Youngstown State University student Tyler Vitullo and his fellow electrical engineering students on Tuesday showed off a plane they designed to be controlled by a computer and equipped with GPS technology.
The GPS creates flight patterns, and solar cells ensure it can run for about 40 minutes, Vitullo said.
“We’re making it go over an hour,” he said. “Hopefully two hours once it’s completed.”
Vitullo was part of just one group of about 400 YSU students that showed off their research projects Tuesday as part of YSU’s Quest. The number of research projects submitted for Quest jumped 20 percent from last year, which officials said shows a shift toward academic research at the university.
The showcase includes most majors and every college within the university, from solar-powered planes to the benefits of therapy dogs, like YSU graduate student Ruthie Madden.
“My project is on college students and anxiety,” Madden said. “I found anxiety is kind of a big problem in college students. So I thought using pet therapy dogs is a unique way and a lot of people can relate to an animal.”
Organizers said the university is focusing more on research.
“It’s all about the discovery of new knowledge,” said YSU Director of Undergraduate Research Jeffrey Coldren. “This is what a university does. We need to do more than to teach. We need to generate new knowledge.”