For the second consecutive year, students in the Engineering Entrepreneurship minor program contributed winning ideas in the national University of Detroit Mercy/Ford Innovation Contest, which drew more than 25 teams from seven universities. This year, four teams from Villanova participated, with two teams of Wildcats taking second and third place.
“We built participation in this contest into our junior curriculum for the Engineering Entrepreneurship minor program because it gives our students a unique opportunity to connect with representatives from a major American industry, develop ideas that could have a positive impact on millions of people, and blend creativity with engineering,” says Edmond J. Dougherty EE ’69, MSCS ’86, Director of the program.
This year, Ford challenged students to develop an innovation that could be built into any facet of the automobiles they manufacture. Teams interfaced with Ford contacts via Skype at specified intervals throughout the challenge period to receive direction, input, and feedback. Then, each team submitted an innovation pitch, along with a three-minute video commercial.
With second place, Nicholas DeLuca ME ‘13, L. Ryan Hughes ME ‘13, Brandon Orr ME ’13, and Javier Sevilla ME ’13 proposed a solution for reducing or removing blind spots. Using organic light-emitting diodes, they suggested a flexible apparatus containing a camera that can be inserted into an automobile’s blind spot. The cameras then display what is happening beyond the blind spot, as though the space is transparent. They received $1,500, a team trophy, and individual certificates. Watch their video pitch here.
Third place winners Laura Krotowski ChE ‘13, Monica Maschue ChE ‘13, Daniel Knapp ChE ‘13, and Antonio de la Mata CpE ‘13 developed a concept for smart door technology, which automatically checks to determine whether a pedestrian, biker, or another car is coming before the driver opens the door. Ford awarded them $1,000, a team trophy, and individual certificates. Watch the video.
Ford honored this year’s winners on Nov. 22 via Skype as part of an international meeting on global technology.