Fung Institute Winter Spotlight draws in 300+ attendees to celebrate student tech innovation

By Maya Rector

Over 300 people attended the Fung Institute Winter Spotlight on December 5th, 2017, including 160 general admission attendees and 115 current MEng student attendees. Additionally, 42 Fung Fellowship students and 24 alumni attended the event that was co-hosted by the Fung Fellowship Program.

The night began with a cheerful foreword from CEO and co-founder of the Blue Goji Corporation, Coleman Fung. The Hearst Memorial Mining building was already buzzing with excitement as both Berkeley MEng capstone teams and Fung Fellowship students demonstrated their projects. With interactive displays, engaging games, and informational demonstrations, each group that participated had the opportunity to show off what they’ve been diligently working on throughout the semester. Since capstone projects will not be completed until the end of the 2018 spring semester, teams were able to offer their professors, peers, and the general public a sneak peek of what is yet to come.

With interactive displays, engaging games, and informational demonstrations, each group that participated had the opportunity to show off what they’ve been diligently working on throughout the semester.
The E-bike team’s mini prototype design

Throughout the night, we had the opportunity to speak with several teams who gave us insights as to what they were working on. For instance, Min Kim, a student working on the self driving E-bike team, explained that his team is primarily working on “creating bikes that drive themselves so that no manual balancing is necessary, which we are hoping can be utilized in the city’s future bike sharing programs.” Min’s group featured a mini E-bike prototype display to demonstrate how they plan to use the prototype’s design towards creating their full-sized bike design next spring.

While all capstone projects had a technical engineering basis, Luna Izpiusa’s group, Digital Arts Engagement Platform, was working on blending the technical aspects of engineering with the arts in order to increase community art engagement through the use of IoT devices and a mobile app. Luna explained that her favorite part of her team’s project is “working with a blend of artists and engineers to think about how we can build this and think outside the box.”

Berkeley MEng student Sina Dabiri of the Million Hands team showing off one of their 3D-printed designs

Many capstone teams were also focused on creating projects that would have an impact in the healthcare field. For example, MEng student Han Lee explained that his group’s project aims to “make radioisotopes for radiation therapy for cancer patients, which would allow hospitals to use the design in house instead of purchasing radioisotopes elsewhere.” Additionally, student Jose Ramirez’s group is working with the Million Hands organization to create customized low-cost prosthetic hands for children by utilizing 3D-printing. These are just several of the many examples of how Berkeley MEng capstone project teams are utilizing cutting edge technology in order to solve real world problems that aim to improve the lives of both individuals and communities as a whole.

MEng capstone project teams are utilizing cutting edge technology in order to solve real world problems that aim to improve the lives of both individuals and communities as a whole.

The atmosphere was one of excitement and festivity as the audience sipped on hot cocoa beneath Christmas lights while they wandered from one display to the next. Eventually, the festivities came to a close once the Most Innovative Exposition awards had been given out. These awards were given to the Berkeley MEng Data Fusion Analytics team and the Fung Fellowship Cuddle Cub team by the Fung Alumni panel who attended the event as judges, and scored teams throughout the night based on the creativity of their innovations and displays.

Fung Fellowship Cuddle Cub team (left) and Berkeley MEng Data Fusion Analytics team (right)

As the night ended teams began to pack away their displays while attendees headed home, after a festive winter night of innovative tech and problem-solving design from today’s Berkeley MEng students and tomorrow’s engineering leaders.

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