December 5, 2016

Purdue seniors to display innovations for Malott competition

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University students completing a mechanical engineering senior design course will demonstrate 16 inventions, from a portable energy source for recreational and military applications to a device to help the elderly and disabled open pill bottles.

The students will display their works during the School of Mechanical Engineering's Thomas J. & Sandra H. Malott Innovation Awards competition on Friday (Dec. 9). The projects will be on display from 1-3 p.m. in the Gatewood Wing of the Mechanical Engineering Building. An awards ceremony will be in the same location at 1:45 p.m.

The senior design teams were advised by mechanical engineering associate professor John Starkey, professor Shirley Dyke and continuing lecturer Satish Boregowda.

Creations include:

* A tilting platform designed to help the elderly go from a sitting position in bed to a standing position.

* A wheeled "volleyball setting machine" that launches the ball into certain trajectories for volleyball practice.

* A device to automatically crack open cocoa pods to improve the rate of harvesting.

* A crane-like machine to help lift non-ambulatory patients.

* A portable energy source that uses a turbine powered by the wind or water for military and recreational applications.

* A system to mount a camera on pickup trucks that could provide views from various perspectives such as a trailer's contents or the vehicle's underside for off-road driving.

* A gate system that automatically closes to prevent small children from entering restricted areas, yet opens for adults.

Thomas J. Malott, the sponsor of the competition, 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,

Source: John Starkey, 765-494-8607,

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

© 2015-22 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Office of Strategic Communications

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact News Service at