The Senior Design Freshman Mentoring Program is a program that pairs together interested and motivated freshmen with current seniors working on their senior design projects. The freshmen work side-by-side with their senior mentors, providing assistance, learning new skills, and gaining real hands-on experience. The program typically lasts a semester, and participants are expected to meet with their team on a consistent basis and report their contributions.

In the past years, numerous freshmen were given the opportunity to work on a variety of interesting projects, described below:

Asura: The ASURA Senior Design project aims to improve disaster relief operations and make UAV technology accessible for people doing life-saving work. The ASURA system consists of one or more aerial drones equipped with an infrared camera as well as an intuitive user interface, where disaster relief staff can monitor the situation and control the drone’s flight. In the fall semester, we plan to complete onboard integration and send thermal video data over WiFi, implement computer vision and path planning algorithms, and create the command center user interface.
See the video here.

Clever Crosswalk: Many pedestrian crossing warning systems broadcast a chirping sound to guide the visually impaired. We are designing a warning system that is more directional and quiet, using a sensor and a directed speaker. The sensor detects pedestrians, and the directed speaker emits a warning that is only audible to the targeted pedestrian.

Optimata: Investments in financial securities such as stocks and bonds have been known to be a prudent way to both grow and diversify one’s wealth. Traditionally, the average individual has had the option of either investing in mutual funds, which are designed to track a market index, or try to beat the market themselves by picking stocks. The problem with investing in a mutual fund is that the investments made by the portfolio manager in the fund is not at all personalized to the investor’s idiosyncratic risk profile. Investors can alleviate this problem by picking stocks themselves. However, this is an intellectually tough exercise and unless one has a strong background in accounting, finance, and company specific knowledge, it is very hard to consistently beat the market. Additionally, individual investors are likely to fall victim to one or many psychological biases that result in irrational behavior.

Mental Health Application: Mental health on university campuses, including Penn, has been brought further into the spotlight in recent years. This projects focuses on creating a web application (and eventually a mobile application) that administers widely accepted and comprehensive mental health surveys to categorize users based on the results, and direct them to the appropriate university resources. This system is the first comprehensive mental health app to assess student risk for anxiety and depression and will help students better understand their mental health situation.

Application Based Robot: In recent years, consumer robots have begun to segue into the household. One of the main issues with consumer robots today is that they are limited in scope: they are either centered around one application or function as toys. This project aims to develop a small cylindrically shaped consumer robot, APRo, that incorporates a camera system, lights, wireless communication, and other capabilities. Users will also have the option to create, share, and download programs onto the robot to expand the scope of its application.

Quantinvest: The aim of this project is to make a tool which can be used by retail investors to take advantage of the most prominent literature in investment theory. We are aiming the product towards retail investors, given they have limited access to professional investment management tools from major investment banks and investment management firms. Various accepted algorithms are used to organize and suggest portfolios to the users.

PitcherUp!: A Pitching Training Sleeve: This project seeks to design a wearable device and accompanying user interface that help train aspiring baseball pitchers. Often, a coach wants a pitcher to throw the ball to a desired location at home plate. This product can evaluate whether a pitcher’s practiced pitch arrives at this location. The device can also analyze the pitcher's form to detect whether the motion may lead to future injuries.

Congratulations to the following award winners of the Senior Design Freshmen Mentoring Program:

2016 Best Mentor-Team Award
Project: “Optimata”
Freshman Mentees: Zixuan Zhang, Varun Jain
Senior Mentors: Tushar Garg, Alican Mutus, Arvind Tyagarajan

2016 Best Mentee Award
Project: “Clever Crosswalk”
Freshman Mentee: Arnab Sarker
Senior Mentors: Marcus Pan, Alfred Murabito

2015 Best Mentor-Team Award
Project: “APRo: Application Based Robot”
Freshman Mentees: Rachel Han, Emily Vo
Senior Mentors: Ayinde Alleyne, Alain Hernandez, Nicholas Labarber, Alfredo Muniz, Folasade Oba

2015 Best Mentee Award
Project: “Pitcherup!: A Pitching Training Sleeve”
Freshman Mentee: Mauricio Mutai
Senior Mentors: Moez K. Aziz, Vijay Govindarajan, Ron Park, Cruz Vargas

2014 Best Mentor-Team Award
Project: “Portable Pathogen Detection Device”
Senior Mentors: Andrew Botelho, Praveer Nidamaluri, Joseph Trovato

2014 Best Mentee Award
Freshman Mentee: Martin Deng

2013 Best Mentor-Team Award
Project: “Primate Hand Actuator Tracker”
Senior Mentors: Cam Cogan, David Hallac, Nick Howarth, Ashleigh Thomas, Sam Wolfson

2013 Best Mentor-Team Award
Project: “hearSight”
Senior Mentors: Jessica Jiang, Taylor Lee, Connie Wu

2013 Best Mentee Award
Freshman Mentee: William T. Clarke

2013 Best Mentee Award
Freshman Mentee: Sarah A. Dean

2012 Best Mentor-Team Award
Project: “Helicopter Aircraft Wielding Kinect”
Senior Mentors: Kevin Conley, Paul Gurniak, Matt Hale and Ted Zhang

2012 Best Mentee Award
Project: “PVS: Pacemaker Verification System”
Senior Mentors: Sriram Radhakrishnan, Varun Sampath, Shilpa Sarode
Freshman Mentee: Simon Sangmin Oh

2011 Best Mentor-Team Award
Project: “R.A.V.E.N”
Senior Mentors: William Etter and Paul Martin

2011 Best Mentee Award
Freshman Mentee: Andrew Botelho

2010 Best Mentor-Team Award
Project: “MyoVox”
Senior Mentors: Matt Belgiovine, Mike DeLiso, Steve McGill

2010 Best Mentee Award
Freshman Mentee: Nick Howarth