Michigan Tech’s 2015 Design Expo

HOUGHTON — Michigan Tech students got to show what they are made of by showing what they made.

Virtual reality gaming, cutting edge medical research, and wicked trebuchets; They are all the results of years of study and hard work by Michigan Tech students. Those students got to show the fruits of their labor at the 2015 Design Expo. 600 students compete on dozens of teams, many of whom are working on real world problems faced by their sponsors.

“What we’re sitting on is the new design for market segmentation, trying to create a new brand for Chrysler as far as a luxury vehicle; have a multi–use surface here in the back and be able to accommodate ninety–fifth percentile males, heavy loads of about 500 to 600 pounds, as well as the fifth percentile females who are able to reach the upper decklid here,” Mechanical Engineering major Alex Bancroft of the Chrysler 300 Split Decklid Team said.

This team designed a machine to flow full and empty containers for Chrysler. “What it does is it helps the line side worker and the assembly worker move the containers,” said Mechanical Engineering major Halley Shawvitz for the Chrysler Automatic Loading. “It’s better for ergonomics, it’s faster than what they have right now and it’s pretty innovative.”

Not all of the innovations are solely for big corporations, like this team that found away to improve skiing.

“These skis actually have material called nanomag in them which reduces the vibration in the ski, or chop, as you go down the hill,” Chemical Engineering major Paul Hagadone for the Consumer Product Manufacturing Enterprise said. “So, the customer came to us with this material and wanted us to implement it in a certain way and we said we could put it in skis or even hockey sticks and be able to reduce vibration of the product.”

High tech sporting goods are great, but how about an air cannon?

Mechanical Engineering major Brian Haupt designed his VHG Mark 2 for the Air Force Research Labs. “It’s kind of like a potato gun but instead of shooting potatoes, we’re shooting sixteen pounds of steel and aluminum,” he said. “The point of testing something like this is to create high–impact load on the components of our design. The Air Force is going to use it to test the electronic systems that they’re developing for controlling bombs. So, we’re going to accelerate these electronics from, basically, zero to a hundred miles an hour faster than you can blink your eye.”