Purdue students to demonstrate senior-design innovations

December 2, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University students completing a mechanical engineering senior design course will demonstrate 17 inventions, from a robotic fish to a water-cooled workout vest, a new type of Braille printer to a surfboard that performs with less drag than conventional boards.

The students will display their works during the School of Mechanical Engineering Thomas J. & Sandra H. Malott Innovation Awards competition on Thursday (Dec. 5) and Friday (Dec. 6). The projects will be on display from noon to 3 p.m. on Friday in the second-floor atrium of the Mechanical Engineering Building's Gatewood Wing.

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

The creations include:

* An autonomous air vehicle that can track and follow a target at a given distance and position while providing a live video feed to the user.

* A new way to create Braille dots to make a cost-effective full-page refreshable Braille display.

* A system to help patients rehabilitating from hip fractures.

* A waste-heat recovery system for a home's heat pump water heater. The waste heat will be recovered from household appliances' gray water drainage systems by using heat exchangers and control valves.

* A trigger-operated tool that makes it easier for aircraft manufacturers to attach components to honeycomb sandwich panels.

* A water-cooled workout vest to improve muscle efficiency.

* A robotic fish designed to autonomously follow real fish.  Such a device could be used in the future to control populations of unwanted fish in environmentally sensitive areas.

* A portable, self-propelled towbar for towing light aircraft.

* A surfboard that performs with reduced drag.

* A system for remotely opening jars containing explosives.

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.

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