ENGINEERING NEWS

Design Expo Showcases Student Work

Projects and portfolios were on display Friday, June 3

Members from Engineers for a Sustainable World displayed their plans for a programmable, hydroponic garden.Members from Engineers for a Sustainable World displayed their plans for a programmable, hydroponic garden.
Jacob Morgan tells a visitor about his kite-powered, aerial photography device.Jacob Morgan tells a visitor about his kite-powered, aerial photography device.
Elaine Shen demonstrated her SPAC-Man app, which helps beginners navigate the gym.Elaine Shen demonstrated her SPAC-Man app, which helps beginners navigate the gym.
Saskia Wiesebron displayed cardboard chairs that she designed for the Northwestern Library.Saskia Wiesebron displayed cardboard chairs that she designed for the Northwestern Library.

When sophomore Jacob Morgan backpacked through the Pictured Rocks in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula last summer, he felt weighed down by his hiking and photography equipment.

“I had a need for lighter, easier equipment,” said Morgan, who is majoring in Manufacturing and Design Engineering (MaDE). “But I realized that what I needed did not exist.”

Morgan decided to take design into his own hands and meet his needs with his own creations. His lightweight, versatile outdoor photography equipment was one of the projects on display at the Segal Design Institute’s Design Expo on Friday, June 3. Hosted by Design for America, the quarterly showcase featured portfolios and projects by undergraduate and graduate students from several of Segal’s programs.

For students who did not yet have plans for after graduation, the expo provided an opportunity to meet with representatives from some top Chicago-area design companies. Faculty and students also circulated the events to view projects and ask questions.

Morgan displayed two projects, which were popular stops at the expo. One combined a kite with a GoPro camera to enable aerial photography. His second project was a fully functional camera tri-pod that used hiking poles as its legs.

“If you’re already carrying hiking poles, then why bring more for the tripod? Use what you have,” said Morgan, who plans to further test his designs this summer when hiking in Wyoming and along the John Muir Trail in California. “I aim to give photographers compact, lightweight solutions and versatility in the field.”

A selection of other displayed projects included:

  • A programmable hydroponics system for growing plants in a closely monitored environment (Engineers for a Sustainable World)
  • SPAC-Man, an app that helps beginners learn how to use fitness machines through audio and video tutorials (Segal Design Certificate)
  • Sustainable furniture crafted out of cardboard for public spaces (Segal Design Certificate)
  • An interactive, web interface that helps students plan research projects (Delta Lab)