FLINT — Combining creativity and engineering, students in Doug Melton’s Electrical Engineering Senior Design class at Kettering University re-purposed old luggage into new, hip audio systems that are as chic as they are portable.
These works of engineering and art will be auctioned off Friday, Dec. 9, at Kettering University’s Campus Center, with proceeds to benefit Goodwill Industries of Mid-Michigan. Students will present their creative projects at 4 p.m., and then an auction begins at 5:20.p.m. in the Great Court of Kettering’s Campus Center.
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Calling the project “Audio Tourister,” Melton assigned his students the task of designing a portable audio system in vintage luggage, which was donated by Goodwill of Mid-Michigan. The requirements: audio systems had to be usable with modern portable music systems and be housed entirely within the vintage luggage.
Senior Design Courses, or “Capstone Courses,” are usually the last bridge for Kettering students between undergraduate education and the engineering profession. The course challenges students to integrate and synthesize their cumulative engineering knowledge to create something of their own design, coupling theory with practical application.
Melton got the inspiration for the assignment from junior Devin Hauersperger, a mechanical engineering major from Troy.
“I love doing projects on my own outside of school and work,” said Hauersperger. “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.”
The Capstone class teams had to design and integrate a battery charger, audio amplifier and active or passive crossovers into the final product. They were also allowed to use microprocessors, memory cards, wireless or remote controls and other custom features. All this had to be accomplished with a minimal budget and strict time constraints.
“The design process is the emphasis of the course,” said Melton. “The designs take shape in student laboratory notebooks and then become a complete set of design documents, with professional schematics and drawings,” he continued. Then teams must produce their prototype. Project specifications include cost, weight and size, travel-worthiness and acoustic performance.
The auction to benefit Goodwill just adds a new twist to the Capstone class, Melton added.
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 and a focus 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 1,900 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students choose from 14 undergraduate and 9 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.