Design Day showcases innovation

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Dec. 2, 2014

Insulin pump for the blind among the innovative projects at Design Day

A grocery cart that could streamline shopping and a new kind of insulin pump for the blind were among the projects displayed at Design Day in the MSU College of Engineering on Friday, Dec. 5.One of the 100+ Design Day projects is a "point of sale" grocery cart that would allow shoppers to scan a product on a smartphone before placing it into the cart -- helping the shopper avoid long lines to check out.

Participants and guests roamed the busy halls of the Engineering Building to see demonstrations, competitions and posters. Around 470 students participated in the December 2014 Design Day.

More than 100 teams displayed projects that were a culmination of educational experiences for students.

One team from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) developed a “point-of-sale” grocery cart that will make the shopping experience easier for consumers and less expensive for stores. This new system allows the buyer to scan a product on his or her smartphone before placing it into the cart. When the shopping is completed, the consumer can then use a smartphone to pay, thus avoiding the sometimes-long lines at a grocery store.The system is equipped with a feature that confirms that the product scanned is the one placed in the cart. There also is an alarm system to alert the store if a buyer is leaving with an unscanned item.

A team from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) created a navigation assistant and accident history app, giving customers tools to help them practice safer driving habits. To do this, the mobile app keeps track of a user's frequently visited locations via GPS. Once the app learns a user's frequent locations, the app analyzes the routes between them. After the safest option is found, the user is sent a notification before departing to their next location. This notice provides the user with new directions to their destination. The information helps buiild a profile that includeStudents in Computer Science and Engineering designed a mobile app to improve safety and convenience for frequently visited locations.s information on driving habits. Other CSE projects include a fast app launcher that helps employees quickly find and launch the computer applications that are the most important to their work.

Teams from the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) worked on a variety of projects. One team designed and manufactured a low-cost dynamometer for small DC motor testing. Its goal is to measure both the torque and efficiency of each motor to find a method of testing that is faster and less expensive than its current one. Another ME team worked to create customized floor mats and liners for vehicles that are more durable than currently available and manufactured on demand.

Students from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering reported on their preliminary designs for a 29-acre site in Meridian Township, near Lansing, that will be used for both resident and commercial land uses. Major goals include maximizing green space, creating a recreational space for walking and bicycle access while protecting as many mature trees on site as possible, along with identifying and protecting any federally classified wetlands.

“Design Day is an important day in the academic life of the College of Engineering,” said Dean Leo Kempel of the College of Engineering. “It’s thrilling to see how our students apply the four years of their MSU Engineering degree to design and build innovative solutions to real-world problems.”

Design Day Executive Director and Professor Wayne Dyksen noted, “Our capstone course projects give our students a unique non-traditional academic experience and they demonstrate MSU’s commitment to the State of Michigan - 73 percent of our projects are with Michigan-based companies and organizations.”

Another ECE team presented a Blind User Accessible Insulin Pump that communicates data for those who can’t readily read a screen. The project is designed to help the nearly 40 percent of diagnosed diabetics dealing with retinopathy, which can lead to decreased vision or blindness. ECE students worked with a blind user on an accessible insulin pump that communicates data for those who can't readily read a screen.

Students designed a case that will surround the Snap brand insulin pump. Using a text-to-speech integrated circuit, the case will allow users to plug in their headphones and listen to their insulin pump.

December 2014 Design Day By The Numbers -- Friday, Dec. 5, 2014
• 21st Year for Design Day (began in 1994) 
• 101 teams
• 470 students

Capstone projects represent:
• 38 teams
• 196 students
• 22 project sponsors

Outreach programming includes:
• 6 schools
• 12 teachers
• 150 students from 9-12 grades

Design Day Awards:

• 14 awards conferred to top Design Day teams
• Judges include faculty and corporate representatives

• 21st year for Design Day
• 5 undergraduate degree programs represented in December Design Day
• Twice yearly event on last day of each semester (before finals week)
• Initiated in 1994 by the Department of Mechanical Engineering

More on Design Day:

Design Day sponsors were Bosch, Whirlpool, ArcelorMittal, Auto Owners Insurance, Chrysler, General Motors, the MSU Alumni Association, the MSU Federal Credit Union, Norfolk Southern and TechSmith.

Also on exhibit were projects developed in the first-year Cornerstone Introduction to Engineering Design (EGR 100) course, which is required of all incoming first-year engineering students and is an integral part of the Cornerstone and Residential (CoRe) Experience. Students are introduced to the engineering profession and design process through team-based assignments.

Approximately 150 students attended activities at the Dart Innovative and Creativity Design Day for students and teachers in grades 9-12. The event enabled interaction in hands-on robotic and structural support system activities while serving as judges for the “People’s Choice” awards.

Questions on Design Day? Contact Jill Bielawski, director of Design Day, at

Design Day is free and open to the public.