A newsletter for alumni, students, and friends of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

ME Students Vie for Schoofs Invention Prizes, Take Home Cash

ME seniors won second and third places in this year's annual BRAINSTORM: The Schoofs Prize for Creativity. Jake Myre's invention, "Snap-In Joist Stiffener," earned him $7,000 in second place money, and Eric Wobig took third place and $4,000 for his invention, "Air Lift."
Snap-In Joist invention

Jake Myre demonstrated his prize-winning invention, the "Snap-In Joist Stiffener." (34K JPG)

Although for the first time in its five-year history the contest was open to the entire UW campus, most of the entrants were engineers, and seven out of the 10 finalist teams had mechanical engineering majors. Made possible by contributions of Richard J. Schoofs, a COE alumnus, the competition recognizes undergraduates whose inventions are judged most creative, novel, innovative, patentable, and likely to succeed in the marketplace.

Myre's Snap-In Joist Stiffener is essentially two hinged pieces of galvanized steel with teeth on each end. The teeth sink into the ends of the facing sides of wooden ceiling joists. Pushing up on the device locks it into place. The advantage of this design, said Myre, is that it can be put into place any time, not just when the house is constructed, and it requires no hardware for installation.

Wobig's "Air Lift" is meant for use in a wheelchair. It is an inflating cushion placed in the seat that can raise the occupant as much as six inches to help in reaching high shelves, for example. This creation also was awarded a $2,500 Aschenbrenner Award for best prototypes. Wobig was on last year's first place Schoofs team that created the Turbo Mule, a pedal-powered rough terrain wagon.

Tying for fourth place, Jeffrey Schwai, mechanical engineering junior, was on a team that designed a kitchen safety range and won $1,000. Wesley Gill, a mechanical engineering junior, was on a team that won the other Aschenbrenner Award for their electronic detection system that ensures that restaurant employees wash their hands.

Other ME finalists in the competition were Timin Musallam for a device that drops sand in front of car tires for traction, David Overbo for an electronic multi-use pocket memory card, and Clayton Shakal for a pressure washer power jet pump.

ME Newsletter is a periodic publication of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Mechanical Engineering. Correspondence should be sent to the address below.

ME Newsletter
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1513 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706-1572

      Editor: Gail Gawenda

Designer: Lynda Litzkow

Last Modified: Wednesday, 07-Jul-1999 17:00:00 CDT

SPRING 1999 Contents