UW-Madison: Engineering students take out the trash, cash in on design competition

CONTACT: Fred Elder, 608-263-9328, [email protected]

MADISON – University of Wisconsin-Madison engineering mechanics students took home $4,500 in prizes from the second annual EMA Senior Design Competition, held Dec. 14 on the UW-Madison campus.

The contest is intended to motivate and reward students for designing a unique product and demonstrating the function and marketability of their design through prototyping, complete business plans and presentation materials.

The three judges chose to award first prize of $2,500 to the Litter Fitter, an environmentally friendly, human-powered trash compactor. By using human power rather than electricity to compact garbage, the Litter Fitter can be manufactured at a cost significantly lower than existing trash compactors. The Litter Fitter was designed by Kathryn Grajeda, Beloit, Wis.; Adam Koch, Marshfield, Wis.; Dimitri Krattiger, Waukesha, Wis.; Tyler Tallman, Stanley, Wis.; and Steven Wisser, Bloomington, Minn.

The second prize of $1,000 was awarded to Ro-Bo Rack, a rotating bowling-ball rack designed to conserve space in bowling alleys and make bowling-ball selection more convenient by preventing participants from bending over to select a bowling ball. Ro-Bo Rack was also awarded the Peoples’ Choice Award of $500 by almost 300 guests who attended the competition or viewed and voted online. The Ro-Bo Rack design team consists of Wisconsin students Michael Dietzler, Madison; Ryan Eichberger, New Berlin; Brent Karlen, Wausau; Scott Miller, Green Bay; and Will Yu, Madison.

Great Escape, an inexpensive emergency escape system that allows handicapped people to rapidly and independently descend a staircase, earned an honorable mention and $500. Users can assemble, attach and ride the device without assistance from others. The Great Escape design team includes Tim Feyereisen, Peter Kramer, Matt Kuhnen, Olivier Lebon, Ryan Milanowski and Mike Peterson.

View an archived video of the presentations at http://homepages.cae.wisc.edu/~elder/watch.html.