MME Capstone Design Day: Engineering students display their problem-solving prowess


Among the many projects on display at MME's Capstone Design Day was a boat spreader designed for STEM2STERN Community Boat Building, being demonstrated here by mechanical Engineering student Sarah Irwin.

This month, Western Engineering hosted its Capstone Design Day for Mechanical and Materials Engineering. 

Design Day demonstrates the design abilities of graduating Western Engineering students. It’s the highlight of the fourth-year course MME4499, “Mechanical Engineering Design Project”.

Student design teams present an overview of their projects that started back in the Fall semester with just a problem statement. Now, seven months later, design teams have solved their design problem.

At Design Day, they presented to judges and guests their working prototypes supported by complete manufacturing documentation, cost analysis and summary of performed design iterations.

Design-Day-2.jpgThese projects included a Snözelen Room created by mechanical Engineering students Megan Cockburn, Aaron Bove, Dejan Uzelac and Brandon Kuo (pictured to the right, l-to-r). A Snözelen Room is a room that provides a calming environment to serve as an intermediary step for individuals to feel more comfortable transitioning from busy and outside locations.

Cockburn and the rest of her team took a horticultural approach to their Snözelen Room. The walls of the room would act as hydroponic garden towers, where the user inside would be able to grow their own plants to create a horticultural environment. This room was tasked to specifically aid those individuals who have dementia, agoraphobia or who are on the austism spectrum.

“The Mechanical Capstone project was truly a culmination of everything I have learned throughout my undergraduate career,” says Cockburn. “I was able to learn how to use various tools in the shops throughout the engineering building and I was also challenged with pivoting when we hurt certain roadblocks, which helped strengthen my problem-solving and critical thinking skills.”

Uzelac added that the MME Capstone project has set him up for success after graduation.

“The project taught us the importance of soft skills that create an environment where we could work more effectively as a group,” he says. “The whole experience was extremely rewarding to take part in, and it gave us important technical knowledge we would be able to utilize in our post-graduate careers and studies.”


The goal of the Snözelen Room project was to create a horticultural and a holistic environment for the Hutton House.

Industry and Community Partners 

Among the other projects at Design Day was an automatic packing system designed for Schaeffler Canada Automotive, a sponsor for the project led by Jillian Rizzuto, Logan Callaway Alex Fortier-Engs and Fernando Gomez.


They were able to design a robotic system that, after an operator has loaded boxes into an input, automatically packs the boxes and can then output the full boxes. While part of the process was still run by human operators, much of it – including loading the parts, loading the box dividers and confirming the number of parts – would be taken care of by the robot system.

Rizzuto says the Captone Project taught her team how important good communication can be.

“The majority of the team had never pursued a project as large as this and were unfamiliar with Schaeffler operations, so one major thing we learned was how to communicate effectively," she says. “We had such important and varying responsibilities, so learning to express our thoughts and ideas effectively was integral for the success of our group.”

Schaeffler was just one of many industry sponsors that helped make Design Day possible.

“It was encouraging to see the number of industry sponsored projects as well as projects sponsored by community groups in this year’s mix of projects,” says John Makaran, professor in the department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and Capstone Project Co-ordinator.

He added that Snözelen Room was sponsored by Hutton House, a Western Engineering community partner.

“The presence of community partners in the Capstone Project course is something that we hope to grow in the future.”

Read more about Design Day to see a full list of projects and MME’s Capstone Project industry and community sponsors.