EDISON — Potential products that might someday find their way onto consumers’ wish lists were unveiled at the annual Senior Projects Showcase at Middlesex County Academy for Science, Math and Engineering Technologies in Edison.
Seniors demonstrated products they had worked on over the entire school year in their civil and mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering classes. The showcase was held June 5 in the school, which is on the campus of Middlesex County College.
The products, each designed by a team of two seniors, ranged from a mechanical lift that can handle up to 1,000 pounds to an alarm clock that requires you to actually get out of bed and perform some physical maneuvers to get it to turn off. Students must invent a new product or process or improve an existing one.
“They have to design a product from conception to realization, and they have from September to June to do that,” said Enzo Paterno, who teaches electrical and computer engineering.
The students, who had deadlines to meet in each marking period, were responsible for planning, designing and fabricating the products within a budget of $150, making presentations to their teachers and classmates along the way.
“And it has to work,” said George Lopac, who teachers civil and mechanical engineering.
They were required to keep a lab journal, which past students have found useful in college and job applications and interviews, the teachers said. And frustration is part of the experience.
“You go through a series of design scenarios, marketing reports, dealing with vendors,” Lopac said.
“It’s like the real world from that point of view,” Paterno said. “Having a problem is part of the process. They have to learn how Murphy’s Law works.”
Dan Delmonaco of Metuchen and Sonny Gottstine of Sayreville demonstrated their “Ultimate Beach Cart,” which has places for an umbrella, a chair, a cooler and various small and large odds and ends. Their presentation included a slide show and video, employing the slogan, “Enjoy a relaxing day at the beach with half the struggle.”
“It’s compact and easy to store,” Delmonaco said. “It makes the beach-going experience much more pleasant.”
Stephanie Karanevskii of Metuchen and Max Calsetta of Parlin were showing off the “TOFITT,” a portable ironing board that is lightweight and durable for travel but expands to accommodate various types of clothing.
“We wanted to design something that fits the shape of your clothing,” Calsetta said. “You can just lay it on a flat surface, like a bed or a tabletop.”
“This will allow us to iron more easily and efficiently,” Karanevskii added.
“WHAP” – the Wireless Home Automation Project – was designed by Francis Cap of Cranbury and Neel Haldar of Edison to take advantage of Wi-Fi systems in the home to control all of the electrical outlets and appliances from a smart phone or other portable computer.
“The goal was to have a wireless and cost-effective way to control the electrical power in your home,” Cap said.
Haldar pointed out that the more devices that are connected, the greater potential for energy savings.
Francis Carr of Edison and Yash Parekh of Monroe employed mechanical, electrical and computer engineering to design “TARDIS” – the Tool Automated Retrieval and Inventory System, which uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and a microprocessor with a video readout to store and keep track of what’s in a toolbox. The idea grew out of a “cluttered and dangerous” toolbox they encountered while working for a robotics team.
“Why don’t we have a toolbox that stores everything inside it and can electronically retrieve everything?” Carr said they asked themselves.
The Edison Academy is part of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School District, the first vocational school district in the nation, which has seven schools on five campuses, the others being in East Brunswick, Piscataway, Perth Amboy and Woodbridge. The district will mark its centennial in 2014.
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