Project Day a showcase for engineering student excellence

By Costa Maragos Posted: April 10, 2017 6:00 a.m.

A project to turn waste lubricant oil into diesel. Students Halar Shahani, Salwa Mazhar and Alexander Calkins with their unit at Project Day 2017, held by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
A project to turn waste lubricant oil into diesel. Students Halar Shahani, Salwa Mazhar and Alexander Calkins with their unit at Project Day 2017, held by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. Photos courtesy of External Relations

An array of innovative projects were on public display, as engineering students showed off their final year projects, April 8.

Project Day 2017, an annual event, features a wide variety of projects from students in Electronic Systems Engineering, Environmental Systems Engineering, Industrial Systems Engineering, Petroleum Systems Engineering and Software Systems Engineering.

hockey pads
Designing safer hockey shoulder pads. Students (l-r) Gloria Becker, Kaycee McFee and Paul Sonntag.


“This is a showcase of their achievements,” says Dr. Esam Hussein, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “Projects teach students teamwork, work ethics, and professionalism. The projects show their ability to innovate and prepare them for the workforce. It’s a great event.”

There were dozens of projects on display in the Education Building for public viewing. They included:

  • Remote distress monitoring for workers
  • A ‘volt bike’ that features cruise control and a multi-level pedal assistance
  • Automatic gym spotter system
  • Combination high chair and stroller
  • Designing safer hockey shoulder pads that could lead to fewer concussions

“Forty-two percent of elite athletes concussions come from shoulder impact from hockey,” says Kaycee McFee, who worked on the project with fellow industrial systems engineering students Gloria Becker and Paul Sonntag.

The team designed a drop-weight test apparatus with sensors to assess material used in shoulder padding.

In another area of the Education Building, the works of software systems engineering students were featured. The Projects included:

  • Video enabled eyeglass lens blocker
  • Tender, a web app that assists a group of users to pick a restaurant that everyone will enjoy.
  • 3D marble physics game
  • Scheduler and management application
  • Programmable live audio controller
  • Major League Baseball LinePro for DraftKings.
MLA fantasy baseball
Rochana Swatzky has developed a web application to provide users with an edge for daily fantasy betting for Major League Baseball.

“This was really a combination of my interest in analytics and baseball,” says Rochana Swatzky, who is a software systems engineering student and a Blue Jays fan.

In explaining her web application, Swatzky says it provides users with a significant edge for daily fantasy betting for Major League Baseball.

“I worked as a database administrator for five years. So I’m really good at going through large amounts of data and finding patterns in it. Baseball has the most statistics available and I like baseball."

Many of the projects focused on sustainability, including a process to turn waste lubricating oil to clean diesel fuel.

“There’s quite a lot of waste oil that’s generated every year. Actually, in Saskatchewan we have around 19 million litres of waste oil, so we thought why not convert that to something useful?” says Halar Shahani who worked on the project with fellow industrial systems engineering students Salwa Mazhar and Alexander Calkins.

The students have been invited by a company in Manitoba to further test the apparatus.

Other sustainability-related projects included a U of R deep geothermal energy project, a cycling-based power generation system for gyms and a wastewater lagoon upgrade for the community of Regina Beach.

“I am impressed by the students’ social consciousness and understanding of sustainability,” says Hussein. ”I’m also very proud and very pleased to see more women in engineering. We are seeing more First Nations students and of course, we have a strong international contingent.”

“We value diversity. Diversity goes with creativity in engineering because it brings different perspectives, different points of views and different approaches. It is a reflection of what engineering is all about,” says Hussein.