Entrepreneurial Engineering Students Improve Ambiance on Huckster Hill

February 11, 2016

What if engineering students from different majors had an opportunity to develop a solution for an actual company in a single semester? That is exactly what students in Professor Mark Povinelli’s Introduction to Entrepreneurial Engineering did last fall. Working with Echo, a small local design company, students experienced a real life design process that included ideation, prototyping, fabrication, and installation. Echo designed and built Huckster Hill Park in the Syracuse University neighborhood. If you’ve ever visited the park, you’re aware of the recess lighting underneath several park benches that provides a warm ambiance to the park at night. The lights, however, were too intense for people approaching and sitting at the benches. The class took on the project to design and fabricate filters for the lights to reduce their intensity while maintaining the aesthetics. Students began by meeting with Echo’s Damian Vallelonga and Brendan Rose to observe and discuss the problem. Then, working with a limited schedule and budget, students formed multidisciplinary teams that presented several prototype design solutions to Echo at a preliminary design review. They fabricated prototypes and the final filter parts in the College of Engineering and Computer Science student shops and investigated the opacity and refraction properties of various material combinations. In the end, the class formed a single team to finalize the design based on feedback from Echo and presented their prototype at a design review. Students even interacted with the light vendor, Kichler, and looked at the potential to provide filters as an accessory to the their light design. The class installed their filters in November and they are now part of the park experience. “This class gave students the opportunity to engage in a real world problem and interact with a customer through the entire design process. Students were able to learn about how business opportunities are developed and how to innovate, resulting in a final fabrication and installation of their design,” says Povinelli Povinelli’s Innovation and Entrepreneurial Engineering classes will be offered every semester as an undergraduate course for sophomores and above (ECS 300) and as a graduate course (ECS 600). For undergraduates this class can be used as credit for a Social Science/Humanities elective or an Engineering and Computer Science minor in place of an EEE course.