posted December 5, 2006

Engineering Students to Present Inventions

 Build a better mouse trap, the saying goes, and the world will beat a path to your door. None of the 14 engineering students in the Senior Design course at Hope College took on rodent control, but they have addressed a variety of other needs and wants through the inventions they produced this fall.

The Hope engineering majors have developed and produced working prototypes of creations ranging from a trash can that can take itself to the curb, to a crutch that's easy on the armpits, to a water pumping system designed to help a village in Africa as part of a service project coordinated by the college's chapter of Engineers Without Borders. They will present and demonstrate their projects on Friday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. in room 104 of Van Zoeren Hall.

The public is invited. Admission is free.

Hope students have generated more than 100 projects in the decade that the college has offered its "Introduction to Engineering Design" course. The mix - and this year is no exception - is typically eclectic, limited only by each inventor's imagination and, admittedly, some production practicalities.

"Each person has to come up with their own project," said Dr. John Krupczak, who is an associate professor of engineering and teaches the course. "They're more or less free to propose a project within the constraints of safety and the resources we have available."

The personalized approach supports some universal goals. The course seeks to help the students learn how to carry out an engineering design project from start to finish, encouraging creativity, problem-solving and the development of hands-on fabrication skills along the way. They're also expected to be able to write and talk about their work - with the Dec. 8 presentation session providing a ready-made opportunity to do the latter.

The projects and their inventors are: "Rotating Motorcycle Camera Mount," by Greg Huizen of Jenison; "Silver Trashmaster," by Aaron Silver of Holland; "Transportable Classroom Desk Extender," by Kim Harrison of Mason; "Tomato Plant Support," by Emily Wandell of Mason; "Aquarium Monitoring System," by Devin Bonnie of Pinckney; "Boat Binocular Holder," by Kris Gillhespy of Cedar Springs; "Water Pumping System for Nkuv, Cameroon," by Becky Lathrop of Gladwin; "Secure DVD Case," by Abe Glas of Kalamazoo; "Maple Syrup Pump," by Karl Buter of Scottville; "Laptop Cooling Assembly," by Jeff Mulder of Holland; "Hands-Free Crutch," by Sommer Amundsen of Coon Rapids, Minn.; "Fuel Processing to Power a Fuel Cell," by Emily Walsh of St. Joseph; "Bridge Design for Nkuv, Cameroon," by Ashley Waples of Traverse City; and "Micro Air Vehicle: Hovering Dual Prop with Tilting Payload," by Luke Wendt of Kalamazoo.

The presentations are scheduled to run from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a brief break at 3:50 p.m. Van Zoeren Hall is located on the south side of 10th Street east of Central Avenue.