UT College of Engineering News

Freshman Design Expo highlights student innovation

Freshman design students show off their breath-activated inhaler prototype.

College of Engineering students are innovators- beginning in their freshman year. On Friday, February 24th, the College of Engineering hosted the Freshman Design Expo. Approximately 30 student teams presented and discussed their projects with visitors, including fellow students, faculty, staff, and community members. Projects included a motorized skateboard, campus efficiency apps, and an inhaler for dispensing medication- among other innovative design solutions. WTOL11 highlighted some of the projects from the expo. View the WTOL11 coverage of the event here.

Freshman design student explains “Green Roofs” project to local youth.

The College of Engineering has introduced several Freshman Design initiatives give first-year engineering students hands-on experience with entrepreneurship and introduce them to real world challenges faced by innovators and start-ups. The Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering (MIME) Department integrates a Freshman Design Project in the course MIME 1000: Introduction to Mechanical Engineering. After learning about entrepreneurship in the classroom setting, students form teams and create a business plan to market novel devices. In the Department of Bioengineering, students have the option to participate in the BIOE Freshman Design Club.  Teams work to address problems related to patient/doctor communication, hospital-acquired infection, and redesign of medical instruments and rehabilitation devices. Groups then develop and propose solutions to these real-world challenges. Several projects from these two departments were on display at Friday’s Expo.

Freshman students explain their ankle brace design improvements.

Recognizing that the spirit to invent and create reaches across disciplines, the College of Engineering supports campus-wide entrepreneurial initiatives. The College of Engineering hosted the Expo in collaboration with the Freshman Engineering Entrepreneurship Development club (FEED), Young Entrepreneurship Society (YES), and the First Year Rocket Engineers, (FYRE) a social and professional organization designed to enhance the college experience for freshmen or first year engineering students. Scott McIntyre guides students in the Freshman Engineering Entrepreneurship Development club, (FEED) which teaches freshman students to apply an entrepreneurial edge to the theory and practice of engineering, with mentoring from upper class members of the sister organization, Young Entrepreneurship Society (YES).

The annual event is likely to grow in the coming years as the the College of Engineering seeks to incorporate a design component into the first year curriculum for all engineering students.


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