Design Day Features Freshman Engineering and Senior Capstone Projects

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May 26, 2011

Sparty will be cooler, MSU’s FRIB will be one step closer to becoming a reality, and life should become a little easier for some persons with disabilities, thanks to the innovations of several teams of engineering students.

Spartan engineers presented their projects—through exhibits, posters, and presentations—at the Michigan State University College of Engineering Design Day on Friday, April 29, at the MSU Union Building.

MSU students from throughout the college presented design projects from a variety of courses including applied engineering sciences, biosystems engineering, chemical and materials science engineering, civil engineering, computer science and engineering, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. Student teams were involved with projects that demanded the integration of engineering theory and practice.

Each fall and spring semester, the senior capstone teams design and build projects for corporate sponsors and others. This semester’s projects included an incident reporting system for a health care provider, preliminary design elements for MSU’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), a wall-mounted kitchen robotic arm with a wireless control module that can provide independence for quadriplegics, and an apparatus to keep Sparty cool. Corporate sponsors included Boeing, Chrysler, Dow Chemical, GE Aviation, Kellogg’s, Medtronic, Meijer, Motorola Mobility, MSU Center for Orthopedic Research, Pepsi Beverages Co., Sparrow Health System, Texas Instruments, and the U.S. Air Force.

Also on exhibit this semester were projects developed in a freshman engineering course for clients through MSU’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities. Projects included a wheelchair charging jack, a portable unit that enables one to control various household devices from a wheelchair, and a kitchen utensil holder that will be attached to a robotic arm being developed by a team of senior engineering students as their capstone project.

“The students involved with these projects have had a tremendous opportunity to make daily tasks a little easier for some folks in the local community,” said Tim Hinds, lead instructor for EGR 100–Introduction to Engineering. “It is not often that first-year engineering students get to work on real-world problems.”

Also at Design Day, more than 175 Michigan middle school students came to campus to learn about careers in engineering, taking part in hands-on robotic and structural support system activities that explore design principles requiring the application of creativity and ingenuity.

“The excitement at Design Day is contagious, inspiring pre-collegiate students to pursue their interest in science and engineering,” said Maureen Blazer-Adams, Design Day coordinator. “As you visit our various exhibits throughout the MSU Union, you will see that MSU engineers are ready to lead, create, and innovate,” Blazer-Adams told visitors.

Auto-Owners Insurance Company of Lansing was the executive partner sponsor of the spring 2011 Design Day. As a Lansing-based Fortune 500 company, Auto-Owners Insurance has a rich history of engagement with Michigan State University. GE, known internationally for their work in aviation, healthcare, transportation, and appliance and lighting, joined Design Day this semester as the directing partner sponsor. GE provides continued support for MSU’s engineering program.

For more details, and to view the program booklet