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College to host Senior Design Expo

A photo of Stephen Woerner.

Stephen Woerner will demonstrate Phonix Smart Glasses at the Lane Department's Senior Design Expo.

As the fall semester comes to a close, seniors in West Virginia University’s Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering are gearing up to present their capstone design projects.

The projects will be showcased during the Department’s Senior Design Expo on Monday December 4, from noon to 2 p.m., on the ground floor of the Advanced Engineering Research Building.

“The Senior Design Expo provides students with an opportunity to hone their skills in communicating with both experts and novices alike,” said Ramana Reddy, professor of computer science and electrical engineering. “The students get to describe their capstone experience while demonstrating their knowledge of emerging technologies and how they can be exploited to produce solutions to unmet needs.”

Twenty-one group projects will be on display, including a smart refrigerator that can produce a grocery list as items inside become depleted and a smart phone app that can record classroom attendance.

One project, called Phonix Smart Glasses, aims to make translation and interpretation easier for those within the deaf community.

“Phonix Smart Glasses are designed specifically with the needs of the deaf in mind,” said Stephen Woerner, a computer science major from Morgantown. “I’m a person who greatly values his freedom and independence and I found the same is true in the deaf community. This inspired me to build something that would allow hearing people to communicate with the deaf without an interpreter.”

Using Google Cloud services, Phonix Smart Glasses capture audio around the user, convert it to text and transfers the data back to the device via Bluetooth. The device also has the ability to translate the audio into other languages.

“Our team of nine has done a great job this semester,” said Woerner. “We are at the point where we have a fully functional proof-of-concept and have decided that this should be more than just a senior design project.”

Woerner partnered will fellow student Jason Schafer, a computer science major from Fairmont, to transform their class project into a full-fledged business. With help from WVU’s Launch Lab, the pair recently established 3WM Software LLC and have filed for a provisional patent for their design project.

Both students are excited to take their project to the next level, starting with their presentation at the expo.

“The senior design class has really pushed my leadership and technical skills,” said Woerner. “I feel that there is great potential to change people’s lives as a result of our project and the expo is a great opportunity for publicity and exposure.”

The expo is free and open to the public. Students will be on hand to give demonstrations and answer questions related to their projects.



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