See the Future at Michigan Tech’s Design Expo

A man holds a circuit board up to the camera with a ballroom of displays and people in the background.
A man holds a circuit board up to the camera with a ballroom of displays and people in the background.
Design Expo is a show-and-tell innovation extravaganza that puts student-led real-world innovation in the spotlight.

Student inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs inspire optimism for a better tomorrow as they put their projects before judges and the public on Thursday, April 18.

What do a full-flexion knee implant, a backpack-able power system, and an elevator — for a bird-watching tower — all have in common? They're life-improving solutions among the more than 100 real-world undergraduate student projects that will be showcased at the 19th annual Design Expo at Michigan Technological University.

All are welcome to the event, which is free, and runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday in the Memorial Union Ballroom on the Michigan Tech campus.

Student Innovation in Action

Huskies enrolled in Michigan Tech’s Enterprise and Senior Design programs take great pride in presenting their projects, which this year include a low-cost vaccine fridge to provide access to important health initiatives in the developing world; ultra-strong aluminum scandium alloys to improve the tensile strength and physical properties of products; a 1,000-miles-per-gallon competition vehicle; and a DIY climate sensor. 

A formula collegiate design car with a Huskies sticker on it in September at a test track with a yellow line and blue sky in the background
The Formula SAE Enterprise has a long history of top-performing cars in International Society of Automotive Engineers Collegiate Design competitions. (Photo credit: Formula SAE Enterprise)  

Projects, posters, and presentations are judged throughout the day by a panel made up of corporate representatives, invited guests, university faculty, staff, and graduate students. Enterprise team presentations, each 15 minutes in length, are also open to the public, and take place in The Alley Makerspace, also in the Memorial Union Building.

A Big Day for Industry Sponsors, Too

More than 120 sponsors and partners support student teams. And Design Expo itself is supported by industry and university sponsorship. ITC Holdings is directing partner for the eighth consecutive year and collaborating partners include Code Blue; Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship at Michigan Tech's Pavlis Honors College; Miller Electric Manufacturing Company; Nexteer; and Nucor. Innovating partners are Challenge Manufacturing and Kimberly-Clark.  

A young man in black and gold holds out a small circuit board at an Expo with display tables and people in the background
 Curious about a device, process or product you see at Expo? Just ask. Teams work hard to prep presentations and are happy to tell you about their projects.  

Huskies Learn By Doing 

Michigan Tech’s innovative Enterprise Program is open to all majors to foster interdisciplinary learning, leadership development and team-based project work. Diverse teams of first-year through graduate-level students develop products, processes and services within their market space, with multi-year participation from concept to design, testing and full implementation.

Senior Design challenges teams of highly dedicated senior-level students to explore and address real-world design challenges in their final year. The program connects students and industry sponsors through open-ended projects where teams follow the complete design process from ideation to realization.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.