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Engineering Freshmen Present Solutions at Project Fair March 14

More than 60 student teams will present their final design prototypes to audiences of clients, users (all people with disabilities), instructors, judges, peers and the public at the Engineering Design Project Fair Saturday, March 14.

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March 6, 2009 | by Megan Fellman
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Experience counts for a great deal when hunting for a job. Freshmen at Northwestern University's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science might be years away from joining the work force, but they already have valuable real-world design and communication experience.

More than 60 student teams will present their final design prototypes to audiences of clients, users (all people with disabilities), instructors, judges, peers and the public at the Engineering Design Project Fair Saturday, March 14.

Projects, which the students worked on for 10 weeks, include a one-handed insulin administrator, a system to allow independent transfer to and from a wheelchair, power chair soccer guards and a one-handed camera stabilizer.

The public event will be held from noon to 3 p.m. throughout the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center, 2133 Sheridan Road. An awards ceremony will follow, from 3 to 4 p.m., in the Ryan Family Auditorium of the Technological Institute, 2145 Sheridan Road. Judges will present awards for best design and best communication in a variety of categories.

All freshmen in the McCormick School get hands-on experience in the design arena through the school's Engineering Design and Communication program (EDC). In the two-quarter course, students work in teams to design solutions to problems for real-world clients and learn how to communicate their ideas. The course is designed and taught by faculty from both McCormick and the University's Writing Program.

Projects this quarter were in collaboration with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Lamb's Farm, The Diveheart Foundation, Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association and Leap Learning Systems.

The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Baxter Healthcare and the McCormick School's Office of Corporate Relations provided support.

The Segal Design Institute invites proposals from entrepreneurs, small companies and non-profit organizations for the EDC course and upper-level design courses. Proposals must focus on small-scale, real-world design challenges. This year's deadline for EDC spring quarter projects is March 15. Proposals are welcome any time.

For more information, go to EDC online or contact Phillip Jacob at (847) 467-3533 or pjacob@northwestern.edu.

View a story on YouTube about EDC and past projects, including a bicycle rickshaw for a student and the EndoGrabber, a device created to retrieve foreign objects from the stomachs of marine mammals, for Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, at http://youtube.com/watch?v=Pikm-jYB1R8.