At the College of Engineering's Craig M. Berge Design Day 2022, the college celebrated coming together in person after two years of virtual events due to the pandemic.
Design Day – named for Craig M. Berge, a College of Engineering alum and longtime supporter of the college who passed in 2017 – is an annual opportunity for engineering seniors to present the results of their yearlong projects to the public and hundreds of judges. This year, 97 teams of students, who completed projects requested by industry and university sponsors, competed for $46,250 in prizes.
Team 22030 took home the $7,500 Craig M. Berge Dean's Award for Most Outstanding Project, for creating a Blinding Resonant Incapacitating Throwable Emitter, or BRITE. Traditional flashbang grenades emit a bright light and loud sound to disorient an assailant, but can also be potentially harmful to the person using it. The team developed a battery-powered, reusable alternative designed to be safe for the user.
The students were drawn to the project for its many components, and for its application in fields like defense and law enforcement.
"You could give this to law enforcement and it could be usable. It's something that sparked my eye, and I can see it in the real world," said team lead Jeston Rusnak, a mechanical engineering major. "This is my first time leading a team on a large scale, especially in an engineering capacity. Being surrounded by a bunch of smart people all the time, I have to be on top of my game."
Paul Thompson, director of engineering at aerospace company Meggitt Tucson, has attended several Design Days to support Meggitt's interns. This year, he attended as both a judge and a project sponsor for a team that built a tool to apply a heater blanket to lithium battery cells.
"I was extremely impressed with the students' professionalism and presentation skills. I can tell you, I graduated in 2004, and they blew me away," said the aerospace engineering alumnus. "I think the university program is really training these students well for industry."