International Humanitarian Projects

 

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Improvement of Human Life

 

 



Fifth Undergraduate Symposium
on
International Humanitarian Engineering

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University

The following presentations were given on December 2, 4, and 9, 2015:

KENYA: Greywater Filtration Device for Irrigation
GUATEMALA: Thresher for Harvesting Green Pigeonpea

KENYA: Transforming Cassava Roots into Flour
GUATEMALA: Machine for Husking Macadamia-Nuts

GUATEMALA: Solar-Powered Food Dehydrator
INDIA: Human-Powered Street-Trash Collector

See the attached PDF for a detailed description of the ME491 course and each of the semester projects listed above.

W. H. Welch, MD (1850–1934) founder of the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, wrote,‘It is a well-known fact that there are no social, no industrial, no economic problems which are not related to health.’

Doctor Welch’s insightful remark buttresses and sustains the vision of an international educational initiative launched over a decade ago when box ovens, heated by solar thermal energy, were developed for Tanzanian families. The subsequent International Humanitarian Engineering Program, which has featured projects in Guatemala, Honduras, India, Kenya and Peru, was born of hope and ignorance, sustained by good fortune and steadfast determination, and consummated by accomplishments that were unimaginable at the genesis.

However upon reflection and further cogitation, the rapid growth of this program appears to be almost inevitable because authentic messy inter-disciplinary semester-long humanitarian projects motivate and accelerate undergraduate learning much more poignantly than traditional hypothetical academic classroom exercises. This profound learning is manifested by the creation of ergonomically refined pedal-pumps for irrigation; human-powered farm implements that improve harvest-yields; domestic water-purification devices; and solar-dehydration structures that reduce post-harvest losses.

The fabric of this design-intensive inter-disciplinary ME491 course is woven from a thread of ideas on humanitarian societal development that addresses the pressing needs of the 80 percent of the world’s population living on less than US $2.00 each day, intertwined with a second orthogonal thread comprising a triumvirate of fundamental ideas on inter-disciplinary problem-solving processes, entrepreneurship, and the diffusion of innovations that’s relevant to every single nation sharing our small planet.  This warp and weft of interlaced fibers constitute the tapestry describing the solution strategy for solving the biggest challenge confronting humanity today: the very survival of the species.  

Students enrolled in this enthralling ME491 course are the visionaries and the bold ones. The dreamers and the doers. The explorers and the discoverers. The achievers and the magicians.  

But these risk-takers must maintain paradoxical balances.  They are committed to the traditional engineering practice of creating revolutionary new products that enhance the lives of the poor, yet they display personal panache; they are prepared to stand steadfastly alone, clinging tenaciously to their own personal convictions, yet they are willing to unite philosophically because of their commitment to teamwork; and they are relentlessly driven to create waves of positive change in international marketplaces, yet they are also cognizant of social, cultural and ethical responsibilities. Yes, this is indeed a complicated convoluted conundrum!



Bean Seed Dryer

Photo of a Bean Seed Dryer

 

Class: ME 481

Team:
Ben Ambrose
Dan Dreliozis
David Gaunt
Chenai Mushiri
Tim Polom

Advisors:
Dr. Giles Brereton
Dr. Luis Flores
Dr. B.S. Thompson

The Bean Seed dryer utilizes sunlight to heat air trapped in the ductwork which is then forced into the drying hut by a large fan.

Bean Seed Thresher

Photo of the Central American Bean Thresher and project poster

 

Class: ME 491

Team:
Zach Albright
Ben Ambrose
Erika Crosby
Khoa Nguyen

Advisors:
Dr. Luis Flores
Dr. B.S. Thompson
Dr. Fernando Aldana
Julio Cesar

The Bean Thresher is a device used to remove the beans from their hull after harvest.

Cassava Flour Production
Photo of the equipment developed for the Cassava Flour Production project

Class: ME 491 

Team:
Max Bennett
Zack Hickman
William Kang
Alex Taylor

 

Advisors:

Dr. B.S. Thompson
Mr. Simon Wachieni

a process and device that will allow the cassava root to be easily and quickly converted into a safe, more stable form. The goal is to lengthen the shelf life of the cassava root from 72 hours to one year by processing the root into flour. - See more at: https://www.egr.msu.edu/global/international-humanitarian-projects/proje...

A process and device that will allow the cassava root to be easily and quickly converted into a safe, more stable form. The goal is to lengthen the shelf life of the cassava root from 72 hours to one year by processing the root into flour.

Cassava GrinderPhoto of the Cassava Grinder  

Class: ME 491 

Team:
Jared Dorvinen
Adi Kosgi
Kyle Schubel
Brian White

 

Advisors:

Dr. B.S. Thompson
Mr. Simon Wachieni

The Cassava Grinder uses an air drying bin to store and dry the cassava which can then be ground up by rotating the perforated barrel. The ground cassava can then be used as flour.

Clean StovePhoto of the Clean Stove proto 1.0  

Class: ME 478

Team:
Robert Boomer
Dan Howarth
Carly Patterson
Andrew Putz

Advisors:

Dr. John Barrie
Dr. Brian S. Thompson

 A clean stove is exactly as it sounds, a device that burns fuel so efficiently that emmissions and smoke are minimized. This is achieved by gassification of the fuel which it is this gas that is burned instead of the fuel itself.

Green Pigeonpea Thresher

Photo of the Green Pigeonpea thresher

Class: ME 491

Team:
Jonathan Bianchi
Alexandria Allman
Robert Cenowa
Sarah Parsons

Advisors:
Curt Bowen
Dr. B.S. Thompson

Our teams goal for this project was to create a pigeonpea thresher to help Guatemalan farmers. A pigeonpea thresher is a device that is used to remove pigeonpea from its pod. Currently, Guatemalan farmers do this difficult task by hand. By creating a thresher, pigeonpea yield will increase significantly. With this device, farmers can increase their income and fight malnutrition.

Greywater Filtration Device for Irrigation

Photo of Greywater Filtration Device project team, Zachary Abbott, Quint Darrow, Quinn Putt, Robert Warfield

 

Class: ME 491

Team:
Zachary Abbott
Quint Darrow
Quinn Putt
Robert Warfield

Advisors:
Simon Wachieni
Dr. B.S. Thompson

Designing a greywater filtration device for rural Kenyan farms was our main objective for these past 15 weeks, where the team built and tested two separate filtration prototypes.

 

Guatemala Solar Dehydrator

Photo of the Guatemala Solar Dehydrator

Class: ME 491

Team:
Bingchen Chi
Joshua Cresswell
Dylan Etheridge
Reace Head

Advisors:
John Barrie
Lori Hart
Monika Goforth
Dr. B.S. Thompson

The citizens of Panyebar, Guatemala need a food dehydrator to preserve the micronutrients needed to feed themselves and their children. A decision matrix with the governing parameters of product cost, function, safety, reliability, quality, and operating instructions was created to determine which type of solar dehydrator design best met the customers design parameters.

Macadamia Nut Husker for Guatemala

Photo of a Macademia Nut Husker

Class: ME 491

Team:
Chris Slamp
Travis Schafer
Julia Briggs
Michael Wicker

Chris Slamp, Travis Schafer, Julia Briggs, and Michael Wicker - See more at: https://www.egr.msu.edu/global/international-humanitarian-projects/proje...

Advisors:
Dr. Luis Flores
John Barrie
Lori Hart
Monika Goforth
Dr. B.S. Thompson

Our team’s goal for this project was to create a device that can quickly remove the husks of the macadamias without breaking the nut inside, which will ensure that Guatemalan farmers will not lose any of their harvest. By improving the efficiency of this process, the farmers can maximize their profit, which will help to improve their quality of life.

Maize Flour ProcessingMaize Grinder  

Class: ME 491


Team:
Jared St. Aubin
Karsten Harns
Andrew Nuttall
Scott Shaw

Advisors:
Simon Wachieni
Dr. B.S. Thompson

The Maize Flour Grinder can process maize into a usable flour consistency for cooking.

Mango DryerPhoto of the Mango Dryer  

Class: ME 491

Team:
Marcus Cannon
Haley Orr
Nick Schooley
Michael Trotter

Advisors:
Simon Wachieni
Dr. B.S. Thompson

The mango dryer utilizes the natural energy of the sunlight in tropical climates to dry mangos and other fruit so that it may be stored for extended periods of time.

Pigeon Pea Thresher

Photo of the Pigeon Pea Thresher - International Humanitarian Project

Class: ME 491

Team:
Adam Lyman
Adam Kluz
Joe Aljajawi
Alex Morita

Advisors:
Dr. B.S. Thompson
Dr. Luis Flores
Dr. Cynthia Donovan


Using pedal power, crops such as pigeon pea, soybean, and peanuts can be threshed and cleaned by air.  This drastically reduces production costs associated with labor, making such crops a viable option for smallholding farmers.

Plastics Recycling

Photo of the International Humanitarian Team Plastics Recycling bicycle

Class: ME 491

Team:
Micah Appel
Leo McLaughlin
Arthur Paquier
Mark Taylor


Advisors:
John Barrie
Lori Hart
Monika Goforth
Dr. B.S. Thompson

 

This bike machine was designed to shear PET plastic into ½” by ½” pieces. It is capable of shredding 100 lbs per day. - See more at: https://www.egr.msu.edu/global/international-humanitarian-projects/proje...

This bike machine was designed to shear PET plastic into ½" by ½" pieces and is capable of shredding 100 lbs per day.

Portable Water PumpPhoto of a Portable Hand Pump  

Class: ME 491

Team:
Matthew Malek
Michael Mehall
Andrew Mozer
Daniel Pylar

Advisors:
Simon Wachieni
Dr. B.S. Thompson

The portable pump was designed as an efficient way of moving water in any area needed.

Pressure Cooker PotsPhotos of pressure cookers for Africa  

Class: ME 478

Team:
Scott Hall

Kyle Justus
Kameron O'Kline
Michael O'Brien

Advisors:

Dr. Brian S. Thompson

The design of a pressure cooker is utilized to adapt any pot or pan into an efficient method of cooking, particularily appealing to beans which take an extrememly long time to cook with conventional methods and can be toxic if undercooked.

Rope PumpPhoto of the Rope Pump project  

Class: ME 478

Team:
Daniel Kenny
Tyler Rumler
Jonathan Shapiro
Austin Tokarski

Advisors:
Dr. Luis Flores
Dr. B.S. Thompson

The Rope Pump is a device made of scavenged materials to pump water from some distance, usually from a hand dug well.

Solar Dehydrator

Photo of a Solar Dehydrator

Class: ME 491


Team:
Seth Rohr
Lisa Vogel
Nick Youngerman

Advisors:
John Barrie
Monika Goforth
Lori Hart

Dr. B.S. Thompson

A solar dehydrator for fruits and vegetables that is low cost, low maintenance, and easy to manufacture and operate.

a solar dehydrator for fruits and vegetables that is low cost, low maintenance, and easy to manufacture and operate - See more at: https://www.egr.msu.edu/global/international-humanitarian-projects/proje...
a solar dehydrator for fruits and vegetables that is low cost, low maintenance, and easy to manufacture and operate - See more at: https://www.egr.msu.edu/global/international-humanitarian-projects/proje...


Street Trash Collector

Photo of Trash collector prototype

 

Class: ME 491

Team:
Omar Elsherif
Taylor Forbush
Collin Hartman
Yash Kankaria

Advisors:
Mr. Umakanth G
Dr. B.S. Thompson

Tasked with creating a trash cleaning machine, the team began by assessing the problem in the streets of India. The team came to a finalized design of a pedal powered brush mechanism that collected trash into a detachable cart.

 

Treadle PumpPhoto of a Treadle Pump  

Class: ME 478

Team:
Ann Barrett
John
Peter Engstrom
Filipe

Advisors:
Dr. John Barrie
Dr. B.S. Thompson

The Treadle Pump is primarily used to irrigate fields and move water horizontally via a treadle (oscillation movement) and two piston cylinders with rubber seals.

Other ProjectsA photo of a group of people discussing a construction project This section of other projects contains some projects and field work that has already been completed and implemented around the globe. These are MSU engineering ideas from ME 490 and ME 491 that are actively serving communities and helping people around the world.


Engineering Undergraduate Grant for Dire Needs Overseas

Four senior-level Mechanical Engineering students, Joe Aljajawi, Adam Kluz, Adam Lyman, and Alex Morita, are the inaugural winners of the "Engineering Undergraduate Grant for Dire Needs Overseas". This competitive grant has been established by an anonymous group of donors, and the winning team will diffuse their human - powered pigeonpea thresher in the small-holder farming communities of Guatemala. Learn more about the grant.