Project Showcase

A prototype prosthetic arm the AIS developed for a young boy.
A prototype compost grinder printed at the AIS.

Aggie Innovation Shop makes PPE for local healthcare workers

The Aggie Innovation Space at New Mexico State University’s College of Engineering has been in high gear in recent days, as students and staff work to produce face shields for healthcare workers.

The effort is the result of conversations between Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima and NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu regarding the area’s need for additional personal protective equipment, and other resources, to combat COVID-19.

Reyes Lucero, mechanical engineering major and lead student employee of the Aggie Innovation Shop, said it is an honor to help his community during a global pandemic.

“Not everyone has access to a shop with the equipment we have here at NMSU,” Lucero said.

Using a laser cutter, a thermal press, a sheet metal pneumatic shear and multiple 3D printers, Lucero and other engineering students and staff have made more than 70 face shields that have been donated to MountainView Regional Medical Center.

More than 70 face shields manufactured by engineering students and staff have been donated by New Mexico State University to MountainView Regional Medical Center to assist medical personal.
Reyes Lucero, mechanical engineering major and lead student employee of the Aggie Innovation Shop at New Mexico State University, holds face shields before placing them in a thermal press that gives them curvature.
Ken Ruble, lab instruction manager at the New Mexico State University Aggie Innovation Shop, molds heated face shields with a cylinder before assembling the final product.

While concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19 have temporarily closed the Aggie Innovation Space and Shop for student projects, engineering staff and student employees are able to make this contribution to the community, while practicing proper social distancing.

Vladimir Avina writes for New Mexico State University Marketing and Communications and can be reached at

NMSU design team attending Invent for the Planet finals

Microplastics polluting the Pacific Ocean could be cleaned up and recycled with the help of an invention created by Crustacean, a design team at New Mexico State University.

Competing against 40 universities worldwide, Crustacean is one of six finalists chosen to participate in the 48-hour Invent for the Planet design competition hosted by Texas A&M University. Before being selected as one of the finalists, Crustacean competed at NMSU against three local teams.

Crustacean is expected travel to Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, in July. The final IFTP judging competition was set for March 31 through April 2, but was postponed due to concern for students’ health in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

NMSU's first-place IFTP team, Crustacean, consisting of Brian Evan Saunders, Erik Le, Richard Casarez, Roberto Holguin and Taw Trobaugh.
Crustacean's logo.

“After working on this for as long as we have, I’m expecting to ‘wow’ the judges at Texas A&M,” said Richard Cazares, an engineering student. “I really think we have a chance of winning this and ultimately making our project a reality.”

Crustacean’s invention is a cylinder-shaped device locked to an ocean buoy. It would be used to clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a milky plastic island between the West Coast of North America and Japan. The plastic would be separated from other pieces of trash and recycled. You can check out Crustacean’s final IFTP 2020 presentation below.

This is the first time in the three years of IFTP in which a team from NMSU has been invited to the final competition. Graduate mechanical engineering students Brian Evan Saunders and Erik Le are on the team along with Casarez, Roberto Holguin and Taw Trobaugh, undergraduate mechanical engineering students and Evan Hughes, a journalism student.

Vladimir Avina writes for New Mexico State University Marketing and Communications and can be reached at

Taco-making robot impresses during NMSU Engineers Week

The Aggie Innovation Space’s Innovators programmed a pair of UR-5 robotic arms to prepare and serve tacos to students and faculty during National Engineers Week (Feb. 19-25).

Aggie Innovators setting up the taco robot.
The line for robot-made tacos stretched out the door and down the hall!
The taco robot's handiwork.
An enthused Pistol Pete with the taco robot.

NMSU’s Aggie Innovation Space helps research flies’ eyes

Biology researchers at New Mexico State University are using flies to study degeneration of human eyesight with the help of student engineers from the Aggie Innovation Space.