Author(s): Nicholas Larsen Computer Science Harrison Cao Computer Science Minh Hoang Computer Science
Advisor(s): Liran Ma Computer Science
Location: Session: 2; Basement; Table Number: 1
In the United States alone, 48 million people suffer from hearing loss. Sadly, about only 20 percent of them who could benefit from a hearing aid can afford to wear one. However, most people have a smartphone. Therefore, Distinct Sound strives to create an iPhone application that possesses similar functionalities of a conventional hearing aid at a fraction of the price. The two main objectives of our application are to remove background noise and to amplify sound in certain frequency ranges needed for speech comprehension. To complete those tasks, our app will take input sound, process that sound and amplify the frequencies that the user cannot hear as well, then replay the processed sound to the speakers through headphones. Those tasks will involve the fast fourier transform, and some sound processing to make sure that the sound does not have gaps. The app also provides a test to check the accuracy of the prescription in the current environment. If the current environment needs to adjust the prescription to make it more comfortable for the user, then a calibration test will work to fix the prescription according to the current environment. In conclusion, the research project will be considered a success if the application can successfully serve as a hearing aid with some functions that are unique on the market. It should benefit people who cannot afford traditional hearing aids.
This paper covers a comprehensive implementation of a blockchain based voting platform. Blockchain, in its infancy, has shown remarkable use cases with cryptocurrencies and we would like to expand upon its possibilities. Voting is a system ripe with opportunity for blockchain; it requires security, consensus, and portability- all qualities inherited from blockchain technology. In this paper, we discuss the appeal of blockchain technology and why we want to elevate voting to 21st century technology. Next, we survey the needs of a voting platform and how blockchain might satiate those requirements. Finally, we propose a voting platform that will run on the Ethereum network and systematically discuss how this application could come to fruition.
We are presenting a method referred to as Hydrogen Production by HyPIR Electrolysis. The method increases the rate of hydrogen production from a potassium hydroxide and water solution, at different molarities, when an infrared laser is irradiated with an optimum wavelength of light through a cell containing the solution. The irradiating light facilitates the dissociation of water by stretching the hydrogen oxygen bond and increasing the rate of hydrogen production.
In this experiment, the mechanical properties of 3D printed specimens of different printing parameters were tested under tension. The printing parameters of these specimens were: surface resolution, infill density, and print orientation. Parts were printed in Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic with a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printer called the Stratasys UPrint SE Plus. Specimens were first printed similar to Stratasys published material properties standards and then tested to form a control on these known properties. Factorial sets of specimens using all various parameters were then printed and tested to create a reference table for future engineering projects.
From an engineering perspective, Rare Earth elements have the potential to transform technology in previously unprecedented ways. Their magnetic, luminescent, and electromechanical capabilities are allowing electronic devices to become more compact, reduce emissions, operate more efficiently, and cost less to produce and purchase. Such developments are proving beneficial to the economies of many developed nations because of their use in popular everyday consumer technologies as well as industries such as healthcare and education.
Along with this positive impact comes a political overlay that threatens the longevity of Rare Earth use. Presently, Rare Earths are expensive and dangerous to extract. This is largely due to the fact that they are not found together in large concentrations, so it is only economically feasible to extract them with another material, such as coal. The process of extraction is also hazardous and cumbersome; separating Rare Earths from other materials involves processes with high levels of emissions that may be dangerous to human beings if overexposure occurs. On the other hand, nations with more flexible safety and health regulations are investing in the development of Rare Earths and setting themselves apart as production leaders. Nations with more stringent health and safety regulations are becoming dependent on these nations to provide the Rare Earths for their applications. As a result, leaders in engineering industry can only benefit from Rare Earths if they develop systems that use Rare Earths more effectively than other materials commercially available and develop a reliable business relationship with a Rare Earth supplier. This condition is not likely to be encountered frequently in today's intricate social webs and economic systems.
The possibility of extracting Rare Earths through more efficient, safer processes is becoming recognized as a relevant topic of research. Additionally, investigation into alternatives to Rare Earths in some of the more common applications may allow for safer and less politically charged production methods for many 21st century advancements.
Through literary investigation, this research project seeks to highlight the main characteristics that makes Rare Earths desirable from an engineering perspective, proposed alternatives to Rare Earths based on engineering demands, and the direction of the Rare Earth industry as a result.
The goal of this project is to design and construct a small modular autonomous car with room mapping and obstacle avoidance capabilities. The vehicle would be useful in cases where it is dangerous for a human to complete a task, or where it is more efficient to have an autonomous vehicle to scout ahead. A key design goal for this project was also to create an inexpensive platform for research into the realm of autonomous vehicles. The car uses lidar technology to create real time 2D room map and detect obstacles. It is programmed to explore rooms and move without human input. We designed the car with a powerful on board computer, enabling it to run complicated programs and operate without the need of an outside computer.
Advancements in 21st century aviation has remarkably transformed transportation and defense. It has greatly and positively affected our lives for almost a century. Analog systems had great influence on aircraft avionics before the invention of the digital systems. Digital systems are a key component of aircraft testing and design, especially in analyzing aerodynamic drag. Since the creation of digital systems, our world around us has changed drastically and has led us to develop measuring devices that conveniently transform analog data into digital data. Digital data is a discrete representation of information that is produced through step-approximations of a continuous function, which causes the captured data to lose its resolution. In an attempt to minimize this error, digital devices with higher accuracy and sensitivities have been developed, yet like most things, they possess operational boundaries. The piezoelectric sensor - current measuring device - produces accurate data readings when wind speeds and drag forces on the test model are high. However, as the drag forces drop off under lower wind speeds, the data tends to drift away from the reference data models.
The solution to this digital error, while increasing data resolution, is to develop an analog balancing system. A mechanical balancer can be installed to measure drag force on small spheres of different sizes and material properties. Also, another benefit of the new design will come in the form of educational learning. The simplicity of the design will encourage students to incorporate a more hands on approach to aerodynamics, which is a pathway to turn the intangible into something they can touch.
The goal of this project is to develop a low cost and user-friendly device for remote actuation of light switches. We envision a product that is simple to install, easy to control via a remote, and able to function with a variety of light switch geometries. This device can minimize the inconvenience as well as the risk of injuries from turning the light on and off in the dark, especially for elderly people. For this target end user, the device must be simple and require no technical knowledge. Because of this, we have designed a mechanical actuator that will be mounted to the outside of a light switch without the need for tools and controlled by a simple button remote to be kept at the bedside.
Author(s): Jacob Tolbert Engineering Lindsey Elliott Engineering Maya Hall Engineering John Hofmeister Engineering Darian Nezami Engineering Matt Spallas Engineering Cole Vallow Engineering
Advisor(s): Mike Harville Engineering Stephen Weis Engineering
Location: Session: 2; 1st Floor; Table Number: 2
Tracking and recording data from high velocity objects is a difficult task, especially when the object is hidden from view during portions of its flight path. When tasked with this problem, the process of solving it began with copious amounts of research into existing and developing technologies. From thermal imaging to radar detection, many options were explored.
Through a rigorous process of elimination to determine the most efficient and cost effective option, induction coils were chosen as the speed sensing device needed to track the desired objects. Normally when current is induced in one of these coils, there is an unchanging frequency of that current. However, when a conductive material passes through the center of a coil, the original frequency changes. This change can be monitored, giving valuable information about an object's location when evaluated over a specific time period.
After hours of bench top testing, several conclusions were made about the production and effectiveness of the induction coils. Chiefly, it was found that the smaller the induction coil diameter the more effective, the object passing through the coil has a larger effect if it does not pass through the exact center, and the "sweet spot" for the number of coil turns falls between 15-25 turns.
Senior design SRS submission:
For our presentation we hope to speak on three of our major groups of our senior design team:
Our first piece involves using programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that are used as the electrical interface between the programming and the mechanical system. Through its own ladder logic program, the code enables the PLC user to dictate when certain relays should be opened or closed for the purpose of turning on and off the vacuum supply and power sources. The PLC then collects data from the pressure transducers so that a signal indicating the next step is sent back to the design. After reading the pressure associated with a certain head, the user can then close a solenoid valve by sending a signal to it via the PLC which will stop the flow of air. With the PLC, the user is in control of where the flow is going to and is consequently, able to modify it through the code. Although the PLC is not a power supply, it does have the ability of processing information by receiving and sending out specified actions, set by the user, to different electronic and mechanical components.
The second piece is based of a tool from a company called pave more. The “pave more” design is a design that picks up bricks from the hack to a separate location to pack them. The design uses separate heads that pick-up bricks using foam that creates a seal on the brick. The heads are connected to a vacuum that allows us to pick up the bricks efficiently. The heads are each on their own spring system that allows them to be picked up at different heights. They are also each on a separate solenoid valve that will sense a missing brick and close the valve to still allow the system to pick up the bricks. The vacuum system is connected to a filter to protect it from the dust and dirt that are on the bricks.
(Poster is private)
Habitat loss due to urbanization is a primary cause of declining bat populations globally. As a result of this, research has been conducted to review swimming pools as an alternative source of water for bats in urban areas. After collecting data, GIS analysis utilizing color infrared imagery was performed to assess the impact that residential swimming pools have on bat populations.
Bats provide important ecosystem services, such as pollination, seed dispersal and pest control. Bats are however susceptible to a number of threats, including habitat loss, disease, land use change (wind turbines). Thus, we monitor bats to determine if these threats impact their population. The TCU Outreach Bat Monitoring Program has been monitoring bats at local parks for the last five years, and have noticed some parks are more bat friendly than others. To understand what is driving a greater abundance and species diversity at these parks, we are looking into available resources, park structure and surrounding neighborhoods to determine what constitutes a bat friendly park. This project aims to use existing data from bat friendly sites, map these locations and identify patterns within them by using spatial analysis. Based on these recommendations, parks can be made more bat friendly which will aid bat conservation.
(Poster is private)
In the state of Texas, groundwater resources are utilized for irrigation, mining, municipal use, manufacturing, livestock and steam electric. Over the past 20 years however, there have been shifts and significant trends in groundwater pumpage that can be attributed to changes in annual precipitation, drought, declining industries, and the status of livestock. A multi-year GIS analysis was conducted to analyze trends in Texas Groundwater and the overall factors that impacted pumpage.
(Poster is private)
South Africa is unique in that the majority of its wildlife is managed in privately owned game reserves. One major challenge for reserves is maintaining healthy stable populations, particularly large species, such as the big five (white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), African elephant (Loxodonta africana), Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer), African leopard (Panthera pardus), and lion (Panthera leo)). Nevertheless, there has been very little research on management of these charismatic species in such size restricted reserves. To address this need, we are studying the impacts of megaherbivores on the structure and spatial distribution of vegetation in Amakhala Game Reserve. The reserve was created in 1999 from 7,500 ha of agricultural land. Since the formation of the reserve, succession of vegetation has been encouraged to create a more natural environment. However, the introduction of large herbivores, such as elephants and rhinos, may have altered or slowed down this succession. To explore this hypothesis, we conducted a GIS analysis using Landsat imagery and megaherbivore GPS tacking data. Vegetation type was classified to quantify historic changes, and we performed kernel densities and an emerging hotspot analysis with the tracking data (2011-2018) to determine megaherbivore distribution. We determined that the megaherbivores hindered the natural succession of vegetation by maintaining grasslands and preventing woodland encroachment. These findings will facilitate game reserve management by identifying Amakhala’s limitations for increasing browsing herbivores as well as the potential for the addition of grazing herbivores.
(Poster is private)
Large numbers of migratory tree bats are killed at wind turbines globally. Recent studies have predicted potential population-level impacts as a result, highlighting the need for strategies alleviating bat-wind turbine collisions. Research has shown bats active in close proximity to turbines, approaching and interacting with tower surfaces as if they provided resources, such as water sources and foraging opportunities. Evidence indicates that the smooth surface of the towers can be misperceived by bats as water, and it can also create an acoustic mirror that can enhance foraging success. We hypothesized that a textured coating would disrupt the smooth tower surfaces. Thus, the focus of our study was to determine if texture application would result in decreased bat activity in proximity to tower surfaces, which in turn would reduce collision risk. From May to September 2017, we used thermal cameras, night vision technology, and ultrasonic acoustic bat detectors to assess bat activity at two pairs of wind turbines in north central Texas. Each pair comprised a texture-treated turbine and a control, and bat proximity and behavior at towers were compared. In this first year of testing, we conducted 76 survey nights, observed 1030 confirmed bats on video, and recorded 1215 acoustic calls from 7 bat species. To fully assess the effectiveness of the texture coating, we will be repeating surveys from June to September 2018.
This project will map 2,000-4,000 rare plant species found in Texas. Most of these species have geocoordinates, with some only down to the county-level. These georeferenced plants will be overlaid on to soil type, precipitation, and land development, topography, and ecosystem type maps. This analysis will explain why these habitats are ideal for the rare plants in Texas. Understanding the habitats of these rare plants is important in preserving endangered botanical species. This could lead to a better understanding of this rare biota.
On average, Americans generate about 11.4 million kilograms of spent coffee grounds per day. That is an equivalent weight of a thousand full-size school buses, every day. Most of this coffee is discard, where it eventually ends up in a landfill. However, if recycled or reused this commonly discarded material has many potential uses including as a pest repellent or garden fertilizer. Another use is as a sorbent to remove water contaminants. This means that coffee grounds have the potential to be used as a key component in carbon-based water filters. Evidence from recent research conducted in our laboratory at Texas Christian University shows that charred coffee grounds can effectively remove lead contamination from water. My research will further this work by identifying 1) the specific properties of charred coffee grounds that allows for the removal of lead from water and 2) the optimal temperature for producing charred coffee grounds for water filtration. With the use of infrared spectroscopy and other materials characterization techniques, I will study the properties of charred coffee grounds produced from regular Folgers coffee and an Ethiopian-blend at 250 ℃, 350 ℃, and 450 ℃.
BTEX compounds (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene), and specifically benzene, have been linked to cancer in humans. This project will allow me to develop a map to quantify risk of cancer based the amount of BTEX compounds that have been determined to be in the air. Air pollutant data was gathered by TCEQ using automated gas chromatographs. I collected this data for different monitoring stations in the DFW area in order to compare the differences with Houston. This data was then used to create a map in ArcGIS in order to visualize higher pollution areas. The contaminant levels will then be used with the recommended health exposure levels in order to create a map of risk corridors. This is useful information as it allows individuals to be aware of their personal exposure to these compounds based on the time spent in an area.
Nitrate contamination of groundwater in the Seymour Aquifer is a well-known issue that has been documented since the 1960's. Concentrations as high as 35 ppm NO3-N have been reported, which is a startling 3.5 times the EPA allowable standard for drinking water. While most water from the Seymour Aquifer is used for agricultural irrigation, a portion is still used for domestic purposes and therefore poses a risk to human health. While this problem may have been recognized, the specific source of this contamination remains unknown. Three potential sources of nitrate within the aquifer are being considered in this study—the geological makeup of the aquifer, the agricultural contribution of nitrate from fertilizers, and the historical land use change of the area above the aquifer. My research will combine various analytical and geospatial technologies in order to 1) assess the evolution of groundwater in the Seymour Aquifer since the 1960's, and 2) to determine the source of the high concentrations of nitrate in domestic wells situated on the aquifer. Readily available groundwater quality data from the Texas Water Development Board will be used in conjunction with geospatial analysis and chemical analysis to identify changes in the aquifer's water quality over time. Nitrogen and Oxygen stable isotopic analysis will be used to determine the source of the contaminant. After a thorough analysis of the site area via the aforementioned methods and technologies, a thorough portrait that depicts the source of nitrate contamination in Texas's Seymour Aquifer ought to be painted.
(Poster is private)
Bats are critical to their surrounding environment, providing numerous beneficial ecosystem services. For instance, they are natural pest controllers, and in urban environments they can control the mosquitoes that cause West Nile Virus. Nevertheless, loss and degradation of habitat, along with disease, have led to declining bat numbers. Restoring and creating suitable habitat will certainly help encourage bats, but first we need to know what resources bats need to survive, such as water. Many available water resources in urban areas, such as streams, ponds, and drainage ditches are ephemeral and dry up during the hot Texas summers. We believe that bats are able to utilize swimming pools in Texas urban areas, thus we explored this by radio-tracking bats in a local park, Foster Park in Fort Worth. We caught bats in this park using a technique called mist netting. Upon capture, we attached a radio-transmitter which emits a signal that can be picked up by a hand-held receiver. We then followed the bats using the transmitter’s signal and triangulated their position every minute to map their nightly routine. From March to September 2017, we tracked a total of 10 evening bats (Nycticeius humeralis). Using ArcGIS, we mapped the bats flight paths and determined home range sizes. From March to May, and September, we found that bats tracked tended to restrict their movement and remained within or near to the park, however from June to August the bats expanded their home ranges and moving longer distances into local neighborhood. This expansion coincided with drying up of water sources within the park, and included areas with swimming pools. Our finding supports the hypothesis that urban habitats have the potential to maintain healthy bat populations, which in turn can aid bat conservation.
The Tar Creek Mine was declared a superfund site in 1983. Located in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, the mine operated from 1900 to the 1960’s for zinc and lead supplies. Large, open highly contaminated chat piles are still visible today. Toxic contamination from the mine is found in groundwater, most water bodies and precipitated dust all over the surrounding community. Children in the area were found to have elevated lead, zinc and manganese levels leading to an assortment of learning disabilities. Using historical and present day satellite imagery a map of change at the Tar Creek Super Fund will be completed. The main sources of data will be Landsat satellite imagery, old aerial flight photos, and precipitation level averages over time. A remote sensing analysis will be used to map changes in the mine chad piles and contamination zones from 1978 to present.
(Poster is private)
Intermittent power outages at Texas and New Mexico border stations has caused significant delays in customs services and information losses through computer shutdowns. The U.S. General Services Administration approached us to address these power quality problems at the border stations through a review of potential distributed generation sources through microgrids to “combat or support” these frequent power outages. The overall aim aside from solving power outages and brown outs at stations is potentially addressing the implementation of renewable energy sources as a power generation for microgrids and coming closer in compliance with Executive Order 13693, “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade”. Our approach includes analyzing background information through analysis of GSA documentation and current studies on implementing microgrids in a variety of locations. Current data suggests proposing wind power, solar power, and battery storage based on size and locations of border stations. However, results are pending data collection and GSA input.
Abstract for GIS Project
Professors: T. Morgan and K. Argenbright
The Tanjung Putting National Park located in Borneo is one of the last refuges of the endangered Orangutan primate. GIS data and satellite imagery covering Borneo and the Tanjung Putting National Park was researched and collected. The data was used to map areas that are subject to illegal logging and mining practices. This information was created to help locate areas of the park where guard towers may be placed to maximize efficiency. Imagery of the areas surrounding the park was researched with goal of creating possible natural corridors to other parts of the island.
Although multiple localized chemostratigraphic and strength studies have been completed on the organic-rich Barnett Shale in the Fort Worth basin (Montgomery et al., 2005; Pollastro et al., 2007; Jarvie et al., 2007; Rowe et al., 2008; Williams et al., 2016; Taylor, 2017; Alsleben, unpublished), basin-wide correlations have not been completed. Basin-wide correlation of chemostratigraphy and mechanical stratigraphy could enhance the understanding of regional variations in chemical composition and rock competence. Therefore, this study is going to test multiple hypotheses to identify regional trends and correlations within the Barnett Shale, based on variations in the formations chemical makeup and rock strength. The purpose is to start establishing a more comprehensive, basin-wide characterization of the mechanical stratigraphy and chemostratigraphic framework of the Barnett Shale in the Fort Worth Basin. Results will start to establish possible regional variations such as rock strength and help determine what controls those variations. Ultimately, the data compilation may provide a better understanding of the Barnett Shale and start to address the complex interactions between marine sediment flux, terrestrial sediment flux, and geochemistry throughout the basin at the time of deposition.
The geomechanical properties of Eagle Ford cores from the San Marcos Arch were measured by hardness tools to test that calcareous rocks are stiffer than the clay-rich shales. Results were quantified and graphed to reinforce the idea that the Maness shale could be more ductile than the superimposing Eagle Ford Shale.