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REF NO.: 139

SUBJECT: Memorial University engineering students looking for community input
DATE: Dec. 21, 2004

Mechanical engineering students at Memorial University are looking for the public’s help. For 12 weeks, beginning in January, several Term 8 students will be placed in small groups to invent, design and construct new products and improvements on old ones.

Dr. Mike Hinchey, professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, says every year they solicit suggestions from consulting companies, faculty, fellow students and sometimes the public. “We never rule anything out. Every suggestion that comes in goes on a list and students can choose from that list or come up with their own idea.” Project designs from previous courses have included a water current energy device, a human powered hovercraft, a lift for hospital beds, design of a small sub sea robot and a lung ventilator. “Some of our most memorable ideas come from the medical society. One memorable project was a surgical device for cutting blemishes off skin. They used a water tap vacuum to lift the blemish away from skin surface and a scalpel to cut it off. The device was tested on dead chickens,” said Dr. Hinchey. “The projects give students a great sense of pride and, who knows, they could lead to commercialization.”

This year, some of the ideas students are considering include a product that makes use of unused leather at Terra Nova Shoes, a press to get clear oil from nuts and seeds, a mechanism that can simulate the rocking motion of a downed helicopter at sea, and a portable drill unit for taking soil and water samples through a small diameter four-metre-long bore hole.

Civil, mechanical, and ocean and naval students at the Faculty of Engineering also complete design courses in which they have a limited time to design a product specific to their discipline. If you have an idea for a mechanical project, please e-mail a title and brief description to Mike Hinchey at mhinchey@engr.mun.ca .

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