Student inventions range from robots to racecars

April 27, 2015  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University students completing their capstone mechanical engineering senior design course will demonstrate more than 50 inventions, from drones and robots to energy-efficient systems for homes, a braille reader for mathematics, mini-racecars and a motorcycle cellphone charger.

The students will display their works during the School of Mechanical Engineering's Thomas J. & Sandra H. Malott Innovation Awards competition on Friday (May 1). The projects will be on display from 1 to 3 p.m. on the second floor of the Gatewood Wing of the Mechanical Engineering Building. Winners will be announced in the same location at 2:15 p.m.

The senior design teams were advised by10 mechanical engineering professors and instructors.

"This semester our students came up with a diverse range of projects," said John Starkey, the lead professor for the senior design course.

The projects include:

* Systems designed to recover waste heat from refrigerators and residential air conditioners to heat water for showers, dishwashers and other appliances.

* A "Ferris wheel" rotating cabinet mechanism that makes it easier to reach higher shelves.

* A motorcycle helmet equipped with turn-signal and brake-light indicators.

* An automotive cabin heater to quickly heat a car's interior in winter.

* A motorcycle cellphone charger powered by waste heat from the exhaust.

* A device to measure a swimmer's performance and provide resistance training.

* A "basketball shooting form analyzer" to help improve free-throw shooting.

* A fixed-wing drone that flies like an airplane but lands and takes off vertically.

* A robotic system to assist people loading cargo into the trunk of an SUV.

* A mechanical tennis-ball retriever and a ping-pong ball server.

* A method to improve the manufacture of braille e-readers.

* A refreshable braille system for mathematical equations and plots.

* A robot capable of retrieving various items and storing them.

* A system that automatically removes snow from the roof of a semi-trailer.

* A "soft robot" for planetary exploration.

* And three types of racecars: mini Baja, formula and electric vehicles.

Thomas J. Malott retired as president, CEO and director of Siemens Energy and Automation in 2000. He earned a bachelor's 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 

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

© 2014-17 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Integrity Statement | Copyright Complaints | Brand Toolkit | Maintained by Marketing and Media

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact us at online@purdue.edu so we can help.