Purdue students to demonstrate senior-design innovations

December 8, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University students completing a mechanical engineering senior design course will demonstrate 21 inventions, from a shape-morphing airplane wing and an inexpensive, lifelike prosthetic foot to an autonomous stadium-sweeping system.

The students will display their works during the School of Mechanical Engineering's Thomas J. & Sandra H. Malott Innovation Awards competition on Friday (Dec. 12). The projects will be on display from 1-3 p.m. in the Hill Student Commons in the Gatewood Wing of the Mechanical Engineering Building. An awards ceremony will be in the same location at 2:30 p.m.

The senior design teams were advised by mechanical engineering professor John Starkey, instructor John Nolfi and continuing lecturer Satish Boregowda in the School of Mechanical Engineering.

Creations include:

*A truck bed cover for Chrysler pickup trucks designed to improve the vehicle's aerodynamic performance, decreasing drag and fuel consumption.

* An ultra-quiet boat thruster to provide low-speed quiet operation that doesn't harm fish.

* A bicentennial torch for Indiana's 200-year anniversary in 2016 that works in all weather conditions and offers tracking and video feeds to the Internet.

*A prosthetic interface designed to improve comfort for people wearing artificial limbs.

* A shape-morphing airplane wing to increase flight performance by changing lift and drag.

* An autonomous stadium sweeping system to clear debris in Purdue's Mackey Arena.

* Devices designed to improve the aerodynamics of electric cars for the Purdue Electric Racing team competing in the Formula SAE, a race to take place in June 2015 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

*A system to automatically clean gutters.

* A method to cool swine and prevent heat stress for livestock in the animal farming industry.

* A lifelike prosthetic foot that is less costly and more functional than those currently on the market.

* A wall-mounted record player for vinyl records.

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 

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