Drexel Smart House is a student-led, research-driven organization at Drexel University working to develop a sustainable model for urban residential living. The organization engages students in multidisciplinary teams working on a number of green projects, including a lightweight green roof, residential water recovery system, urban crop cultivation, energy recovery systems and more.
This grant will create the Drexel Smart House Student Seed Fund, which will allow students to conduct early research and prototype development. Drexel Smart House has shown that access to early seed funding for preliminary research and prototypes greatly improves prospects for expanded research funding and industry collaboration.
The new eighteen-month program will fund individual, student-proposed projects ranging in cost from $100-$2,500. Student-developed short proposals will be reviewed by a faculty member and a student review board. Project proposals will be from teams working on freshman or senior engineering design projects, multidisciplinary teams, graduate student teams, and undergraduate/graduate teams.
This E-Team developed an improved high pressure research device for biotechnology research markers. The project focused on the development of an improved, simpler, more cost-effective and user friendly device capable of competing with current equipment.
In partnership with the US Army, this E-Team developed an environmentally friendly alternative to styrene. Styrene is a potentially carcinogenic petroleum derivative that has harmful effects on the environment and is highly regulated by the EPA. The team's product is a soybean oil derivative that can replace styrene in thermoset resins (raw materials used in the fiber-reinforced products industry). The soybean oil is environmentally friendly (safe and renewable), performs better than styrene, and costs less.
The DigiTails E-Team developed replacement taillight assemblies that combine the visual appeal of “Euro” style taillights (consisting of individual red lenses in a chrome housing) with the benefits of LED technology. The first prototype emulated different designs and the beta included software for creating customizable lighting designs. LEDs provide lower power consumption than incandescent lights, lower operating temperature, and a 20x longer lifespan.
The team members were from diverse academic backgrounds in business, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering. The team’s advisors and faculty had experience in entrepreneurship and engineering.
Update: The DigiTails team went on to found Spaghetti Engineering, a company built around DigiTails technology. Read a profile of company founder Michael Muhlbaier here.
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.