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Frugal Innovation Hub


The Frugal Innovation Hub connects Santa Clara University students with organizations to solve real-world problems and implement humanitarian solutions.

Check out recent projects below!

  • GalapaGuide team presenting the app to users

    Computer Science and Engineering, Senior Design 2018-2019


    GalápaGuide is a system designed for the Galápagos Islands’ Ministry of Tourism. It will enable ecology/tourism guides to report issues around the islands, which will be tracked and reported by an aggregation tool.

    Students: Paul Ahrens, Mason Bruce, Stephen Pacwa, Neel Sampemane
    Advisor: Silvia Figueira PhD


  • Groundwater Irrigation Team

    Civil Engineering, Senior Design 2018-2019

    Design of a Groundwater Irrigation System for Sustainable Agriculture

    This project aims to design and build a replicable, sustainable irrigation system to help communities kickstart their agricultural economy. This system will allow villagers to grow crops such as cassava, okra, and squash during the dry season to help alleviate food insecurity while providing a source of income for farmers. See the video here.

    Students: Ciara Murphy, Ricky Matthews, Peter Koros
    Advisors: Edwin Maurer PhD, PE, Laura Doyle PhD


  • Image links to full content

    Bio Engineering, Senior Design 2017 - 2019

    Cervical Cancer Early Response Visual Identification System

    Our project aims to address the high rates of cervical cancer in the developing world. We are trying to develop a low-cost, minimally invasive, visual identification device that tests for bacterial changes in the vaginal microbiome as an indication of cervical cancer.

    Students: Ivy Fernandes, Evangelica Bouzos, Marina Predovic, Alyssa Miawotoe, Lea Daran, Christina Kraus, Claire Hultquist, Hallie McNamara, Julia Lanoha, Rosie McDonagh, Mason Seely, Dave Heil, Nicola Gerbino
    Advisors: Prashanth Asuri PhD, Michele Parker PhD, Craig Stephens PhD

  • Pedal4Purification Team

    Mechanical Engineering, Senior Design 2018-2019

    Pedal 4 Purification

    Pedal 4 Purification is a universally adaptable water purification and transportation system optimizing the centripetal pedal force of a bicycle. Partnering with Maya Pedal Guatemala, a non-profit organization focused around helping those in need to gain access to potable drinking water while promoting community involvement of women and children. See the video here.

    Students: Coleton Rodd, Matt Lograsso, Cory Yamagata, Jonathon Keyes
    Advisor: Gaetano Restivo PhD


  • Image links to full content

    Mechanical Engineering, Senior Design 2018-2019

    Frugal Bicycle Transportation in Puebla, Mexico

    Our project was to create a two-passenger attachment for a standard bicycle. This attachment connects to any standard bicycle at the seat, has storage capabilities, and provides an alternative to walking on muddy unpaved roads. Our goal was to create an affordable, durable, and easily serviceable attachment.

    Students: Alesis Gonsalves, Brenden Stone, Sean Flanagan, Tianhao Jiang
    Advisor: Gaetano Restivo PhD


Humanitarian Award Winners

This award is given by the Frugal Innovation Hub to Senior Design projects with the most social impact.

Students: Cristina Whitworth, Lauren Oliver

Advisor: Dr. Laura Doyle 

The project entailed developing an integrated farming system that includes crops, fish, and poultry that would allow grassroots women to produce food products for both consumption and sale.

Students: Nina Morrison, Samantha O’Connor, and Callie Weber

Advisors: Unyoung (Ashley) Kim and Michele Parker

This team designed a low-cost paper-based sensor to detect the presence of E. coli in human breast milk donated to breast milk banks. Their aim is to ensure post-pasteurization safety in developing countries, where traditional lab culturing methods are unavailable.

Students: Jacob Leatherberry and Nicolas Metails

Advisor: Dr. Timothy Healy and James Reites

97% of the 1.3 billion people who still do not have access to electricity live in Sub-Saharan Africa. To help solve this problem, our team designed and installed a solar microgrid for 133 people living in Alafiarou, Benin, so that they may see in the dark and charge their phones.

Students: Greg O'Neill and Jonathan Tadros

Advisors: Dr. Mark Aschheim and Dr. Tonya Nilsson

This project researched Arundo donax - a type of giant, perennial cane plant - to examine its use as a viable structural building material.  Used alongside other traditional building methods, this material may offer new technologies for housing in developing countries.

Students: John Miller, Tara Pozzi, and Caroline Ruwe

Advisor: Dr. Steven Chiesa

This project includes the design of a gravity-fed water delivery and distribution system for a 12-acre farm.  The farm will be used by the Homeless Garden Project, a nonprofit organization geared toward helping the homeless in Santa Cruz, California.

Contact Us


Santa Clara University
School of Engineering
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053

Guadalupe Hall, Bldg. 455, 3rd Floor

(408) 554-2334

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