Research & Innovation

SSE Shows Versatility at the 2024 Innovation Expo

The School of Systems and Enterprises was well represented at the 2024 Innovation Expo on April 26, Stevens’ annual showcase of Senior Design projects. All three SSE undergraduate programs – Industrial & Systems Engineering, Engineering Management and Software Engineering – provided a peek into the future, touching on important subjects such as the environment, mental health and others.

Here's a recap of some projects that stood out.

An Environmentally Better Way to Discard Your Old Discs

No matter your age, physical media has likely been pervasive in your household. If you’re Gen X, you grew up listening to CDs and watching your favorite movies on DVD. If you’re younger, your parents likely had multiple cabinets dedicated to music and movie storage.

However, society continues to transition to the streaming age. Our entertainment largely lives in cloud storage somewhere. It is available on multiple devices with a few swipes and touches. Unfortunately, those physical discs didn’t disappear. They’re perhaps in boxes in an attic or scattered in a landfill somewhere. Disposal options have been limited and environmentally hazardous.

But an Engineering Management Senior Design team is doing its part to look for a better way via their project “DiscGo: Establishing a Sustainable Cycle for CDs and DVDs.”

Senior Luke Mizus was inspired when cleaning out his parents’ attic and discovering hundreds of CDs.

“I thought, what am I going to do with all these discs?” said Mizus. “I did some research and realized they take one million years to decompose in a landfill, and then they release a chemical called BPA, which is terrible for the environment and humans. Another option is to incinerate them, which emits 4,000 kilograms of CO2 per 5,000 discs. I thought there must be a better solution.”

That solution has been a company called Green Disk, which has more than 30 years of experience with the complicated disc-recycling process. With Green Disk’s help, the team was able to set up drop boxes for CD/DVD donations at Stevens’ on-campus library, the Hoboken Public Library and Tunes, a record store in Hoboken. They collected more than 600 discs during a six-week period.

Better yet, the team has yielded tangible results of their donations.

“We’re taking the discs to recycling facilities and we’re breaking down these materials,” said John Foreman, another member of the team. “We’re partnering with manufacturing companies to use the recycled materials to create stands for cellphones.”

Software Team Devises Seamless Solution for Optimal Load Balancing

While the pluses and minuses of digital socialization can be debated, the reality is more and more people are connecting online. From chat applications to online gaming to virtual watch parties, people are talking to each other and sharing experiences virtually. And connectivity is paramount for maximizing those moments.

A team of Software Engineering students focused their Senior Design project on doing just that.

“What’s the best problem that a website can have? Too many users, right?” said Christopher Roddy, a member of the OpenTogetherTube Load Balancer team. “It has to figure out how many servers it needs to handle all the connections and which servers to rout each person to. That’s the problem our load balancer is aiming to solve.”

Carson McManus, another member of the team, has been working on this since 2019. He used to interact with a lot of European users and latency across the Atlantic was a constant issue.

The team’s open-source software solution makes scaling simple and opens the experience globally.

“It was hard to provide the best experience for European users when they had to connect to a data center on the East Coast when you know they’re thousands of miles away,” said McManus. “I wanted to be able to bring the application closer to them, so that’s the issue our product is built to solve. With our custom balancer, you’ll always end up on the server that’s geographically closest to you.”

The innovative solution earned the OpenTogetherTube Load Balancer team a spot in the Ansary Entrepreneurship Competition. They comprised one of six Stevens team in the competition, which an SSE Industrial & Systems Engineering team won last year.

You can learn more about OpenTogetherTube HERE and you can watch the entirety of the Ansary Competition HERE.

A Tool for Visualizing and Reducing Emissions From Stevens Commuters

Commuters currently create 25 percent of all greenhouse gases nationwide. And while Stevens employees and students can take advantage of easy access to NJ Transit and other mass-transportation methods, commuting is still prevalent.

A five-member team of SSE seniors has built a tool to track Stevens commuters’ emissions output and simplify large data sets in aims of finding more efficient routes to campus. The Commuter Emissions Tracker and Visualizer received commuter data from 300 employees and 80 students, which is then converted from an Excel file into a heat map with other visual aids to make sense of the data from both users who drive to Hoboken, N.J., or drive to a train station for part of their commute.

“Specifically, we are able to produce this tool that’s able to take the data collected from the survey that was sent out to Stevens students and employees and help us visualize that so we can quantify our missions as an organization and school, and then also be able to try and figure out what are better ways for us to be able to reduce those emissions,” said team member Bryce Lopez.

Learn more about the tool HERE.

Brainstorming Better Mental Health Diagnoses Via Machine Learning

Mental health treatment has taken on larger importance within the last decade. And while its importance has become more widely recognized, diagnoses and treatments have not necessarily advanced at the same rate.

Mental health diagnoses are still largely reliant on subjective interpretations from mental health professionals based on self-reported symptoms from patients. Machine learning might be able to forge a better path forward.

A three-person SSE team is trying that with their Senior Design project: Cognitive Diagnostic Tool. The wearable tool utilizes electroencephalography (EEG) technology to analyze brain activity patterns and assist in the diagnostic process.

“We have his headset that analyzes the brain activity, and we can track that using four different waves, and each one of those has biomarkers that can be used along with our supportive vector matrix machine-learning algorithm that identifies all those markers,” said Merritt Patterson, a member of the team. “We are trying to find the best pathways and right now we're trying to analyze specifically depression, anxiety and ADHD.”

All SSE Senior Design Projects