Engineering skills in practice

Engineering skills in practice

Photo by: Courtesy of the Office of Communications and Technology Services

A class project for three sophomore engineering students resulted in a device that enables children without fingers to safely ride a bicycle. The project, for the course Design Methodology Systems Approach, required students to find a need, develop a plan to meet that need and analyze the results. Bruce Byrd, Nick Sopchak and Taylor Parrish fabricated a plastic clip for a local girl, who was born without fingers, to wear on her hand. The clip is fastened onto the girl’s arm with a brace, which fits onto a mechanism on the handlebar of the bike. The students went through 22 concepts before finding one that worked. The course, co-taught by Tim Foutz and Sid Thompson, engineering professors with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is designed to develop critical-thinking skills. Other projects in the course this year included a “dish wand” that connects to an ordinary kitchen sprayer to allow a person with one arm to wash dishes, and a device that measures and dispenses the right amount of baby formula to help blurry-eyed parents with late-night feedings.

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