Student design challenge winners announced

The NASA Boot, a foot support system for the extra-vehicular activities suit, took first-place honors in this year’s Safety Products Student Design Challenge competition. Designers Melissa Mello, Jennifer Voth and Susan Vue, students of Dr. Lucy Dunne at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, collaborated with the Soft Goods Lab at NASA’s Johnson Space Center to design and construct a product that addresses NASA’s specific problem statement. The result was a boot/restraint system that can be adjusted when pressurized to 6.2psi over ambient pressure to securely index the crew member’s heel, ankle, and instep without inhibiting boot donning and doffing.

Daniel Cole, Jessica Koch, Matalie Meurer, Maggie Rohs and Ann Sorcic, students at the University of Wis. Stout, received second place for their Emergency Evac Harness, a product designed to assist in safely removing a person from a dangerous circumstance, such as a fire, by placing them in the harness, which secures and supports their weight. An affordable personal carrying device, it can be easily slipped under wheelchairs, in the sides of walkers or into a backpack. Dr. Gindy Neidermeyer was their supervisor.

The third place honor was awarded to T.H.E. Shirt (Triangle Harness for Evacuation), designed by Katelyn Fukushima, a student at the University of Calif., David. It incorporates an evacuation harness into a shirt, eliminating the difficulty of removing a harness from a backpack, untangling rescue loops, or bending down and stepping into loops in order to deploy the harness. In the event that a search and rescue member requires assistance, the evacuation harness in the shirt can be quickly deployed. Dr. Susan B. Kaiser served as her supervisor.

Sponsored by Safety and Technical Products and the Narrow Fabrics Institute, divisions of IFAI, the contest was established to encourage students of design, textiles, engineering, and allied curricula to solve safety and protection problems using technical textiles and narrow fabrics in functional designs.

Nine projects were submitted from three schools and 29 student designers. Dr. Seshadri Ramkumar, Wendy Horowitz and Dr. Maureen MacGillivray served on the committee.