Department of Physics and Engineering Physics Abstracts

IEEE Micromouse Competition

The goal of this project is to design and build a small robot (Micromouse) capable of autonomously solving a maze for the IEEE annual Micromouse Competition that will solve the maze as fast as possible. Teams will not have knowledge of the maze until the day of the competition when the maze is revealed, where then teams are not allowed to program the mouse. However, not all is random in the competition. The mouse will always start at the very bottom left corner of the maze and end at the very middle, where the maze is composed of a 16 x 16 grid of 18 cm unit squares. This means that the mouse will need to explore the maze on its own and find the most optimal path.

NASA RASC-AL Competition

Amanda Mayer, John Lochner, Andrew Sos, Luc Hebert, Lucas Kabasakalian

The South Pole Ice Drilling and Exploration Rover (SPIDER) is a six-wheel-legged, radioisotope-powered lunar rover that is agile, and durable for the harsh lunar landscape it will traverse. SPIDER will be powered by the DRPS which allows the rover to operate for its entire lifespan inside permanently shadowed lunar craters. The durable power source, redundant suspension, and semi-autonomous navigation fill out a rover that can survive and navigate the harshest conditions found on Earth’s moon for an extended duration of time.

Moiré: Long Range Sensor Network for Reforestation Monitoring

Alex Motyka, Bennett Hermanoff, Charley Waldrop, Luke Farnan, Maddie Wisinski

We present Moiré: a hardware and accompanying software system for monitoring abiotic conditions across large distances of land. Moiré’s custom, solar-powered sensors monitor soil moisture, temperature, humidity, and light coverage. The sensors form a mesh network over the LoRa long range communication protocol and send sensor readings throughout the day. Accompanying software monitors and visualizes the data received from the sensor nodes on a custom, fullstack web application. This technology will be first deployed by FCAT, an Ecuadorian NGO focused on biodiversity, identify the most ideal factors for reforestation.

New Orleans City Park Stormwater Diversion

Lily Baughman , Tess Clorfene, Jessica Lachman

The exacerbation of flooding in the Lakeview neighborhood can be attributed to its drainage system being interconnected with Lake Vista's. Pump Station 7, where the system connects to the canal, has a limited water intake capacity. So, during storms the pump is overwhelmed, and stormwater backs up in Lakeview streets. In this project we reduced flooding in Lakeview by redirecting water from Lake Vista to the City Park system. Our diversion includes water storage solutions that delay the water in reaching Pump Station 7. Additionally, we have restructured the North golf course to accommodate these changes and enhance park accessibility for a broader range of visitors. Final deliverables for the project are intended to mimic presentation of it to New Orleans citizens.

Flower Power

Our team presents a building-integrated Concentrated Photovoltaic-Thermal (CPV/T) system for cogeneration of electricity and hot water from solar energy. CPV/T technology improves on traditional photovoltaic or solar thermal by using the sun’s entire spectrum, enabling efficiencies of above 70% and emission-free low-cost electricity and process heat. Our system uses a parabolic mirror to concentrate sunlight on a triple-junction solar cell module and thermal receiver to achieve high efficiency generation of electricity and hot water. Our technology expands on past CPV/T research by integrating to Flower Hall’s building systems to demonstrate real-world impact.