There’s a crib mat that monitors a baby’s cranial pressure to detect early signs of flat head syndrome. Or the 3D printed leg device that measures knee rotation for rehab purposes post surgery — the creative inventions on display at Stevens Institute of Technology‘s annual Innovation Expo.
“It’s an opportunity for Stevens senior students to display the culmination of their capstone or senior design which is a two-semester process where they get together, work in teams, take the information and the knowledge that they’ve gained at their four years at Stevens and apply it to an actual design of a prototype system or whatever it is they’ve focused on in their studies,” said Stevens Research Associate and Adjunct Professor, Naval Engineering Department Michael Delorme.
Students take that creative idea and try to turn it into an actual start-up business, securing capital and positioning the new product for a specific, defined market. Delorme oversaw the solar splash project — a solar-powered boat that will compete at a world championship later this spring.
“One, it could be an application for people with larger boats who just use a tender to go from dock out to their boat in the water. It could also be used for yacht clubs who use tenders to transport owners from the docks in the yacht club out to their sailboats,” said Spenser Swanton, Stevens senior.
“A lot of this project was funded by sponsors and donations. So we worked with Viking Yachts who made us a hull. We had Zahn Electronics who supplied us converters, Elco Motor Yachts gave us motors and throttles. So we have all these different sponsors that came together and allowed us to use the best components possible at very minimal cost to our team,” said senior Mason Riemer.
Green friendly designs are prominent here. There’s the “SoPure” — a solar-powered water filtration system, with mechanical backup, being marketed for water-scarce countries.
“It’s being deployed to villagers in developing countries. However the news in the media has brought our attention to places like Flint, Mich. where our system can also be used as well. So anywhere with natural disaster we’re looking to have our system potentially be deployed to,” said Megan Kohr, Stevens senior.
“To step away from the classroom learning and engage in the design and the engineering process. It’s problem solving, it’s iterative, it’s making mistakes, it’s learning from your mistakes,” Delorme said.
Students made hydroponic systems marketed for apartments and residential spaces, building on designs from previous years and putting skills to the test.
“This whole design expo, this whole capstone project really brought together all the things we learned in class from developing a series of designs to figuring out if those are real or possible and sourcing components and putting things together. This is something that you don’t get in any other project,” Riemer said.
The day culminates with 10 final teams making elevator pitches to judges where they’ll compete for cash prizes to see if they can take these innovations and make them the next big thing.
And though Kne3-D and SoPure Water took home top prizes, it was the the CerebroSense(TM) Brain Pulsatility Measurement Device that won the grand prize.
Correction: May 5, 2017
An earlier version of this article misspelled company names Zahn Electronics and Elco Motor Yachts.