Students show off senior projects that teach STEM concepts, help farmers, and redesign logistics for big Atlanta companies.

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Big Hero 6 and HemoHeaters shared the best overall project prize at the Fall 2023 Capstone Design Expo.

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A new tool to help hair stylists quickly unravel braids and a device to rapidly warm blood before it’s transfused into patients shared top honors at the Fall 2023 Capstone Design Expo.

That’s right: Two teams tied for the best overall project award this semester at the showcase of senior projects by engineering, industrial design, and computer science students.

They were among 129 devices and ideas on display at McCamish Pavilion that included everything from a portable sterilizer for surgical instruments to a redesigned logistics system for UPS Healthcare. The teams designed rovers to hunt for water on the moon, revamped recycling processes for Georgia Tech Dining, and simplified placing stakes for specialty crop farmers.

One of the top overall projects, the Unravl Device, is designed to help people who sometimes spend hours having their hair unbraided. The repetitive motions can stress stylists’ hands and wrists, potentially leading to carpal tunnel syndrome.

“Our machine emulates the exact motion that stylists use in the unraveling process. There’s a tine that moves along the full length of the braid, and it does all of the safety checks that the stylist does. It prevents tugging at the scalp and unravels the full length of the braid,” said team member Rishab Verma, a mechanical engineering student. “All of the feedback we’ve gotten from people today is that they appreciate how much we’ve thought about safety and making a usable, polished device.”

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A look at more projects and teams from the fall Expo. 

schools from two colleges
in prize money
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student holding device

Team Big Hero 6 created Unravl, a device that quickly and painlessly unbraids hair. 

blood devices

Team HemoHeaters designed a portable blood-warming device for rural and trauma settings.

The team of mechanical and computer engineers and industrial design students forecast the tool could reduce unbraiding time by 25%. They worked with salon owners and customers to create their design and make it feasible for salon use, including removable parts that can be sanitized.

The team is working with their sponsor, Swella Braid Bar in Atlanta, to patent their design.

The other top team, HemoHeaters, also is working on patenting their technology.

Sponsored by Emory University doctors, they created a portable, efficient blood warmer to quickly bring blood to the proper temperature before it’s infused into a patient. They’re focused on providing a reliable solution in trauma and emergency situations, such as for emergency medical technicians in rural areas or aboard medical helicopters.

“Blood is stored at 4 to 10 degrees Celsius. If you want to administer it to someone who’s losing a lot of blood, then you need to warm it to 37 degrees. Currently, the portable blood warmers in the market are too slow. They can’t go to 37 degrees. They’re too bulky and too pricey,” said Marianne Al Haj, one of the four biomedical engineering students on the team. “We worked on a solution that fits in a pocket and is 60% lighter.”

The team’s design uses plastic tubing in a serpentine design nestled in a clamshell case with aluminum plates engraved in the same serpentine pattern. This creates more surface area for warming and results in quicker blood flow than existing devices — about two minutes faster for a full pint of blood. The design also is significantly cheaper.

“I don’t want to just create something that’s purely commercial. I want to create something that can also be an altruistic endeavor,” team member Kevin Swamy said. “We’re targeting rural emergency medical systems that don’t have access to blood warmers and systems that don’t have access to high-speed blood transfusion. We talked to a lot of these rural EMTs, and they told us the hospital in their area may have one device — or none.”

team of students surrounding a go-kart, in front of the atlanta skyline

Karts4Kids created a low-cost, hand-assembled go-kart platform that allows underprivileged students to get hands-on with STEM concepts.

student controlling a machine via remote control

Lily Cooper of team Raise the Ratio! controls a self-landing rocket model. 

student in VR driving simulator

Buzzing Engineers devised a haptic feedback experience for passengers in future Level 5 Autonomous Vehicles. 

dehumidifier machine connected to doggie bowl

Catstone created a bottomless water bowl for dogs by purifying water from a dehumidifier.

Another top team at the Expo also tackled issues in healthcare settings. The winning interdisciplinary team, RoboClose, developed a device to help doctors close arteries after surgery.

In the Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, judges awarded the top prize to a proposal that would send a series of low-cost balloons to collect data about Venus’ atmosphere and surface. The team’s 30-day mission would include astronauts orbiting above the second planet from the sun.

The winning team in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering created Farm Box, an enclosure with a controlled environment and sensors for temperature, soil moisture, humidity, light intensity, and carbon dioxide. The idea is to help growers monitor conditions and adjust them as needed.

Improving Coca-Cola’s chilled warehouse network received top honors among projects from the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. For the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, it was a protective case for powered wheelchairs that makes them easier to load into airplane cargo holds.

See all the winners from Capstone Expo below and visit for more projects.

two students with small wooden barn, which put a stick in dirt

Team High Stakes built an automated tool that puts wooden stakes in the ground to support tomato and bell pepper crops. 

two students holding a small cube

Full STEAM Ahead is an educational tool that introduces science, technology, engineering, arts, and math concepts to 2nd graders. 

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Capstone Results

Big Hero 6


Device to improve braiding takedown process

  • Caroline Rigsbee, ID (Alpharetta, GA)
  • Rishab Verma, ME (Asbury, Iowa)
  • Rohan Thandu, ME (Sammamish, WA)
  • Ryan Kil, CmpE (Duluth)
  • Sasikumaran Nandakumar, ME (Dubai, U.A.E.)
  • Steven Zhao, CmpE (San Diego)



Improved pre-hospital blood warming solution

  • Elif Kulaksizoglu, BME (Istanbul, Turkey)
  • Kevin Swamy, BME (Orlando, FL)
  • Marianne Al Haj, BME (Beirut, Lebanon)
  • Vikram Kaushik, BME (Bangalore, India)

Artery Architects


Post-surgery robotic closure of artery

  • Benjamin Espy, ME (Buford, GA)
  • Camden Callstrom, ME (Cannon Falls, MN)
  • Caroline Gilpin, BME (Savannah, GA)
  • Daniel Lewis, BME (Gainesville, GA)
  • Eric Slovensky, BME (Atlanta, GA)
  • William Formisano, ME (Atlanta, GA)



Human enabled Venus robotic exploration

  • Adil Shirinov (Atlanta, GA)
  • Banglue Wei (Marietta, GA)
  • Basil Russell-McCorkle (Athens, GA)
  • Carolina Ramos Ocasio (Caguas, PR)
  • Ezra Keto (Snellville, GA)
  • Frank Huynh (Morrow, GA)
  • Michael Adams (Knoxville, TN)
  • Oliver Thornhill (Atlanta, GA)
  • Varun Roy (Colorado Springs, CO)



Cardiac lead extraction sheath

  • Alejandro Vasquez (Houston, TX)
  • Caroline Harpole (Durham, NC)
  • Malia Yuhl (Manhattan Beach, CA)
  • Nicole Frey (Cartersville, GA)
  • Ramon Grullon (Marietta, GA)



Autonomous environmental control system

  • Bennett Bush (Douglas, GA)
  • Bernardo Perez (Iowa City, IA)
  • Carson Lowry (Suwanee, GA)
  • Greyson Lovett (Bogart, GA)
  • Jason Yang (Sharon, MA)
  • Joseph Johnson (Powder Springs, GA)

Team 9: Coca-Cola Chilled Warehousing


Improvements in warehousing network

  • Ariana Garbers (Roswell, GA)
  • Caleb Becker (Newnan, GA)
  • Pablo Martin Jimenez (Canet de Berenguer, Spain)
  • Rachel Wewengkang (Jakarta, Indonesia)
  • Rakshanda Khan (Dubai, UAE)
  • Thao Phan (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
  • Thi Tran (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
  • Tram Nguyen (Vietnam)



Low-cost tracker for Blanding turtles

  • Eva Noertoft, ME (Copenhagen)
  • Gabrielle Calderon, CmpE (Plainview, NY)
  • Ireoluwa Adaramola, ME (Bonny Island, Nigeria)
  • Kruti Maheshwari, ID (Charlotte)
  • Stephanie Rawls, ME (Macon)
  • Veronica Pantalone, EE (Guilford)



Wheelchair pod for airline travel

  • Alex Castrejon (Lilburn, GA)
  • Donaven Lobo (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  • Fernando Sanz (Miami)
  • Jun Yen Lim (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
  • Kenta Davis (Rome, GA)
  • Yadu Krishna Sunil (Cumming, GA)
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More Expo Coverage

AE Winning Capstone Team Will Unlock the Mysteries of Venus

The top AE project proposed the use of titanium balloons and a digital twin framework to gather planetary data.

BME Takes Top Prizes in Fall Capstone Expo

23 teams from Coulter BME showcased their ideas at the Expo, including overall winners HemoHeaters.

ISyE Team “Simply Chill” Refresh Coca-Cola's Chilled Network

The top ISyE team dismantled logistical bottlenecks and proposed solutions to enhance operations for Coca-Cola.

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