Senior Projects

Senior Projects 2010-2011

ORU Formula SAE Racecar

Senior Project Members: David Adams, Aaron Beavers, and Cyrus Hanson
Senior Project Advisor: Dr. John Matsson
Academic Year: 2010-2011

Intake systemThe Oral Roberts University Formula SAE team sought to design and construct an intake system that would meet SAE restrictions while minimizing pressure losses, thereby maximizing power output. The team decided on a Venturi-style restrictor section, a conical plenum, and bent runners.
The team primarily used Solidworks™ Flow Simulation to test various designs.  It was found that the conical plenum delivered the most evenly distributed airflow between cylinders.  The plenum was made from flat sheet-metal sections for ease of manufacturing.
Rapid prototyping was used to build the Venturi restrictor because of its complex geometry and the need for very low manufacturing tolerances.  A plenum insert that helps direct airflow to the runners was also manufactured using this method.
The intake manifold was mounted on the race car's engine, a Suzuki GXS-R 600, and tested it with a dynamometer.  Power curves for the engine with the final design of the restrictor and for a generic plate restrictor were generated using the dynamometer.  They were then compared to the published power curve for the stock engine.  The team discovered that the final design of the restrictor increased the horsepower by 40% with respect to the engine mounted with a plate restrictor.  The team was also able to recover 75% of the stock engine's horsepower with this restrictor.


Modeling the Kinematics of the Upper Arm Involved in a Baseball Pitch

Senior Project Members: Regina Gallo, Benjin Joshua, Melissa Slinkards
Senior Project Advisor: Dr. Robert Leland
Academic Year: 2010-2011

CArm movementurrently, there are a limited numbers of ways to track the movement of the arm during a baseball pitch.  All of these ways require the test subject to be in an isolated environment versus on the field where they normally perform.  There are new wireless motion sensors that track velocity and acceleration in relation to time.  Using the data gathered from these readings, it is possible to derive the position of the arm during motion, and model such data with the modeling software, LifeMOD.  The foundation to the beginning stages of this modeling has been established with a rough model of the upper arm motion during a baseball pitch.  This topic requires a lot of research and time to develop, but continuing this research could lead to a whole new level of modeling and tracking motion.


The Design and Implementation of a Self-Erecting Wind Turbine 

Senior Project Members: Joseph Chebaibai, Adam Kauffman, Aaron Wilbur
Senior Project Advisor: Dr. Robert Leland
Academic Year: 2010-2011

Wind turbineWind energy is an excellent and proven solution for generating electricity; however the initial cost (i.e. assembly, maintenance, disassembly, etc.) for such systems tend to be very high, as a crane rental is normally necessary for these functions.  These costs minimize the return on investment for the system, which tends to drive away investors and customers. Therefore, the students’ aim is to design and implement a self-erecting tower structure for a wind turbine system, in order to curb the afore-mentioned costs. The turbine system chosen for this project is proven and tested to be efficient by the manufacturer. It will be tied into the grid of a small farm in Fulton, Illinois, but before this can done the foundation designed by the team will have to be laid and cured before this can be done. Once completed, the tested structure will be installed and the generator along with all of its components will be attached to the structure in order for testing to be performed.



Accident Prevention System

Senior Project Members: Dennis Nickelson, David VanDenHouten
Senior Project Advisor: Dr. Xiaomin Ma
Academic Year: 2010-2011

This project was a continuation of the NACDS project developed by Timothy Bright and Idowu Pelumi. This system is a Blind spot checkingcollision deterrence system that uses a GPS unit, a Ultra-Proximity Sensor, a Fusion Brain Microcontroller, and a Wireless Ad Hoc network. The system, although functional, was in need of a lot of improvements in order to be ready to be implemented in real life situations. The goal of this project was to make those improvements. The main improvements we felt needed to be made were to allow for real time communication between the server and client, to improve the user interface of the system, and create an alert system to warn the driver of a car stopped on the side of the road up ahead. In this paper, we discuss how we went about accomplishing these goals as well as the results of the testing of the improvements made to the system.


Senior Projects 2009-2010

 Design of the Suspension for a Formula-Style Racecar

Senior Project Members: Jonathan Luth and Brian Ostling
Senior Project Advisor: Dr. John Matsson
Academic Year: 2009-2010

Formula SAE racecarFormula SAE is a design competition hosted by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Students must build a prototype formula-style racecar to sell to a fictional manufacturing company, to be evaluated for its potential as a production item. The target marketing group for the racecar is the non-professional weekend autocross racer. The teams are judged in a variety of on-track events as well as design and costing competitions. Not only must these vehicles perform reliably under race conditions, but they must be built and maintained by students. For this purpose, a suspension and frame will be designed and fabricated. The team will create this suspension using only basic machine tools. Additionally, a strict budget must be adhered to throughout the design and manufacturing process. The aforementioned constraints will be the driving factors for the design outside of vehicle performance. The design will cover mechanical and materials analysis in addition to basic dynamic analysis of the suspension as it applies to an FSAE race car. This includes loading analysis and various motion analysis using graphical and computerized methods. Motion analysis will include static conditions along with various dynamic conditions encountered in track racing. The resulting design will be compared to the final manufactured product and differences analyzed.

This large project requires ORU community involvement. If you are interested in supporting this project or other senior projects please contact Dr. John Matsson at 918.495.6935 or You may also want to visit the national SAE competitions site: 

Kenya Biodigester Design

Senior Project Members: Nathan Pease and Kevin Stark
Senior Project Advisor: Dr. John MatssonBiodigester
Academic Year: 2009-2010

Oral Roberts University engineering students were approached by a Kenyan for-profit company, Dominion Farms, who wanted them to research and design methods for them to incorporate biogas production for their farm and agricultural/vocational training center located in the Siaya district of Kenya. A team of two mechanical engineering seniors experimented with the batch method of anaerobic methane digestion and created a miniaturized continuous model biodigester and tested it using water. The students are preparing for an international development trip this summer in which they will implement their designs for a large digester for the farm and work with the farm staff to raise awareness of the benefits of biogas for household uses.

The KneeTM Process

Senior Project Members: Aaron Allen, Justin Mitchell, and Venkatesh Kesanapalli
Senior Project Advisor: Dr. John Matsson
Academic Year: 2009-2010

The Knee ProcessThe KNEE Process (TKP), a wireless electronic Range-of-Motion system, tracks knee injury patient capabilities and provides an accurate, quantifiable, real-time medical analysis. Commercializing this technology equips doctors and therapists with a reliable means of improving patient recovery. TKP’s mission is to maximize patient capabilities while minimizing medical related recovery costs. According to the American Medical Journal over 400,000 knee replacements are performed each year. According to a study by the injury attorneys Berman and Riedel, in the United States back injuries total around 6,000,000 annually. The identified problem: current medical technology neither accurately nor efficiently tracks patient rehabilitative health. Also, with the US government’s mandate that all medical records be computerized by 2014, medical professionals will be looking for a convenient solution. TKP has developed mechanically functional prototype. The definition of completeness was to develop ‘The KNEE Process’ for AaAI. TKP electronically tracks range of motion for use in physical rehabilitation procedures. The electronic data must keep an accuracy with <5% deviance from actual movement. The goal of the sponsor of developing a commercially viable product was not met, but a majority of the definition of completeness was met. The accuracy of <2% deviance was achieved by a proper selection of technology.

Networked Automotive Collision Deterrence System (NACDS)

Senior Project Members: Timothy Bright and Oluwapelumi Odowu
Senior Project Advisor: Dr. Xiaomin Ma
Academic Year: 2009-2010

This project demonstrates the ability of a vehicle to communicate effectively with another vehicle when a collision is about Vehicle Collision Avoidanceto occur while both vehicles are in motion. The Global Positioning System (GPS) provides and displays real-time position and location of the vehicles in motion and surrounding objects in its range. The Ultrasonic Proximity Sensor, in conjunction with the Fusion Brain microcontroller, provides the user with the distance an object is in relation to the sides of the vehicle. The implementation of the Wi-Fi in our project is to enable an easy and efficient communication network interface between laptops in the vehicles to improve safety on our roads. Supposing two vehicles were on a collision course, the activated timer predicts where a collision is going to occur ten seconds from the collision spot. The Ultrasonic Proximity Sensor alerts the driver of a vehicle when another vehicle is four feet away from its range. Also, our Wi-Fi ad-hoc communication works effectively because we implemented the server-client communication system that helps to send and receive data from the ad-hoc system using Visual Basic programming.

Robust Soccer Ball Tracking Using Computer Vision

Soccerball TrackingSenior Project Members: Jacob Garner and Sherayah Vermette
Senior Project Advisor: Dr. Sophie Liu
Academic Year: 2009-2010

The purpose of this project is to design a system that is capable of locating and tracking a soccer ball during a normal soccer game. The necessary algorithms for this system accurately distinguish between foreground and background objects in a stream of video frames and are able to consistently detect which of these moving objects is the soccer ball. The system is aware of the position of the soccer ball at all times. The resulting data can then be used to control a camera that will cover the action of the game, or to analyze the game afterwards.

Senior Projects for 2008 -2009

Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

Senior Project Members: Joshua Glesener, Sean Estes and Evn Presson
Senior Project Advisor: Dr. John Matsson
Academic Year: 2008-2009

Wind is an unstoppable force that can be harnessed to produce electricity and to harness this energy a wind turbine is the leading technology. Today, wind energy is one of the fastest growing renewable technologies and one of the most intriguing. With this technology, the team decided to make a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) for the production of electricity. This turbine has many advantages and disadvantages when compared to a horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT). Although a VAWT is less efficient in theory than a HAWT in power production per pound of wind force, it makes up for this by being able to produce power at lower wind speeds, being multi-directional in harnessing wind force, and being more efficient for the manufacturing of the turbine itself.

With the building of the VAWT, the team wanted to conceptualize, improve, and produce an affordable home wind turbine while utilizing fresh ideas and mostly untested methods of producing electricity. There are a wide range of options to pick from in the wind turbine industry concerning various blade designs, gearing designs, and generators. This project concentrates on these three characteristics and aims to produce a working, scalable model as an efficient and durable home turbine.

The most innovative design characteristic being approached by this team is an improvised integrated alternator. With a blade design that allows rotation on a vertical axis (as opposed to the more common horizontal axis wind turbine), the proposed turbine design will harness wind energy not by directly gearing the rotating shaft to a generator but by creating electricity via an internal alternator the team specifically designed and built. There are three characteristics that make this internal alternator unique: the usage of 24 N-42 grade rare-earth magnets (Neodymium) for the field, the usage of 9 magnetic copper coils, and a star pattern three-phase system for the power output.

Remote-Controlled Mars Rover

robotSenior Project Members: Nicholas Halsmer, Jennifer Luth and Nathan Marth
Senior Project Advisor: Dr. John Matsson
Academic Year: 2008-2009

Combining two mechanical engineers and a computer engineer, a team of three students have banded together to complete the Mars Rocks competition for their senior project. Sponsored by Boeing this year, the ASME Student Design Competition 2009, Mars Rocks!, is to create a remote-controlled Mars rover that will scale obstacles and collect rock samples. These rocks must be deposited in a specific, targeted area with each rock worth different amounts of points. Weight, size of the battery, and time are also calculated into the scoring of each robot's run. Along with the size of the vehicle, there are some other design specifications to meet for the competition. Presented with this challenge, each team must come up with their own solution to the problem.

A valuable opportunity, this contest provides an arena for students to put into practice the problem-solving skills that they have been learning in the classroom. By taking all aspects of the competition and the scoring into account early in the design phase of the project, a team's robot will be as competitive as possible at the competition. For this team, this project provided excellent mechanical and electrical design experience, fabrication practice, and practice with meeting deadlines and performing under pressure. The problem-solving skills that have been learned from this senior design project are comparable to those actually put into practice by professional engineers on a daily basis.

Looking for a fast, lightweight design, the ORU team decided on a vehicle-and-ramp design. The vehicle has an open compartment in which to gather rocks. When getting past the obstacles, which are 4x4 studs, the vehicle simply pushes its ramp against the stud and drives up the ramp and over to the other side. There are two other obstacles on the course, but the vehicle will just navigate past them while picking up rocks. To reduce weight, the vehicle is controlled umbilically. The District E competition was April 17-18.

3D Face Recognition

face recognitionSenior Project Members: David Kobilnyk and Vyacheslav Tokarev
Senior Project Advisors: Dr. Sophie Liu, Dr. Samuel Cheng
Academic Year: 2008-2009

Although 2D face recognition has contributed significant progress to the field of face recognition, 3D face recognition gives hope of eventual illumination- and pose-invariant recognition. The project described in this paper employs the use of a commercial software scanning system -- called FlexScan3D -- and the Java programming language to construct the major components of a 3D face recognition system. A 3D scanner and a face matching program were separately implemented. The scans provided are of moderate quality, and they require human involvement to be usable. The face matching program achieved a perfect matching rate of forty out of forty face models, all of which were in the frontal perspective.

Constructing a Scanning Fabry-Perot Interferometer

fabrySenior Project Members: Nathaniel Roman and Tyler Todd
Senior Project Advisor: Dr. Roger Hartman
Academic Year: 2008-2009

A Scanning Fabry-Perot Interferometer is an optical device that uses two mirrors to create multiple reflections of laser light that are out of phase with each other. Once the light passes through the cavity, it generates an interference field which, when viewed incident on a screen, appears as concentric rings of light. A Scanning Fabry-Perot Interferometer is used to measure light source wavelengths and indices of refraction of different materials and gases. This purpose of this project was to construct a Scanning Fabry-Perot Interferometer for use with a HeNe laser in the Engineering/Physics Department at Oral Roberts University. The interferometer is readily portable, has removable mirrors, a variable cavity length, and is able to produce distinct fringes. This Interferometer can be used for experimentation and demonstration purposes.