Richard Bannerot, Ph. D., P.E.
713-743-4511, rbb [at] uh [dot] edu
The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston is soliciting undergraduate design projects from industry sponsors for our two-semester capstone design program. Senior students work in teams to development solutions to problems provided from several sources including local industry. This program is intended to increase the professional readiness of these students who will soon be working in industry. We request companies in the area to provide us with descriptions for projects they are willing to sponsor. In order to increase the chances that a project sponsored by your company will be selected, we invite you to submit more than one project description. The project submission forms are found on this website.
Some of the salient points of our program follow:
• The students who work on these projects are mechanical engineering undergraduates in their senior year. Typically they work in teams of four. The projects submitted by the sponsors will be first screened by the course instructor with the help of the Mechanical Engineering Faculty whose research area is related to the subject of the project. This screening is to ensure that projects selected best serve the purpose of the program.
• Projects are expected to produce a validated result, e.g., hardware that can be tested. A design without an artifact is usually not acceptable as a project unless the sponsor agrees to perform formal design reviews (at the ends of the fall and spring semesters) and to provide written evaluations of the design to the course instructor. The project description should clearly define the deliverable(s).
• To submit a project for the capstone course, complete the “Solicitation Form” available through a link on this website.
• The project descriptions will first appear on the course website about one month before the start of the fall semester. Additional project descriptions will be posted as they become available. All project descriptions will be circulated on the first day of class, usually the 4th week of August. Sponsors are invited to attend the class during the first week, to make a short presentation describing their projects and answer questions from the students. On the basis of the information provided in the project descriptions, the teams submit mini-proposals for three of the projects and indicate their preferences for a project assignment. After reviewing the mini-proposals and the preferences, the course instructor (with input from the project sponsor) will assign teams to projects. Each student is expected to contribute approximately 80 hours of work on the project.
• We ask the company to identify an engineer-in-charge for the project to serve as the “client” and as a technical advisor for the team.
• It is expected that each team will meet regularly with its engineer-in-charge from the company sponsoring its project.
• Each semester each team will provide two formal oral reports and two formal written reports: progress reports at mid-semester, a design review at the end of the fall and a final report at the end of the spring. Copies of the written report are submitted to both the instructor and the sponsor. All participants (students, faculty, and sponsors) are invited to attend the oral presentations.
• The sponsoring company is expected to cover all expenses for the project and is asked to make a $2000 donation to the department at the completion of the project if they are satisfied with the results. These funds are used to help cover the expenses of other unsponsored projects, e.g., regional and national design competitions and service projects.
The University of Houston Policy on Intellectual Property states that the discovery or invention of new technology [utilizing University resources] will be protected by the University, if appropriate, and diligent efforts will be made to make productive use of such rights for the good of the public, the creator, and the University. Sponsors wishing to retain intellectual property rights for their projects are able to do so by signing an IP agreement with the University, prior to the project’s completion that stipulates that no University resource was used in completing the project. See the latest edition of the Faculty Handbook.