Sophia was born and raised on Maui, where she graduated from St. Anthony High School in 2011. She is currently majoring in Electrical Engineering at the University of Portland. After college, she would like to pursue an engineering career at a major company like Intel. In her free time, she likes to hang out with friends, read, or play music.
Home Island: Maui
High School: St. Anthony High School
Institute when accepted: University of Portland
Characterizing an Immune System Cell Model for Space-Based Experimentation
Project Site: HNu Photonics LLC
Mentor: Devin Ridgley
A Submarine Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (SEPIRB) is a device that transmits a distress signal and GPS coordinates to aid in search and rescue operations. Trex is developing a self-powered SEPIRB that will harness kinetic energy generated by waves to extend the operating life of the device beyond 48 hours. Trex’s design requires deployment of an inflatable buoy and a sea anchor to provide drag against the motion of the waves. The problem analyzed was the buoy and sea anchor designs and deployment mechanisms. Various designs were considered for the buoy and sea anchor. Once the actual designs were figured out, a way to deploy them was examined. The size of the system is a key design constraint to the SEPIRB; it has to be housed in a three inch diameter tube that can be up to a meter long. All of the buoy and sea anchor materials need to fit in this tube, and be deployed once the SEPIRB leaves the submarine. In the chosen deployment approach, the SEPIRB arms itself through a reed switch which is attached to the housing compartment in the submarine. Once it senses saltwater, it activates a timing circuit that introduces up to a two day delay. After the delay, it actuates two CO2 cartridges via two gear motors. One of the CO2 cartridges inflates the buoy, which will force the cap off and deploy itself. The other CO2 cartridge pressurizes the sea anchor compartment, which releases the bottom cap and the sea anchor slides out the bottom and opens up into a drag chute. This design is just a prototype, so there is a lot of room for improvement in the future. The SEPIRB can be made more compact and less electronically reliant in further prototypes.