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Undergraduate Design 2012

Real-World Design Solutions

Rice engineering students make a difference in the world. Working in teams, they create projects that improve people's lives and solve engineering problems here at home and around the globe. And they do it in Rice's Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, a full-service facility with a wet lab, welding and machine shops, and central workspace. Beginning in their freshman year, students have opportunities to design and create solutions to real-world engineering problems. Below is a sampling of design projects from our 2011-2012 school year.

To read and watch videos about some of the projects, click on the links below.


Freshman taking part in ENG 120, Introduction to Engineering Design, found a new use for a mousetrap--it helps control IV fluids administered to infants. Their simple but elegant design aims to help combat dehydration among children in the developing world.


Rice's proximity to some of Houston's greatest resources makes for incredible partnerships and opportunities to learn. Working with the Houston Zoo, our students met orangutans and giraffes, then designed and built new methods for feeding the giraffes and challenging the orangutans' active minds.

A Houston researcher challenged students to come up with a better cervical collar to help stabilize the heads and necks of accident victims. Team CivSAFE came up with one that immobilizes the neck without putting pressure on the neck. This is their revolutionary design.


These bioengineers teamed up to build Babalung, a battery-powered neonatal monitor for the developing world.

Senior engineering students are purifying the air on Houston's public transit system. And they're doing it with a $500 device they designed themselves.


Rice chemical engineers won the regional Chem E Car competition, sponsored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. They head to the national competition this October, with their vehicle, whose hydrogen fuel cell is powered by a reaction of magnesium and hydrochloric acid.

The bioengineering and mechanical engineering majors on Rice's Helping Hands team have designed an animated dinosaur can improve the hand function of children with cerebral palsy. Their Dino-Might device is being tested by their mentor, a physician in the Texas Medical Center.


With the design for an emergency eye wash system for astronauts, Team Helios took home the Top Design Team prize – and four other awards worth $1,850 – in the Texas Space Grant Consortium. The NASA-sponsored event attracts student design teams from all over Texas.

For their senior design project, a team of Rice engineering students were challenged to create a way to wirelessly re-charge a ventricular assist device (VAD), a tiny pump inserted into the aortia that helps increase blood flow and heal patients with heart failure. The team worked with a local biomedical device company which is developing the VAD. 


Limb lengthening works great for bones, but is very hard on soft tissues. For children with one limb shorter than the other, the lengthening process can be long and painful. But LinDi, a Rice student-designed device, aims to change that.

Senior bioengineers used their senior design project to help obese patients breathe better while undergoing surgery. Working with a cardiologist at the Texas Heart Institute, their design shows how Rice engineering projects solve real-world issues.