Each semester, students participate in the MSU College of Engineering’s Design Day, a celebration of their hard work and a chance for them to display their engineering projects as well as compete against each other for recognition.
ECE 480 faculty and senior students, in a collaborative effort between the College of Engineering and the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD), work on projects in small groups with a common goal of improving accessibility, based on an area of focus such as sustainability, campus safety, or recycling. This year, two of the RCPD-connected teams placed in the Design Day competition, securing first and third.
Stephen Blosser, Assistive Technology specialist for the RCPD, helped each team make sure that their projects were useful and applicable to a variety of abilities. The first-place team created “Jungle Power Pod: A Photovoltaic Battery-Powered System for Common Portable Electronic Devices.”
“RCPD clients with disabilities are often the victors in a long battle of overcoming,” said Blosser. “Many of these champions do not want to keep their winning strategy to themselves. I am assisting these individuals in their desire to help shorten this journey of success for others.”
The third-place team represented a partnership between the RCPD and MSU Bike Services. Their project was “Intelligent Defense System: Hazard Detection and Collision Avoidance.”
“Students were able to apply what they learned in the classroom to a real-life need,” Tim Potter of MSU Bike Services said. “They helped us create something that will hopefully help save lives.”
MSU’s Infrastructure Planning and Facilities advised and helped organize the ECE 480 students to achieve their goals. With all of these coordinated efforts, the students were able to place in the competition and help make a difference for people with disabilities in the future.
“For two decades our College of Engineering partnerships have allowed RCPD to help engineers understand the unique perspectives and needs of people with disabilities,” said Michael Hudson, RCPD director. “This helps MSU engineers think more globally while those with disabilities help guide solutions to real-life needs.”