Entrepreneurial Engineering Students Improve Ambiance on Huckster Hill
What if engineering students from different majors had an opportunity to develop a solution for an actual company in a single semester?
That is exactly what students in Professor of Practice Mark Povinelli’s “Introduction to Entrepreneurial Engineering” did last fall. Working with Echo, a small local design company, students experienced a real life design process that included ideation, prototyping, fabrication and installation.
Echo designed and built Huckster Hill Park at Westcott and South Beech streets in the Syracuse University neighborhood. If you’ve ever visited the park, you’re aware of the recess lighting underneath several park benches that provides a warm ambiance to the park at night. The lights, however, were too intense for people approaching and sitting at the benches. The class took on the project to design and fabricate filters for the lights to reduce their intensity while maintaining the aesthetics.
Students began by meeting with Echo’s Damian Vallelonga and Brendan Rose to observe and discuss the problem. Then, working with a limited schedule and budget, students formed multidisciplinary teams that presented several prototype design solutions to Echo at a preliminary design review. They fabricated prototypes and the final filter parts in the College of Engineering and Computer Science student shops and investigated the opacity and refraction properties of various material combinations.
In the end, the class formed a single team to finalize the design based on feedback from Echo and presented its prototype at a design review. Students even interacted with the light vendor, Kichler, and looked at the potential to provide filters as an accessory to the light design. The class installed its filters in November and they are now part of the park experience.
“This class gave students the opportunity to engage in a real-world problem and interact with a customer through the entire design process. Students were able to learn about how business opportunities are developed and how to innovate, resulting in a final fabrication and installation of their design,” says Povinelli.