Jr. Bills Find New Solutions for Old Problems

Last semester, SLUH launched a new STEM Innovation Product Development course focused on creating an innovative product that helps others. The class features creative development, human-centered design and prototyping.

In the first part of the course, students learned about the innovation process through product research, conducting interviews and utilizing materials gleaned from business and college resources. Then, students worked on their own innovative products and built several prototypes. The capstone of the course was a presentation to students, parents and teachers about each product in which students made a pitch statement and then described their work in the context of the innovation process.

According to Dan See, who teaches the course, “Even though each student had their own product, they worked extensively in collaborative groups and applied a variety of methodologies to help them arrive at a problem statement, a pool of solutions and eventually prototypes.”

Students created innovative products in a wide variety of areas, including:

  • A solution to the problem of lighting control in buildings in which there is extensive use of glass (Sam Mulcahy ‘20)
  • A system of color coordination in engine design that would help DIY mechanics repair their cars (Jacob Heard ‘20)
  • A solution to the problem of comfort and portability for people who are on the move and need to relax or recline (KJ Daley ‘20)
  • An app that coaches could use to more effectively teach sports teams their plays (Tommy O’Keefe ‘20)
  • Application of electronic microprocessors and controllers to food preparation and food storage (Luke Giunta ‘20 and Micah See ‘20)
  • Creation of an app that would allow people to create their own music with their voice (Eric Wu ‘20)
  • An approach to helping children learn about the Bible through the use of recorders connected to a microprocessor (Noah Hayes ‘20)
  • A boot insert that would decrease the probability and severity of lower leg injury for motocross riders (Ryan Wiesehan ‘20)

“The first iteration of the class was a success,” says See. “Students were able to use a variety of technology tools ranging from project-management software to computer-assisted design software. They also applied STEM principles coupled with human-centered design principles to arrive at their solutions.”

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