Student Spotlight: Tyler Vitullo

Hello STEMians!

The model airplane with the YSU Y the side.

Our group of students from the Electrical Engineering Capstone course recently went to Morgantown, West Virginia, to participate in the IEEE Student Activities Conference. This conference is made up of students from universities located in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Our group included: myself (Tyler Vitullo), Kevin Marstellar, Christopher Smaldino, Kurt Shambaugh, and Nathan Jones.

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The group standing outside with their project.

Chris, Nate, and I are also in the Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program, which was a crucial part of our success. Choose Ohio First Conferences have prepared us for this event, and they’ve provided essential funding for the project.

At the competition, we displayed our project in the First Energy Project Showcase. We won second place and a monetary award by popular vote from all the students and professors at the conference. Numerous people were impressed with our project, and we’ve also received a lot of positive recognition and some news coverage in the last few weeks. It’s been an awesome conclusion to all of our work with this project!

Our project design was to take a remote-controlled model aircraft based off a model that the U.S. Military uses for their overseas operations. Our goal with the plane was to increase the flight time through the use of solar cells. The large array of solar cells on the roof of Moser Hall was an inspiration to the team, as we wanted to better understand solar power to take advantage of its capabilities.

The certificate from the competition.

Our plane flies for about 30 minutes without solar cells, and approximately 50-55 minutes with the additional solar energy. This was more than a 50% improvement! We are very happy with the results.

To further enhance the plane, we also added a mounted, rotating camera; a GPS to track the plane; and a wireless module to transmit flight characteristics to our computer mid-flight. We needed a display station that could be used to monitor the video and control the plane, so we created a design that would be close to a military environment. We believe that our design could be used in the near future by the military to enhance current drone technology, and by local law enforcement and emergency agencies.

We’re very happy with the status of our project, and we intend to continue work on it in the future. Keep a look out for us!

Tyler Vitullo

The plane, controls, and poster all on display.