MTSU Mech-Tech Shows Off Seniors’ Creative Talents

Hovercrafts, a humanoid robot, smart lock boxes to store deliveries safely on your porch, a small pinball machine and a navigation aid for the visually impaired — just a sampling of dozens of creative, end-of-year Middle Tennessee State University Engineering Technology student projects on display.

Always a highlight event for seniors graduating in May, August or December, Mech-Tech is the engineering and technology student project expo full of an assortment of gadgets and gizmos. The event is held on study day, just days before graduation, in the Miller Education Center’s second-floor atrium.

“We love this event. All of the student projects were very good,” Ken Currie, Engineering Technology chair, said, adding “there was a lot of hard work (put into the projects) and great turnout of people to support the event.”

Manal Malak of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., left, and Adam Rice, right, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., watch as Katelyn Justice of Spring Hill, Tenn., operates the MAJJK RC Hovercraft the Middle Tennessee State University mechatronics Engineering students devised for their senior project. They and other students exhibited their projects at the annual Mech-Tech expo in the Miller Education Center second-floor atrium. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

First-, second- and third-place teams will receive swag for their efforts.

“Candice Be Human” (the humanoid robot) team members Garrett Albertson, Davis Patterson, Luke Maness and Orrin Sagman placed first. TN-TUF Hovercraft members Awand Piro, John Allaman, Matthew Pettey, Phillip MacDonald and Kevin Killets took second. Judges awarded Project 4-Sight members Tamir Hussain, Basel Mahmoud, Bilal Zakaria and Jake Dams third place.

Veteran discovers MTSU mechatronics

In search of a certified mechatronics program, U.S. Navy veteran Adam Rice learned about the university’s program and moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, from Oklahoma in 2020 with his father, William Rice, and mother, Jane Rice, who died from Coronavirus in November 2021.

Students from disciplines like mechatronics and mechanical engineering show off their projects, ranging from robots to hovercraft to automated gardens and more.

A nontraditional student, Adam Rice, 45, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, enjoyed collaborating with the younger generation — seniors and projected December 2023 grads Manal Malak of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee; Jacob Alexander of La Vergne, Tennessee; Katelyn Justice of Spring Hill, Tennessee; and Jackson Wade of Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

“I came up with the crazy idea (MAJJK RC Hovercraft),” Rice said, “but they have absolutely improved on it. “We helped teach each other. They rock. I was happy to have them in my group.”

Rice, whose military career took him around the world, said the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center assisted him “and is a place where veterans can be supported.”

Wearing a tracking vest, May graduate Luke Maness of Lexington, Tenn., guides the robot, “Candice Be Human,” during the annual Middle Tennessee State University Mech-Tech, an expo for Engineering Technology and Mechatronics Engineering students held during study day. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

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