Home   Syllabus   Grading   Project Generator   Video Wall   Sayings/Dichos   Class Projects


Class Projects


Small Scale Working Group, Project List, 2/2/2012

 Several students have proposed projects related to small-scale improvements in consumer products. All of these projects are collected here.

 Paul Szauter 1/18/2012
6. Smart Vending Machines. Current vending machines do not operate in a way that reflects the value of information in the information age. The aim of this project is to develop smart vending machines that permit improved delivery of high-margin goods to consumers while collecting information that can be used to increase profitability.
7. Smart Shopping Environments. Current shopping environments feature individual merchants that do not share data with each other or with the owners of malls and other shopping areas. The aim of this project is to improve sales in smart shopping environments through data mining, cross-marketing, and advertisements that adapt rapidly to the population of shoppers.
8. Key to the City. Many merchants use reward cards and loyalty programs to track the purchases of individual customers. Customers are forced to carry a separate reward card for each merchant with such a program. The aim of this project is to develop a single reward card for a city or shopping enviroment that reduces the number of such cards that a consumer must carry. Such a card would facilitate horizontal integration of marketing for a city or shopping environment.
9. Cell Phones in Performance Spaces. The widespread use of cell phones makes the interruption of concerts, live theater, or movies a common experience. The aim of this project is to explore means to silence all cell phones in a performance space without requiring any action on the part of patrons. The method should allow the immediate restoration of cell phone service in the event of an emergency.
11. Home Energy Efficiency Through Smart Controls. A new thermostat, designed by a former Apple engineer, learns patterns of energy usage as homeowners use the thermostat. The aim of this project is to improve energy efficiency through smart devices controlling other aspects of home energy use.
14. Reading Glasses for the Blind. Devices that convert text to speech for the blind have shrunk from the size of a copier to the size of a smartphone. The aim of this project is to explore whether a text-to-speech system could be adapted to a pair of eyeglasses that recognized text in the field of view and converted it to speech.

 Davynne Atanasoff 1/25/2012
1. My First Markers. Having an incorrect utensil hold can result in weakness of various hand muscles. Occupational therapists spend much of their time reteaching children how to write and color holding the utensil correctly. The aim of this project is provide a marker that can only be held the correct way. This marker will eliminate thumb wrap and fist grip when holding the marker.
2. Mirror Mirror On The Wall. Low self-esteem in young girls is becoming a growing problem. The aim of this project is to instill the value of confidence in these young girls. An interactive mirror, modeled off the Disney movie Snow White, which says positive things about the people looking in the mirror. The child would ask, "Mirror mirror on the wall who is the most beautiful of them all?" The mirror would reply various responses such as, "Abby is the most beautiful of them all because she is loving, caring, and has a big heart."
3. Nut Spray. Nut allergies are one of the most common allergies today, and can be one of the most deadly. The aim of this product is to lessen allergic reactions due to nuts. A nontoxic spray that an individual with nut allergies can spray on their food before it is consumed can mean the difference between life and death as well as give the individual reassurance. It the spray turns a certain color (let's say bright green) because it reacts to a protein found only in nuts, then the individual knows that item contains some sort of nuts. I would love to specify these into the overall nut category as well as specific categories such as almond and walnut.
4. Nail Polish Eraser. The aim of this product is to make it easier to correct a mistake while painting designs on toenails. A fine tip pen that allows you to erase nail polish would be perfect for accomplishing this goal.
5. Art Mat. The aim of this goal is to make it easier to set up and wash an area for an art project. A machine washable mat, that both folds and attaches to itself by Velcro, would allow it to fit most tables as well as make it an easy clean up.
7. All-N-One Lunchbox. The aim of this product is to keep lunch items at ideal temperatures without having to find a storing place that does so. A temperature controlled lunchbox which would keep lunch items cold and with a flip of a switch could heat it up to the desired temperature (much like a miniature microwave), would be an ideal solution to this problem.
8. Date Me Tupperware. Everybody has experienced looking in the refrigerator and trying to remember how long that Tupperware of pasta has been in there. The aim of this product is to eliminate the question. Tupperware that has date dials on it that can easily be maneuvered to set the date when the item was made can let you easily see how long the food has been sitting in the fridge.
9. Grip Me Sheet. The aim of this product is provide a sheet that will not slip, be machine washable, and can easily be taken on and off things. This product would be ideal of occupational and physical therapists to use on top of mats, which are often shared and not sanitized between uses. These sheets can easily be used on top of the mats when they are being used and taken off when the individual is done.
10. Take Myself Out Trashcan. The aim of this product is to eliminate the hassle of trying to remember to take the trash to the road on trash day. A trash can that can be programed to take itself to the road on the night before "trash day" would eliminate the hassle of manually taking the trash to the road and be one less thing to have to remember in our hectic lives.

 Maggie Werner-Washburne 1/26/2012
1. Morning World Summary! News from different papers presented with short blurbs and comparisons of news stories - what is everyone reporting on and what unique areas are presented in different papers.
2. Don't Lose that Data! Better computer organization - remove duplicate files and have easier ways to find old data. Losing student data on computers and back ups is an enormous problem for biology right now.
3. Self-organizing memo files between offices. Including a smaller than an iPad device for entering info by hand levels of email - so that ongoing interactions get a higher priority or are tagged. Currently available apps:
AK Notepad - problem - not on my phone.
Catch Notes also not on my phone - will try with iPad.
Zoho notebook not on phone. Sync with Google Calendar?

 Lauren Erica Davis 1/29/2012
6. Computer keyboards. Current computer keyboards are awkward and designed to slow typing down, but people are so used to it that switching to keyboards with different configurations is difficult. The aim of this project would be to design a more natural, easier to use keyboard and a training program that would teach people to use it.
7. Dress for the weather. I can never seem to dress appropriately for the weather, so the aim of this project would be to design a panel that could be hung on, or inserted into a closet door that would display the current temperature and the forcasted highs and lows for the day, and then make wardrobe suggestions based on what is in my closet at the moment.
8. Indoor greenhouse. My plants always die during the winter because I keep my apartment too cold, so the aim of this project would be to design an indoor greenhouse that I could set up inside during the winter. It would be heated, humidified and have a lighting system which could be switched on to provide extra light for evenings. It would be small enough to fit indoors, and it will be translucent to allow light but thick enough to keep heat in.

 Justin Allen Burr 1/29/2012
1. New bag for chips. This bag will be useful when you are getting towards the bottom of the bag of chips. It is a bag that you can tear off and reseal so that you don't have to get your hands all salty and greasy reaching all the way to the bottom of the bag. The design I was thinking of was a combination of Ziploc bags interconnected together.
4. A solar powered cup or mug. This would be used for either heating up or cooling down your drink. It could have solar panels around the cup so it gets its power from the sun. It would be nice for those hot summer days or cold winter nights to keep your drink either cold or warm.
5. A golf ball that has a tracking device located within it. I would love this because if you have ever played golf you know it is a pain looking for your ball in the weeds or tall grass. This ball would have a tracking device that would let you know where your ball was at all times. It would have to be able to take the impact of the club hitting it and also when it comes down and hits the ground but it would be inside the middle of the ball so this should help protect it.

 Elizabeth Terese Montano 1/30/2012
2. Pooper Scooper. This product is for farmers and pet owners of all ages. This is the pooper scooper version of the vacuum that runs continuously. This product must be all terrain, able to recognize fecal material from any animal species, and stop when full.
4. Where am I. This product is for cavers and cave scientists. It is a mechanism for identifying exactly where in the cave you have sampled. This product should have the ability to capture the exact location of where your sample is being taken from (NSEW and Depth), take you back to that exact location, upload this location in the map of the cave, and have the ability to take photographs.
6. Go Get 'em Tiger. This product is for golfers, military, and police. It will pick up golf balls, and another version will pick up the gun shells on a shooting range. There is no use in spending valuable time picking these items up by hand.
7. Plug Ouster. Lets get rid of all of the plugs. This idea is that a central device located in every room has the same software to be programmed in and thus turn on. For example the projectors talk to the computer. What if we had a projecter like device that could talk to our television, alarm clock, PC, curling irons and blow driers, anything we plug in will be made with a chip that can be programmed to the central info device. Taking this even further all of these devices can sync to your phone so if you left the coffee machine on it can be turned off.
9. Tidy Microbes. This is for microbiologists with limited space. Incubators are not space efficient in the way they are built. The shelves leave a lot of unusable space between and above/below them. The idea is to create moveable parts and many holes to place racks especially for plates and tubes (even a lazy susan type deal) to maximize space.
10. Plate Bag Company. This is also for the microbiologists. This idea is for a company that makes and distributes the bags that the plates we buy come in so that we do not have to use ziplock bags that are nowhere near the size and shape we need when a plate bag tears or gets overused.
13. Improve the Panoramic Camera. The panoramic camera is great except for one thing, the second you tilt it downward it is useless. Let's make a 360 panoramic camera, up down side to side.

 Anna Bancroft 1/30/2012
2. Improved Contact Lenses. Why aren't there transition contact lenses?
5. Improved Bandaids. How could bandaids hurt less on removal? Is there a safe/non-annoying way to make them dissolvable?
6. Edible Disposables. How can disposables be more eco-friendly? Edible Styrofoam-like material? "my drink cup is cherry-flavored!"
8. Omni-tred. Can we prompt Americans to lose weight by giving them more physical video gaming? Omni-tred: the Virtual Reality Human Hamster Ball to play all your favorite MMOs and FPSs while getting in your cardio.
9. Smart Pantry/Fridge/etc. What if there was an app that calculated your food/good usage, tracked how much you had, and sent an order out for whatever you need to be delivered to your doorstep?
10. Channel pod. Makeup takes a long time to apply; could the Channel pod from the 5th element really be created? Perhaps with small depth camera (like Kinect), facial point recognition software, and replaceable cartridges to change colors.

 Regina Rendon 1/30/2012
1. Sneak Peak Shoebox. I like to keep things organized especially in my closet. I have all of my shoes in shoeboxes, but of course I have too many shoes to remember what is in what box. The aim of this project is to design a shoebox with a clear window that allows you to see in.

 Jason Kimble 1/30/2012
2. Prosthetics for victims of violence. A reality of war is that prosthetic advances often accompany US conflicts. There are many victims of violence across the globe that could benefit greatly from the use of our prosthetic technology but lack the institutions and financial means. The aim of this project is to take current technology and use innovation to create prosthetics that can be produced inexpensively but function similar to more advanced prosthetics. This technology would be shared and distributed to victims of violence across the globe.
7. Medicine disposal. Hospitals and individuals dispose of medicine improperly and these chemicals find their way into the environment. The aim of this project is to design a machine that safely destroys unused medicines before they find their way into aquatic systems.
8. Ankle monitor. Medical devices that measure heart rate can be intrusive and easily removed. The aim of this project is to develop a heart rate monitor for home use that wirelessly sends a signal to an alarm when the heart beat becomes irregular.
9. GPS appliances. Theft is a huge issue in the US and a burglarized house could devastate an individual or a family. The aim of this project is to develop a company that incorporates GPS technology into household appliances that runs off of an internal battery supply and may be tracked online. This technology could be adapted into cargo shipments.
10. Internal GPS. Nothing could be more devastating to a parent than a child that gets kidnapped. The aim of this project is to develop a GPS unit that is placed under the skin of children, so that in an emergency, the child could be located.
12. Sink motion sensors. Require all households to incorporate motion sensors into household sinks. The aim of this project is to reduce water consumption, especially in arid regions of the US.

 Olivia Pena 1/30/2012
1. Patient Restraints. Find a better design for patient restraints in a hospital setting. The goal of this project is to decrease the occuance of patient skin breakdown due to the chafing of skin, as well as to increase health care worker safety.
2. Warning System. A device used to insure that patient isolation precautions are known. This will help to prevent anyone from entering a patient room where infectious diseases or airborne diseases are present without the prior knowledge of protection required.
5. Space utility. Art that can fold down to become a table. This will better utilize space and provide work space in small or crowded areas.
8. Patient transport. Patients are transported through hallways to rooms exposing nurses, other patients, and family members to infectious organisms. This project will find a preventative and safer method to transport and eliminate this risk.
9. Patient protocol. Many patients react violently in the hospital. This will use a new protocol to address patient mental stability when they enter the hospital and provide a new protocol for how these patients are reacted to.
10. Lanyards. Nurses have been choked by lanyards containing their IDs.This will provide a new, breakaway type of lanyard for nurses to increase safety.

 Terrill Yazzie 1/30/2012
2. Finding the right key. Many maintenance personnel and many people have hoards of keys and can't distinguish which key goes to which door. The aim of this project is to develop sensors in locks that recognize the key and help alleviate the hassle of going through each key. The key would have a lite up indicator to tell the person this is the key.
3. Prosthetic enhancement. Many people suffer from arthritis of the hands and have trouble doing everyday functions, such as opening doors and food items. The aim of this project will improve on current prosthetics and alter them so that they improve body function.
9. Clean haircut. When people get haircuts (especially guys), they have the remnants of cut hair on their neck and clothes. People have busy schedules that might not let them go home to shower and change. The aim of this product is to develop an instrument that can attract the cut hair, much like a magnet attracts metals, from the person to deter itching.

 Bernadette Correa 1/30/2012
8. Lights Out! Device that works with a "nanny cam" sort of system to turn off/on the electricity to equipment. Designed for the parents of teenagers who come home from school before mom and dad. Parents can see if chores, homework, etc. has been done before turning the electricity back on remotely.
9. Tea Bag Squeezer. A simple contraption that will squeeze your hot tea bag for you. No more hot fingers!

 Danielle Borunda 1/30/2012
3. Laundry Made Simple. I hate doing laundry so I came up with this random idea to have a 2 in 1 washer and dryer. Not sure if it is possible, but once the washing cycle is done then the machine would automatically switch to dryer mode. It would take up less space and could possibly be made Eco friendly.
4. Modified Handcuffs. I grew up surrounded by family and friends in law enforcement and just always thought it would be helpful to have handcuffs that can extend and retract back together with the push of a button. It was a random idea, but instead of the police trying to wrestle with criminals to get their hands together, the handcuffs could just do it for them.

 Jeremiah Anderson 2/6/2012
2. Flexible, light body armor. Body armor has always suffered from being heavy and cumbersome. A lighter, more flexible body armor would be ideal in today's high speed battlefield.