ENGR 199 Project 1 “Save Halloween!” in Fall 2020

In Fall 2020, there were three sections of ENGR 199, team-taught by Dr. Hugh Jack, Dr. Yanjun Yan, and professor Jim Coffin.

ENGR 199 is a freshman seminar course for School of Engineering + Technology (SET) students in all programs: Electrical Engineering (EE), Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology (ECET), B.S. in Engineering (BSE) with concentration in Mechanical or Power, and Engineering Technology (ET). ENGR 199 is also the first course in the PBL (project-based learning) course sequence at SET. The PBL course sequence ranges from freshmen’s ENGR 199 (for a semester) to senior students’ capstone project in ENGR 400 + ENGR 450 (a year-long project).

The Project 1 in Fall 2020’s ENGR 199, “Save Halloween!”, took the 76 students in three sections about three weeks from start to finish, using the Arduino kit provided by SET, 3D-printed parts at SET’s MakerSpace that the students had designed, and/or anything the students could find or buy. There were 26 groups in total, with 2-4 (mostly 3) students on each team. The students learned about 3D design and printing and Arduino programming early in the course, to be able to tackle the task in this project.

The 26 projects were collected together in a classroom and the College of Engineering and Technology (CET) was able to invite seven families with ten children to visit the project room (one family at a time to ensure social distancing). It was a memorable experience for the children to still have some trick-or-treat experience during the pandemic.

 The content of some emails from the families who visited the project room is presented below.

The children, the students, and the instructors have voted on the projects.

The children have voted for their top-3 favorite projects, and we have tallied the scores (#1 choice gets 3 points, #2 choice gets 2 points, and #3 choice gets 1 point) to come up with a list of

  • three “Kids Top Choice” projects,
  • two “Kids Choice” projects, and
  • multiple “Kids Choice Honorable Mention” projects.

The instructors had also picked

  • one “Judges Choice” project.

The students have voted for their top-3 favorite projects, and we have tallied the scores similarly to come up with a list of

  • two “Gold in Students Choice” projects,
  • two “Silver in Students Choice” proejcts, and
  • three “Bronze in Students Choice” projects.

The projects with similar scores are grouped into the same award category, and hence the number of awards in each category is not preset, but determined by the project scores.

Congratulations to the teams that are awarded and have garnered great interests from the children and their peer students! Meanwhile, all 26 teams are sincerely appreciated as they have brightened the kids and their families’ lives just a little bit more. Congratulations to all the teams for accomplishing this project!

The gallery list of all 26 projects is presented below.

Some kids’ families have kindly agreed to share their photos.

Some student teams have kindly agreed to share their demonstration videos.

Project “Automatic Starburst Candy Dispenser

from left: Devin Whitaker (ET), Dalton Whitaker (ET), and William Wright (EE)

Project “The Angel of Death

from left: Corbin Huskins (EE), Wesley Jolly (EE), and Brian Jackson (BSE)

Project “Gumball Graveyard

from left: Brandon Pitman (EE), Vincent Petruccelli (ET), and Ronald Pellin (BSE)

Project “The Frankenstein”

Created by Hernan Ramirez (BSE), Bowen Orders (CM), and Kailyn Paulson (ET)

Project 3

The project 3 was simiarly carried out, but with newly formed teams. The students each proposed five concepts to solve the problems they saw or experienced during the COVID era, and they chose one concept they liked the most to present to all the other students. Then the students would each choose their top three concepts they wanted to work on. The concepts that got the most of the votes would be the ones the class worked on, and the teams were formed based on their choices. The students created their prototypes and presented them on the website below with photos and a video:

ENGR 199 Fall 2020 Poject 3 Prototype Website

Below are some links to the media coverage of project 1

The WCU news article about this touchless trick-or-treat event is here: https://www.wcu.edu/stories/posts/engineering-treats.aspx The WCU front-page has featured this article in the week of Oct 30, 2020 (a screen-shot of the webpage is shown below). This news article has since been re-posted at multiple venues.

The local TV station, WLOS’s news article about it is here: https://wlos.com/news/local/wcu-engineering-students-create-touchless-halloween-candy-dispensers

Asheville Citizen-Times and Gaston Gazette has a story about Bailey Marquand (with team member Michael Marcell)’s EnderDragon 9000 (a character in the Minecraft video game, #956 in the gallery list): https://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/2020/10/28/wcu-student-engineers-trick-treat-pandemic-solution/3757560001/