2019 College Finalist Teams

Lawrence Technological University
Partner Organization: Services to Enhance Potential (STEP)
Team: JAAR Prototyping and Engineering Solutions
Project: Assembly Jig and Counting Pole

JAAR Prototyping and Engineering Solutions from Lawrence Technological University worked with Services to Enhance Potential (STEP), a nonprofit organization that provides supports and services to people with disabilities and other mental health needs, to create a device that helps STEP employees more efficiently assemble automotive rubber gaskets. In particular, the Lawrence Technological University team sought to address the fact that the current process was slow and sometimes caused employees' hands to hurt and that employees had trouble counting how many rubber gaskets they had assembled. With the device, employees no long have to press two rings together by hand to assemble the gaskets, which reduces hand pain from repetitive motion, and there is a counting pole on which employees can store the assembled gaskets in order to quickly count how many they have completed. Employees at STEP found the device helpful, and it is still in use today.

Ohio University
Partner Organization: SW Resources
Team: OU Bagging Solutions
Project: Bag Opener

Opening plastic resealable bags can be challenging for someone with limited 5 or cognitive disabilities. SW Resources in Parkersburg, West Virginia, reached out to Ohio University to help their employees successfully complete this task as part of their tea packaging process. The Ohio University team developed a device that makes opening the bags more accessible to individuals with disabilities, creating an easier and less frustrating process for employees. The device is operated when an employee pushes a lever, which rotates a wheel and presses the bag’s zipper against a plate to slide it open. With this device, 160 of SW Resources' 200 employees will be able to open the bags, where previously only 5 of the employees could. The implementation of this device not only provides an opportunity for more of SW Resources' current employees to perform the tea packaging task, but it also enables the organization to hire more people to do the job.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)
Project: Clicker Band

Team JUVO from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) created the Clicker Band on behalf of a fellow Virginia Tech student, who was their Subject Matter Expert (SME) for this project. The team's SME, who is partially paralyzed and has limited control of his hands due to a C4 spinal cord injury, said that one of the difficulties he has is using his computer mouse. The team set out to help their SME more efficiently and accurately use his mouse by creating a wearable device with a button that enables him to click with his left wrist while navigating the mouse with his right hand. The effectiveness of the device was measured with an online testing software, and the results showed that it helped their SME click and navigate more quickly and accurately than when he used a traditional computer mouse.

Honorable Mentions

Project: Mighty Mouse

CSULA & National Taipei University of Technology
Project: Virtual Is Reality