The Kettering innovators will bring a little of everything including a music playing suitcase, a robot and urban farm technology to Maker Faire Detroit, and visitors to the Kettering booth can try their hand at making one of two projects from the university’s Innovation Quest project.
Innovation Quest, part of the Entrepreneurship Across the Curriculum program at Kettering, is a series of hands-on engineering challenges that involve applying an understanding of basic engineering principles and on-the-spot-teamwork to complete a task.
Kettering “makers” are:
Devin Hauersperger, who will bring one of her “audio touristers,” a suitcase retro-fitted with a modern audio system that serves as a portable sound system. Hauersperger is a Mechanical Engineering major and Acoustics minor from Troy, Mich., working for Harman Automotive Audio Systems as a co-op employee.
“I love doing projects on my own outside of school and work,” said Hauersperger. “The types of projects I like to do almost always combine technical and creative elements. I wish I could say I came up with this idea myself, but I didn’t. A co-worker saw a photo of a suitcase with speakers in it on the website http://blog.theboomcase.com/ and shared it with me. I thought the project would be really fun because it fits my interests perfectly, and it would be an exciting challenge to figure out exactly what is needed on the inside of these things,” she added.
Hauersperger enjoys taking old things and re-purposing, or modernizing them, which is why she likes the suitcase audio speaker project. “It involves creativity when it comes to the placement of the speakers in order to compliment the style of the suitcase, and technical abilities in the actual construction of the whole system,” she said.
Eric Barch built a robot with two other Kettering students (Chass Bakker and Alex Ford) last summer to exhibit at Maker Faire. He has a regular podcast that features interesting projects he builds. It can be seen at http://ttjcrew.com. He has been making things since high school.
The robot is a six-wheel drive, off-road platform, controlled by an Android app that Barch, a Computer Engineering major from Oxford, Mich., wrote. The motivation behind the project was to demonstrate how to build a robotics control platform utilizing Android and the Arduino microcontroller. This is Barch’s third year exhibiting at Maker Faire.
He is currently working on a startup company called Lava with another Kettering student, Billy Lindeman. Their focus is mobile apps and custom electronics. They are using the entrepreneurial endeavor as their Kettering co-op job and have spent the past few months meeting with investors in San Francisco and New York. They plan to graduate in 2013.
Austin Lawrence and Brian Falther ‘10 are researching a solution to food sustainability with the Urban Tech Farm: Project Grand Rapids, which they describe as, “A project to organically grow crops through automation, sustainability and efficiency.”
“Our motivating factor is that in 40 years, there are going to be over 9 billion people on the planet,” said Lawrence, a senior Mechanical Engineering major. “There isn’t enough land on Earth to accommodate and feed that projected population with current technology. We want to upgrade farming technology and bring it into the city.”
Currently, Falther, a 2010 graduate, and Lawrence are conducting research on growing techniques like aquaponics – using fish and recycled water to grow food in an interdependent loop system without the use of fertilizers or pesticides. Eventually, they would like to design a prototype vertical aquaponics farm in a repurposed shipping container and after proving sustainability, expand to warehouses and other vacant industrial buildings in cities.
About Kettering University
Kettering University is a nationally-ranked STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Business university and a national leader in combining a rigorous academic environment with rich opportunities for experiential learning and cooperative education. Kettering focuses on the learning experience of the individual student. Kettering students develop globally competitive skills and knowledge, along with the soft skills needed to apply both successfully in real-life situations. Kettering’s nearly 2,000 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students choose from 14 undergraduate and 14 master’s degrees, plus more than 50 minors, specialties, concentrations and courses of study. Some of Kettering’s fastest growing academic majors are Bioinformatics, Chemical Engineering and BioChemistry. For more information, visit www.kettering.edu