Carnegie Mellon University
December 06, 2013

Media Advisory: Carnegie Mellon Mechanical Engineering Students Showcase Products To Improve Life in Developing Countries

Contact: Chriss Swaney / 412-268-5776 /
Event: Everyone deserves clean water. Some 3,000 children die daily in Africa from disease spread through drinking contaminated water.  

That's why Carnegie Mellon University mechanical engineering students are creating a rolling water transport and filtration system to ensure the use of clean water in developing nations where infrastructure is sparse. The students are part of the university's Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Course in which they are challenged to put form into function by creating prototype products for a variety of industry sectors. This year's theme involved "Solving Problems of Social Relevance."

"It is imperative that young engineers understand that they can apply their skills to solve hard problems of societal interest and need. This class shows how bright young minds can conceive of, design and build product prototypes that can help people in developing nations, help people in times of crisis, empower people to efficiently and without negative impact use the world around them, and to aid people in their daily lives," said Jonathan Cagan, director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a professor of mechanical engineering.

Other class projects to assist developing countries include shoes that expand as their owners grow to combat foot disease and infection, a machine to safely re-sharpen hypodermic needles and reduce unhealthy reuse, and a fruit picking tool that reduces bruising and maximizes ease of use to support an agricultural economy.

The teams followed a formal design process that included uncovering and understanding opportunities to address societal need, and went through three design iterations before unveiling their final concept.  

When: 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 9.

Where: Connan Room, University Center, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15213.