For this project, Dartmouth College used NCIIA funds to purchase rapid prototyping equipment, leading to E-Teams’ development of mechatronic, or “smart product” ideas. The grant funds supported approximately sixty students, some working independently on E-Team projects, and some first and second-year students enrolled in ENGS 21: Introduction to Engineering. All students were required to define a problem, brainstorm for a solution, test and prototype a design solution, and propose a commercialization strategy.
This project supports a new course at George Mason University focused on team-based problem solving in a civil engineering context. In the course, E-Teams form and solve a pre-established problem, e.g., stormwater runoff pollution control in urban areas. Experts on the particular subject are brought in to consult to the E-Teams; these experts attend lectures, make class presentations, and interact with students on a regular basis. Students are encouraged to create innovative designs and aim for commercialization.
This course is for students who have taken a course in creative problem solving to apply what they have learned by inventing or developing a product or a process. In addition, students learn additional principles of entrepreneurship and hone their teamwork skills in E-Teams. The course is team taught by one professor in mechanical engineering and one from business management. Both have taught creative problem solving and model the process throughout the development of this interdisciplinary pilot course. The course is a one hour seminar and three hours of lab per week for student E-Teams to work on prototyping and patent searching. Students are drawn from engineering, computer science, and engineering management. Topics covered in the course include teamwork and communication, creative problem solving, patenting, entrepreneurship, and marketing. The course will teach an inventing process including problem identification, idea generation, feasibility study, design and specifications, and prototype construction and testing
This project supports a course focusing on the development of innovations in organic, tractor-based agricultural cultivation. E-Teams work to create a tractor that runs on vegetable fuels and uses non-chemical weed control devices and implements. E-Teams also pursue innovative approaches to problems with diesel fueled tractors.
California Institute of Technology, 1998 - $20,000
This E-Team developed a compact, powerful electromagnetic tool that can be used for removing dents from auto bodies quickly and efficiently without damaging painted surfaces. The technology is competitive with standard methods of dent removal but does less damage to the paint on the car. The concept originated from an experiment a student did to remove a dent from his car with a natural magnet.
The team identified a market of more than 26,000 auto body repair shops nationwide, as well as secondary markets of car dealerships, rental car dealerships, do-it-yourself consumers, and metal garage door repair professionals.
The E-Team drew from students in engineering, applied science, physics, economics, mathematics, computation and neural systems, and electrical engineering at Caltech, University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at Los Angeles. The team also included technical advisors and a financial advisor.
This two-course sequence is required for all seniors in the Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Department. The fall deliverable is a set of engineering drawings and a manufacturing plan. Teams select products from a list of ideas. The spring project is a tested prototype. Seventy students take the course and form eight to ten E-Teams of about six to seven students each. NCIIA funding allows students to focus on the development of quality prototypes
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art - $10000.00
In this project, Rowan University's Engineering Clinic incorporated an E-Team structure, enhancing the existing entrepreneurial focus of the Clinic. NCIIA funds were used for E-Team prototypes and product development in the junior and senior phases of the Clinic's four-year course sequence. Throughout the sequence, courses are team-based and focused on design and development of products. Innovation is stressed and students are encouraged to create new technologies.
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art - $11900.00
This E-Team began with a proof of principle prototype of a hand held sewing machine. Instead of the advance mechanism pulling the cloth into the sewing mechanism, the user pulls the material through the machine. The sewing mechanism operates and sews the cloth by using the friction between the cloth and a wheel.
The final product will be small, lightweight, portable, and easy to operate. Landscape contractors, army units, or anyone else who needs to repair tears would find this product useful.
The team is made up of two junior mechanical engineers and a faculty member. They are funded to complete a final conceptual product design and prototype, a market analysis, a patent, and marketing plan. The students will work on this project during the summer and as part of their senior design class, a mandatory course for all mechanical engineering seniors. The project originated in an E-Team course Philosophy of Design
NCIIA supported the incorporation of E-Teams into a business strategy and planning course at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Students develop projects based on innovations they develop themselves or obtain the rights to develop. Groups call on the network of experts the university has assembled for market assessment mentors. No prototypes are built in the course, but business plans are written and presented to a panel of entrepreneurs, and the option to continue work as Advanced E-Teams is available
This project supports the integration of E-Team development into an existing course in the Integrated Teaching and Learning Lab (ITLL), a progressive, high profile program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The course currently requires students to complete group work for clients; the focus of this project is the development of more entrepreneurship-related content and a greater focus on commercialization within the course.