2020 And the Show Must Go On

June 12, 2020

Spring 2020 Precapstone Innovation Experience Course Finale

By James Perez


When planning for the spring 2020 Precapstone Innovation experience course, it never crossed our minds that we would have all our planning interrupted by a pandemic. Normally our course is a hybrid course of online instruction and in person hands-on lab lessons, where students get to interact and form teams.  These teams then strategize to create a product that will address an everyday social issue. Luckily, the course was well on its way before we had to operate completely virtual. And on May 7, we were able to host a virtual presentation finale.


First up was SoleSpot, who realized that the current one-size-fits-all insoles currently on the market, are not a realistic approach. The human foot contains over 200,000 nerve endings, which makes it one of the most sensitive areas of the body. Without the proper footwear individuals are constantly causing strain on their feet, ultimately affecting other areas of the body such as body posture that can cause backpain.

3D Rendering of the SoleSpot Insole Proptotype.

Teammates Lillian Wang (BS Electrical Engineering, NYU Tandon 21) , Tiara Njamafa (Electrical Engineering, NYU Tandon 21’) and Hana Shafikah (Computer Engineering, NYU Tandon 22) decided to create a customizable ergonomic foot insole that uses air technology. The user could inject air into pressure point areas that would lead to comfort. They found that the current options available are limited in functionality. With NASA-developed technology, Solespot promises to “do for feet what Sleep Number does for beds, Walk on cloud9 with SoleSpot.”


Next on the list was BlindEye, who realized that cyclist face many dangers when riding their bikes, especially in NYC. When interviewing cyclists, the common answer was that helmets are not visually appealing, and they typically avoid wearing them altogether despite the dangers. In 2019 alone, it was reported that 27 bike related deaths occurred due to insufficient awareness to relative surroundings.


Currently on the market, there are advanced bike options with built in sensors and/or radar; however, such options are costly upwards of $2k. With that not being an affordable option for many, Duhee Han (BS, NYU Tandon 21 ) , Gabriella Ayala (BS Computer Science, NYU Tandon 21) and Shuting Wang (BS Computer Engineering, NYU Tandon 21) came up with BlindEye as their solution. Using lidar technology they designed an accessory that could be mounted to any bike. Lidar uses a directional-focus approach, which would send a signal to sensors and indicate to cyclists that an object or vehicle is under the 4ft distance recommendation. Potentially costing consumers $40, BindEye promises to “Watch your blind spot like your best friend watches your back!”

3D Rendering of Blindeye Prototype


We have all heard the cliché New Year’s resolution of committing to working out, but how many can say they followed through? With the overload that comes with daily life, it leaves little wiggle room to go to a gym. Connectic Energy came up with a way to help those who are not able to stick to a workout plan.


Teammates Cassandra Chow (BS Computer Engineering, NYU Tandon 21) and Charles Chan (BS Computer Science, NYU Tandon 21 ) developed an online game that uses computer vision and machine learning to track the users movement through a webcam. Making the activities interactive takes away from having to complete mundane routines. The upside is if you have a computer with a webcam, that is all that is required to get started. The overall goal is to provide another alternative to exercising without feeling like it is another obligation.

 Screengrab of Charles Chow demonstrating in real time

Our final team to present for the evening was ParkSmart. Impressively, although the team members were scattered across the country with one in Mexico due to COVID-19, Rohan Kandi (BS Computer Science, NYU Tandon 21) , Costantino Scanderbeg (BS Computer Engineering, NYU Tandon 21) and Jaime Mendoza Martinez (BS Electrical & Eletronics Engineering, NYU Tandon 21) didn’t let the odds deter them from developing ParkSmart. They focused on addressing an issue in the congested city that never sleeps, NYC.

ParkSmarts backend algorithm working to detect a parking spot

Finding parking in NYC can be a nightmare and parking garages can be expensive. ParkSmart plans to do for parking, what airlines did with reserved seating. There are currently over 1000 monitoring cameras throughout the city that can be accessed for free providing a real time view.  They intend to access these feeds to have an overview of the available parking spots throughout the city on their online service. Using machine learning algorithms to analyze video, they deomstrate the detection of available spaces. This essentially would ease drivers the burden of having to find a parking space.



The Spring 2020 semester was full of a lot of uncertainty not only in academia, but in our overall personal lives. This final presentation being executed virtually allowed us to keep a sense normalcy. The students and Professors involved, deserve a round of applause for committing to the course and seeing it through the end. With these innovative potential capstone projects developed, these undergraduate students are well on their way of being the innovators of tomorrow. The next course running will be for Fall 2020.



Spring 2020 PreCapstone Innovation Experience Course Participants and Faculty


Top Left to Right: Prof. Jin Kim Montclare, Prof. Sara Thermer, Charles Chan, Costantino Scanderbeg, Rohan Kandi

Mid Left to Right: Prof. David Lefer, Lillian Wang, Tiara Njamfa, Cassandra Chow, Gabriella Ayala

Bottom Left to Right: Jaime Martinez, Hana Shafikah, Duhee Han, Prof. Michael Knox, Prof. Vittoria Flamini










NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s CIE Institute supports initiatives that help faculty and students reach greater heights by harnessing important technologies and re- imagining business ideas. We catapult these ideas into advanced, problem-solving innovations to address society’s greatest problems.

Our mission is to increase diversity and multi-disciplinary in STEM entrepreneurship and provide guidance as well as resources for STEM innovators to start-up.


For more information about these programs, please contact us at cie@nyu.edu