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Press Release

Contact:
Chriss Swaney
412-268-5776

For immediate release:
December 4, 2002

Older Pittsburghers Benefit from Carnegie Mellon Engineering Students╣ Prototype Products

WHAT: Carnegie Mellon University mechanical engineering students will showcase several new prototype products designed to help the elderly. Student projects designed to make life a bit easier for seniors, include a modified snow shovel, redesigned shopping carts and a new "quick-twist" bottle cap for easy access to prescription medicines.

To help students understand the needs of seniors, several experts at Presbyterian Senior Care worked with the students to help design socially relevant products. "The baby boomer generation is not quite ready for long-term care issues, but it is helpful to know we have a generation of engineers knowledgeable about design and consumer issues," said Suzan Krauland, vice president of managed care and community-based services at Presbyterian Senior Care.

A recent study by the American Marketing Society reported that by 2010, more than half of all consumers will focus solely on products designed to "improve the quality of life." "The mission of our design class is to give our students experience in dealing with a variety of engineering challenges while creating an innovative product," said Jonathan Cagan, a professor in mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon and co-author of a new book: "Creating Breakthrough Products." The book, which offers a revolutionary approach to building tomorrow's products, connects strategic planning and brand management to product development.

Two students have applied for a provisional patent and several others may do the same, Cagan said. Last year, Carnegie Mellon issued 55 patents through its Innovation Transfer Center. Nationwide, the U.S. Patent Office in Arlington, Va. issued 187,822 patents last year - up from 182,223 in 2000.

WHEN: 12:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 5

WHERE: The Singleton Room, Roberts Hall, Carnegie Mellon University

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