Engineering Conference Showcases Students’ Best Work

A timing system for an autocross race course and a gearbox that allows someone to steer a wheelchair with just one hand were among the senior design projects that students at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, presented April 27 at the Richard J. Fasenmyer Engineering Design Conference.

More than 200 students showed their work. Most of their research was sponsored by industry partners, including Lord Corp., Northrop Grumman, Dresser-Rand and Bayer Material Science.

The Barber National Institute funded the wheelchair project – a ratcheting mechanism with a differential and a disc brake. The system allows a user to move a wheelchair with only one hand.

“You push and pull on it with one hand,” said David Forsman, senior lecturer in engineering, who supervised the project. “And with the same hand, you can steer it left or right.”

Students in the School of Engineering at Penn State Behrend must complete a yearlong capstone applied-design project. The annual Fasenmyer conference, named for the late Richard J. Fasenmyer, founder of RJF International Corp., showcases the best of that work.

John Twerdok, senior business line executive for digital simulation products at Autodesk, was the featured speaker at the conference, which was held in the Jack Burke Research and Economic Development Center. Twerdok is a founding member and current president of the Technology Network Alliance, an international group of computer-aided engineering experts.