MATTHEW ABATE

STUDENT • ENGINEER • INVENTOR
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PORTFOLIO

Pedal-Powered Walking-Machine | May 2017

Over the spring of 2017, I collaborated with a project group to design a pedal powered walking machine for the 2017 Mechanical-Beast Jousting-Competition in the Thayer School of Engineering. The walking-machine was designed using SolidWorks 2016, and was fabricated largely from recycled bicycle parts and ordered stock materials. Through the project, I gained familiarity with SolidWorks 2016, as well as modern methods of CNC milling, and laser printing. In the project group I was involved in project managements, design and fabrication, however, I mainly contributed to the success of the project by designing and fabricating a spur differential, which was the main component of our walking machine's steering mechanism.

Rapid Prototyping: Yo-Yo and Tilt-Maze | April 2017

Rapid prototyping refers to a group of techniques engineers use to quickly manufacture parts or assemblies. Over the spring of 2017, I designed and fabricated a yo-yo and tilt-maze to get better acquainted with several common methods of rapid prototyping. Through these projects, I gained familiarity with injection molding, laser printing, and CNC Milling techniques. Both toys were modeled in SolidWorks 2016.

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Optical Torque Sensor | September 2016

Automobile traction control and anti-lock braking systems rely on a real-time approximation of the torque distributed through each wheel. Engine mapping, the current method of torque approximation in automobiles, generally loses accuracy over time, reducing the efficiency of the system and increasing the likelihood of safety hazards while driving.

Over the fall and winter terms of my senior year in Thayer, I collaborated with a project group to design and build an optical torque sensor for automotive applications. The project was sponsored by Analog Devices Incorporated, a Massachusettes-based semiconductor manufacturer. The goal of the project was to use two ADI photodiodes to measure the angular deflection of a rotating car axle and calculate the torque in the axle in real time based on its material properties.

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Scuttlebot | September 2016

During the fall of my senior year in Thayer, I worked in a project group to design and build a remote-controlled "scuttlebot" for the ENGS 76 scuttlebot-soccer competition. The most notable requirement of the competition was that no bot could use wheels in its locomotion, and therefore each bot must "scuttle" using some form of linkage leg mechanism. The project was meant to get students better acquainted with 3D modeling software, and machine tools such as lathes and milling machines. Other project requirements included that the bot must be able to trap, pass and shoot a tennis ball repeatably.

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Autonomous Lawnmower | June 2016

Over the summer of 2016, I collaborated with a project group in Thayer to build a GPS driven autonomous lawnmower under the supervision of Professor Tillman Gerngross. The project had begun the summer before, and when I joined the research group, much of the electrical system had already been designed and built. My personal contributions to the project included designing the PID loop, which is the basis for the mower's autonomous control and fabricating mountings and fixtures for the mower's many electrical components. I also was present for the project testing and had a large role in the iterative design process.

Marx Generator | May 2016

Over the Spring of 2016 at Dartmouth, I designed and built a twelve-stage Marx generator for my final project in Professor William Lotko's course on electromagnetism in engineering. The generator I built is capable of creating discharges three times more powerful any other Marx generator at Dartmouth, and the model is currently used in Dr. Caitano da Silva's research of electrostatic discharge in the atmosphere.

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Bamboo Roof for Haitian Hospital | April 2016

Haitian construction companies often employ concrete slab roofs on their buildings due their simplicity and affordability. Slab roofs, however, are not ideal functionally, as they tend to let in less natural light and air flow than pitched roofs.

Over the spring of 2016, I worked with a project group to design a modular pitched roof for Build Health International, a Boston-based non-profit who builds facilities for global health organizations. We considered site-specific characteristics such as weather, material availability, and manufacturing methods, and determined that a bamboo roof would correct many of the issues BHI currently faces in Haiti. At the conclusion of the project, a report of findings was submitted to BHI, along with a scale model prototype of our roof and an economic plan for future construction.

Air Displacement Volumeter | June 2015

Over the summer of my sophomore year at Dartmouth, I designed and built a device which could calculate the volume of an object by measuring the amount of air it displaced from a chamber. This project was meant to correct some of the limitations of the liquid displacement method of measuring volume, and I reached out to Professor Ronald Lasky in the Thayer School to advise the work for course credit. The final prototype was able to successfully measure the volume of objects within 2% of their actual volume, and I have applied for a U.S. patent on my designs.

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Stirling Engine | June 2015

A Stirling engine is a kind of closed cycle heat engine, which can be used to turn heat energy into mechanical work. Over the summer of 2015, I built a Stirling Engine in the Thayer Machine Shop, following machinist's drawings. Through this project, I gained familiarity with machine tools, including lathes and milling machines.

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K'Nex Differential Analyzer | June 2014

Vannevar Bush was a 19th-century engineer and inventor, notably famous for heading the United States Office of Scientific Research and Development throughout World War II. Bush invented the mechanical differential analyzer in 1928, which implemented wheel-and-disc integrators to solve high-order differential equations. This machine is regarded as the first widely practical general purpose mechanical computer, and later models implemented components from Meccano toy construction sets.

Over the summer of my freshmen year at Dartmouth, I worked in Professor Michael Littman's lab at Princeton University to design and build four mechanical differential analyzers of varying order and complexity. I was asked to model the designs of Bush's previous differential analyzers using K'Nex, a modern children's construction toy. This project had been assigned several summers in a row before my work, however, I was the first intern to successfully design and build a working model.

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Collapsing Walker | April 2014

Falls are the leading cause injuries amongst the elderly. Falling is most likely to occur when the victim shifts their body weight either forward or backward, in such a way that they are not able to control their momentum, and approximately 10% of falls occur when a subject is trying to stand up from a chair. In the spring of 2014, I collaborated with a project group to design a walker which would aid the user in standing up a chair and reduce the likelihood of falls.