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Lassonde undergrads wrap-up senior year with competition triumph

Undergraduate students at the Lassonde School of Engineering, Minupa Rodrigo (Mechanical Engineering) and Sudhanshu Laroiya (Computer Engineering), recently excelled at the 2024 Canadian Engineering Competition (CEC).

CEC brings together over 200 engineering undergraduate students from across the nation to compete in eight different categories: Junior Design, Senior Design, Innovative Design, Engineering Consulting, Parliamentary Debate, Re-engineering, Programming and Engineering Communication. Each category challenges participants to identify and present solutions for real-world engineering problems.

The talented Lassonde duo is the first team in York University history to achieve first place in the Re-engineering category.

“It was the best feeling in the world to win this competition and receive recognition among students from some of the top engineering schools,” says Rodrigo.

Before their recent success in this year’s competition, Rodrigo and Laroiya participated in several past engineering competitions like Lassonde Games and BEST Startup Experience, as well as Ontario Engineering Competitions (OECs) and York Engineering Competitions (YECs).

“Winning CEC was a glorious moment – it took us five years of dedication to get to this point,” says Laroiya. “We participated in many engineering competitions over the years and continued to improve and come back stronger each time. You can’t be afraid of failure… failures lead to success.”

First-place medal and scarf from the 2024 Canadian Engineering Competition
First-place medal and scarf from the 2024 Canadian Engineering Competition.

During the 2024 CEC, Rodrigo and Laroiya were tasked with solving two cases: one focused on improving energy strategies in a remote Indigenous community and the other required redesigning of Google Glass smart glasses.

When devising an energy strategy, the duo explored various technical improvements while prioritizing environmental and social impact. Their comprehensive plan included integrating the community into the provincial power grid, incorporating batteries and solar panels as energy sources and utilizing energy-saving appliances.

To reengineer the Google Glass smart glasses, Rodrigo and Laroiya suggested improvements to both hardware and software, including a more lightweight frame, dual cameras and AI technology. This revamped model would have the capacity to support users with sight and language disabilities and include standard functions like Google Search.

“Lessons we learned from courses at Lassonde gave us a competitive advantage,” says Rodrigo. “We have both developed multidisciplinary knowledge on a wide range of subjects which allowed us to address diverse challenges. In previous competitions, I even used very specific and technical knowledge about topics like fluid dynamics, motors and propellors.”

Rodrigo and Laroiya’s participation in the Bergeron Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology program further enhanced the duo’s competitive edge at the 2024 CEC; skills like effective communication and creating an engaging pitch helped drive the team to success.

“The value of your academic degree is equal to what you do outside of the classroom,” says Laroiya. “I encourage undergrads to get involved in these competitions, especially YEC, even if you don’t win.”

Minupa Rodrigo and Sudhanshu Laroiya at the 2024 Canadian Engineering Competition.
Minupa Rodrigo and Sudhanshu Laroiya at the 2024 Canadian Engineering Competition.

“Receiving our winning medals after years of dedication to these competitions is a true testament to our hard work,” says Laroiya. “I’m appreciative of all the experiences I’ve had at these engineering competitions. This was an amazing way to wrap up the last year of our undergraduate studies.”

Students can learn learn more about the Canadian Engineering Competition (CEC) by participating in the York Engineering Competition, hosted by the Lassonde Engineering Society. This event offers a pathway to national recognition and showcases the skills and creativity of engineering students.