KALAMAZOO — A device that serves as a set of headphones for your cell phone as well keeps it from falling on the ground won first place in the Western Michigan University’s Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering Presentation Day.

Called Antifalling Headphones, the pitch from WMU juniors keeps your cell phone as sleek, shiny and beautiful as the day you bought it, without clunky, ugly cases.

The headphones work like standard headphones — but have a retractable mechanism that clips on so that if you fumble your phone, it will be suspended by the headphones. Think of it as a seat belt for your cell phone.

Second place in the competition went to BF Tool, an advanced firefighter’s axe that has a retractable handle so its length can be customized to suit an individual firefighter’s taste. It also comes with several optional attachments, from hammers to chisels to wedges.

In third place was the Free Walking Leg Brace, a device that allows people with lower leg injuries to walk without crutches, even if they can’t yet place any weight on the injured leg.

A total of 12 teams competed, along with three elementary school entrepreneurs from the Gagie School.

Visitors to the event — which included other tenants of the Business, Technology and Research Park at WMU’s Parkview Campus, where the WMU School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is located — voted for their favorite engineering inventions with play money to determine the winners.

The competition is the brain child of two CEAS professors, Tycho K. Fredericks and Steven Butt.

More at www.wmich.edu/ime/faculty/fredericks.html or www.wmich.edu/ime/faculty/butt.html.


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