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2,893 Inspirational Passion Project Ideas

Turn inspirations into your passion project.

This collection of project ideas, shared by Polygence mentors, is meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

People working on laptops
Engineering

Hijacking Physics to do Math for Us

We use math to do a lot of things, like run computers or make predictions. We also use math to describe physical behaviors in the world. But that also means that physical behaviors in the world "do math." In a sense, the world around us is constantly doing "calculations" with physics. In this project, we'll figure out a way to get the world to do our math for us, either in simulation or a simple physical system. We'll pick an example task (measure vibration/seismic activity over time, sense changes in shape, detect humidity, etc), and figure out how to make a reliable test without a computer. We'll think about experimental design, dealing with the noisiness of the real world, and critical data analysis.

Physics, Engineering, Computer Science, AI/ML

Sam
Sam

Capillary Refill Time Measurement Device

Capillary refill time is a measure doctors often use to quickly assess dehydration in pediatric and emergency cases. It can be a key indicator for illnesses like diarrheal disease which result in high fluid loss. Health professionals currently test this by pinching or applying pressure to fingers, the chest, or forehead and count the amount of time it takes for normal color to return. Project: Research this problem, create a prototype solution, and write a research report on your solution. The solution could involved an arduino project, computer-aided design to 3d print something, and some basic data analysis.

Neuroscience, Engineering, AI/ML

Yousuf
Yousuf

Detecting Audio Events with AI

In this project, a raspberry pi outfitted with a microphone would be used to detect and classify a particular audio event (e.g. glass breaking) via Deep Learning, and send a notification to a mobile device. The applications here range from personal use to enterprise. For example, a home security system to detect break-ins or equipment breaking in a manufacturing setting.

Biotech, Engineering

Grant
Grant

Symmetries throughout natural processes

What does heat flow, electric circuits, and fluid mechanics all have in common? They can all be described by the same mathematical equations. We will explore why this is the case, study the relevant history of mathematics, and learn how to model these systems on your computer.

Physics, Engineering, Math, Business, Finance

Richard
Richard

Heat Map Creation Using Public Data Sets

This project involves collecting public available data files, shape files and developing maps depicting socio-economic factors. This can be done at a high level and the use of different normalization methods (using population/ boundary area) to yield different strategic results.

Physics, Engineering, Math, Creative Writing

Ibrahim
Ibrahim

Curating recent advancements of CAR-T therapy.

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies has significantly improved outcomes in cancer patients. Over the last several years, there has been many variations of CAR-T therapy, such as armored CAR-T therapy, dual CAR-T therapy, self-destruct CAR-T therapy, etc. Additionally, CAR-T therapy has been applied to other diseases. It would be very impactful to curate these different variations, the pros/cons of each variant, and the use case of each of these variants.

Biology, Cancer, Engineering, AI/ML

Hugh
Hugh

Plant Cyborgs: Using Robotics to Give Freedom to your Plants.

Have you ever felt sorry for your plant? Or didn't have enough time to take care of it? In this project we are going to create a robot body for your house plant (using Embedded Systems like Arduino and Raspberry Pi), so it can walk around and take care of itself. If you are looking for even more of a challenge, I imagine we can do this with a goldfish instead :)

Engineering, Computer Science, AI/ML

Willie
Willie

Scientific Review Paper on 'Reasons tumors are evading our immune system'

In this project, you will read scientific literature to research the various methods tumors use to evade our immune system. Ie. suppressive tumor microenvironment, decreased markers that typically allow immune cells to recognize it, inhibition of molecules that tell immune cells where to find the tumor, etc. This process will teach you the critical skills of finding, accessing, reading, and critically analyzing scientific literature and compiling it into a meaningful review of your own. These are critical skills to learning about new advances in any scientific field.

Biotech, Cancer

Evelyn
Evelyn

Create an NBA trade simulator

Scrape NBA statistics using python or google sheets and basketballreference.com, identify a metric to compare different players on different teams, and run a statistical hypothesis test to determine if the teams involved would accept the potential trade! Then create an interface to run your simulator and view the result

Engineering, Economics, Math

Frank
Frank

Validate your startup idea in 10 days

Do you want to start a company? Whether you have an idea or not, you can improve your odds by understanding the entrepreneurship process. Having taken key startup classes at MIT and worked at several diverse startups, I can work with you to help you validate your startup idea in 10 days. Together, we will identify your customer, brainstorm solutions, map channels, design a business model, build a MVP, and figure out how to scale your business. By the end, you should feel comfortable to pursue any future ventures.

Engineering, Business

WEIXUN
WEIXUN

Become a designer!

You don't need to be an engineer to be a designer; we all design little parts of our lives all the time, from our bedrooms, to our schedules, to our outfits or meals. Good design usually starts with a problem, not a sudden spark of inspiration. To learn to be more intentional with design and how you can design in simple ways to make your day-to-day life better, spend a week going about your daily activities and writing down anything that bothers you, even if it's just a little bit. These can be minor or major inconveniences; flaws in buildings, products, or experiences; or anything else that bugs you. We will go over this list together, considering which problem or problems you might be able to address through design, and select one to focus on. I will guide you through the design process, from problem exploration, to idea generation, to prototyping and testing, and you will end with a solution and new confidence in yourself as a designer and problem-solver!

Engineering

Madison
Madison

A review article about areas for innovation in medical devices

The goal of this project is threefold: 1- Identify leading medical device technologies and their areas of application 2- Identify drawbacks and challenges these devices impose on patients 3- Brainstorm about ideas on how to improve the technologies or what additional features are necessary to be considered for next-generation of such devices. Result: expected results is a scientific article/magazine paper Reference for the submitted image: https://www.plasticstoday.com/medical/future-medical-materials-and-medtech-innovation

AI/ML

Morteza
Morteza

Develop an Administrative Healthcare Application to Decrease Patient Wait Time

I have been creating small scale applications for about 5 years now in python as well as web based applications for small user groups at IBM. IBM being involved in so many fields, one field we are exposed to is the medical field and some of the inefficiencies in it. One of these being patient throughput due to administrative tasks. This project aims to provide a comprehensive solution for managing patient records, appointments, billing, and other administrative tasks It will involve designing a user-friendly application with a focus on usability. The student will perform market research, interviews with potential end users, and explore the intricacies of UI/UX design. Students will learn about the Design Thinking Process Flow, while gaining valuable insight about HIPPA and the health care field.

Engineering, AI/ML

Asa
Asa

Let's write a research paper

Is there a topic in biology or bioinformatics that you're interested in learning more about? Want to learn how to bring mammoths back from the dead? Engineer plants that can be grown in the desert? Make humans live forever? I have a broad range of experience in lots of different areas in biology, so let's talk and see what we can do!

Biotech

Julian
Julian

The effects of noise in measurements

This project will deal with a very real variable in experimental sciences, noise. How does adding noise effect the results we get, and how can we develop algorithms to reduce the amount of noise in a system. First there is reducing the amount of noise measured, then there is post signal processing. Both of these methods needs to be used in tandem to tackle the problem of noisy, stochastic systems.

Physics, Engineering, Math, AI/ML

Lawrence
Lawrence

Cooperation in multi-robot systems

What’s better than one robot? How about a bunch of robots working together! This field of research is known as “multi-robot systems” or “swarm robotics”- using a group or of coordinated robots to complete complex tasks. What are the benefits and challenges in coordinating a group of robots? For a group where all the robots are a single type vs. a group of multiple different types of robots, how do these considerations change, and how do they stay the same? This project will explore the current state of the art of multi-robot systems, compare the benefits and challenges of various robot systems, and make recommendations on their usage.

Arts, Engineering, Computer Science

Gillian
Gillian

Interactive Shockwave Calculator

When an aircraft is moving at supersonic speeds (i.e., moving faster than the speed of sound), a shockwave forms in front of the aircraft, producing a sonic boom. This shockwave causes a lot of heating, a rise in pressure, and energy to be lost. Because of this, it is important to know how the temperature and pressure rise. This project would be to create a simple, interactive calculator to see how much the pressure and temperature change depending on the speed of your aircraft, and also depending on which atmosphere you are flying in, such as Earth, Mars, or more.

Physics, Engineering

Raymond
Raymond

Product Design Cycle

Design is often thought of as an ad-hoc process, but it requires proper implementation of several key steps such as understanding the specific need your design seeks to address and current shortcomings in the market, customer feedback, prototyping, testing, iterating, and delivering a final product. In this project, the student can implement the product design process on a project of their own choosing.

Physics, Engineering, Computer Science, Math

Fatak
Fatak

Design Project

You are an engineer that enjoys cooking in your free time. You want to share your passion with your grandfather; however, he has severe arthritis and cannot use a knife without severe pain. The constant force of the knife hitting the board or the sawing motion while tightly gripping the knife are especially difficult. As an engineer, you want to think of a solution to this problem where he can cut vegetables and feel part of the cooking experience with you. Design a mechanical device, utilizing a 4-bar-linkage mechanism that can solve this problem. Constraints/Deliverables: must use CAD, 4-bar-linkage design, knife must be attachable/removable from device, designed for manufacturability and 3D printing, force analysis on linkages, operate with 1 hand, fit inside shoe-box

Engineering

Shail
Shail

Analyze medication-effect patterns in Reddit data.

Collect a dataset of Reddit posts regarding mental health and medications. Build clustering algorithms to group medications by their commonly reported side effects.

Engineering, Computer Science, AI/ML

Barbara
Barbara