Woodruff School Students Win 5 Top Awards, 5 Honorable Mentions at Capstone Design Expo

Woodruff School Students Win 5 Top Awards, 5 Honorable Mentions at Capstone Design Expo

April 24, 2024
By Ashley Ritchie

Over 200 student teams from 12 schools and three different Georgia Tech colleges showed off the results of their semester-long senior design projects at the Spring 2024 Capstone Design Expo on April 23. Woodruff School students impressed judges, taking home five awards and five honorable mentions.

For the second Expo in a row, two teams tied in judging for the best overall project including interdisciplinary team Seekr with their navigation aid. The project aimed to restore independence to blind and visually impaired airline passengers. Team members found that travelers with limited vision often use video calls with friends or relatives to help them navigate. Others depend on airport personnel pushing them to the gate in a wheelchair.

Their solution is a device the size of a crossbody bag that passengers could borrow from the airport and turn in as they board their flight. It offers voice directions and beeps to help them make their way through the terminal.

“Complaints to ADA coordinators [at airports] have been up 167% since 2020, so airports are really looking for a solution,” said team member Aislinn Abbott, a mechanical engineering major.

The team of mechanical and computer engineering and computer science students has tested their concept in large venues with nearly a dozen people with visual impairments. Airport testing is the next step, and the team is in conversation with several, including Atlanta’s. This summer, they’ll participate in the CREATE-X Startup Launch program to continue developing the idea and potentially turn it into a commercial venture.

Team Mechiwis received the award for best mechanical engineering project. The team of Invention Studio PIs created a new retractor to give doctors better access during total shoulder replacement surgery and improve patient outcomes. The team was sponsored by restor3d and was given the opportunity to visit their facility to test their retractors’ performance in a real cadaver lab.

“The team at restor3d was extremely helpful throughout the entire process and enthusiastically supportive towards our ideas. Being able to have knowledgeable industry professionals weigh in and provide feedback was an invaluable resource and we had a great time when we went to visit and tour their manufacturing facility,” said team member Lena Moller.


Team COBRA (Compact On Board Reactor Assembly) took home the award for best nuclear and radiological engineering project. The team designed a nuclear microreactor capable of operating on board a commercial freight train to replace traditional diesel locomotives without needing to electrify the rail.

The award for best industrial design and engineering project went to team Adagarm who designed an ergonomic clothing solution for patients experiencing postoperative fluid drainage, while team EMG Controlled Wheelchair won best interdisciplinary project for their technology that controls a wheelchair with arm movements.

The spring Expo welcomed more than 200 high school students to inspire them to explore science, technology, engineering, and math — and also to serve as reviewers. They picked two projects for special honorable mentions including an idea for improving battery recycling.

Additional Woodruff School teams who received honorable mention included: Arterial Avengers (Interdisciplinary), Buzz Timer Pro (Interdisciplinary), ROBO (Interdisciplinary), and Volvo (ME).

The Expo also included more than 70 industry sponsors. Their donations support Transforming Tomorrow: The Campaign for Georgia Tech, a more than $2 billion comprehensive campaign designed to secure resources that will advance the Institute and its impact — on people’s lives, on the way we work together to create innovative solutions, and on our world — for decades to come.

See Woodruff School winners from the Capstone Design Expo below and click here to view a photo gallery from the event.

Companies, entrepreneurs, and organizations interested in sponsoring projects in the Capstone Design class can contact Director of Design & Innovation Amit Jariwala. For more information on what projects are a good fit for the course, please review this brief YouTube video.

Some content taken from the news article, Surgical Tool, Airport Navigation Aid Top Spring 2024 Capstone Expo, written by the College of Engineering.