* Purdue School of Mechanical Engineering

Purdue student engineers, inventors present new machines

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University student engineers will present an array of new inventions, including an eco-car that gets more than 250 miles per gallon, on Friday (April 27) at the 2007 School of Mechanical Engineering student symposium.

About 24 new inventions will be showcased at the event, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the lawn on the south side of the Mechanical Engineering Building.

Inventions include a portable wind turbine that enables users to set up energy stations while traveling and a personal lift device for in-home use. The device lifts the person up to 18 inches to assist in tasks such as reaching upper kitchen cabinets. Another exhibit will be a "solar" oven that bakes for individuals living in areas that lack resources such as electricity or fuel oils. This oven was created for the citizens of Tanzania.

"These inventions are part of the senior design projects in engineering design," said Ray Cipra, associate professor of mechanical engineering. "The students are challenged with designing and developing a product that is useful and marketable. They work on these projects for the entire semester."

Other projects to be presented include:

*  Two amphibious vehicles: One can function autonomously for such uses as transporting ammunitions and food for the military to an area that may not be easily accessible. The other is remotely controlled.

*  Aluminum fabric that reflects plants' radiation back down to the plant in an effort to study global warming.

*  A lightweight trailer frame for RV chassis and hauling.

*  A "So-Lo CruizR" three-wheeled vehicle that enables the driver to change courses by leaning into the direction of the turn. The vehicle operates on two 700-watt electric motors and is capable of traveling at more than 20 MPH.

*  A surgical tool that will help constrict a blood vein.

*  A device to help wheelchair patients use a laptop by storing and lifting the computer up and down as needed.

*  A recreation of Leonardo da Vinci's helicopter design that includes modern concepts.

*  A regenerative braking system for bicycles that enables the bike to store its energy while braking so the bike can accelerate faster after the rider releases the brake.

*  A three-level shopping cart that helps customers keep purchases, such as motor oil and bread, on separate shelves.

*  A new way to generate electricity by capturing the kinetic energy from a person strolling along a walkway. The pressure of the individual walking causes ceramic crystals to deform and creates a current that can be captured and used for electricity.

*  A hydraulic system in an autonomous vehicle.

Writer: Cynthia Sequin, (765) 494-4192,

Source: Ray Cipra, (765) 494-5724,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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