I agree Beth - student engineering competitons can have some remarkable projects. I have seen some pretty innovative senior projects as a judge for our local colleges as well. Your comment on commercialization matches my experience in that mass-marketing is probably not practical for most projects but the real world experience it gives students is invaluable and you never know who might take an interest in a student design given the right exposure. The engineering requirements were very challenging on this one - Congrats to the BYU team!
Very cool invention and one that could have a range of utility--from rescue mission-type applications to the ultimate adventure zip line, I would think. It really is amazing how much killer stuff comes out of these student engineering competitions. While much of the work doesn't have the right stuff for commercialization, the germ of some pretty compelling innovations have been born from these events and with the right nurturing and financial backing, who knows where they can go.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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