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April 28, 2014

Purdue students to demonstrate senior-design innovations

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University students completing a mechanical engineering senior design course will demonstrate 53 inventions, from a pedal-powered battery charger for people in developing countries, to an imaging system for turbine-engine testing and a "bleacher sweeper" to clean stadium seating.

The students will display their works during the School of Mechanical Engineering's Thomas J. & Sandra H. Malott Innovation Awards competition on Friday (May 2). The projects will be on display from 1-3 p.m. in the Hill Student Commons and Railside Station of the ME Gatewood Wing. An awards ceremony will be in the same location at 3:30 p.m.

The senior design teams were advised by mechanical engineering professor John Starkey, instructor John Nolfi and other faculty members in the School of Mechanical Engineering.

Creations include:

* A pedal-powered battery charger that could be attached to a bicycle for people in developing countries with limited access to electricity.

* A human-powered water-pumping and filtration system for developing countries.

* A remote-controlled lawn mower.

* A 3-D imaging system for turbine-engine testing.

* A sun-tracking device and energy storage system to maximize solar energy generation and storage.

* An automated sensor-based robot for floor-wall-ceiling painting.

* A television-turning system for flat-screen TVs.

* A neck brace for a woman suffering from a condition called neck extensor myopathy.

* A robotic bleacher sweeper system to automatically clean waste from bleacher seating in stadiums and arenas.

* An automated gift-wrapping machine for home or retail use.

* A tilt-rotor drone.

* A solar-panel snow-removal system to minimize energy loss due to snow accumulation on roof panels.

* An assistive-walking device for visually impaired people.

Thomas J. Malott retired as president, CEO and director of Siemens Energy and Automation in 2000. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1962 and an honorary doctorate in 2002. He also holds a master's in business administration from Western Michigan University. His career included executive positions with Parker-Hannifin and the Ransburg Corp. Malott served on the board of directors for Siemens Energy and Automation, Siemens Mexico, Siemens Canada, Siemens Power Transmission & Distribution, Siemens Foundation, and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. He also served on the advisory board of Lutron Electronics. He was an inaugural member of the Purdue Foundation Development Council and was awarded the Outstanding Mechanical Engineer and Distinguished Engineering Alumnus awards in 1991 from the university. 

Writer: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu 

Source: John Starkey, 765-494-8607, starkey@purdue.edu 

Note to Journalists: Broadcast quality B-roll and sound bites are available upon request. For more information, contact Jim Schenke, Purdue News Service, at 765-237-7296, jschenke@purdue.edu