by
Jasmine Leonas

Underwater prospecting rover wins top honors at Fall 2023 Capstone Design Showcase

Rover designed to collect samples from ocean floor is controlled remotely
Subsea Prospector team at Showcase

A remote operating vehicle designed to collect samples from the ocean floor won the top prize at the Fall 2023 Capstone Design Showcase.

The team behind the Subsea Prospecting ROV created a 16-pound underwater drone with an actuated scoop that was able to collect marbles from the bottom of a swimming pool, demonstrating its potential use for collecting ocean floor samples as well as analysis and prospecting for the deep-sea mining industry.

The ROV is equipped with a buoy to extend wi-fi on the water’s surface and enable communication to a remote computer . The underwater drone was also built with budget-effective parts that are easily replaceable if damaged, with a custom frame and enclosure, and environmental consciousness in mind. The team was sponsored by AndrenaM LLC, a company that provides fully integrated subsea monitoring and artificial intelligence-driven swarm defense systems.

“The team is very proud of the work we managed to complete on this project,” team member Caleb Schneider said. “We started from scratch and made it to having a testable prototype in the end, which was a lot of work. We wanted to meet as many of AndrenaM’s design goals as possible, from wireless communication to an active ballast system on the drone. The fact that we met those goals is what we’re most proud of, but the win has been a cherry on top for us. We hope to see our client succeed with this project.”

Fellow members of the winning team were Zac Stanton, Joey Asher, Trenton Bledsoe and Kyler Jones. The team’s adviser was Yosef Allam, teaching professor of engineering, design and society

“I was impressed by the team’s dedication and talent, and particularly their devotion to seeing the project through technical and resource challenges to a successful completion while working through evenings and even breaks,” Allam said. “The capabilities of the prototype, the overall final fit and finish of fabrication and assembly, and the quality of the handoff materials was so incredibly impressive. I understand that the client intends to use this as an iteration on a real product they are developing.”

Capstone Design is a signature student experience at Mines that tasks teams with producing creative, client-driven solutions to real-world problems. Paired with sponsors from the community, students combine their knowledge in civil, electrical, mechanical, environmental and design engineering to create projects that address realistic, multidisciplinary challenges. The year-long experience ends with Capstone Design Showcase, where teams present their ideas and prototypes to sponsors, judges and members of the Mines community.

Capstone Design Fall 2023 Second Place team

Second place at this semester’s showcase went to Alternatively Powered Door Strike, which worked on modifying locks on off-grid trailhead bathrooms for Jefferson County Open Space. The team replaced the actuator in the bathrooms’ existing door strikes, lengthening the battery power on the automatic lock, to hopefully reduce vandalism incidents that occur when these isolated bathrooms are unlocked. Team members were Connor Denney, Owen Pawelko, Taylor Jone and Yared Sanbet. The team’s adviser was Kristoph Kinzli, teaching professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Capstone Design Fall 2023 Third Place team

The team that took third place was Beaver Habitat Development on the mainstem of Clear Creek. Sponsored by the City of Golden and Colorado Watershed Assembly, the team came up with several ways to add to or expand existing beaver habitats, which safeguard against flooding and can provide shelter for the animals in the case of a wildfire. Team members were Alyssa Moreland, Emma Nelson, Hannah Snakenberg, Mitchell Awdziejczyk and Nicholas Forerester. The team was advised by Alina Handorean, teaching professor of engineering, design and society.

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

  • Best Innovation: Fashion Tech – Haptic Wearable
  • Best Societal Impact: Automated Disability Placard
  • Best Environmental Impact: Beaver Habitat Development
  • Best Proof-of-Concept: Point of Use Water Treatment

“Our highly engaged sponsors are continually impressed by what our Mines seniors bring to the table in terms of novel, iterative solutions to their challenges,” said Leah Fitzgerald, stakeholder relations manager for the Engineering, Design and Society Department. “The projects that are delivered are often put right into the field for further testing, some consider patents and go-to-market strategies, and some deliverables are used as foundational plans for implementation right in our backyard here in Golden, across the country and even abroad.”

Jasmine Leonas headshot

Jasmine Leonas

Public Information Specialist
About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public research university focused on science and engineering, where students and faculty together address the great challenges society faces today - particularly those related to the Earth, energy and the environment.