Discovering the boundaries of mechanical engineering

From cutting-edge robotics, design, and bioengineering to sustainable energy solutions, ocean engineering, nanotechnology, and innovative materials science, Mechanical Engineering students and their mentors are engaged in groundbreaking work. The showcased graduate students offer a glimpse into the ongoing innovation within the Mechanical Engineering Department this spring, highlighting the limitless possibilities that lie ahead in this field.

Advancing design accessibility through AI

Lyle Regenwetter
Hometown: Champaign, Illinois
Advisor: Assistant Professor Faez Ahmed
Interests: Food, climbing, skiing, soccer, tennis, cooking

Lyle Regenwetter is enthusiastic about utilizing generative AI to make design more accessible and empower novice designers to solve intricate problems. His research delves into novel training approaches that teach generative AI models to adhere to design constraints implicitly, fostering the creation of superior designs. Recognizing that aspiring designers often lack technical expertise despite understanding user needs well, Regenwetter also designs human-AI collaborative tools that facilitate interactions between AI models and designers in widely-used CAD software to address real-world design challenges.

Addressing marine conservation challenges

Loïcka Baille
Hometown: L’Escale, France
Advisor: Daniel Zitterbart
Interests: Scuba diving, spelunking, climbing, sailing, martial arts, volleyball

Loïcka Baille’s research focuses on enhancing remote sensing technologies to study and safeguard marine organisms. Her primary project involves refining onboard whale detection systems to mitigate vessel collisions, particularly benefiting North Atlantic right whales. Additionally, Baille contributes to a continuous study on Emperor penguins in Antarctica, where her team tags penguins annually to gather insights into penguin population dynamics, offering valuable information on ecosystem health.

Revolutionizing water generation

Carlos Díaz-Marín
Hometown: San José, Costa Rica
Advisor: Professor Gang Chen | Former Advisor: Professor Evelyn Wang
Interests: New England hiking, biking, dancing

Carlos Díaz-Marín specializes in developing cost-effective salt-polymer materials capable of extracting significant humidity from the atmosphere, aiming to revolutionize potable water generation even in arid regions. Apart from water extraction, these innovative materials can serve as thermal batteries for heat storage and reuse. Beyond advancing scientific frontiers, Díaz-Marín is committed to conducting research that can bring substantial societal benefits while exploring new physical phenomena, especially aiming to promote diversity in STEM fields as a LatinX individual.

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