SWE Kickoff Event

SWE Kickoff Event


The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) held its spring term kick-off event this Tuesday night in the CEID. The group began the event with a clip of a TED talk by Debbie Sterling, founder and CEO of GoldieBlox, an engineering toy geared towards girls. The talk was followed by an exercise in which participants filled in the letters S, W, and E, the group’s acronym, with Stereotypes of women engineers, how they see themselves as Women, and how they see themselves as Engineers in the future. Debbie Sterling of GoldieBlox hopes to attack the problem of these stereotypes by creating a world where women fit in as engineers. By combining reading with a construction toy, she aims to encourage the development of spatial skills boys often get from toys like Legos or Lincoln Logs. In addition to pizza and Insomnia cookies the event featured a panel of upperclassmen from each of the engineering disciplines. These students answered questions about their experiences at Yale and plans for after college. SWE is a national organization which was brought to Yale a few years ago by Brigid Blaksee ’13 and is now headed up by Gabriella Heifetz ’16 and Nimisha Ginesh ’15. “Everone who is a female engineers should be a part of SWE,” says Nimisha. The group’s main goal is to create a community and support system for women engineers at Yale andbeyond.

The group went to the national SWE conference in October of last year and plans to attend the regional conference in April as well. In the future SWE will be hosting faculty dinners and hopes to start up a big sib program with grad students. To get involved with SWE or simply join the panlist, email yaleSWE@gmail.com.


Engineering and Music: Lamtharn Hantrakul '15

Engineering and Music: Lamtharn Hantrakul '15


Lamtharn Hantrakul ‘15, known by his friends as Hanoi, came to Yale with two separate passions: music and physics. He composed and played piano in his music sphere, and became interested in nanoparticles on the physics side of things. When John Chowning gave a guest lecture in one of Hanoi’s classes about his work in the intersection of music and physics sophomore year, Hanoi was hooked. Hanoi began learning how to use arduinos, power tools, and anything he could use to make devices that would allow him to explore the STEM fields while interacting with music, especially electronic music. He had DJed in the past and decided to make a MIDI controller meant to help him interact with the music software. The controller, shaped like a hemisphere, uses arcade buttons and an arduino to convey musical messages. The original shape allowed the buttons to be compact and the hand placement more natural.


“When you apply the technology in the right way it makes the interaction with the sound [and] the music more intuitive,” Hanoi says. This concept is reflected in a series of his projects which use a LEAP Motion controller to sense the motion of the hands and regulate what comes out of the speakers. He uses his left hand to control volume and the sound’s origin in the hemispherical speaker of his own design. Meanwhile, his right hand mixes the beats using a granular synthesizer which responds to finger motion.

In a similar project, Hanoi uses the LEAP Motion controller and RGB LEDs to make dubstep music accompanied by a light display. Friends have tried this setup and caught on quickly, where as if they had been in front of a computer, they would not have known what to do.

Hanoi noted that the CEID made all of his projects possible. On one level, most of his electronics and the tools he uses come from the CEID, but it is also a goal of the CEID to cross disciplines in the way he is doing. Hanoi says that this multidisciplinary approach allows for a product that is “larger than the sum of its parts.”


In the future, Hanoi hopes to apply intuitive computer interaction to dive into the medical world, helping patients with disabilities make music they might not normally be able to.

Look out for an upcoming CEID workshop developed by Hanoi and Dr. Larry Wilen on making a flute using the laser cutter, LEDs, and more!

For more on Hanoi’s exciting projects check out his website: http://lh-hantrakul.com/

IGVC and the Autonomous Segway

IGVC and the Autonomous Segway


The CEID is buzzing with students again after a quieter winter break. Among the groups who have gathered to engineer, innovate, and design are five sophomores: Kevin Abbott, Jason Brooks, Alex Carrillo, Pranay Maddi, and Phil Piper. The team of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and computer science majors is building a fully autonomous vehicle to compete in the Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition this June. The vehicle must navigate an obstacle course on a grassy field, staying within white painted lines and navigating to GPS waypoints autonomously.


The group is modifying a Segway Robotic Mobility Platform (RMP) donated by Dr. John Morrel to create a three-wheeled vehicle configured a bit like a tricycle. The third wheel will be added to the Segway’s platform which they will rotate ninety degrees. The team uses an extremely accurate GPS with half-meter resolution to travel to the appropriate locations in the obstacle course and two laser range finders to reflect light off objects and see surroundings. A camera points at hyperbolic mirror facing the grass to image the ground around the vehicle and help it stay within the lines of the obstacle course.


Currently, the team is making mechanical structure and working on algorithms. Later they will test their modified Segway at a mock up of the field. The group expressed appreciation to Yale SEAS, the US Military Acedemy, the Yale Computer Science Department, and Novatel for their support of the project.

MENG404 Class Projects

MENG404 Class Projects

MENG404 (Medical Device Design and Innovation) is one of the courses being taught primarily in the CEID during the Fall semester. The course pairs physician mentors from the Yale School of Medicine with student teams to prototype innovative solutions to the problems posed by the physicians. This year, there were four student teams tackling various challenging problems. Each team was made up of five students from backgrounds such as Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, School of Management, and School of Public Health. They presented their prototypes in the CEID at the end of the semester to a packed lecture hall. This year's teams are listed below:

Portable Epileptic Seizure Recording Device - Tammer Abiyu (Physics), Jason Allmaras (ME), Levi DeLuke (ME), Lauren Gardanier (BME), Rebecca Rabison (SOM)





Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 3.31.56 PM


Novel Surgical Tool for ENT Procedures - Charlotte Guertler (ME), Stephen Hall (ME), Rahul Kini (ChemE), Dan Rathbone (ME), Randy Duchesnaeu (MPH)







Small Bowel Perfusion and Transportation System - Andrew Crouch (BME), Brian Loeb (ME), Raja Narayan (MPH), Kristi Oki (ME), Natalie Pancer (BME)







Drug Delivery System for Pediatric Hemophilia Patients - Paul Napolitano (ME), Sarah Greenwalt (SOM), Kenta Koga (CS), Sonya Prasad (Env. Studies), Martin Shapiro (ME)


Team D





The projects were featured in a New Haven Register article here:  http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20131221/yale-class-creates-the-medical-tools-of-tomorrow

For more information about the projects or the course, contact joseph.zinter[at]yale.edu

Bulldog Bots

Bulldog Bots


Among the many groups which call the CEID home is Bulldog Bots, an organization with a focus on the design and construction of robots. Since starting off the year with workshops ranging from making nightlights to music cubes, the team has selected a number of projects to complete. Members recently began ordering parts for this year’s three robots: the SumoBot, the Micromouse, and an RC combat bot. The SumoBot and RC combat bot will fight in sumo wrestles and robot brawls at a competition in Illinois this April, and the Micromouse will navigate its way through a maze at the Brown IEEE competition in April.


Bulldog Bots is small compared to other engineering organizations, which allows the team members to get plenty of hands on experience and understand all components of the project they are working on. “Robotics is all about integration,” says Sam Samuelson (‘14).

photo 3 (2)

Founder Jack Rockaway (‘14) observed that “robotics is the overlap of mechanical and electrical engineering.” Bulldog Bots helps members apply this field and the design process to real life.

Make sure to keep a look out in the CEID for this group as they construct their robots over the course of the year!

Engine Teardowns!

Engine Teardowns!


This past Wednesday night was the first Engine Workshop. Hosted by CEID aide, Riley Rice (‘15), the eagerly anticipated event was a wonderful example of how the CEID facilitates students teaching each other. Riley began the workshop with a presentation full of pictures and animations explaining how engines work and the parts of which they are composed. After the presentation, the participants got a chance to get their hands dirty and work with real engines!


Using tools like wrenches and ratchets, attendees took the engines apart piece by piece in pairs. Riley explained each component as it came off the engine. After the engines were disassembled, of course they needed to be put back together, allowing for another chance to see how everything fit together. Chris Datsikas (‘16) shared that the opportunity to physically interact with the engines gave him a more complete understanding of how the engine worked.


YUAA Prototype Rocket Launch

YUAA Prototype Rocket Launch


The Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Organization’s (YUAA) Rocket Competition Team has spent the past week finishing their seven foot prototype rocket, Artemis, in the CEID. Artemis will fly to 6000 feet using a K570 solid fuel motor at the CTRA launch in upstate New York. Among other things, Artemis is meant to test the payload deployment system for the rocket which will fly at a competition early in the summer. This prototype will carry a GoPro which will take footage of its descent.


The team has been preparing for this process throughout the term by constructing rockets on RockSim, practicing carbon fiber layups, and building small test rockets. Many of the members joined the team with no engineering experience, but since have designed and built Artemis’s body and electrical components. The airframe is composed of cardboard tubes which have been reinforced by a Easyglas sock and epoxy, and the fins and other parts were laser cut in the CEID.


Bolun Lui ‘16, the leader of the team, expressed that they are extremely grateful for the CEID. Not only does it offer valuable resources such as the laser cutter, but it also provides an invaluable meeting space. The CEID allows YUAA, an organization of almost fifty people, to be a cohesive community of friends and aerospace enthusiasts.


Read more about YUAA here: http://yaleaerospace.com

UCS + CEID Career Networking Nights

UCS + CEID Career Networking Nights


Monday October 7th through Wednesday October 9th, the CEID collaborated with Undergraduate Career Services to host three career events. Advertised as UCS Networking Nights, the events allowed students to talk to representatives from companies and organizations in the STEM industries. Each of the three nights was geared towards a specific field. Software and computer science companies including Google, Microsoft, and Dropbox came on the first night. The second night, meant for mechanical and chemical engineers saw companies ranging from yet2, a group which connects technologies to funding and marketing opportunities, to Alcoa, the world’s third largest producer of aluminum. Companies like Pfizer were present at the final night for biomedical engineers. Representatives were eager to share about the work their organizations do. The events were a wonderful networking opportunity for students and companies alike, and offered students perspective on science and engineering outside of the classroom.

Over 400 students attended the career events over the course of the three days


Halloween Study Break!

Halloween Study Break!


On October 30th the CEID filled with students eager to make Halloween costumes. The CEID staff were prepared and had stocked up on thread, fabric, wood, and countless other supplies. Many people were drawn to the study break by the promise of candy and snacks, and when they saw all of the supplies, they decided to stick around to make a costume as well.


As soon as Rachel Lawrence ‘16 discovered the pile of red cloth, she knew she had to make a cape. She decided to be Thor and, in addition to the cape, made gauntlets, wings for a helmet, and of course, a hammer. Stephen Hall ‘14 constructed a full body Buzz Lightyear suit out of paper and poster board and Ellen Su, a CEID Design Fellow, laser cut herself a MakerBot costume!


The sewing machine was worked harder than ever before with projects ranging from vests to pumpkin costumes to rip off jeans. The festivities did not end that night either, though the candy disappeared; Nicole De Santis ‘15 was busy sewing her candy corn costume the next morning.


The study break provided a chance for students to utilize the CEID’s resources to their fullest in a creative and different way.

Drosophila Collector

Drosophila Collector


The Drosophila melanogaster, known to most as the fruit fly, has been used in research for over a hundred years to study genetics. Scientists introduce mutations paired with physical markers, such as wing shape and eye color, into the flies. The researchers then breed the flies and use the markers to see how the mutations, or alleles, get passed from generation to generation. The flies are bred in containers where they are fed with a sweet and sticky concoction. To control the breeding of the next generation, the new flies must be separated within six hours of hatching. Typically, the need for separation implies that the flies must be checked every six hours, a process which can become quite tedious. Nils Neuenkirchen, who does research with the fruit flies at the medical school, has designed and created a container which allows for the individual storage of the flies, making the process more efficient. Individual test tubes are costly, but his reusable container allows him to easily and cheaply keep nineteen flies in a space the size of a petri dish. The container, which he calls the “Virgin Collector,” has sixfold symmetry and was constructed out of acrylic using the laser cutter in the CEID. In use, the acrylic piece is pushed up against a petri dish full of food and covered with a mesh membrane which constrains the flies but allows them to breath. Nils is currently training to use the metal shop so that he can make clips to close the device’s lid.


Nils switched to this field from biochemistry this past January and pointed out that coming from a different background allowed him to approach the situation with a new perspective. Many people in the field use the old technique because it functions and they are used to it. Though the container seems simple, it saves huge amounts of time.

Many of the diseases that occur in humans can be modeled with these flies, and because the flies have only four pairs of chromosomes instead of humans’ twenty-three, they are much easier to study. In a time where funding for research is sparse, Nils’ project finds an innovative way to improve the efficiency of this significant research.

CEID & The Introduction to Architecture

CEID & The Introduction to Architecture


Members of the introduction to architecture class flooded the CEID this week to work on their first model. The assignment was to create a space using ten four by six planes, five identical columns, and pediments. The designs ranged from meditative spaces to “a nice place to have a barbeque.” The class brought students outside of the STEM to the CEID such as Mary Nguyen (‘14), a political science major, and Lucia Herrmann (‘16), an architecture major. Mary called Introduction to Architecture her “fun class” though she admitted that it was definitely intense. Lucia, an architecture major, used her planes to create a garden around a river. She laser cut the pieces and then bent them so that they were “as fluid as the river.”


The class has learned to use sketches to plan out the their designs, but many have developed their own design techniques as well. Katie Colford (‘16) is an architecture major who has also dabbled in physics, math, and philosophy. She designed her space based on the experience she wanted to convey. Her meditative space involves triangular graduated stairs to allow for an outside space which is separated from the ground. Ari Brill (‘15) started by making the components out of index cards to visualize possible designs. Ari, an intensive physics major, is working on the barbeque design. He decided to take the class to learn about “how spaces interplay to shape the environments in which people live.”


The specific assigned components have taken on so many forms that it is easy to see the diversity of the class and the diversity of the type of person you might meet at the CEID.


MENG 489 Class Projects

MENG 489 Class Projects


The students enrolled Mechanical Design: Process and Implementation (MENG 489) have taken on the challenge of designing, prototyping, and producing a number of engineering projects. The class, taught primarily by Dean Wilczynski in the CEID, focuses on the study of the design process from beginning to end.  The projects began as a list of suggestions, added to by the students themselves. The projects chosen range from UAVs to an Ice Core Analysis machine to a scale meant for use in space. At this point, having chosen a project and rough design, the teams are prototyping and modeling. Some of the students in each group took the time to share the details of their projects and their experiences thus far. The UAV project was suggested by students in the class with the goal of participating in the ASME Lighter than Air UAV Competition in April. The competition requires a radio controlled and battery powered UAV that can navigate through a series of gates, drop a payload on a target, and return to its original position. The suggestion was so popular that two teams formed.

Team Blue: UAV One

The UAV One project is one of the two groups having the initial goal of competing in the ASME competition. Their design process began with a look at constraints, such as anded for a battery, and objectives that define the performance of the UAV. The design, a multicopter, was chosen because it best fit the objectives and constraints the team discussed.  A multicopter has a high maneuverability and can carry a large amount of weight compared to their original choice, a blimp, which would have been able to blue for longer.

The group is now prototyping the components of the UAV and building them separately. Some parts have been ordered, but that competition requires the UAV be of the team’s design. Many of the parts will be produced from raw materials in the CEID. Jan Kolmas (’14), a member of the team, thought that they would be “likely to use every single aspect of the CEID in this project.”

Team Orange - UAV Alpha

UAV Alpha is also working on a project for the ASME competition. Jason Allmaras (’14), a member of the team, said that the competition restriction to a 28” diameter poses a “unique set of design considerations.” In order to stay on schedule and best utilize the specific skills of each member the team split the design up into subsystems to be designed by subgroups.

Currently the team is considering the benefits of a modified helicopter style craft or quadcopter. In the next week the group hopes to collect data to determine the best solution using a test stand of their own design. Prototyping, much of which will occur in the CEID, should be finished by the end of October.

The team expects to use the electronics workstation quite frequently in the implementation of the design. The lightweight plastic from the 3D printers is another resource which will be useful in creating a successful craft.

The long-term goal is for the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace association (YUAA) to fly the UAV at the competition in the fall of 2014.

Team Red - Ice-Core Analysis

A third team is designing an Ice Core Analysis machine which will determine the grain orientation of the crystals and shine light on past climate changes. The grain orientation of the ice can be used to help understand the flow history of the ice. The device will use polarizers and cameras to analyze a chunk of ice.

Current methods for this type of analysis are on the expensive size and not terribly portable. The group hopes to address these two issues and make the images better resolution and in color. The new design will involve two cameras in order to reduce the stages of movement of the analysis. The device must function from at temperature ranging from -25 to -40 degrees Celsius so the team not only has to make sure the device works at this temperature, but also has to consider the feasibility of being able to use small controls wearing bulky gloves and clothing. They hope to have the process be completely automated.

The team also researched ice core research itself and how the images would be used to optimize the design. The project is based off of improving a machine in Dr. Wilen’s lab, so the team has also been able to look into compatibility and understand first hand the design challenge.

Levi DeLuke (’16) has found the device was not easy to visualize which made the design process more difficult. They have used K’NEX to help with the visualization and are now moving into SolidWorks.  The team anticipates using the CEID to machine the aluminum frame and most of the mechanical parts of the device. If they can find parts that work within their temperature constraints the team would like to purchase parts to keep the cheap and reproducible goal of the project in mind.

Team Green – Space Scale

The final group is designing a microgravity object scale with will be able to determine the mass of an object in space. The design is focusing of objects with masses between one and five kilograms, as NASA does not currently have a way of massing objects in this range. They have a way of massing astronauts and are developing a system for taking the mass of very small objects less than one kilogram, but lack a system for masses in between.

Typically scales use gravity to function. The team’s design mimics the effects of gravity by creating an acceleration which allows for the measurement of the object’s mass from the resultant force. Their design uses an oscillating system and employ a load cell to measure the force. They will be ordering a stepper motor to drive these oscillations, and many of the other parts of the body of the device will be composed of lightweight metals or composite materials. Charlotte Guertler (’14) noted that the team hopes to achieve an accuracy of 10% and a precision of 0.2 kg as quickly as possible while keeping the weight and volume of the system to a minimum.

Matthew O’Donoghue (’14) has found the design process to be exciting so far. Matthew has learned “everything from developing a weighted decision matrix to how astronauts get weighed in space to how to use Microsoft Project.” In the design process the team encountered the challenge of going from an abstract idea to a concrete plan with specific parts which fit together.

They hold all of their meetings in the CEID and have used the available materials so far to visualize the devices size and understand constraints. “The CEID has been our Mission Control… This transition from the abstract to the concrete is exactly the creativity the CEID fosters,” Matthew says.

The team hopes to see their scale on future space missions.

Bubbles! Workshop

Bubbles! Workshop


This past Wednesday evening the CEID classroom filled with people young and old with one interest in common: bubbles. Dr. Larry Wilen used bubbles to illuminate topics such as the science of grain boundaries and the math of shortest distance problems.


Participants learned that the hydrophobic and hydrophilic parts of soaps, or surfactants, help them to form films when mixed with water. Like many other physical phenomenon, the bubbles want to be in the lowest energy state possible. Due to the surface tension, which is related to the energy of the film, the preferred state of the bubble is when it has the lowest possible surface area.


Dr. Wilen used the bubble’s desire to minimize surface area to demonstrate the easiest way to connect points in configurations ranging from a spherical tube to a map of cities in the United States. Participants found that different initial conditions can lead to various shortest paths. The obvious shortest path for a cylinder is a straight line, but when the cylinder was dipped the just right way into the soap solution, a spiral resulted. Dr. Wilen challenged the audience to make a spiral that wrapped around two or three times.


At the end of the talk, Hanoi Hantrakul, an undergraduate physics major, shared his technique for making enormous bubbles with only his hands, shampoo, and water. After covering his hands in shampoo mixed with water, he blew into the fingers on one hand while holding the bubble with his other.


After the demonstrations, the people attending the talk got to experiment with the bubbles themselves. Dr. Wilen shared his various bubble making tools with the participants while Hanoi shared his method for two people working together to blow the bubble. Everyone left the talk soapy and smiling.


Bamboo & Carbon Fiber Bike

Bamboo & Carbon Fiber Bike


Josh Chang, Saybrook class of 2017, recently finished a second bamboo frame for the bike he made himself. The first frame, made for mountain biking, has held up for around 1,000 miles. Josh made the second frame in anticipation of road riding before coming to Yale. “Why bamboo?” you may ask. “The benefit of bamboo is exceptional ride quality.” Josh said. He in fact did a research report on it in high school and concluded that the properties of the material allow for a smooth and comfortable ride, but when the rider pedals hard the bike is sufficiently stiff. 2Josh found the idea on the Internet before he even started cycling, but did not start construction until the summer before his junior year of high school. He started by researching and assessing the possible success of the project and then moved on to buying carbon fiber, epoxy resin, and some metal pieces. 3The building process started sometime in the fall or winter of that same year and lasted until December. “Everything was done by hand,” Josh said, “from the sanding to the cutting to mitering.” He even heat-treated the bamboo in his own oven. The finishing touches included a coat of polyurethane and green glitter. The second frame was made using help fiber as opposed to carbon to see how the natural fibers perform comparatively. Josh looks forward to using the resources at Yale to do more projects like this one, and would appreciate any support for future research and testing.

4The basis for the original design is the Niner Air 9 Carbon, a fancy mountain bike made of carbon fiber. Josh’s frame has the same geometry. To see the original instructions which inspired Josh to make his bike follow this link: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-I-built-a-carbon-bike-frame-at-home-and-a-bam/?ALLSTEPS -Blogpost by Genevieve Fowler

Workshops & Orientations

Workshops and trainings for CEID equipment will begin on the week of September 2nd and will be available on ClassesV2 for signup beginning Friday August 30th! In the meantime here is what we have scheduled: Orientations Tue 8/27 4-5pm Wed 8/28 4-5pm Thurs 8/29 4-5pm Fri 8/30 4-5pm

Check the CEID Calendar for information on next weeks training and events.


Welcome to our new website!

Hello! Welcome to the newest update to our website! This area will contain all-sorts of content ranging from event pictures to random cool projects taking place in the CEID on a daily basis. Come check this place out and get excited for Fall 2013!