Engineering students’ Capstone solutions on track to real-world impact  

UBC Engineering students walk into the 2024 Capstone Showcase under a sunny sky with clouds.

SOE student projects soar at 2024 Capstone Design Showcase 

Engineering students from UBC Okanagan landed at KF Aerospace Centre for Excellence on Friday, April 12 for the 2024 Capstone Design Showcase and Competition, where their innovative ideas were on display for UBCO faculty, staff, industry partners and the public.  

Following the competition, many of these ideas are poised to have a real-world impact in industry and communities. 

This year’s showcase saw 48 design solutions by 283 students evaluated. The popular annual event is the culmination of students’ learning as part of the ENG499 Engineering Capstone Design Project course. In order to be successful, students had to draw upon knowledge and skills gained in courses throughout their undergraduate program, including engineering design, engineering science, project management, communication, and more, with guidance from a faculty advisor. 

This year student teams worked independently on either industry proposed, faculty proposed, or student proposed problems, with support from engineering industry professionals and local entrepreneurs, to create tangible, interdisciplinary solutions spanning five key themes:  

  • advanced manufacturing,  
  • biocompatible systems,  
  • complex systems,  
  • infrastructure, and  
  • sustainability. 

“We took a slightly different approach to Capstone this year,” explains Dr. Ken Chau. “In organizing projects by themes instead of by disciplines, we encouraged students to think about what they aspire to be, about what their colleagues aspire to be, and then in turn how they can work together across disciplines to come up with innovative solutions to real problems and needs in our society. It was incredibly inspiring to see how students embraced that challenge. The quality of their work is evidence of their highly effective collaboration.”  

Each project team delivered a comprehensive project report and a formal presentation, some including fabricated prototypes, to a distinguished panel of judges, comprising of industry leaders and esteemed engineering faculty.  

The event concluded with an award ceremony emceed by Capstone faculty leads Dr. Ken Chau, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Dr. Alon Eisenstein, Assistant Professor of Teaching, Technology Entrepreneurship and Professional Development. Students also received congratulations from Kelowna City Councillor and Deputy Mayor Loyal Wooldridge. 


Team 21 – Cable Tray Robot won within the Complex Systems theme, and declared the overall winner of this year’s capstone competition*  

Team 37 – Thrust Cushion Vehicle won within the Advanced Manufacturing theme 

Team 41 – Emergency Cervical Collar for Patients with Abnormal Anatomical Neck Positions won within the Biocompatible Systems theme 

Team 11 – 10080 Chase Road Subdivision Development Feasibility Study won within the Infrastructure theme 

Team 28 – Battery Module for a Solar-Powered Car won within the Sustainability theme 

“Congratulations to all the students – every team worked incredibly hard and yielded insightful, well-thought-out data and applicable solutions. The teams that earned the top prizes demonstrated particularly impressive creativity, a strong grasp of related engineering principles, excellent technical skill, and outstanding collaboration and communication, all things that will serve them well in their futures,” said Dr. Alon Eisenstein.  

“On behalf of everyone at the School of Engineering, we are deeply grateful to everyone who makes the Capstone course and showcase so rewarding for students. Thank you to our industry partners, faculty advisors, and event organizers, as well as to the family, friends and community members who joined us to recognize students for their outstanding achievements.”  

2024 Capstone Showcase top overall team members hold their certificates.

This year’s top overall team and winner of the complex systems category were elated to hear their names called after working right up until the wire.  

The team was comprised of students Kieran McIntosh, Daniel Holmes, Tanner Boutin, James Flood, Jackie Zhou, and Everett Douglas; they were supported by Faculty Advisor Dr. Klaske van Heusden. The team’s solution, a cable tray robot, is designed to help reduce human effort and the cost of placing electrical cables in industrial facilities.  

“Placement and organization of electrical cables into cable trays is a physically demanding and expensive tasks for electricians,” explains the team. “We have designed a novel way to increase efficiency and affordability of this task via the cable tray robot, which can pull cable along the length of the tray.” 

“We’re proud and elated,” said the team. “We finished our prototype the day before the competition. We worked very hard to refine it right up until the event. It feels great that our teamwork paid off like this.”  

You can view a photo gallery from the event and watch recorded video of the award presentation.  

More information about the ENG 499 Capstone course is available on the School of Engineering’s Capstone page.