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  5. Engineering undergrads display functional products at Dec. 14 design competition

From wind turbines to inflatable interim housing: Engineering undergrads display functional products at Dec. 14 design competition

A student design team
Parry Carrison, Michael Regner, Joshua Thao, Joe Vosters and Jefferey Yao designed Windgeen, a helical wind turbine.

Deriving their inspiration from fields ranging from music and ice hockey to cross-country skiing and wind energy, eight undergraduate engineering student design teams will compete Dec. 14 for a top cash prize of $2,500.

The students, who are majoring in engineering mechanics and astronautics and mechanical engineering, will display working prototypes of their designs as part of the EMA/ME Design Competition. Held 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. in 1610 Engineering Hall on the UW-Madison campus, the competition is open to the public. An award ceremony will be Dec. 15 at 4:45 p.m. in 1610 Engineering Hall.

At the beginning of the fall semester, the student teams selected their projects, then, over the next three months, designed, refined and built their ideas. "This year's projects offer a wide variety in terms of scope and possible use," says Frederick Elder, an adjunct professor of engineering physics and mechanical engineering and the competition co-coordinator. "Throughout the semester, all teams have worked hard to ensure their designs are not simply interesting ideas, but are mature enough to actually be produced.

Elder says the competition is designed to motivate students to think beyond the classroom and develop original ideas that are marketable and patentable.

During the competition, each student team has 15 minutes to deliver an oral presentation, with five minutes for judges' questions. Judges are distinguished UW-Madison engineering alumni who assess the student presentations, designs and prototypes on such factors as clarity, originality, manufacturing scalability, safety and production cost, among others.

A student design team
Lyndsey Bankers, Grayson Butler, Joe Jaeckels, Julie Mason and Katie Wichman designed the Badger Sett, an interim housing unit for a family of four.

This year's entries include:

  • 2:40 p.m. — Windgeen, a helical wind turbine that aims to provide an opportunity for smaller investors in green energy.
  • 3:05 p.m. — b-Dock, a self-locking bicycle-docking station.
  • 3:30 p.m. — Ladder Buddy, a ladder attachment that will automatically lift objects on a platform.
  • 3:55 p.m. — Debris-Free Wiscanopy, a device that prevents leaves and other debris from falling into an above-ground swimming pool.
  • 4:30 p.m. — Badger Sett, a temporary housing unit in which a family of four can live after a disaster.
  • 4:55 p.m. — Motustand, a fully collapsible music stand.
  • 5:20 p.m. — Automatic Goalie Trainer, a unique hockey goalie training device.
  • 5:55 p.m. — Ski Sherpa, an attachable ski brake for cross-country skiing.

Competition sponsors include Hamilton Sundstrand, UW-Madison engineering alumna Mary Baker of ATA Engineering, and Baraboo Tent and Awning.

Engineering Hall is located at 1415 Engineering Drive, Madison. Paid public parking is available in the nearby Lot 17 ramp, accessible from Engineering Drive. The competition will be broadcast live. For information about how to access the broadcast, visit homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~elder/2011/watch.html.

Renee Meiller
12/7/2011