Capstone Projects

 

Capstone Projects are at the heart of the Beaver Works experience.  A typical two-semester capstone project allows students to work collaboratively to carry ideas from initial design all the way through prototype fabrication and testing.

Current Projects

MobileTactical Power Systems

Fall 2014 – Spring 2015
Course 2.013/2.014
To develop novel energy technologies that significantly reduce the logistics burden on the warfighter.  The focus of this effort is on the U.S. Marine Corps, a small, highly mobile force, typically at the front lines of the conflict.  Potential for numerous other applications including disaster response, and third world electrification.

Enviromental Awareness In the Maritime Domain

Fall 2014 – Spring 2015
Course 2.013/2.014, 16.82
The Mechanical Engineering and Aero/Astro Engineering departments are collaborating to design, build, and demonstrate an integrated system to enable long-endurance surveillance operations in marine environments. The key elements of this novel system are deployable power pod and autonomous seaplane. By providing power and communications to the seaplane, the power pod significantly extends the duration of surveillance operations in support search and rescue, marine life and environmental monitoring, border patrol, and naval operations.

Enviromental Awareness In the Maritime Domain

Fall 2014 – Spring 2015
Course 2.013/2.014,
Students in the Mechanical Engineering Capstone Course designed a deployable “blue water” resupply system.  Networks of latent semisubmersible pods will operate autonomously in a marine environment and provide power and communications links to significantly extend the duration of maritime surveillance operations. Each pod includes a power source, buoyance control system, docking station, and satellite communication link. Pods are deployed from surface ships, and hibernate below the surface until activated by an underwater communication signal. Once activated, pods surface and deploy a docking station to recharge and download data from UAVS, and then transmit data to remote stations via satellite communications. The design for this system was completed in the fall 2014 semester, and students plan to build and demonstrate this novel capability in the spring 2015 semester.

Enviromental Awareness In the Maritime Domain

Fall 2014 – Spring 2015
Course 16.82
Students in the Aero/Astro Capstone Course designed a novel autonomous seaplane to perform long-endurance surveillance operations. The duration of conventional small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) missions is typically limited to a few hours by the capacity of their onboard power systems. To significantly extend operations, students designed a UAV that can land on the sea surface, dock with a floating resupply station, recharge onboard batteries, transfer surveillance data, and takeoff from the sea surface to continue airborne operations. Some of the advanced systems in the UAV include autonomous navigation and docking payloads, rotating pontoons, and an onboard recharging system. The design for this system was completed in the fall 2014 semester, and students plan to build and demonstrate this novel capability in the spring 2015 semester.

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Upcoming Capstone Projects

 

Cyber Defense

Fall 2014 – Spring 2015
Course TBD
Students build prototype advanced cyber defenses and test them in an emulated global enterprise IT environment.  Lincoln specifies and runs emulated environment as well as provides Red Teaming to challenge student-devised defenses.

Deployable mini-UAV Project

Spring 2015
Course 2.007
Deployable mini-UAV concept demonstration - II

Novel UAV Development

Fall 2014 – Spring 2015
Course 16.82
Air-launched boost-glide UAVs for organic sensing capabilities.

Robust Communications for Autonomous Swarms

Fall 2015
CoursePresents concepts, principles, and algorithms of swarm behaviors of various biological systems and applies them to mechanical systems in the physical world.   Options for communicating among nodes in a swarm are presented as well as the advantages of multiple antenna systems.  Topics covered include: Basic swarm behaviors and modeling, communication techniques, adaptive signal processing, information security/integrity, sensors, single and multi-rotor airborne platforms, embedded system development, multiple antenna systems.  Students define a mission, develop the appropriate algorithms, test them in an open source development environment, and instantiate them on a UAV platform.

Sensor Networks and the Smart Campus

Course 1.S992/1.013 – Professors Colette Heald and Jesse Kroll
Develop a sensor network to monitor the health of MIT’s environment and infrastructure.  Fall semester’s activities focus on architecture and concept design.  Spring semester will translate these concepts into prototypes for data collection and analysis.

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Past Capstone Projects

 

Sensor Networks and the Smart Campus

Course 1.S992/1.013 – Professors Colette Heald and Jesse Kroll
Develop a sensor network to monitor the health of MIT’s environment and infrastructure.  The fall semester’s activities focus on architecture and concept design.  Spring semester will translate these concepts into prototypes for data collection and analysis.

Imaging and Fab Ventures

Course MAS.533 - 3 - Professor Ramesh Raskar
This project involves brainstorming about optimal charge-coupled device (CCD) pixel structures, in particular, examining benefits associated with sub-phase charge shifting and charge accumulation capabilities to better guide efforts associated with developments focused on the next-generation orthogonal transfer CCD (OTCCD). This course will also leverage the Beaver Works rapid prototyping facilities for hardware realizations associated with general imaging improvements to cell phones or other devices.

UAV Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Missions

Course 16.82/16.885 - Professors Sertac Karaman and Mark Drela
Design an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to support rapid-response material delivery in HADR missions. The UAV should be designed to be launched from medium-size ships, and carry expandable payloads of varying weights. The UAV should be able to provide reasonable requirements on range, response time, and payload drop accuracy, suitable for HADR operations. Furthermore, the design must allow (relatively) low cost construction such that the UAVs can be deployed in large numbers.
 
 

AUV Power Subsystems 2014

Course 2.013/2.014 - Professor Doug Hart
The design, fabrication, and testing of an aluminum-water fuel cell for autonomous undersea vehicles (AUV).  Design and develop a prototype air-independent energy source that increases the endurance of a mid-sized AUV from 3 days to 30 days.  Integrate the prototype into a mid-sized AUV for in-water testing.

Flexible Aircraft System Testbed (FAST)

Fall 2012 – Spring 2013
Course 16.82 / 16.821 / 16.885
During the capstone course, MIT successfully designed, constructed, and flew two UAVs – one man-portable field-assembled vehicle (6 ft wingspan and 0.5 lb payload) and one multi-mission vehicle (11 ft wingspan and single 2 lb payload). A modular system architecture was developed using common tooling and components (for wings, spars, spine, joiners), common fuselage pod (adjustable CG, flexible payloads), and COTS components (power systems, communications and control).

AUV Power Subsystem 2013

Fall 2012 – Spring 2013
Course 2.013/2.014
The investigation and development of an aluminum-seawater reaction engine for Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (AUV).  The approach used the hydrogen gas released in the aluminum-water reaction together with oxygen from the disassociation of sodium chlorate to drive a commerical fuel cell. The class also developed another method that directly converts the chemical energy in the aluminum-water reaction into electricity.

Media Lab Course

Spring 2012
Media Lab
Private data sharing architecture for collecting and analyzing smart phone GPS data

Large UAV Design Course

Spring 2012
Course 16.82
Students successfully designed a vehicle to cruise at >50 kft with a 1,000 nmi mission radius and 20 hour loiter on station time, with a wingspan under 80 meters and payload aperture between 6 and 12 meters long and 0.5 meters tall. Representative UAV payload performance, size, weight and power requirements were also met.

Deployable mini-UAV Course

Spring 2012
Course 2.007
Students designed, built, and flew several novel UAV's, overcoming challenges of packaging aircraft into small diameter launch tube, surviving launch acceleration, self-deploying on a ballistic trajectory, and transitioning to stable flight.

AUV Power Subsystem 2012

Fall 2011 – Spring 2012
Course 2.013/2.014 – Professor Doug Hart
Autonomous Undersea Vehicles (AUV) systetm for long endurance monitoring and surveillance.  Designed and built a prototype energy source that used a commerical internal combustion engine together with a custom generator to recharge AUV batteries.  The class also researched another method to generate power that uses the energy released when aluminum reacts with water.

Project Perdix

Fall 2010 – Spring 2011
Course 16.82 / 16.821 / 16.885 – Professor John Hansman
Sucessfully designed, constructed, and flew ground and balloon-launched micro UAVs that supported airborne environmental monitoring.  Students prepared and presented a summary of their work at the 2011 Air Vehicle Surviviability Workshop, and received very favorable feedback from government, military and industry attendees.  The design for the micro UAV was transitioned to MIT/LL.

Project MicroMAS

Fall 2010 – Spring 2011
Course 16.851, 16.89/16.83
CubeSat Spacecraft bus development. The course designed a 2U Spacecraft bus for the 3U Micro-Sized Microwave Atmospheric Satellite (MicroMAS). MicroMAS hosts a passive radiometric sensor for atmospheric measurements and severe weather monitoring. The capstone course successfully led the satellite design/development through Preliminary Design Review (PDR).

 

Project Icarus

Fall 2009 – Spring 2010
Course 16.82 / 16.821 / 16.885 – Professor John Hansman
Successfully designed, constructed, and flew two UAVs that supported airborne measurements of ground-based radar antenna patterns.  Students prepared and presented a summary of their work at the 2010 Air Vehicle Surviviability Workshop, and received very favorable feedback from government, military, and industry attendess.  Both UAVs were transitioned to MIT/LL, and payloads for airborne antenna pattern measurements were integrated into one of the vehicles and used for several local flights.

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