Kasparas Bellwood, Corey Wakita, Matt Cage and Dan Klassen with the mobility train car that is wheelchair accessible. Travis Paterson/News Staff

VIDEO: Camosun student projects include robotic manta ray that could study orcas

Camosun mechanical engineering students showcase innovative projects

A mobility access car for the train ride at Heritage Acres, a bike rack that allows you to open the trunk of the car with the bikes still mounted, and an underwater robotically operated vehicle that swims like a manta ray were among the capstone projects exhibited by Camosun College mechanical engineering students on Friday.

The college’s new Centre for Trades Education and Innovation at Camosun’s Interurban Campus was buzzing with prospective businesses and employees, students, staff, family and friends who came to see the unique designs, some which are ready to use.

Among the designs was a bike rack that mounts to the trailer hitch of a car. It holds four bicycles, vertically, and can swing wide to permit the trunk to open. The team enlisted Oak Bay Bikes to help fund the project, which includes a 100-pound metal frame.

“It’s well built but it comes apart,” said team member Justin Logan. “It’s about 40 pounds [for one part], and about 60 pounds [for the other part], so it’s manageable.”

The group of Logan, Abdul Khidri, Joe Lake and Hayden Genoud, spent about 1,500 hours in total on the design and manufacture of the bike rack.

The program approaches local businesses about needs and issues that the students could potentially fix, said Matt Cage, whose team designed a wheelchair accessible train car to use at Heritage Acres.

This year’s showcase features a record setting 13 projects representing the contributions of 52 graduating students. In addition, every one of the thirteen projects was sponsored by industry, integrating the element of real-world applied research and learning.

Kennametal, a local company that produces carbide inserts (which are used to cut metal), is looking for a way to package the 3 million inserts it makes in a month. Each insert is small, about as wide as a quarter, and employees package 15,000 in a day, all by hand.

Andrew Birch and his project team of Julian Skinner and Jesse Gough programmed software for a robotic arm, with a suction tip, to pick up about 25 of the tips in 10 seconds.

The machine works so fast, they had to slow it down for the exhibition for safety reasons.

Among the most peculiar was the semi-autonomous underwater research robot that mimics the swimming motion of a manta ray. Sponsored by local aeROBOcean, the manta ray’s presence is minimal in the ocean, and could offer research on marine wildlife such as orcas, and how noise pollution affects them.


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