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Student's Personal Experience Breeds Innovation for Capstone Project

Bioengineering senior Simi Olabisi had a very personal reason for choosing her senior design project, a solar-powered, low-cost neonatal incubator for use in Nigeria. 
“I was born a little over two months premature in a Nigerian hospital that did not have incubators,” she says. “Luckily, my father was able to transport me to what, at the time, was the only children’s hospital in Nigeria, running the last few miles to get me the care I needed in time.” 
At the age of 14, Olabisi walked the path her father ran and visited the hospital to find a lack of constant electricity and high costs of backup generators prohibiting the use of incubators. The trip inspired her to find a solution that gives every infant a fighting chance. 
When the time came to choose her senior capstone project, Olabisi proposed designing an incubator that’s affordable, easy to maintain and repair, and that’s powered by solar energy. 
She and her teammates, fellow bioengineer Katherine Fazackerley, electrical engineering senior Ben Frederiksen, and four mechanical engineering seniors—Collin Burdick, Nick Greos, Kadee Mardula, and Matt Renner—have formed Team Omoverhi (which means “lucky child” in Urhobo, a common Nigerian language). Read more. 
This is one of 65 projects engineering seniors have been working on for months. Others include: 
  • Building homes for Haiti using foam panels;
  • Designing a sustainable and cost-effective outdoor classroom; and
  • Designing a pedestrian bridge over Stevens Creek Boulevard.
You can learn more about the projects online and at the Senior Design Conference on campus on Thursday, May 5. 
Watch Olabisi’s story, which was featured on NBC Bay Area. 


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