Green Machine Selected Nationally as One of Six to Compete

May 2, 2013

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The University of Utah Department of Mechanical Engineering Green Machine team was selected as one of six-finalist undergraduate projects nationwide invited to compete in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Bioengineering 2013 Undergraduate Design Project Competition in Rehabilitation and Assistive Devices.

The competition will be held June 26-29, in Sunriver, Oregon. The Green Machine is an autonomous garden cart that follows the user around the yard.  The green machine also has the ability to lift and dump to a height of a standard size trashcan.  Team members are mechanical engineering seniors, Taylor Grenis (lead), Brian Hutchings, Bryan Van Horssen, Clay Williams, and Kolby Sorenson.  Their faculty advisors are Larry DeVries, distinguished professor and Andrew Merryweather, assistant professor in mechanical engineering.

The students generated the original idea for this project.  Team member Kolby Sorenson noted, “Having grandparents who love to garden, but struggle to transport soil, plants, and rocks around their yards, we realized that an electric yard wagon could help them to do what they loved.  Then we realized that this machine could help all people with physical disabilities.  It could do the heavy lifting for them, and follow them to wherever they needed it.”

Sorenson continued, “We were expecting advice on Solid Mechanics and Dynamics calculations, from our faculty advisor, mechanical engineering Distinguished Professor Larry DeVries.  He surprised us with a wealth of knowledge we were not expecting.  In addition to the technical needs, he helped us to make the Green Machine user-friendly and to construct our project schedule.  He even donated his stipend from the NSF grant back into the project.”

The Green Machine undergraduate project was one of 23 senior design projects showcased during the Department of Mechanical Engineering Design Day held on April 16, 2013, in the Olpin Union Building.  The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah is committed to providing students with broad-based, rigorous and progressive education.  By combining state-of-the-art facilities with renowned faculty, the department provides an education that gives students the necessary skills to become the next generation of innovators.