Monday, June 20, 2011

EDD proposal

My idea for my EDD proposal actually came about during my research for another class. My problem is, A more efficient way to power cell phones or emergency devices while in remote winter environment through a jacket.

Surveillance Cameras

In recent years bullying has become more prevalent and a wide spread concern. Specifically, bullying in schools has gained national attention. I have recently been a witness to bullying in our school cafeteria. Surveillance cameras are set up in schools to assist in capturing activity. The cameras in the majority of schools are scanning cameras that move at a predetermined rate. In the incident I witnessed, the camera was scanned away as the bullying occurred and did not capture the incident. If the incident is recorded, it still can be tedious to find the recording of the incident if the exact time of the activity is unknown. Surveillance technology needs to be improved to make it is easier to find recorded activity and so cameras capture all bullying activity.These improvements will help combat the rising amount of bullying.

Efficient Gardening

Especially this time of year, gardening can been seen as a hassle to most, if not all people. First, one must create holes in the ground where they would like the plant to go. Then one must actually plant the plant, get the hose or the watering can to water the plant, cover the plant back up again, and all of these steps aren't even including the optional step of fertilizing the plant. All of this is essentially inefficient, because one must be bending over for the majority of the time, possibly injuring their backs or injuring other muscles after a long period of time. So, why not have an innovation that allows the user to have everything with them, and efficiently plant the plant without having to bend over?

Remembering Your Pills & Prescription

Many elderly people develop health problems as they grow older and luckily doctors and specialists have developed pills to help ease the pain and make some of their symptoms go away. The average senior citizen takes at least 7 pills a day, if not more and must take them to function pain free on a daily basis. However, along with old age comes forgetfulness and therefore it becomes difficult to remember when to take their pills, what pill to take, and how often to take them. They could forget and then be in pain or take too many and it could be detrimental to their health as oppose to help it like it is suppose to. Another issue is timing; while they may remember they have to take some that day, many require specific times so they do not interfere with the other medication they're taking. My grandmother spends countless hours telling my grandfather to take his pills, having to remember his and her own comes to be quite a challenge. Remembering to get their prescriptions filled is another task in itself for if they forget they’re without medicine for maybe a day or two until they can go get it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

SMART Board Problem

Many Schools and business are equipped with SMART board and interactive white board technologies. Such Technologies are very large, on average of 12 sguare feet, and take up much wall space. They can cover wall, chalk board, white board, bulletin board, or even in some cases window space. The space could be used if the board wasn't a hindrance and could move. Sense they are built stationary and cannot move, the also have a narrowed view angle.

Lack of proper stimuli in alarm clocks

Today most all alarm clocks use only sound to wake somebody up, and those that do use light do it ineffectively. Many people wake up well to strong light, and the clcoks that do exist are far too dim.
note: after I proposed a solution to this google@home was announced at Google IO and it looks like it will basically solve this eventually using the android platform and api, so I would rather solve this problem, or another. Many electronics today use electricity even when they are are not functioning, you can fix this by using a power strip and turning the power off manually, but an automatic solution would be much better.

Cost-Efficient Handicapped Swing

Everyday physically impaired children are faced with limitations in their lives. Particularly in playground settings where you do not see many handicapped accessible items and if you do, these items can sometimes be expensive or hard to install. My idea would be to provide children with a handicapped accessible, durable, safe and most importantly cost efficient swing for children to ride.

Portable Memory Shortfalls

In today's portable devices, memory storage is often an issue and almost always a central feature. The main problems with our current memory systems are excessive use of power, lack of capacity, ease of use, and speed. There are already several methods by which portable memory is stored, but none of them fulfill all of these criteria to a satisfactory degree.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Car Alarms: A Noise Polluting Nuisance

One of the main problems with the car key fob, I believe, is the panic button. The panic button is used to activate the car's alarm when you are in a crisis situation. On almost all key fobs the panic button is a red button with word "panic" written on it. It works by simply transmitting a radio frequency to a receiver in the car. Once the radio signal is received, the car alarm is triggered. It is a pretty straightforward system, but it has a major problem. It is just too easy to accidentally trigger. And since it is safe to say that most car owners will never have a need to use the panic button, the annoyance of trying to avoid pressing it outweighs the fact that it is there for safety reasons. If the fob is held the wrong way, rubs against a coin in your pocket, or a small child just wants to press the "big red button", an extreme annoyance, which many would consider noise pollution, ensues. These accidental button pressings also lead to a bigger problem; the ignoring of car alarms. If car alarms are almost always triggered by accident, why should anyone pay attention to them? As a society, especially in urban areas, people have become immune to car alarms to a point where they no longer serve a purpose, even when someone is actually in trouble.
A second problem that goes hand in hand with the issue of an easily triggered car alarm arises when the car alarm is in fact triggered. If the car alarm is set off by accident or there is a thief breaking into it, how are you supposed to know that it is your car beeping? If you are in a crowded restaurant or at a little league baseball game there are so many cars in the parking lot that it could be anyone's car going off. By the time someone actually takes the initiative to see whose car is making the ear piercing noise, the car has already made an extreme ruckus and any potential robbers would have stolen and gotten away with what they wanted out of your car. And therein lies the problem. There should be a way for a car owner to know if their car is potentially being broken into.

Washing Machine Hose Ruptures

The average American neglects to turn off their water supply valves after doing their laundry. By leaving the water supply open, the washing machine hoses are subject to a constant pressure of 80 pounds per inch. This much pressure can easily rupture the hose, especially if its an older model. A rupture can lead to 60 gallons of water on your floor in one hour, and upwards of $5,000 in damages. This increases if your machine isn't on the basement level, as water will damage the ceiling and walls below.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Quagmire that is Modern Computer Cooling: Low Performance, High Heat, No Way Out

Heat is a computer’s worst enemy. In every component, buildup of heat causes the kind of excess noise, unreliability, and performance bottlenecks that have plagued the personal and enterprise computing industries for years. The devastating effect of heat on computer components can be most easily felt when a part fails from overheating. According to researchers at Intel, “increasing HDD [hard disk drive] temperature by 5°C has the same effect on reliability as switching from 10 percent to 100 percent HDD workload” ( /215800830?pgno=3). Overheating of the processor, memory, or graphics card is also notorious for causing seemingly random shutdowns and freezes. In particularly severe cases such as the infamous Xbox 360 “Red Ring of Death” problem, overheating can cause permanent damage costing hundreds of dollars.

A slightly less obvious effect of inadequate cooling in computer components comes in the form of performance slowdowns. Since heat increases more or less linearly with processor clock speed, modern processors scale down to lower speeds when temperatures get too high. Also, the only reason that no consumer processor has shipped with a clock speed above 3.6GHz is that neither Intel’s nor AMD’s air coolers can dissipate the heat produced by faster-clocked processors. When NVidia’s GTX 480 graphics card came out in March of 2010, it had to ship with more than 6% of its processing units disabled because even top of the line air coolers couldn’t handle the full heat of the card. It’s worth noting that for the most part, these problems only affect users of high-performance equipment, such as gamers, scientific and mathematical modelers, and engineers. While this fact might limit the potential market share of a high-performance cooling product, manufacturers such as Corsair and Asetek have partnered with companies like Acer, Alienware, and HP to provide cooling directly to the makers of powerful gaming computers and workstations.

With new components that produce more heat than ever and cooling technology at the same level of sophistication as it was 20 years ago, traditional air cooling has also become louder and more expensive. Massive copper heat pipes increase the prices of high-end coolers, and increasingly more numerous and powerful fans have become loud annoyances to consumers trying to get some work –or play– done at a quiet computer.

The Result: Heat distortion on a poorly-cooled Mac

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Street Lamp Problem

In all communities street lamps waste incredible amounts of energy when no one is on the street to benefit from the expended light. Street lamps are essential for safety and many states and countries have laws requiring minimum amounts of light. The major problem is protecting not only the people affected by street lamps but the environments and resources affected as well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


When driving a nice new car there is a good chance there is some sort of touchscreen or big display in the dash providing you entertainment. It can play music, check weather, get sport scores or give directions. Now lets shift the train of thought. If you buy even a top of the line motorboat there isn't an option for anything like this. The closest you get is a nice radio that might be able to play your ipod. It takes a lot less focus to drive a boat then a car so it makes sense to me to have a nice interactive way to provide the same kind of entertainment like the one you find in a car.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My problem:

Radio stations aren’t ideal. Everybody that has ever listened to the radio knows the frustration of not being able to find a station, song, or artist that they want to listen to. Also, when you travel out of the area, all of the radio stations are different than what you are used to. This makes it impossible to listen to the stations that you generally listen to.

The Pedal Flusher

Final Presentation

I attended the current EDD class's final presention last thursday.

Thoughts on the Final Presentation

Last Thursday, the 2011 EDD class gave a series of presentations of the year’s work to a panel of local engineers. I attended this event to get a better understanding of the class, as well as to see what is in store for me next year.

Overall, I thought the presentations were very professional. All three groups were clear in their explanations of their individual design processes from idea to finished product, and they answered most of the panel’s questions without a hitch. I especially enjoyed the demonstration of the ICCI, as well as viewing the multitude of prototypes for the dehumidifier. It was a shame that the golf cart mister’s demonstration did not work, but I got a good enough idea of how the product functioned from the presentation. I do have a few criticisms; namely that the mister group’s presentation may have gotten a bit long-winded in describing all the challenges they faced in the design process instead of focusing on the product itself, and that the dehumidifier group didn’t seem to know how their product actually worked when asked about the store-bought dehumidifier inside.

It is not my job to criticize the groups or to shower them with complements however. What I took away from the experience was that this class seems to provide a reasonably realistic picture of a career in engineering. The EDD program provides students with a chance to identify a real world problem and to go through all the steps of solving it, including the actual engineering work, but also fund raising, gathering feedback from the community, and presenting finished products to potential buyers or investors. I was disappointed that students didn’t seem to have enough time in the year to finalize and market their designs, but I suppose that’s inevitable given the short school year and the substantial amount of work that goes in to realizing even a simple idea.

In the end, this series of presentations gave me a great look at what next year will be like. After seeing the specific types of work that an EDD class does, as well as the challenges they face along the way, I can only come to one conclusion: I couldn’t be more excited for the coming year.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Final Presentation

Thursday, June 9, 2011

EDD Presentation

I attended the EDD presentation last night, and I was very impressed by what I saw and what I heard. Everything that the students said last night were organized and well planned. It was obvious to me that these students knew their subject material well. As the various engineers that came last night asked the students detailed questions about their projects, I feel that they answered the questions thoroughly

I was especially impressed with the ICCI group, as they explained the various ways that they did the testing of the materials to really prove that their prototype would be durable enough for a young child to play with. The use of the Wii remote to sense the infrared lights so that the child would actually be able to play a game that wasn't on an actual computer screen or a television was an excellent idea. According to my observations, I would definitely agree that this would be a fantastic innovation for children so that they can still have fun, but not break valuable and expensive equipment. I feel that this innovation would do well in today's market, with how quickly technology is advancing.

The Mister group's innovation was also an innovation that I feel would do well in today's market, especially now that summer is quickly approaching. It's human nature to enjoy doing various activities outside, but sometimes the heat can be unbearable. I wasn't able to see their prototype last night because from my angle where I was sitting I wasn't able to see it, and we needed to move on to the other presentation. However, based on what I was hearing from the engineers that were here, their prototype contained elements that made it very successful. One thing that I could even see deriving from this innovation, is a more portable mister that could be used not only on golf carts, but perhaps on bikes while someone is going on a bike ride, or on other things as well. The Mister was an excellent idea.

The Dehumidifier group had an excellent idea as well. In today's market I think that it would do fairly well, however there are certain aspects that still need to be addressed, as the group stated last night, such as security when the window is open allowing for the excess water from the aquamat to drain outside, and another aspect that needs to be addressed is the prevention of the consequences of "water near wires." Perhaps one thing that would draw more attention from the public, make this innovation more customizable, such as the color of the acrylic plastic surrounding the dehumidified. Having various colors of this innovation could be a selling point, as the colors could add decoration and interest to a room in a house. They are pretty interesting to look at, and the group who presented last night was correct in their statement that this would be a great item to have for someone who has a summer home that they can't be at all the time. This could even be used for someone who doesn't have summer home, and just wants to have this innovation in their house.

Out of all the groups, I think that the ICCI would do the best in today's market, just because of the American mindset of technology. However, the mister and the dehumidifier would do well also, because both of these prototypes are "environmentally friendly" as the groups stated.

Everybody did a very nice job last night. They should be proud of themselves, and the amount of work and creativity that they put into their projects this year. We have some big shoes to fill for next year :)