Engineers are generally thought of as older individuals with advanced degrees. However, inventions and breakthroughs sometimes merely require creativity, the need to solve a problem and the initiative to follow through. A number of innovative ideas have come from the minds of young college students who have devised a variety of interesting products.
Twenty-three year old Sean Whalen designed and constructed an anti-gravity treadmill that he originally intended to be used by astronauts at NASA. However, the ingenious devices are now serving to rehabilitate patients in medical facilities and used by athletes for training. The concept behind the unique treadmill involves reducing the amount of stress that weight-bearing structures must support while walking or running.
Attachable Skateboard Motors
Joe Carabetta, an engineering student from Purdue University, combined his efforts with a friend to establish a company called “Kicker.” The young entrepreneurs design and build electronic accessories for skateboards. The two developed the concept of a battery-powered motor that quickly attaches to one of the rear wheels of a board and features a sensory mechanism. Once applied, the device uses friction that enables skateboards to travel up to 25mph. Carabetta claims the battery lasts a couple of days before requiring charging, which merely requires a standard wall socket plug-in.
Green Living Shower Heads
In keeping with conservation endeavors, four students from Tufts created a shower head that monitors how long someone has been in the shower. Called “Uji,” the device emits a light that turns from green to red over the course of eight minutes. Though designed with eco-friendly enthusiasts in mind, the four also believe that parents with teens might also be drawn to the concept.
Hand Soap Grater
A group of students from Rice University constructed a soap dispenser that uses conventional bar soap. The internal components include a grater that is similar to the kitchen utensil that many use to grate cheese. Instead of liquid soap, the device emits finely grated flakes, which provides users with a larger number of hand soap options. The team also believe that the uniqueness of their invention would serve as a good conversation starter.
Rick Arlow and Zach Bloom, two students from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh University developed a device that opens a patient’s airway in an emergency instead of needing to perform a tracheotomy. The simplistic design of the devices would enable anyone from first responders to medical professionals to open an airway in as little as one minute of time without the need for unnecessary surgery. Arlow, having experience working as a paramedic, saw the need that led to the idea. The concept design was based on the structure of a pit viper snake’s fangs.
Robotic Pet Toys
Chris Taylor was a student at Georgia Tech when he conceived of the idea of creating “Chewbots,” which are mechanical toys designed to entertain dogs. He entered his whimsical creations in an inventor’s competition and won $20,000 for his efforts. Thus far he has three toy designs. A mechanized duck on wheels and a plush or a rubber snowman that bounces via a vibrating motor. Based on tests performed with his products, Taylor shared that dogs love the toys.