With NCIIA grant funding, a new product design course was created at the University of Nevada/Reno by Professors M.S. Fadali and R.C. Barnes. By combining EE 491 Senior Design and MGRS 487 Entrepreneurship, the Entrepreneurship and Senior Design course prepares students for today's marketplace. Within the course, multi-disciplinary groups of engineering and business students form companies and are asked to build a product and investigate its market potential. To provide students with a concise but clear representation of the organization required to accomplish this task, students use the "Hierarchical Process Modeling" (HPM). HPM requires the collection of considerable information, yielding insights into the operation and potential of an organization as a whole. NCIIA funding provided students with HPM software and equipment, prototype development money, and legal assistance with patent searches.
Springfield Technical Community College is developing a new course,
E-Tech E-Teams, to generate student E-Teams. Within the course, E-Teams conduct research on engineering technologies and analyze the findings; carry out experiments in product development; and then identify, create, and market new products. The content of the course curriculum includes mathematics, written/oral communication, historical aspects of design, scientific principles and business knowledge. E-Teams work with entrepreneurs from the on-campus technology business incubator in the areas of telecommunications and optics. The courses and materials developed at STCC are used as the basis for a model for a technical entrepreneurship curriculum to be offered to a consortium of State Community Colleges.
This grant helped introduce E-Teams into a design course focused on developing new technologies for people with disabilities. Teams of students worked with clients to create new assistive technologies to suit their client's needs. A seminar and practicum approach emphasizing teamwork made E-Teams central to the course pedagogy. Students were encouraged to pursue innovative solutions to design challenges
The High Pressure Optical Cell (HPOC) is a research tool that enables the modification of food proteins, decreased freezing temperatures and dewatering foods. HPOCs are also used as a tool in the study of lipid/protein interactions, protein denaturation, virus dissociation, and drug-membrane interactions. Any innovations in HPOC technology will impact future research in biomedical, pharmaceutical and food science research.
The Concurrent Engineering & Engineering Design E-Team has developed a new HPOC design, enabling researchers to introduce a second component to the original sample while both components are under pressure. This innovation allows researchers to observe initial molecular interactions in real time and at high pressure via fiber optics, and in the process gather previously unobtainable data.
Mechanical Engineering 452: Design Synthesis is an existing senior design course at University of Nevada/Reno. In the past, the course has focused on teaching students the fundamentals of product development. With NCIIA funding, the course has been revised to include product innovation, elements of entrepreneurship and invention, and early stage E-Teams, modeled after Professor John Kleppe's well-structured Electrical Engineering E-Team class at UNR. Each E-Team functions as a start-up company, creating their own organizational structure, and submitting a pseudo-business license. The teams then construct a proposal detailing the team's ideas and begin product development. Student teams compete within the class and are evaluated on their commercial potential as well as their technical content.
Many surgical procedures require the removal of fluid from the surgical site using a vacuum system. The typical source of suction in the surgical field is a large tube connected to a wall vacuum at one end of the operating room. Because the suction system's tubes run across the floor of the operating room and need to be maneuvered like a garden hose, the system is ungainly and awkward. To address these problems, the Surgical Dustbuster E-Team is developing a prototype portable, freestanding unit for removing fluid where wall suction is unavailable, or large capacities for fluid collection are not required. This device incorporates a surgical vacuum with greater maneuverability and lower cost, making it suitable for use in outpatient settings as well as traditional operating rooms.
This project supported development of New Product Development and Venturing, a course offering students the opportunity to design a product and take it to market. The course is modeled on the E-Team concept. Students design a new product, develop a feasibility study, learn about patenting and seed capital sources, and work in a team with product-oriented entrepreneur mentors. Each E-Team makes two formal oral presentations to a panel of entrepreneurs and professors: one on its business feasibility study and the other on its product design. An award is presented to the E-Team with the best presentation
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach, 1997 - $18,000
The need to run an internal combustion engine more efficiently and with minimal environmental effects is the driving force for this E-Team's ozone generator development project. With the introduction of ozone into an engine's intake gases, combustion becomes leaner. However, because ozone cannot be stored in tanks, it has to be produced on-board the vehicle. The E-Team has developed an innovative ozone generator that contains no moving parts and is compact, fitting into existing vehicles with little or no modification to the vehicle.
The team is currently evaluating the effects of adding ozone to a 1996 Chrysler mini-van that has been converted to run on propane. This device mitigates the inherent problems of high initiation energy required by high octane alternative fuels and creates a cleaner burning engine.
The Automotive Ozone Pollution Fighter E-Team began as a student team working on a natural gas vehicle as an independent project with Professor Francisco Ruiz as the team's faculty advisor. As the project progressed, several of the members participated in Professor Ruiz's NCIIA Invention and Innovation class in the spring of 1996. The project was one of the first to emerge from the class, with an E-Team of seven engineering students. The E-Team received the 1996 B.F. Goodrich Inventor's Prize in the undergraduate category.
The Climbing High to Fitness E-Team has created the Wall Climber 2000 (WC2000), an indoor rock climbing simulator for use as a training instrument and low impact exercise machine. The WC2000 consists of a collapsible climbing deck that rotates with a speed and incline chosen by the user. The hand and foot holds, made of rubber to simulate a rocky surface, change as the climbing deck rotates, according to the difficulty level chosen by the user.
At this stage, the Climbing High to Fitness E-Team is creating an advanced prototype of the WC2000. In addition, the team is working to better understand the exercise equipment market, by conducting market research and drafting a business plan. In the fall the E-Team plans to apply for a patent. The Climbing High to Fitness E-Team originated in a team based design course at RPI and is composed of five engineering students.