MELBOURNE, FLA. — Extracting nutrients from Martian-like soil using a handmade bioreactor. Gauging the mental health of college students via an app. Designing a reusable, 3-D printed lunar landing pad fabricated primarily with materials found on the Moon. Testing blood glucose levels using saliva, not blood.
These are not tasks cribbed from the pages of a sci-fi novel.
They are projects from the minds and hands of Florida Tech students, and these and about 95 similarly impressive inventions, posters and assemblies will be on display Friday, April 22, as Florida Tech holds its annual Northrop Grumman Engineering and Science Student Design Showcase in the Clemente Center on campus.
Returning to an in-person format after COVID necessitated virtual events the past two years, the 2022 showcase is open to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
In 2009, a $1 million endowment gift from Northrop Grumman Corporation provided ongoing support for students’ work. Sponsorships from other local and national companies also assist. These gifts reflect a commitment to boosting interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs and the value of learning beyond the classroom.
Here’s a closer look at some of the projects featured in the 2022 showcase:
Project: Bioleaching and Hydrogen Production of Anabaena in Presence of JEZ-1 simulant: Possible Fuel for Space Exploration?
What it is: Featuring a student-made bioreactor, this project seeks to extract nutrients from Martian soil, known as regolith. The cyanobacteria Anabaena cylindrica is placed in the bioreactor to determine its ability to “biomine accessible nutritional elements” from Jezero Crater regolith. Using on-site resources will be critical to successful space colonization efforts.
Project: Melanoma Detection Lotion
What it is: The goal of this project is to create a lotion or cream that will create a detectable change when in contact with melanoma cells. It will serve as an early detection device to reduce the number of progressive skin cancer cases. The lotion should be applied normally and would ideally produce a reaction that can be seen with the naked eye.
Project: Lunar Landing Pad (LLP)
What it is: This project consists of designing a reusable lunar landing pad fabricated with mostly on-site resources, fabricated via a 3-D printer that has been modified to print with a regolith concrete solution instead of polylactic acid, or PLA.
Project: Mental Health App
What it is: Amid the COVID pandemic, many students were isolated at home. The lack of social interaction and ability to go out has been shown to be deleterious to mental health. These student designers are seeking to provide an app to help monitor the mental health and factors relating to it among college students.
What it is: The goal of this project is to accurately determine blood glucose levels using saliva. Students will create a device similar to a blood glucose monitor that collects a small amount of saliva to read the participant’s blood glucose levels. This project and research would be extremely useful for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
At the conclusion of the showcase, projets will be recognized with a host of awards including Best in Show and category winners.
EDITORS/PRODUCERS: Media are invited to cover the showcase and are asked to contact Director of Media Communications Adam Lowenstein at email@example.com or 321-674-8964 to confirm attendance.