Winning Design Expo Students Build Real-World Tools

Design Expo Winners Supermileage
Design Expo Winners Supermileage
The Velovations Enterprise won first place this year for their work in bicycle manufacturing.
This student crew is testing rock quality in the Quincy Mine.
The Supermileage Enterprise team poses with their one-seat, battery-powered vehicle that gets more than 900 miles per gallon.

From a microscale process to fix pacemakers in place to full-size wheelchair exercise equipment, the winning teams at this year's Design Expo share a common thread: their devices and designs seek to make people's lives better.

Innovation and Enterprise

The event, co-hosted by the Pavlis Honors College and College of Engineering at Michigan Technological University, brings together student teams, often interdisciplinary, spanning many science fields. They compete in two categories. Senior Design features sponsored research from upper level students; the Enterprise Program highlights projects from students of all levels.

Black & Veatch sponsors the Building a World of Difference student design awards. This year the top Enterprise teams are Velovations (First Place), Consumer Product Manufacturing (Second Place) and Supermileage Systems (Third Place).

Representing some of the most interdisciplinary projects that students can participate in, these Enterprise teams work on everything from a Ferro pedal with Bluetooth locking to developing a dryer for small-scale hops growers to building a sustainable racing vehicle for the Shell Eco-marathon.

Student to Professional Design

The top Senior Design teams are: a biomedical engineering team studying a process on "Epicardial Pacemaker Fixation" (First Place); another biomedical engineering team working on a "Subject-specific Orthopedic Wrist Cast" (Second Place); and a mechanical engineering team for their "Air Force Research Laboratory Rapid Descent System" (Third Place). As industry-sponsored projects, the students learn what it's like to sit down with clients, troubleshoot designs and meet company standards.

Several Senior Design projects earned honorable mentions. They are: a collaborative materials science and biomedical engineering team working on "Corrosion Mitigation of 90-10 Cu-Ni Heat Exchangers"; an electrical engineering team studying "Traveling Wave Fault Location"; and a mechanical engineering team that continued refining a "Hand Cycle Frame Design" for wheelchair athletes.

Winning Photographs

Additionally, two teams won awards for their photographs. A geoscience team took first place with a light in the dark; the geological engineering students documented their research quantifying rock quality in the local Quincy Mine.

The Supermileage Systems Enterprise placed second with their team portrait. In the center of the photo, the team's battery-run, single-seat vehicle shows off a streamlined edge.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.