to us. We were focused throughout the tenure of the project and from this entire process, we were able to gain real-world experience. While we also developed our skills, we were able to create exactly what we had envisioned from the beginning.
From the guidance and support of our Technical Directors and others from Bosch that influenced our project, we would like to thank Sarathy Palaykar, Jerry Huson, Mike Caneja, and Roger Boydstun. We appreciate the time that they set aside on a weekly basis for our team to be able to deliver the final product. The project would not have been such a success without them.
Our hard work is a testament to what our Capstone Director instills in everyone in this program. Our team would like to give our sincere thanks to Professor Harish Sunak. His support, as well as accommodating all of the ordered material for our project throughout the year, allowed our team to ultimately continue providing results and to a successful completion of our project.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program was the cumulating moment of our undergraduate careers. Through this experience, we have developed both technical skills as well as professional competencies. Working on the Bose “Personal Radar” project has been an honor and a privilege for our entire team. During both the fall and spring semesters, we learned about product development, time management, and documentation; all while gaining technical skills related to radar system design and object detection algorithms. We expect many of the skills we have learned to be invaluable during our future careers. We shall always remember fondly the time working on this project, striving to reach the best possible outcome.
Professor Sunak is instrumental in the success of this program. He tirelessly works to find new companies and projects which will challenge and inspire each electrical and computer engineering student. We hope that we can approach our future employment with as much passion and urgency as Professor Sunak shows for the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program.
There is no easy day in the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program. There is no instruction manual on how to achieve the Anticipated Best Outcome of the project, nor is there any guarantee of success. There is no solution guide to the problems you might face when working with cutting edge technology, and it may take days or even weeks to debug an issue.
At face value, those can be intimidating facts to face when starting on this journey. But as engineers about to enter the living and breathing industry of electrical and computer engineering, we truly believe there is absolutely no better way to prepare for the strikingly similar hardships we will face when get there. These are real-world problems, with real-world implications, that require real-world engineering. At the end of the day you are delivering a prototype, a feature, and even a full-fledged product for the company.
We have been challenged with scheduling meetings with our Technical Directors, generating documentation that is informative but concise, sticking to our project timeline and goals, and perhaps most importantly – asking for help when we need it. It is an incredibly valuable resource to have a direct line of communication with professional engineers who have 20+ years of experience in the field, and we certainly learned a lot from just asking for help on a topic we had never seen before.
We have taken a lot of pride in the work we have done, and we are extremely grateful to Professor Sunak for letting us make mistakes, challenging us to learn from them, and setting us up for success in the long run.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program has given us a great opportunity to learn and grow as engineers and people in the professional world. In many cases, it is hard to gain experience with internships and other learning experiences. With the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program created by Professor Sunak, it allowed students to gain experience that can help with securing jobs or go to the next level of graduate school. In our experience, we have made connections with many different people including PCB design experts as well as field application engineers. The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program has opened up our eyes to how the “real world” world is run. Having weekly meetings, documenting our progress, troubleshooting PCBs and code, running system analysis, and having open communication with our technical directors are just some skills that the program taught us.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program has expanded our passion for engineering. Before this year, being an engineer meant taking tests and learning theory. But after this program, we really know what drives us to become an engineer in industry. All of this would not have been possible without Professor Sunak’s hard work and determination. His passion for the Capstone Design Program really shows with the time he spends trying to make each project a success. This project could not have been done without tremendous help from our technical directors, Matthew Coolidge and Mike Smith. Matt was a huge help overall with getting to know the product, connecting us to field application engineers, and just overall knowledge in engineering. Mike was also an enormous help with teaching us how to design a PCB from scratch and to his overall knowledge of the engineering field. Overall, this experience has been incredible from the very beginning to the very end.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program is the perfect opportunity to apply the skills we have learned in an area we are passionate about without the heavy consequences that come from working at a company. We can gain a good understanding of the field related to the project and engage in learning beyond the scope of the classroom in order to meet the goals that are required of us. The most important thing we took away from our project is to work together and design a project capable of being modified and upgraded in the future so that work can continue regardless of whether the work is by us.
We would like to thank the program director, Professor Sunak for his tremendous work on the Capstone program and recruiting companies with innovative projects that allow the next generation of engineers to show their potential and do great work with industry-leading companies like General Dynamics Electric Boat.
We would also like to thank our Technical Directors Jefferson Wright, Yan Sun, and Brenden Smerbeck, who gave us the utmost support during the project and allowed us to see the project through to completion.
The ELECOMP Capstone experience is unique in that we get to work with a company tackling a project that their own engineers would be working on. Working with Hasbro has been an amazing experience. Our Technical Director Mr. James Brown was an amazing resource during this project and continuously guided the team towards our end goal.
Working on Team Hasbro has given me a great opportunity to work in a practical team on a fun project which sharpened all of our technical engineering skills. From the initial work and software scripts to the many revisions and edits, we constantly made improvements so the team could came together to make something pretty cool. Working with both hardware and software taught me a ton about integration and it was nice to work outside of my comfort zone learning about different hardware techniques. Seeing the model go through its iterations was another great component of the project because it highlighted the engineering process from draft to finished product over the course of two semesters. This has been an exciting and enjoyable project to work on and I can only hope to find work as interesting as this in the future.
The ELECOMP Capstone has broadened my skill set as an engineering student by exposing me to a technical project that was proposed by Hasbro. The freedom of this project allowed the team complete flexibility in regard to design and implementation. This gave us the ability to compare and contrast different methods and select the best that would suit our project. Mr. James Brown was a great Technical Director and help us through the process while giving us the leeway to try new ideas. This experience has given me extremely positive insight into the world of engineering. This unique opportunity of working for a company like Hasbro has given me a new perspective on what engineers can pursue as a career after graduation. Overall, this has been an extremely rewarding experience and am grateful for the opportunity.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program has been a very necessary growing experience for me. It allowed me the freedom to create, but also the structure to keep me focused. I was blessed with the best teammates that an engineering student could have. Mr. Brown, our Technical Director, was extremely insightful and helpful throughout the entirety of the project. Overall, the project was a unique experience that has given me more tools to be successful in the workplace.
Our experience in the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program at the University of Rhode Island was insightful and rewarding. The program allowed us to not only to take our existing knowledge from past courses and apply those concepts to a real-life application, but also challenged us to learn new concepts and skills to make our project a success. Our project specifically challenged us to design and construct a prototype completely from scratch, forcing us to learn new concepts around product development, machine learning, and software development that broadened our aggregate engineering knowledge. The capstone project not only strengthened our “book-knowledge”, but developed our underlying professional skills as well. We learned to communicate and plan effectively among ourselves and with our Technical Director, Robert Corvese. This line of communication was vital in solving problems that arose as the project was being designed and built. Along with Robert, our Consulting Technical Director Jeremy Peacock, was essential in helping us learn and understand various technical concepts as well as project management. These project management skills allowed us to remain on track with our project throughout the year and painted a clear picture of what needed to be done each week to reach our Best Anticipated Outcome.
We would also like to personally thank Professor Harish Sunak for mounting and directing this program. His passion and drive were an inspiration to all of our team members and each of us is grateful to have been given the tools not only to succeed, but to excel. The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program at the University of Rhode Island is an unmatched bridge between the academic and professional worlds and has not only given us the skills to succeed but the experience to make the most of our careers upon graduation.
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program that we have taken part in over the past two semesters has been one of truly invaluable experiences. There was so much to learn over the course of the program, and far more than simply technical aspects. We learned what it takes to be given a real industry problem or inefficiency and do whatever necessary to develop and implement a practical solution. Each problem we encountered throughout this process was unique and required a unique approach. This encouraged us to think outside the box and work effectively as a team to produce results. While the work was not easy, we were supplied with everything we needed to achieve our best possible outcome. It became evident as the project progressed, that the amount of work Professor Sunak had invested into this program was not to make our lives miserable; it may have seemed at times early on in the program. Rather, this program was precisely calculated to provide each and every capstone designer with the opportunity to gain incredible experience by simply adhering to the formula. The only required inputs were effort and passion. We are grateful for this opportunity and are undoubtedly better suited for all future work and challenges due to such a well-orchestrated program.
Every team member of this project not only enjoyed the work involved, but also gained new knowledge and experience along the way. The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program is a wonderful way for students to really apply their academic knowledge to real-world applications. These projects are from real-world companies with real-world problems. And every capstone designer is tasked with working on devising solutions for these real-world problems in a fast paced, team-oriented environment. It is one of the first chances engineering students get to experience a taste of what it is like to have an engineering career.
None of this would be possible without the great leadership in charge of this program. With this in mind we, would like to extend our gratitude to our Capstone Director Professor Harish Sunak. Without his hard work, dedication, and passion, the Capstone program would not be the same. Professor Sunak works tirelessly, meeting with companies in order to provide us with opportunities to demonstrate our skills in real engineering environments, as well as organizing everything to ensure the Symposiums and Summits are seamless.
The conclusion of ELECOMP Capstone Program is imminent, and the journey here has been extremely educative. While there are so many more aspects we want to cover, we will limit our discussion to the two that we are most excited about—the commitment from all of the people involved, and the development of our technical and professional skills.
Above all else, the commitment to the ELECOMP Capstone program by the Program Director, Consulting Technical Directors, and Technical Directors is beyond admirable. The director of the program, Professor Sunak, does not limit his role to being an active part of our weekly meetings. Before even giving out a permission number to be admitted, he requires an essay from each perspective designer to be written about his or her interests so that he can match that capstone designer with projects that she/he will be passionate about. Furthermore, he sets up an interview process to ensure that the students who want the popular projects the most get a chance to fight for them. Professor Sunak, alongside Brenden Smerbeck and Mike Smith, spent a tremendous amount of time ensuring each designer would have a project they were truly excited about.
Once we began working on the project, we became extremely grateful for our consulting technical director, Brenden Smerbeck. Despite being required only to attend Tuesday meetings, Brenden provided us with assistance any time we needed it. If he couldn’t find the answers immediately, he’d send a follow up email with detailed explanations when he got them. If we had difficulties with our computers, he’d lend us his own until the issue was resolved. Our technical directors—Sid, Sam, Mike, and David—were also an invaluable resource to us. They kindly offered their time to us every Friday and enthusiastically helped us with the project any time we needed it.
The second successful aspect of this program was its ability to greatly advance both our technical and professional skills. This program is unique because it is a hybrid between a class and real-life working experience. For the course side, we had to follow strict guidelines and meet hard deadlines that were graded against a rubric. For the real-life working experience side, we got to express our creativity and solve problems with deadlines we couldn’t predict in ways that could not be graded against a specific standard. Capstone has truly been so insightful, and we learned an incredible amount from this journey. Firstly, we learned that sometimes the answers to our questions are not meant to be found, but to be created. There did not exist a Java-accessible Objective-C Bluetooth library before our project, so we had to think up the solution ourselves, Secondly, we confirmed that you will always get of something exactly what you put into it. The weeks we dedicated the most hours to working on our project were the weeks we got to check off some of our biggest milestones. Lastly, we learned that graduation doesn’t mark the last time we’ll need to learn. School teaches us the foundation, and it’s up to us to use this foundation to learn about each new project that comes our way. Our journey was difficult, insightful, rewarding, and irreplaceable.
“The true value, however, is found when the members of the team make a conscious effort to excel, and achieve beyond that which they are asked.”
To say that the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program is a success would be an incredible understatement. The quality of work, rigour of the projects, talent of the Team Directors, and overall breadth of the program has prepared our team for the professional world and has given us an experience to draw upon when moving forward in life. While the program may seem overwhelming at it’s debut in the Fall, the sheer amount of work accomplished by the team by the end of the program overshadows any of our initial doubts. Dr Sunak has designed the program to help not only the sponsors in their selection of projects, but the students as well in their development from undergraduates to skilled professionals entering the workforce.
From a student’s perspective, the Capstone Design Program is only as valuable as the effort put into it. Like any course, there will be an expected quality of work and level of effort of the team in their completion of the project. The true value, however, is found when the members of the team make a conscious effort to excel, and achieve beyond that which they are asked. In doing so, their completed project is a keystone to their professional portfolio – giving businesses and potential employers a clear picture of the student’s value. This perspective is unique in that ELECOMP engineers are able to create a bridge between their academic history and future professional careers.
For our team, we found the practical application of our skills to be invaluable. Our director gave us an open-ended approach to our project; giving us the liberty to decide our own method without influence or bias. Having no experience in the company’s relevant field, our naivety was our strength. Having never been told what was “possible” or “standard”, we could pursue any avenue or direction. In doing so, our product was unique and incomparable to what alternatives exist in the market. We specifically chose programming languages and approaches that we felt were the best suited to accomplish our tasks and – when our relevant knowledge was limited – we acquired the necessary skills to continue. This ability to adapt is directly translatable to the professional world, and we found this ability to be one of the most important that we acquired during the year.
Similarly, we believe that the pace and rigour set by Dr. Sunak was ideal for facilitating learning, development, and achievement. At no point in time did our project become a “low-priority” and fall behind other work. Rather, the project influenced the team to work harder, achieve greater, and stay ahead of our deadlines. For all members of the team, this semester was one of the most productive of our academic careers. Dr. Sunak’s guidance and passion for the Capstone Design Program is unrivaled and is the reason for the program’s success. Looking forward, our team can say with absolute certainty that the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program will continue to grow and continue to enrich students with the opportunity to reach their full potential.
“This program provided us the ability to realize general theoretical concepts in a real-world application, while giving us valuable insight on the various responsibilities of an Engineer.”
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program was the perfect way to apply the skills we have learned in the course of our engineering education at URI. This program has offered us the ability to realize general theoretical concepts in a real-world application, while giving us valuable insight on the various responsibilities of an Engineer. We believe that the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program has given us an advantage upon graduation, and we are ever grateful for the experience. We thank Professor Sunak, Director of the Program for giving us the opportunity to strive for greatness.
“The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program gave me the opportunity to gain more hands-on real world engineering experience than my summer internship ” – Anibal Perez, Computer Engineer, Class of 2017.
“Prof. Sunak did not assign anyone to a project until he read each student’s passion statement and justifications for why they wanted to work on a specific project.”
Senior Capstone Design is a great time because it allows teams of students to use a combination of all the knowledge they have obtained here at the University of Rhode Island, towards completing intermediate team goals to complete a team project. Throughout the Spring and Fall semesters, our team was able to experience different aspects of working in industry, such as: performing research, project scheduling, hardware cost-analysis, quality evaluations, system troubleshooting, and most importantly, tons of communication. Our team was also very impressed with the engagement and willingness to help provided by our Technical Director, Mike Smith.
Of course none of this would have been possible without the passionate leadership of our Capstone Program Director, Professor Harish Sunak. Our team can’t help but feel that the URI ELECOMP Capstone Design Program is cruising in the right direction and will be elevated to new heights under the leadership of Professor Sunak, who dedicates his valuable time in ensuring that each capstone design project turns out a success. He has hammered home the importance of using your passion to drive what you do in your life. In fact, he did not assign anyone to a project until he read each individual student’s passion statement and justifications for why they wanted to work on a specific project. He went out of his way to ensure that, not only each student was assigned to one of their top three project choices, but he also constructed teams to ensure that each project team and each project sponsor will be satisfied with the ultimate outcome of their project.
“We have learned what it is like to work as engineers within the commercial industry and the many aspects of product development.”
As engineering students in the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program, working on Hayward’s Smart Valve Actuator has been an eye opening experience. Our team consisted of interdisciplinary members of computer and electrical engineers who have effectively communicated and worked together to create a prototype smart valve actuator, which is close to market readiness. We have learned what it is like to work as engineers within the commercial industry and the many aspects of product development such as economics, time constraints, as well as performance requirements for sustainability and manufacturability. In electrical and computer engineering this meant satisfying power management requirements, thermal dissipation requirements, and preventing component failures through software hard limits to ensure product reliability. We would especially like to thank Professor Sunak, Director of the Program, for all his hard work in developing a relationship with companies to make this program possible, and for providing support on each of our projects. His dedication to the program has greatly contributed to our success on this project.
“As engineers we must think of the future, meet our deadlines and be mindful of the fact that the software may change drastically at any given moment”
This capstone program gave us the opportunity to work on a project that changed us for the better. Working with our Technical Director gave us insight on what is to be expected of us when we become employed by companies. We learned how to work as a team and how important it is to meet deadlines. Our Technical Director gave us great guidance every week and made sure that we understood what was being asked of us, as well as what our responsibilities were. The most important lesson we learned throughout this project was that our code should be able to be changed with ease so future engineers can have more time focusing on other important tasks. Another important lesson that we learned from our Technical Director is that when working with software, not only are there technical requirements, but business requirements as well, such as the needs of the customers. To fulfill these requirements there will be multiple times when the specifications of the product will be change. As engineers we must think of the future, meet our deadlines and be mindful of the fact that the software may change drastically at any given moment. All together we have matured as engineers throughout this past year.
We would like to thank Professor Sunak for the opportunity provided by ELECOMP Capstone Design Program. His tenacity towards getting projects from companies such as Hexagon has given us an opportunity to show not only what we can do, but also improve ourselves as computer engineers.
We would also like to thank our Technical Director Jonathan O’Hare for all his help and guidance with this project. It was an honor to work for him. The knowledge and feedback we received from him was priceless for the months we spent working on this project. Without either of these dedicated individuals, this project would have not been possible.
“The Program provided students with real-world experience that could not be achieved through ordinary course work, by giving them the opportunity to work under the guidance of leaders from industry, expand their portfolio and grow their professional network.”
The ELECOMP Capstone Design Program at the University of Rhode Island is growing, with the aim to become one of the most successful and respected in the nation. During our two-semester experience in the ELECOMP Capstone Program, we were able to obtain and refine many skills. Its central goal is to provide students with real world experience that could not be achieved through ordinary course work by giving them the opportunity to work under the guidance of leaders from industry, expand their portfolio and grow their professional network. Our team is thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this progressing Capstone Design Program.
This opportunity is crucial for new graduates looking to step into the workforce. In addition, the ELECOMP Capstone Program provides a place for students to network with professionals who are doing similar things they are interested in. Ultimately this is extremely beneficial when looking for employment.
International Gaming Technologies, IGT, is a world leader in gaming technology. The London-based company has operations in more than 100 countries around the world. It is an honor for our group to have the unique opportunity to design an engaging product for such a well-established company. We have and will be working under the guidance of Mr. Bruce Parkes, who has been a consulting engineer for IGT for several years and is himself a University of Rhode Island alum. Mr. Parkes always ensures that we have the resources, documentation, and guidance necessary to develop our project; we can not thank him enough. We are extremely grateful to have such a knowledgeable and experienced Technical Director to guide us through developing an impactful project.
We would also like to express our deepest gratitude to our Capstone Program Director, Professor Harish Sunak, for forming a Capstone Team with excellent synergy and potential. Professor Sunak has put years of hard work into perfecting the Capstone Design program; all of his students now and in years past have been the ultimate beneficiaries of his dedication. We would like to thank him for always encouraging our team to work our hardest and to push ourselves to meet our highest potential, enabling us to realize our strengths and weaknesses and thus improving our professional skills.
“Project Windfall was a fantastic experience and we owe IGT and the ELECOMP Capstone Program for penning the early chapters of our engineering careers.”
The ELECOMP Capstone program serves as an excellent platform for engineering students at URI to get real-world experience needed to be a successful engineer before graduating. This year, almost all the capstone projects are sponsored by some tremendous companies, located in the New England area. We are grateful to Mr. Raymond Leland and his team at IGT for the constant support they have given us to keep the project on track, and for motivating us to deliver a working prototype by April, 2017.
We would like to thank our Capstone Program Director, Professor Harish Sunak, for making sure that this program is one of the best in the country. Professor Sunak is very passionate about pushing his students to their true potential, and works extremely hard to achieve his dream of making the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program at URI the best in the country. He also motivates each and every student to find and pursue their true passions in engineering. Having been a capstone director for many years, he also serves as a mentor for all the capstone design projects.
Project Windfall gave the three of us a chance to make a real impact on store-owners and lottery players across the US. It’s humbling to know that a device you built and toiled over will affect so many people.
IGT’s West Greenwich facility was an absolute playground. You had to be careful not to trip on cabling from giant half-finished lottery machines agape the halls. If you glanced around the office there was a Linux terminal full of code on every screen. Circuit boards and measuring equipment were littered throughout labs and across desks.
The engineers at IGT were extremely helpful to our team, some even coming from different departments to share their experience and dedicate time to us whenever we were stuck. We had the opportunity to constantly work with and learn from experts at Texas Instruments halfway across the country. On one occasion we even teleconferenced with an IGT engineer in Poland to solve chip issues.
Each member of the team was able to really challenge themselves to grow as engineers and public speakers. Project Windfall was a fantastic experience and we owe IGT and the ELECOMP Capstone Program for penning the early chapters of our engineering careers.
The next time any of us are at a casino, bar, or store, we’ll be sure to look for that familiar orange and blue star logo.
“The greatest aspect of our Capstone Design Project was that, throughout the project, we were allowed the freedom to investigate our own ideas for the problem resolution.”
Our Capstone Design Project was a unique experience. It was a great way to be exposed to work in the industry, helping us gain practical experience by applying what we have learned in the past years from course work. The experience was challenging, educative, and extremely rewarding. We learned about different aspect in the electrical utility industry, such as the importance of production cost and reliability along with the marketability of the product. We had a chance to work on a quickly emerging technology, implementing fiber optics which is a technology that is being implemented more and more in different industries due to all its advantages. The greatest aspect of our Capstone Design Project here at URI was that, throughout the project, we were allowed the freedom to investigate our own ideas for problem resolution. While we still had input from Professor Sunak, Michael Guerra, and Sandro Silva, each mistake was our own as was every success.
A special thank you to Professor Sunak. Thank you for putting these projects together so that we have the opportunity to work on systems that are larger than we have ever done, for actual companies in the real world. You are especially valuable for our project because of your knowledge of fiber optics and digital communications. The amount of passion coming from you is unrivaled and we thank you for all the hard work.
“This experience was much different from an internship, since the work was more difficult and rather than talking to others for answers, we had to work through our problems.”
Our Capstone Project was an opportunity to experience real world engineering. As this was a feit we had all not experienced before, we knew what it was like to work on a project during the semester. But working on a project that took a school year to complete would require teamwork, help from our Technical Directors, Professor Sunak, short term and long term goals and the motivation to show our passion for this Project. This experience was much different from an internship since the work was more difficult and rather than talking to others for answers we had to work through our problems. This provided us with the opportunity to learn through trial and error. We were glad to know that we had the support of our Technical Directors every step of the way. The Capstone Program was a great learning experience for everyone on the team. We learned to speak with vendors from the United States and even overseas. The learning curve for our project was very steep since we did not have much educational background and prior experience in this topic. The Electrical Engineers learned how to create schematics, basic PCB layouts, and got a better understanding of the components that make up a computer and their inner workings. The Computer Engineers learned about board support packages (boot loader/drivers), working with embedded systems, a greater understanding of Linux, etc. Along with learning technical knowledge, the team got experience with oral presentation skills, as bi-weekly group presentations were given in the first half of the year. The students also got experience with recording research, data, and findings as logbooks were also part of the curriculum. In the end, we have learned quite a lot from our project and enhanced our overall skills as engineers.
This work would not have been possible without the support from our Technical Directors, Thomas Lennon and William Thorpe. We would also like to thank Professor Sunak for his valuable support. He is dedicated to making sure that the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program remains successful and progressively reaches new heights through the years. He provided the team motivation and resources to accomplish this project. By encouraging us to learn the skills of communication, team management, planning, and devotion, Professor Sunak gave our team the guidance we needed.
“Having this real world experience felt like we had a part-time engineering job during the year, which only helps in our preparation to take on this occupation full time after graduation. We all feel much more prepared and diversified after completing this program.”
Every team member of TSR Capstone Project not only enjoyed this project greatly, but also learned a great deal along the way. This program provided us all with well needed experience by both creating a device from scratch and working in a private sector environment where deadlines and due dates are prevalent. Having this real world experience felt like we had a part time engineering job during the year, which only helps in our preparation to take on this occupation full time after graduation. We all feel much more prepared and diversified after completing this program. We are all proud of the work we have accomplished and look forward to seeing our project eventually be a part of TSR’s production line. We are grateful to TSR for being great sponsors for this project, but also for being great advisors and mentors. We are also very grateful to Professor Sunak, who not only gave us this opportunity in the first place, but also pushed all of us to get the most out it.
My name is John Czajkowski; I graduated from URI’s Electrical Engineering Program and previously worked for Nabsys, a genomics research company, as Electronics Design Engineer. It was at URI in the fall of 2011 that I first met Professor Sunak.
He was the instructor for a course called ELE480 Capstone Design, a class which pairs a group of two to four senior computer and electrical engineering students with a local company to design and implement a solution to one of their “real world” problems. At the time, I was one of the aforementioned senior engineers who initially saw Capstone as a formality; as I had already accepted an entry level electrical engineering position at Electric Boat, so the course represented one final check box that needed to be ticked before I could start my career.
This was my mindset as Professor Sunak entered Kelly 102 to start our first class. He started by explaining the overall flow of the class, how the various companies would explain their projects. Once they had finished, we would need to rank our top four choices and provide a written explanation as to why we should be a part of each project, all the while emphasizing that success of any endeavor, be it Capstone or a future job activity, depended on the amount of passion and urgency applied to it, Initially these terms just seemed like Professor Sunak’s buzzwords, but with time I would learn to understand their full significance.
Fast forward a few weeks and I, along with the rest of my classmates, are eagerly awaiting our project assignments. I was assigned to my 3rd choice project, a specialized power supply for a research instrument a company called Nabsys was developing. At that moment, I was frankly a little upset with the assignment. I was an excellent student and I felt I had wrote a persuasive argument to place me in one of my higher ranked projects, but Professor Sunak clearly felt that the Nabsys project would be the right one for me.
In time Professor Sunak’s decision would prove to be a life altering one for me. As the project moved forward, Nabsys and I formed our own mutual admiration society. I was fascinated with their work and the opportunities it presented while they were delighted with the contributions I had made to the project and the work ethic I displayed. This all culminated in several awkward phone calls to Electric Boat informing them that I had been offered and had accepted a position at Nabsys. To this day I have no idea what turn of phrase or personality trait made Professor Sunak place me at Nabsys, but don’t think it is stretch to say that this one decision changed the entire trajectory of my career and one that I am thankful for to this today. However, my story with Professor Sunak does not end here, from this point forward I would be on the other side of the looking glass.
After working at Nabsys for several months, August came, and with it a call from Professor Sunak regarding another round of Capstone projects. Due to my familiarity with the program, I was asked to be a Technical Director, a position I had held for three years. Through this position I’ve come to have a greater appreciation for Professor Sunak’s “buzzwords” and the work he does in managing the projects. Through my years as a Technical Director, I’ve seen students from many different backgrounds, and varying levels of scholastic aptitude and I’ve noticed that while past experience and GPA can be somewhat predictive in terms of a student’s contribution, they are not nearly as accurate a barometer as their passion. Students who took Professor Sunak’s words to heart routinely perform at an unexpectedly high level given their GPA, while those who ignored his advice lost this valuable opportunity.
As a Technical Director I am pleased to report that due to Professor Sunak’s well-honed placement ability we have worked with very few students who lack the required passion. I cannot overstate how important I believe this ability is to the continued success of the Capstone program. Ultimately the program is an exchange between the student and the sponsor, where the sponsor hopes to receive the services of several well-trained engineers, while the student trades their efforts for potentially invaluable experience solving problems related to their chosen field. For this exchange and thus the program to continue, sponsors must be happy with the results of the student group, because if the student drag their heels and produce an unsatisfactory solution to the problem the likelihood that they will return in subsequent years is low.
Hence two key things must occur before the projects even begin. First sponsors must be found which have interesting problems and realistic expectations as to the amount of student time and effort required to solve them. If these two conditions are not met, the project has be built on a shaky foundation which will ultimately led to sponsor disappointment and a smaller sponsor pool. Secondly, students must be properly paired with a project. This means taking the wide range of prior experiences, talents and academic aptitude available and distributing in such a way that every sponsor’s problem can be solved. This skill is really more of an art rather than a science, requiring a rare type of insight which cannot be easily taught or replicated, for as I explained above numbers and bullet points do not tell the whole story. Professor Sunak has done a masterful job with both key requirements, setting expectations that create a strong foundation for success and then putting students in the best possible position to build upon that foundation.
On top of this, Professor Sunak continues to incorporate new ideas from students and Technical Directors alike, be in the use of google plus groups to facilitate better communication between himself, a Capstone team, and a Technical Director or by requiring the use of Prezi, an animation based alternative to Power Point to give the student another tool to explain their progress. This constant improvement of the program shows the Professor Sunak’s own passion for the job and fills me with confidence that each year Capstone will grow and change along with the engineering profession, ensuring that every student has the best possible chance to succeed.
I understand that my words are only those of a single former student, but I am sure that my story and the unquestioned role the Professor Sunak played in it is more common than one might think. His continued work to provide each and every computer and electrical engineering student with invaluable real life experience cannot be overstated. My only hope is that his ceaseless work, on behalf of his students, is appreciated not only by the aforementioned pupils but also by the University as a whole, as his work is as impactful any theoretical advance.
John Czajkowski, URI Class of 2012
I ended up accepting a position as an ElectricalEngineer at SEA CORP and started back on June 1st. I ended up choosing them because they are a fantastic company and because submarines are something I knew nothing about, and I love to learn new things.
Now that I am out in the professional world, I have truly realized how helpful Capstone was. I keep a logbook of all my notes at work, I work with multidisciplinary teams; I keep an organized schedule with all due dates, and write many formal reports. These are all real world skills that I honed to perfection during Capstone.
I just wanted to thank you again for the opportunity you gave me in Capstone and for all of the hard work you put into that program.
Hello Professor Sunak,
How have you been? I was busy at work and was reminded of you when my colleagues were talking about what we are “passionate” about; so I figured I would shoot you an email saying hello. I would like to also thank you again for your words of wisdom during my time in the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program. To be honest, it made me understand what it would be like to work in the real world. Also, it changed me from a regular student, getting an average 2.6 GPA per semester, to getting above a 3.9 in both semesters in my senior year. I am currently living in Yuma, AZ and working for the government as a Technician contractor with Cubic. On the side I’ve also decided to pursue a Masters in Software Engineering, which is also going well.
Again, I do not believe I would have found the passion for this career and all of the tremendous responsibilities that I have received without your guidance, along with the rest of the faculty I had at URI. So once again, thank you for what you have done for me in Capstone Design. Everytime I attend an interview or hold interview for new employees I ask “what is your passion in this field of expertise”. Students may not realize or appreciate it now, but I can assure you the practices that you teach are truly valuable. I am proud to be a URI graduate, and wish you well.
Anyways I just figured I would drop you a quick “hi” and again thank you for what you have done. Hopefully the current students in the ELECOMP Capstone Design Program can take away something similar to what I have. Thank you again. Best wishes to you and your family.
Ronald Mattson, Class of 2011.