At BYU, the engineering Capstone senior project year is now underway. There are 179 students. The first two weeks included lecture on the fundamentals of product development by Professors Carl Sorensen and Brian Jensen regarding Opportunity Development, Architecture Development, Subsystem Engineering, System Refinement, Producibility Refinement, and Post-Release Refinement. It’s going to be a great year.
During the second week, students were divided into teams of 3 for a one week mini-project; the development of a 2-Liter bottle opener. On Friday we were impressed with the creativity and market thoughtfulness that went into each design. We saw descriptions, sketches, drawings, videos, prototypes of cardboard, paper, plastic, and yes, even 3D printed functional models. Concepts included puncturing spigot devices to extract the drink from the top or the bottom, multi-knob hand cranks with various gripping techniques, and even the riffle shooting lever to open the bottle from a distance. All students and coaches were given 8 post-it notes for multi-voting to go around and evaluate all the concepts. The winner? A sleek key-chain mounted compliant mechanism gripper device complete with video presentation to enhance desirability and transferability.