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Seniors show off innovative projects at Edison Academy

Seniors show off innovative projects at MCVTS Edison Academy

Solutions to real-world problems and potential consumer products were on display as seniors at the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies showcased the projects they worked on in their final year of high school.

The 40 seniors, who major in either electrical and computer engineering or civil and mechanical engineering, welcomed parents, educators and fellow students on June 7 at displays inside and outside their school, which is in on the campus of Middlesex County College in Edison.

“Every year they just blow me away,” Principal Linda Russo said. “It is absolutely incredible what they accomplish – they are so passionate about what they do.”

The 20 projects included modules to retrofit older cars with state-of-the-art safety features, such as collision sensors and rear-view cameras; a low-budget autonomous package-delivery drone; an affordable latrine to address sanitation concerns in developing countries; a device to help the blind identify obstacles and gauge their distance, and a computer program that would allow grocery shoppers to compare prices on items they want to buy.

Stephanie Almeida of South River and Steven Abreu of Edison, both of whom volunteer in children’s programs to teach computer skills, made “BEARS” or Bullying, Exploitation and Abuse Recognition System.

“We volunteer a lot with kids,” said Stephanie, who will attend Georgia Tech. “A lot of them are being bullied, but they have a hard time confiding in adults.”

Their project uses a stuffed animal holding a hidden microphone to put the children at ease. Emotional analysis software then detects whether children might need further counseling.

“It could be used in a school environment or individually by parents,” said Steven, who will attend Oberlin College in Ohio.

Avneet Randhawa of Monroe and Abinaya Sivakumar of Edison produced a “two-plane rotational mechanism” powered by a hand crank that could be used in the packaging or drilling industries. They used a 3-D printer and inexpensive plastic to make the 15 gears and other parts.

“It’s very, very cheap,” said Abinaya, who plans to attend Rutgers University.

 “It is completely mechanical – there’s no electricity involved,” said Avneet, who will begin a seven-year medical program in the fall, starting at the College of New Jersey and continuing at New Jersey Medical School.

Rohan Shah of South River, who plans to study computer science and finance at Rutgers, and Ajaita Saini of Edison, who will study computer science and statistics at the University of Illinois, made the SmartCloset, a device that photographs the clothes in your closet and, using artificial intelligence, suggests what you might want to wear, depending on the occasion, such as a picnic, a business meeting or a gala.

Among the special guests at the showcase were John F. Bicsko, president of the board of education of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools, Superintendent of Schools Brian J. Loughlin, and Sean McDonald, MCVTS director of career and technical education. Also attending were eighth-grade teachers and counselors from throughout Middlesex County.