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Universidad EAFIT
Carrera 49 # 7 sur -50 Medellín Antioquia Colombia
Carrera 12 # 96-23, oficina 304 Bogotá Cundinamarca Colombia
(57)(4) 2619500

Internal Projects

​​​Development of an Intelligent Energy Analysis Strategy for Prosumer Nodes​

Researcher: Juan Pablo Giraldo Pérez – PhD Student. 

The project aims to analyze the energy behavior of prosumer nodes, specifically examining the comparison between those located in tropical regions and those in the rest of the world.

The idea is to develop region-specific Energy Management Systems (EMS) capable of optimizing energy usage in these nodes by balancing load assets. The goal is to maximize self-consumption and extend the lifespan of energy storage systems, particularly batteries.

The first image  represents real data from the solar ceiba's production, which was used to train an algorithm responsible for controlling the on/off cycles of a refrigerator to maximize solar energy utilization. In the second image, the temperature of the refrigerator is depicted. When aligning both images along the x-axis (representing time in minutes), it illustrates how the refrigerator reaches lower temperatures when solar energy is available and higher temperatures when it is not.

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SASVAR (Autonomous System for Waste Separation and Valorization)

Researchers: David Ríos, Santiago Ruiz, Elizabeth Rendón, Joan Alvarado, Estefanía Fonseca, Juan Carlos Arbeláez.

SASVAR is a project aimed at enhancing an intelligent system designed to streamline the identification, separation, and promotion of waste valorization through autonomous multi-platform strategies, contributing to a sustainable circular economy.​​



Evaluation of the Internal Validation of the Design Level Indicator

Researcher: Ana María Mesa Londoño – PhD Student.

Traditional design activities have historically been applied at operational and tactical levels within organizations, primarily focusing on the aesthetic and functional design of tangible products, specifically shaping their form and ergonomics. However, the way designers think and solve problems has proven valuable not only for the development of physical products but also for service design, innovative business model development, public policy formulation, and even addressing complex societal issues. This has led to the strategic implementation of design within organizations, offering multiple benefits such as increased innovation, improved time-to-market, user engagement, customer loyalty, and expanded market reach.

The transition from operational or tactical application of design to a strategic application is complex. The initial and fundamental step involves a diagnostic process, often requiring costly consulting services that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Colombia may find financially challenging. The Design Engineering Research Group has developed the Design Level Indicator (DLI), an index and open tool designed to allow design stakeholders to self-diagnose the design level of their companies. However, this index needs internal validation to determine the extent to which the instrument predicts the actual level of design application in companies.

The objective of this project is to conduct internal validation and assess the reliability of the DLI and its application instrument. It aims to identify how design positively impacts the financial and competitive performance of local companies. The project's goal is to diagnose the design level of participating companies and compare this information with performance indicators such as market share and net profits from new products or services. The obtained information will help determine if there is a correlation between the design level and the companies' performance.
Explanation of Image 1: The "Design Ladder" is a concept used in industrial and product design to describe different levels of design based on focus and scope. While there is no universal definition, it is generally divided into three or four levels.
Level 1: Focuses on the visual appearance and aesthetics of the product.
Level 2: Emphasizes functionality and ergonomics.
Level 3: Concentrates on the complete user experience.
Level 4 (some sources): Involves strategic design, considering the product's impact on a larger system, including environmental and societal aspects.
Explanation of Image 2: The Design Council of the UK promotes the integration of design into the business development and growth process. The motto "Higher design levels lead to greater financial benefits" suggests that investing in quality design can result in significant financial gains for a company or project. This assertion is based on the idea that well-thought-out and executed design can have several positive impacts on a business:
Market Differentiation: A distinctive design can make a product or service stand out in a competitive market.
Improved User Experience: User-centric design can enhance the customer experience, increasing loyalty and positive recommendations.
Operational Efficiency: Well-designed products can improve production efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs.
Error Reduction and Rework: Solid design can minimize errors and the need for product rework, saving time and money.
Long-term Value: Quality design tends to have a longer lifespan, translating into sustainable long-term sales and benefits.
Attraction of Investors: Companies with a focus on design are often viewed favorably by investors, facilitating funding.
However, it's crucial to note that the relationship between design and financial benefits is not always direct or automatic. Success also depends on other factors such as management, marketing strategy, product quality, and market demand. Additionally, the impact of design may not be immediate and often requires an initial investment.
In summary, while quality design can positively impact a company's financial benefits, it's essential to approach it strategically and consider other business-related factors to achieve financial success.

Functional Characteristics for the Design of a Transtibial Prosthesis Meeting the Needs of the Agricultural Sector

Researcher: Yessika María Ortega – PhD Student

​Colombia ranks as the second country with the highest incidence of injuries caused by landmines and unexploded munitions, where the majority of surviving victims experience lower limb amputations. The primary civilian victims of landmines are farmers, as 98% of explosions occur in rural areas. In addition to armed conflict, injuries in the agricultural sector are two and a half times more likely to result in amputation than any other type of injury. People living in rural areas engaged in agriculture and livestock face unique needs that are not adequately addressed by current prosthetic devices. These devices are often made with materials and technologies that can be expensive, rendering them unaffordable for low-income amputees.

Despite the evident challenges in this population, there are few studies on the issues faced by amputees in the agricultural sector, and those that exist are primarily conducted in high-income countries such as the United States, focusing mainly on psychological, social, and cultural problems. Due to the limited information regarding the prosthetic needs of transtibial amputees involved in agricultural activities in countries like Colombia, the purpose of this research is to develop a detailed understanding of the prosthetic needs of amputees working in the agricultural sector, from an engineering perspective. This understanding will enable the design of a transtibial prosthesis that facilitates better physical recovery and improved performance in agricultural work for amputees in this sector.

The research outlines four objectives to achieve the overarching goal, each associated with activities utilizing different techniques. These include qualitative content analysis to assess the perspectives of users, manufacturers, and designers of transtibial prostheses, kinesiological analysis through kinematics and surface electromyography, CAD design, rapid prototyping to evaluate identified requirements, and a continuous literature review to assess relevant studies emerging during the research.

The outcomes of this research will enable the design and manufacturing of prosthetic devices tailored to the needs of the agricultural sector in countries like Colombia, characterized by more artisanal production compared to industrialized economies. Currently, the limited production of science and research in Colombia has led to the importation of products and technology as the quickest way to improve the condition of people with disabilities. Detailed studies in the fields of rehabilitation and engineering, as proposed in this project, will not only provide a set of tools to reduce prosthetic manufacturing time and provide user comfort but also contribute to the country's development by making a significant contribution to science in an area of urgent need.​


Criteria for the Successful Adoption of Sustainable Mobility Technology Formulated from the Acquisition and Analysis of Vehicle Energy Consumption Data

Researcher: Erick Santiago Gómez – PhD Student

Project Summary: Currently, Colombia is encouraging programs to promote the widespread use of electric vehicles in the country, aiming to consolidate sustainable mobility technologies and improve the quality of life for Colombians. Initiatives like the National Electric Mobility Strategy (ENME) have led to the registration of 4,723 electric vehicles in the National Transit Registry (RUNT) in Colombia, representing a 119% increase compared to vehicles registered in 2018. However, aspects such as vehicle charging infrastructure, user perceptions of electric vehicle technology, and the topographical characteristics of roads in the Colombian context have not been adequately considered. The omission of these variables could lead to the failure of introducing clean technologies to the national territory, as seen in previously implemented pilot plans.

The objective of this project is to formulate criteria that take into account real vehicle operation data to ensure the successful adoption of sustainable mobility technologies. Among the formulated criteria are tools that optimally locate electric vehicle charging infrastructure and calculate the energy cost of traveling a route with a specific vehicle. Having knowledge of this information would help mitigate the negative perceptions users currently have regarding electric vehicle technology, avoid phenomena such as range anxiety, and enable better route planning and vehicle charging coordination.

To achieve this goal, the research team has extensive experience in developing projects related to electric mobility. This experience includes projects involving the construction of electric vehicles and photovoltaic charging stations, monitoring of electric and hybrid vehicles, development of monitoring hardware, and the creation of algorithms for the planning and management of electric vehicle charging.

The project results will allow an assessment of the feasibility and best practices for the use of sustainable mobility technologies. This aligns with the challenges posed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations and adopted by many governments, including Colombia. Among the main SDGs addressed are "Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth..." (prioritized by the University EAFIT in the 2030 itinerary) and "Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable," impacting Target 11.2 "...access to sustainable transport systems for all..." and 11.6 "...reduce the negative per capita environmental impact of cities, paying special attention to air quality...". Sustainable mobility is intrinsic to air quality, a priority issue at the national and regional levels.

Simulation Environment for Electric Vehicle Operation Models.

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Energy Model of Non-Conventional Renewable Energy Sources, including Social Factors, for the Energy Planning of Colombia.

Researcher: Santiago Bernal – PhD Student

Project Summary: The utilization of Non-Conventional Renewable Energy Sources (NCRE) has emerged as a prominent global trend in electricity generation. This is attributed to the rapid decrease in technological costs and increased efficiency in electrical conversion, promoting their mass adoption. In this context, NCRE has evolved to become an integral part of electrical grids, offering substantial economic, social, and environmental benefits.

Colombia, with its tropical geographic location, presents ideal conditions for energy generation through photovoltaic and wind systems. Additionally, the country has abundant water resources for hydroelectric production and a robust agricultural industry allowing for the production of biofuels and other forms of NCRE. However, the adoption of these technologies has been gradual due to the prevalence of hydroelectric generation, which currently covers approximately 70% of the local energy market with highly competitive costs.

Nevertheless, a decrease in the dominance of large hydroelectric facilities is anticipated in the coming years, partly due to the significant initial investment that makes them less viable compared to more economical and flexible generation alternatives. In this context, there is a need to explore sustainable strategies to implement various NCRE in different regions of Colombia. The central objective of this research is to meet energy demand in non-interconnected areas and reduce negative socio-environmental impacts.

This study aims to develop an energy model to maximize electrical generation from NCRE. The model will consider multiple variables, including energy demand, required investment, types of NCRE, energy storage, operational costs, technical and geographical limitations, and the intermittent nature of these sources. Additionally, the importance of incorporating social indicators is emphasized due to a demonstrated global deficiency in planning decision-making that considers community impact.

Explanation of Graphics:​

Graphs 1 to 4 depict two different energy scenarios for Colombia in 2030, considering two extreme situations. Graphs 1 and 3 represent the energy generation behavior assuming the El Niño phenomenon and no future installation of plants by 2030. It shows that the participation of thermal plants is almost 50%, significantly higher than the current situation where it does not reach 25%. It also shows that regions with the highest energy generation continue to be the most developed areas, such as Antioquia and Bogotá (Cundinamarca). In contrast, Graphs 2 and 4 illustrate how it would be if Colombia relied solely on renewables. Although somewhat utopian, an interesting finding is that the model determines there is more potential in wind generation than solar, due to the potential of trade winds north of the country. It also presents a different distribution in the market, with regions like La Guajira (with high poverty rates) and Caldas, Quindío, and Risaralda having a greater share in the energy market, addressing social issues in some regions.

Graphs 5 to 7 show how the characterization of the territory was done to model electrical behavior. All existing generation plants in the territory were determined, and a simplified transmission system was created compared to the existing real one. The behavior of reservoirs over the last 3 years was analyzed to determine which one better represented the "El Niño and La Niña" phenomena. Additionally, the meteorological typical year was calculated for solar and wind resources to simulate conditions in 2030​​​.

Click here to view the graphs.​​​​​


Implementation of the "COLORS, MATERIALS, AND FINISHES" tool as a brand differentiation strategy in DÍPTICO STUDIO.

Maria Isabel Orozco Bedoya – MSc Student

DÍPTICO® is a design studio created in 2022 that crafts furniture pieces and interior design projects for both institutional and residential purposes – The fundamental pillars of the studio are design and product quality to compete in the market, with a strong emphasis on materials and manufacturing processes. To this end, the studio has had a wood workshop for the past 6 months, primarily processing this material. Additionally, other materials such as metal, ceramics, Corian®, and various processes like turning, welding, thermoforming, and finishes are employed to materialize designs and projects.

The brand is divided into two business fronts: DÍPTICO® Studio, responsible for the conceptualization processes in furniture and space design, and DÍPTICO® Workshop, a possibility open to any brand or individual to materialize their projects. The added value in the latter lies in imprinting the technical and aesthetic knowledge of the team into the workshop processes. The goal is to offer clients the opportunity to execute projects with a higher level of professionalism, covering several strategies: careful material usage planning and cutting from the design stage to minimize waste, utilizing this waste to create decorative products, and optimizing processes through planning and creating production schedules for each project, tailored to the client's requirements.

The aim is also to create a space where employees, suppliers, and clients can bring projects to life, emphasizing optimizing function, finishes, and assemblies for a continuous improvement of the delivered products and the minimum quality that clients expect.

After analyzing these concepts, DÍPTICO® aspires to be a reference in terms of local design reach, the aesthetics of its products, and their functionality. To achieve this objective, the studio will use a tool known globally as CMF – Color, Material, Finish. CMF focuses on specifying colors, materials, and finishes to achieve a balance between the physical and functional attributes of products (Becerra, 2016) that goes beyond the technical to the emotional (Martínez, 2020).

This work will be one of the first CMF studies conducted in the postgraduate programs at the Universidad EAFIT and will serve as a case study for one of the new subjects currently being developed for the undergraduate Product Design Engineering program.

Research Question: How can the incorporation of a CMF strategy contribute to the brand positioning of DÍPTICO Studio?​


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