Emilie Rusch

Penile prosthetic wins first place in Fall 2019 Capstone Design Showcase

The winning team with their prosthetic prototype

A prosthetic device designed to give transgender men the functionality and look of a natal male penis is the winner of the Fall 2019 Capstone Design Showcase.

The Bionic: All-in-One Penile Prosthetic would offer wearers the ability to urinate standing up and go from a flaccid to erect state and vice versa, in addition to providing the appearance of a natal male penis in their pants.

The team’s design was based on a cyclical system, with water stored in reservoirs located inside the prosthesis’ testicles. When the wearer wants the prosthetic to become erect, they can then release that water into the device’s shaft.

Students Gary Stimson, Ian Macwithey, Ira Weyand and Ryan Zamora formed the winning team.

“We are sincerely humbled and elated that the judges chose us to win this semester’s Capstone Showcase,” said Weyand, the team’s communication lead. “It feels good looking back to the beginning – when we had absolutely no clue where or how to start – and to our team now, knowing that our client has a viable solution to move forward with.”

Demonstration of the prosthetic's functionality

Sponsoring the project was Transthetics, a company that specializes in prosthetics for transgender men.

“At the end of the day, we just wanted to help people as best we could. There aren’t many options for trans men that aren’t risky, invasive and expensive surgeries. We worked alongside our client in order to fulfill his vision of providing an alternative for this demographic to feel confident in their own skin,” Weyand said. “Also, we recognized that this prosthetic isn’t necessarily limited to the trans community – this prosthetic could benefit many others with different needs. If our work improves someone’s quality of life in any way, then we believe that it’s a job well done.”

Second place in the Fall 2019 competition went to the Pine Valley Ranch Park Drainage Project, sponsored by Jeffco Open Space. The team designed a complete erosion control solution for the public park in Pine, Colorado, after performing a hydrologic analysis of the property and a hydraulic analysis of the existing drainage infrastructure.

Team members were Caleb Dotten, Ari Fernandez, Jessica Kehres, Daniel Lee, Sean O’Dell and Abigail Paul.

Capstone projects were also recognized for their innovation, societal impact, proof of concept and professionalism:

Best of Award for Innovation: The Bionic: All-in-One Penile Prosthetic

Best of Award for Societal Impact: Geothermal Power Supply Sub-System, sponsored by James Stoddard

  • Team members: Benjamin Thompson, Gretchen Ohlhausen, Mystic Currey, Melissa Breathwaite and Colum Marshall

Best of Award for Professionalism: Pine Valley Ranch Park Drainage Project

Best of Award for Proof‐of‐Concept: Demagnetizer to Levitate Medical Cannula, sponsored by Research Professor Terry Lowe

  • Team members: Dylan McClain, River Weiss, Jordan Green, Victoria Bennett, Nicole Nguyen

The Fall 2019 Broader Impact Essay winners were:

  • First place: Willie Konishi, “Robbing Water Banks Until They Go Dry”
  • Second place: Gabe Taylor, “Plastic? The Problem?”
  • Third place: Clayton Oehrlein, “Electric Vehicles: Watts the hype about?”
Emilie Rusch

Emilie Rusch

Director of Communications
About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public R1 research university focused on applied science and engineering, producing the talent, knowledge and innovations to serve industry and benefit society – all to create a more prosperous future.