Blog Posts

Week 15 Update

This week the team finished of our prototype! We had our Final Design Review presentation and showcase where we got to show off our prototype to the liaisons. They were very happy with the results and we were so excited to share with them all our hard work.

At the showcase, we had a video playing about our prototype as well as a poster that summarized the last year of work that went into developing our prototype. The team is excited to film one last video to share with the liaisons on the overall machine process!

SimpliciTea sharing their video, poster and prototype at showcase
Team SimpliciTea’s poster for the prototype expo
Check out our promo video for our specialty beverage maker!

Week 14 Update

We are quickly approaching FDR and the team is hard at work making sure that we get everything done so we can be successful!

The mechanical team has sent all of the components of the prototype to be printed. The team will work this weekend to put final touches on these components and assemble our prototype. We plan to continue testing and gain user feedback once we have a completed prototype assembled.

The electrical team has received their final iteration of the PCB. The team is very excited to get that set up and implemented into our prototype. Overall, the team has continued doing testing on the individual components of the prototype.

The team is very excited as the final prototype comes to life. The team also had the opportunity to give a presentation at the Cade Museum. We got to share our experience in the IPPD program as well as some of our work on our prototype.

The team presenting at the Cade Museum


FDR is in 2 weeks!! With that being said, the mechanical and electrical subteams are sprinting during the final stretch.

The mechanical team is currently enhancing the designs of the subassemblies to optimize the overall design and functionality of the prototype. We’re planning on sending out our final prints this weekend in hopes of assembling the full prototype next week just in time for FDR. Once the final prototype is fully assembled, we plan to continue testing

The electrical team has been hard at work finalizing the final iteration of the PCB. It was finally sent out for production and we’re awaiting it’s arrival. While we wait, we’re following our testing plan to ensure everything works flawlessly. We’ve been able to work out some kinks and we’re actively working to solve other issues that have surfaced.

We’re looking forward to finishing up the semester and presenting our final working prototype soon!

Electrical team working hard on enhancing the breadboard

Week 12 Update

Just three weeks away from FDR presentations, all hands are on deck to complete the team’s prototype. This week, the team began working on the Final Design Report (FDR). This novel of a paper is designed to capture the entirety of the last 6 months’ work, as well as predict future implications (ie. environmental/legal effects) and applications of the device. Additionally, the team is developing a promotional video for their specialty beverage maker. The video will set the scene for the problem at hand, as well as demonstrate the intuitive nature of the device.

As for prototype development, the team is actively referring to feedback given from prototype inspection day to fine tune their design. The electrical team finished their second rendition of the PCB, successfully converting the power from AC to DC, simplifying the footprint of board. Similarly, the mechanical team continues to develop their parts, adding screw holes and other means of fastening the electrical components inside the device. The stirring mechanism was also optimized to for a quiet less bulky design, perfect for anyone’s kitchen counter.

Electrical Components of the device

Week 11 Update

With the Prototype Inspection Day presentation on Tuesday, this was a huge week for the SimpliciTea team. The team met over the weekend and Monday to finalize the first iteration prototype. Unfortunately, we were unable to boil water without minor leakage from the steaming chamber base, so the only automated function that was presented was the automation of the stirring process (the most important in our opinion). The water leakage from the steaming chamber base was the result of a poor seal between the steaming chamber heating element and the steaming chamber base and will be easily fixed in the next iteration. During the presentation, several videos of both heating elements successfully boiling water were shown. Our goal moving forward is to have these working consistently with no leakage while secured within the housing.

Our feedback from the PID presentation was great. The judges were very impressed with our progress and overall design to date. They also provided feedback with some very helpful suggestions for us moving forward. As stated previously, we would like to conceal automation of the stirring process within the housing. The judges suggested that we try a magnetic rotation or friction contact rotation, both of which would eliminate several external gear components and still accomplish our goal. They also asked that we generate a much more detailed testing plan. A well-defined testing plan will definitely help us to make faster progress and ensure that components are tested against relevant criteria. The weeks to come will be very busy as we work to implement these suggestions.

New heating element fitting preventing leakage from the steaming chamber base.

Week 10 Update

After relaxing and destressing over a well deserved spring break, the team came back and went straight to work on design development and manufacturing our first iteration prototype to present next Tuesday. The goal for Prototype Inspection Day (PID) was to present in-person or through recordings of previous testing that all aspects of our design can work at the bare minimum independently and ideally together. We would then like to receive feedback from the judges on how to make the independent components work congruently with one another or how we can modify our design to be better moving forward.

Some challenges we have been facing are 1) automating the stirring mechanism in such a way that water doesn’t leak out of the steaming chamber base, 2) automating the stirring mechanism with the least amount of vibration and electrical noise possible, 3) hiding components for automation within the housing, and 4) operating the steaming chamber heating element without any leakage from the extreme heat produced.

Additionally, we have had accomplished several goals this week including but not limited to 1) successfully providing power to both heating elements and monitoring their temperature through the PCB, 2) automating the stirring process through a gear on the steaming chamber base, and 3) testing with various epoxies to make the steaming chamber food-grade. See the figure below for a high-quality render of our current plan for automation.

Week 8 Update

Team SimpliciTea has mostly completed the 1st iterations of the electrical and mechanical designs. The 1st PCB prototype arrived this week and the overall housing of our specialty beverage maker is almost ready to be 3D printed. We have also designed a new stirring mechanism based on last week’s testing results to maximize the advantages of previous stirring mechanisms while mitigating their shortcomings.

Latest stirring mechanism

After a productive few months of prototyping and testing, Team SimpliciTea will be taking a well-earned rest over Spring break, and then returning to complete the 2nd design iterations the week after.

Week 7 Update

This week was a pivotal week for our team. We came into the week preparing for our Quality Review Board (QRB) presentation, and getting ready to present to our panel of coaches. Our presentation went well, and we got a lot of constructive feedback from the panel. The largest concern about our project going forward is the current state of our project timeline, and we’re working to resolve the coaches’ concerns and ensure our ability to deliver a finished, refined prototype by the end of April.

Beyond the concerns stated above, we were able to make good progress towards completing our first full prototype. The electrical subteam resolved a manufacturer issue on our outstanding PCB order, and are looking forward to populate and test the board this upcoming week! Our mechanical subteam has also made progress towards their final component selections, making the road ahead clear for construction of our first full prototype.

The next few weeks are looking exciting, and we’re looking forward to sharing our progress!

Week 6 Update

The team continues to make large improvements on our initial prototype. The mechanical team had to reprint the stirring mechanisms due to sizing issues but ultimately tested them. This testing allowed the team to make decisions and continue coming up with more ideas. These ideas are being generated in Solidworks in order to make sure the best stirring mechanisms is selected for the machine. But with that large improvements have been made on the overall CAD of the prototype with final details coming this weekend!

The electrical team has created a PCB layout and are improving this layout to be the most efficient before sending it off to be manufactured this weekend. The team is hoping to get the manufactured PCB in a week in order to test and make any improvements for the next iteration of the PCB. Along with this, the app has gained some large improvements within the last week that will help with customization.

The team is very excited about our progress and look forward to sharing everything we have accomplished in our Quality Review Board on Tuesday! 

PCB Layout

Week 5 Update

This week has been filled with lots of progress for both sub teams! The mechanical team 3D printed all necessary iterations needed for testing. This week we focused on adjusting the dimensions of our multiple iterations to accurately test and come to a unanimous design decision. We have also been working closely with the electrical team on size optimization for the build. The team has also made a detailed bill of materials consisting of components and necessary hardware for the overall prototype.

As for the electrical team, they have officially finalized the design of the first PCB. That PCB has been sent out for manufacturing and is anticipated to arrive in the coming weeks. We are looking forward to testing the PCB and enhancing it so that it may work to the best of its ability. While we wait for its arrival, we are ordering components to populate the PCB. In the coming weeks, we will begin to design solutions to known issues with the first version of the PCB.

All in all, the sub teams have made significant advancements in the completion of the overall prototype. In the coming week, we expect for significant components of our prototype to undergo testing and groundbreaking design decisions to be made, inching us closer to the overall assembly of the prototype. Below are some images of the team’s recent work.