Senior Starts Company to Sponsor His Own Capstone Project

Feb. 17, 2020


Students sit around table smiling
The Façade Technologies team: Ramos Jiuru Chen, Sam Badger, Sean Farris, Andrew Kirima, Nikhith Vankireddy. Philippe Cutillas not pictured.

Project Title: Custom Python API Generator for Controlling Existing User Interfaces

Team 19033 Members:
Sam Badger, electrical and computer engineering
Ramos Jiuru Chen: electrical and computer engineering
Philippe Cutillas: electrical and computer engineering and mathematics
Sean Farris: electrical and computer engineering and computer science
Andrew Kirima: systems engineering
Nikhith Vankireddy: engineering management

Sponsor:Façade Technologies

Making Software Automation Simple

Electrical and computer engineering student Sam Badger always liked the idea of starting his own business.

While interning at Mahr Inc. in spring 2019, he developed a library to automate a piece of software. After he moved on to a summer internship at Raytheon, he started thinking about ways to build on that previous work.

With the arrival of his senior year, Badger realized he had the opportunity to shape his capstone experience if he started a company to sponsor his own project, so he did.

He’s now the CEO of the software startup Façade Technologies. For his capstone project, he and his teammates are developing software called Facile, which creates application programming interfaces, or APIs, for other software. APIs act as intermediaries between two applications. But the APIs he and his team are creating are designed to interact with graphical user interfaces, and they have a variety of purposes.

For example, they could allow people with little programming experience to add an extra feature to existing software or make the user interface easier to operate. The company name comes from the idea that, though another application may be running in the background, a user will only be able to see a simple mask, or “facade.”

“Facile produces APIs that automate the role of the user,” Badger said. “Maybe you have a lot of software that you want to be more connected. Say, you want to extract data from an inventory program, insert some of it into a tax program and post some of it to your website. Multiple Facile APIs could work together to achieve this.”

Software and Soft Skills

The project has been a learning experience in more ways than one. Badger had to build on both his software development chops and his leadership skills on the project, which is part of a pilot effort in the capstone program to teach students Agile process. The team members are also expanding their coding abilities to tackle programming challenges.

“I walked into this project without any knowledge on how to code in Python,” said Philippe Cutillas, who is studying electrical and computer engineering and math. “Since then, Python has quickly become one of my favorite programming languages. This project has given me a glimpse of what it would be like working professionally as a software developer, and I proudly list it on my resume.”

After graduation, Badger hopes to license usage of Facile.

“What’s keeping me going is knowing that we have a product here that could be competitive with other, similar products,” Badger said. “We have a lot of ideas for how to improve on this project after senior design is over, so we’ll continue developing for a while.”

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