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Russ College mechanical engineering seniors demonstrate capstone projects that create for good

Elisabeth Weems | Apr 23, 2018
ME Demo Day

Russ College mechanical engineering seniors demonstrate capstone projects that create for good

Elisabeth Weems | Apr 23, 2018

Ohio University’s mechanical engineering seniors showcased their year of creativity, innovation and community service at the 18th annual Mechanical Engineering Demo Day this weekend in Stocker Center and the Academic & Research Center.

The year-long, senior design capstone “Designing to Make a Difference” course pairs student teams with a real-world client at the start of each fall semester, tasking the teams with designing a solution to a pressing need. This year’s 16 projects included a portable music therapy cart for patients at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, a prototypical device for treating cervical cancer, and a motorized system to open garage doors.

Greg Kremer, Robe Professor and mechanical engineering department chair, who created the course, said it asks them to dig deep and stay the course, and ultimately experience the effect of that perseverance.

“The wonderful thing is that the students work so hard during the year, and it’s designed to be a process so they’re working through a lot of struggles – but that’s how they learn to be an engineer – by encountering roadblocks and figuring out a way forward,” Kremer said. “I think we need to celebrate when engineers do something great, and the impact of what these students are doing is long-lasting. These students didn’t just complete a course project; they changed a life.”

Senior mechanical engineering student Brian Jones, whose team worked with the Algae Pelletizer Group, helped create a dispensing mechanism to repurpose waste algae – which can contain harmful contaminants – into fish food pellets.

“This product can help a lot with cleaning up ponds especially because algae can be a huge environmental issue,” Jones said

Tyann Carter, a senior mechanical engineering student, contributed her skills to the Rug Jig team, which designed a weaving jig for disabled employees at SW Resources in Parkersburg, West Virginia, to use when recycling old t-shirts into rugs and dog toys. The team’s solution increased safety and cut production time.

“I really loved this project,” Carter said. “It’s nice to allow people to do things everyone else can do – everyone is equal, and we wanted to make it easier for people.”

Other projects included:

  • Accessible Oven Rack Team: Using linear motion to raise and lower oven racks for people with disabilities working in commercial kitchens
  • Bottles to Boardwalk: Using plastic waste to build boardwalks for parks in Africa
  • Device for Dysplasia: Prototypical device for treating cervical cancer with a plasma
  • Free Piston Linear Generator: Internal combustion generator that converts linear motion into electricity
  • It’s Poppin’: Redesign of machine to pop amaranth, pseudocereal, for sale
  • Jar Fillers: Food safe jarring station for Simple Cultures, startup fermented vegetable company
  • The MTC 1000: First-generation, lightweight and adaptable music therapy cart for patients of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
  • Ohio University Golf and Tennis Center Garage Doors: Motorized system to open doors for ventilation
  • Shagbark: Automated PID-controlled system to increase efficiency and production for Shagbark Seed & Mill
  • Team 3.3: Low-cost and portable tensile tester to measure force and displacement of various wire materials
  • Team Litter Glitter: Redesign and repurposing of leaf sweeper for Rural Action Zero Waste Initiative
  • Team Wall Lift: Safety system to reduce potential failures of already installed wall lift system for the Southeast History Center
  • Violin-Ablers: 3-D printed prosthetic that enabled disabled violinist to play violin by
  • Wheelchair Golf Team: Portable golf training device for users age 6 to 18

Teams, which often enter their projects into national competitions, having won almost $150,000 in recent years, including Source America’s first place championship in 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2014; second place in 2015 and 2017; and third place in 2012. Team winnings are applied to future capstone projects.