Research Foundation News

August 22, 2017

Purdue doctoral student develops engineering tools, devices to provide a more active learning environment to students

Hoilett badge Orlando Hoilett, founder of Calvary Engineering LLC, shows his design for Mood Badge, a device that displays emoji-like faces and can teach students in a long-term hospital stay concepts of engineering. Hoilett founded the company to provide educational tools and devices to students and hobbyists to encourage more hands-on learning. (Purdue Research Foundation image) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue doctoral student has founded a company to provide engineering education tools and novel devices to students and hobbyists to encourage a more hands-on learning experience.

Orlando Hoilett, a doctoral student and teaching assistant in Purdue’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, founded Calvary Engineering LLC to offer biomedical engineering students devices, designs and tutorials that can enhance their learning experience.

“The company is all about active learning so we provide a way for students to see how something is built with schematics and diagrams, so they can really understand from an engineering standpoint what goes into each specific build. Everything we provide is all open source so students have the ability to remix and share their own inventions,” Hoilett said. “Personally, I learned a lot of engineering concepts by building something then learning the different theories behind it. As a teaching assistant, I want to give the same opportunity to students to help them learn better and succeed during their time at Purdue and in the real world.”

Hoilett said there is a gap between the fields of engineering and the learning resources available.  

“I have seen other companies create learning technologies and teaching equipment geared toward electrical engineering and computer engineering students,” he said. “My goal is to provide the same opportunities to biomedical engineering students to fill this gap.”

Calvary Engineering has developed a device called the LiPo Battery Breadboard Power Supply.

“It is a simple LiPo battery breakout that fits snugly on a standard-size breadboard, providing power to rails on both sides of the board, which is currently being marketed,” Hoilett said. “This lithium polymer battery breadboard easily powers breadboard projects without the need to use a bulky desktop power supply. This product would be very beneficial to students and hobbyists.”

Another project Calvary Engineering is developing is a Mood Badge, specifically for students who are current patients in extended hospital stays. The badge works by having emoji-like faces programed into the wearable device to display how they are feeling at any given point during the day. It helps those who interact with these patients understand how they are feeling based on the face on the badge.

“We teach students or patients how to build the Mood Badge, what hardware components go into it, what software components go into it and how to configure games that are also enabled in the device,” Hoilett said. “We’re hoping in the future the Mood Badge will allow patients to input their own faces and games, which will personalize them. This type of thing is similar to Maker Therapy, the initiative that brings maker materials to children’s hospitals.”

Hoilett further expands his encouragement of active learning by hiring interns to work at Calvary Engineering.

Trevor Meyer, a junior in biomedical engineering and Calvary Engineering intern, said, “I joined Calvary Engineering with the intention of learning more about hardware systems. As I worked with Orlando, I not only gained the knowledge of hardware systems but expanded my abilities as an engineer in research and development.”

Calvary Engineering has received assistance from the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator in Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. The company is seeking funding and additional interns to reach its next goals.

About Purdue Foundry

The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. Managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, the Purdue Foundry was named a top recipient at the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Designation and Awards Program by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org.  

Writer: Abigail Stanfield, arstanfield@prf.org

Purdue Research Foundation Contact: Hillary Henry, 765-588-3586, hkhenry@prf.org

Sources: Orlando Hoilett, ohoilett@purdue.edu

Trevor D. Meyer, meyer221@purdue.edu


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