Celebrating global innovation at the 10th annual capstone showcase

By Alison Huh

Berkeley MEng presents the 2021 Capstone Showcase: Innovating Across the Globe

Marked by a record-high number of over 700 registered attendees, students, faculty, and guests gathered online in our virtual auditorium to celebrate the 10th annual Berkeley MEng Capstone Showcase on Thursday, May 6, 2021. As attendees spawned into the space, 30 Berkeley MEng teams took the stage in the exhibition-style showcase, presenting their year-long capstone projects to guests from around the world.

During the showcase, MEng students engage with a variety of stakeholders—new admits and alumni, faculty, advisors, and industry partners—using the opportunity to not only to promote their projects and research, but also to foster new connections within the Berkeley MEng community.

Though this year’s event was virtual, the celebration of the MEng teams and their year-long efforts brought back a sense of normalcy amidst the year of online learning, as exhibitors and attendees, together, livened up the virtual auditorium. Teams proudly presented their projects, showing off prototypes, data models, and physical simulations to convey the focus of their project and their solution to the problem it addressed.

A global welcome from our students and opening remarks from College of Engineering Dean Tsu-Jae King Liu

A global welcome video from the Berkeley MEng class of 2021.

Guests were greeted with a warm virtual welcome from the MEng Class of 2021, representing 21 countries and 115 undergraduate institutions from around the world.

Rita Chen, MEng ’21 (ME), and Diego Espinoza, MEng ’21 (BioE), kicked things off as the event’s student emcees, followed by opening remarks from Dean Tsu-Jae King Liu. While the speakers took the spotlight on stage, exhibiting teams quickly prepared their presentations at their respective booths, ready to showcase their year’s work to the present attendees.

Here are a few team highlights from the capstone exhibition:

Improving patient care by making deep learning accessible to physicians [UCSF x MEng]

Working in partnership with UCSF, this capstone team created a patient profiling search engine that applies natural language processing (NLP) and deep learning on physician notes to help physicians quickly examine health records and project disease progression in their patients.

The project extracts medical key words for each patient by training their NLP model with data from electronic health records. In doing so, they encode and cluster patient data, organized by symptoms, diseases, lab results, and treatments, similar to those of other patients. Using this collective method with the power of data analysis, the team hopes to help physicians reduce their chances of assigning ineffective treatments while also working to predict their patients’ prognoses with greater confidence.

Left: The UCSF NLP team presents their patient clusters during the capstone showcase. Right: The UCSF NLP team’s project brief.

Interactive Python-based Internal Dashboard to Facilitate Investment Decision Making [MSCI]

The MSCI MEng team designed a modernized dashboard to help financial researchers find a more efficient and scalable way to analyze financial data, construct factor models, and gather client feedback. They built theirplatform using several Python libraries such as xarray, pandas, ipywidgets, alongside MSCI datasets for equity and fixed income models.

The team aims to help MSCI Production Services, Product Owners, Researchers and MSCI stakeholders by modernizing their engagement tools with a state of the art dashboard that showcases the power of their models. The dashboard also addresses the needs of product managers and business analysts with its improved finance model clarity. That way, they are able to answer client questions easily, accelerate the feedback cycle, and improve the research to market process.

SafeTport: A crowdsourcing application for transportation safety

SafeTport is a mobile application that allows users to share their concerns about infrastructure designs that make them feel unsafe. Through the data received through the app, the team plans to identify what road features
makes the average user feel unsafe during their travels, so local municipalities can later identify and improve dangerous components of their
infrastructure.

Additionally, you can check out the SafeTport app live on the Apple App Store: https://apps.apple.com/cn/app/safetport/id1548234912

Unmanned Underwater Vehicle with Wireless, LED-based Optical Communication System for Ocean Exploration

Left: The Unmanned Underwater Vehicle team, masked, poses together with their hardware. Right: The UUV team shares smiles, presenting at their exhibit booth.

This capstone team’s project introduces a new method for underwater wireless communication through a swarm of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). Current methods rely on acoustic communication, which can be obstructed due to its low speed and limited bandwidth. By using this model, communications will be localized and data will be transferred through the link formed by the swarm of UUVs.

As a result, the swarm model of communication helps improve communication speed and bandwidth, while also allowing for longer range and depth for ocean exploration.

Rounding out the evening were the 2020–21 capstone awards, nominated by College of Engineering faculty and Fung Institute staff and alumni. Listed below are the winners of each major award category:

Fung Institute Mission Award: MEDiRoller: Revolutionizing Low-cost Vaccine and Drug Delivery in Low-Resource Communities
Given to the team that best exemplifies the mission of the institute: “transforming scientists into leaders who can take risks and develop technical, social and economic innovations.”
Team: Diego Espinoza
Advisors: Phillip B. Messersmith, Katerina Malollari, & Kelsey DeFrates

Fung Institute Most Innovative Project Award: Advanced Oxidative Water Treatment at Home
Most effectively demonstrates the relevance of the problem they are trying to solve, the originality of their proposed solution, and the potential of their project’s impact.
Team: Andria Sperry, Daniel Payne, Justin Gonzalez, Zachary McGuire, Nebeyu Yonas
Advisor: Ed Morse

Fung Institute Technical Leadership Capstone Award: Harnessing Life Cycle Assessment as a Decision-Making Tool for Environmentally Conscious Design of Cell Therapy Manufacturing Processes
Most effectively demonstrates the relevance of the problem they are trying to solve, the originality of their proposed solution, and the potential of their project’s impact.
Team: Omokhowa Agbojo
Advisor: Tarek Zohdi, Mayasari Lim, Josephine Lembong

Fung Institute Faculty Advisor Awards
Winner: Prof. Kris Pister [EECS]
Honorable Mention: Prof. Lee Fleming [IEOR]

Fung Institute Industry Advisor Awards
Winner: Jack Miller, MEng ’15 (ME), Move2Play
Honorable Mention: Harsh Tomar, Asurion
Honorable Mention: Clement Ruin, Asurion

Fung Institute Technical Leadership Capstone Award Winner Omokhowa Agbojo broadcasts her Capstone project on the main stage.

Thank you to all who attended this year’s virtual capstone showcase! A full list of abstracts and award winners may be found on the event page.

For more information on how to propose a future MEng Capstone Project, please visit this webpage: Propose a Project

Stay up to date with the Berkeley MEng program by following us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn.

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