Human-Powered Vehicle Team Wins $12,500 in Brainstorm Contest

Share this story:

Brie Howley, Dave Waters and Eric Wobig. are the first place $10,000 winners in the 1997-98 The Schoofs Prize for Creativity. Their invention, Turbo Mule, is a human-powered vehicle designed to carry heavy loads over rough terrain. The inventors’ intent is to provide inexpensive transportation to ease the workload of people in Third-World countries. The team also garnered a $2,500 Aschenbrenner Best Prototype award.

Brainstorm is the college’s annual invention contest sponsored by COE alumnus Richard Schoofs (BS Chem E 1953).

Turbo Mule inventors

Brie Howley (left) Dave Waters (center) and Eric Wobig (right) demonstrate Turbo Mule, the human powered utility truck. (large image)

Second place, $7,000 winners are Laura Jensen, Patrick Maquire, Chad Vande Hei and Vidya Balakrishnan for The Up-Lift. The Up-Lift is a device designed to safely lower and raise a person from a wheelchair accessible toilet. The system is ergonomically developed to move with the user and fits on a standard toilet without remodeling the restroom.

Third place $4,000 winner is Scott Kurszewski, for Hold It, a quick-release, self-locking clamp used to secure a snowmobile to a trailer. The clamp is designed to speed and ease the dirty and time-consuming task of securing a sled for transport. Kurszewski also won a $2,500 Aschenbrenner Best Prototype award.

The judges awarded two Fourth place $1,000 prizes. One winner is Eric J. Iverson for Recycling Plastic Welder. The recycling plastic welder enables an operator to feed strips, chunks, pellets, beads or shavings of plastic filler into a caulk gun-like applicator in order to repair or join together plastic. The tool can be used for everything from repairing a cracked automobile bumper cover to using milk jugs to seal windows or repair a toy.

The second Fourth place winners are Jassem Shahrani and Mike Bauch for Adrol. Adrol is the Advanced Document Recovery Online system designed to record electronic copies of paper document being shredded. Documents are scanned as they pass through the shredder. The electronic document is stored in a password-protected directory so that destroyed documents can be reviewed in electronic form.