Design Day Showcases Special Bicycle and Other Innovations by Spartan Engineers

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December 7, 2011

A single mom--along with her two special-needs boys--will sure look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for . . . three? Thanks to a team of Michigan State University engineering students, Gina Ried and her two sons, Nathan and Dakota, will soon be pedaling around Lansing on their new, three-seated bicycle.

This project, along with several others, will be on display during MSU's College of Engineering Design Day on Friday, Dec. 9, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the MSU Union.

MSU students from throughout the college will be presenting design projects from a variety of courses including civil engineering, computer science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering. Student teams are involved with projects that demand the integration of engineering theory and practice.

The senior capstone teams design and build projects for corporate sponsors and others. This semester's projects include a roadside assistance mobile app; preliminary design elements for MSU's Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB); an indoor navigational smartphone application to guide emergency personnel, visitors and the visually impaired inside campus buildings; and the special bicycle built for three. Corporate sponsors of the capstone projects include Auto-Owners Insurance, Boeing, Chrysler, GE Aviation, Marathon Oil Corp., Meijer, Motorola Mobility, Shell Oil Co., Sparrow Health System, Texas Instruments and the Whirlpool Corp.

Also on exhibit will be projects developed in a freshman engineering course, including working prototypes designed to assist clients through the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD). Eighty students have teamed up to work on RCPD projects this semester.

"Our first-year students have had a great opportunity to impact the daily lives of people not only in the local community, but also around the world," said Timothy Hinds, instructor for EGR 100--Introduction to Engineering Design. "Their design experiences have been unique; they have worked with clients on real engineering problems."

Twenty student teams are developing: anatomy teaching models for blind grade-school students in India; iPod Shuffle devices for a blind four-year-old who also has cerebral palsy; and an award ribbon cutting machine for an impaired adult working at a local workshop facility.

Also at Design Day, approximately 200 Michigan high school students will visit campus, enabling interaction with MSU College of Engineering students and participation in hands-on robotic and structural support system activities that explore design principles requiring the application of creativity and ingenuity.

"Design Day is an exhilarating event that celebrates our seniors' successes and the achievements of our underclassmen, and inspires our future college students to pursue their interests 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," said Blazer-Adams.

For the fifth consecutive semester, Auto-Owners Insurance Company of Lansing is the Executive Partner sponsor of Design Day. As a Lansing-based Fortune 500 company, Auto-Owners Insurance has a rich history of engagement with Michigan State University and the College of Engineering. Supporting partners include Dow Chemical Corp., GE and Norfolk Southern.

Design Day is held at the end of each fall and spring semester.

More information about Design Day

View the fall 2011 Design Day program booklet