Carnegie Mellon University
December 07, 2012

Media Advisory: Carnegie Mellon Mechanical Engineers To Showcase Consumer Product Prototypes at Senior Design Expo

Contact: Chriss Swaney / 412-268-5776 /
Event: Tired of cramming your travel clothing into musty old suitcases? Worried about how your bicycle ride to work could turn into a fender bender with an aggressive motorist? Carnegie Mellon University mechanical engineering students have created luggage with more space for all your travel needs. They also have created a bike light that helps riders peer around corners.

These innovations and more will be on display at the CMU Mechanical Engineering Department's Senior Design Expo.

"The novel carry-on luggage has a pump integrated into the handle so the user can suck air out of the space between folded clothing, giving the passenger much more space," said Jeremy J. Michalek, associate professor of mechanical engineering at CMU and an expo adviser. "And the innovative bike device allows the rider to aim the bicycle light while riding around turns to gain better visibility at night."

Each team dissected and analyzed a competitor product, conducted market research, identified opportunities for innovation and developed concepts through analysis, testing and several iterations of prototypes. 

"The bike light is extremely important as we see more and more riders being injured in vehicle collisions throughout Pittsburgh, which has been designated a 'bicycle-friendly city,'" Michalek said.

Some of the other team projects on display, include an iron that does not need an ironing board, a compact cane for the blind that detects obstacles, a motorized sink scrubber for washing dishes and a human-powered water pump for the developing world.

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday, Dec. 10.

Where: Singleton Room, Roberts Engineering Hall, Carnegie Mellon University, off Frew Street and Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15213.