Three ME student entries have won cash prizes in the third annual College of Engineering's "Brainstorm: Schoofs Prize for Creativity," developing inventions that ranged from the fanciful to the practical.
A team of mechanical engineering students won second place in the COE Brainstorm competition in February. Alumnus Richard Schoofs, second from left, sponsored the contest. With him are Tim Kippley, Jon Furniss, Joe Gasser, and Adam Ward (in back). Branden Reid was also a member of the team.
Taking second place and winning $7,000 was the team of Joseph Gasser, Timothy Kippley, Jon Furniss, Adam Ward, and Branden Reid, who designed the "Fly-Bye Rack," an easy-to-load car top bicycle rack designed for mounting on sport-utility vehicles.
Brian Dondlinger captured a fourth place $1,000 prize for his invention of a variable length manifold designed to improve the delivery of the air-fuel mixture in an internal combustion engine.
Winning one of two new $2,500 prizes for best prototype was the team of Kristofer Dressler and Matt Younkle. They invented an automotive air conditioner using thermoelectric cooling pads attached to heat sinks. The compact design uses no freon, has no moving parts, and would cost less than currently used automotive systems.
Another ME team of Mark O'Neal and Mohamed Ouali entered their prototype of a water-filled reclining chair incorporating the benefits of a water bed and a form-fitting recliner for maximum comfort.
The Brainstorm competition, now in its third year, is sponsored by COE alumnus Richard Schoofs. It awards cash prizes to undergraduates whose ideas are judged most creative, novel and innovative, patentable, and likely to succeed in the marketplace. The new prototype prizes are sponsored by Brainstorm judge Tom Aschenbrenner.
Computer model of Fly-Bye Rack
Second-place winners Gasser, Kippley, Furniss, Ward, and Reid were all students in ME Professor Fred Elder's senior design projects class. Pleased with their placing, Elder said he has had winners in all three years of the competition. "The team did a good job of getting the bike rack ready to manufacture. But their major strength is that they really understood working as a group...each did their part and they were bright enough and well-organized enough to blend it into a whole."
Because the specifications of the Fly-Bye Rack made a prototype too expensive to produce, the team relied on detailed animation and a polished presentation to explain their invention.Unique to their design are bike mounting bars that slide to the side and can be lowered to attach bikes in an upright position.
Team member Joe Gasser said, "We didn't have a clue how the
competition would be, but we did a lot of hard work. Our group had
different strengths, like the graphics skills, to bring the project
all the way through." Tim Kippley said, "We had a pretty good idea to
begin with, and the experience was an excellent introduction to the
work world. I give a lot of credit to Dr. Elder; he's an excellent
teacher and motivator and he has real world experience, a definite
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Editor: Gail Gawenda
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MAY 1997 Contents