Attention Iron Man fans. Powered suits of armor like the one designed by fictional industrialist/engineer Tony Stark may soon save or improve the lives of real people. In 2011, a motorized exoskeleton created by engineering students at the University of California, Berkeley allowed classmate Austin Whitney to walk across the stage to receive his diploma. Now, English athlete Claire Lomas is making medical history as the first paraplegic to use an exoskeleton to get around home and town.
Millions of people get the blues during winter. It’s called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, and current treatment requires shining a light in the sufferer’s face for up to two hours a day. But Finnish start-up Valkee has a better idea: directing light into sufferers’ ears.
Ever dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur? If so, you’re in good company – over half of U.S. millennials (ages 18 to 34) say they want to start a business or already have done so, according to a recent survey from the Kaufmann Foundation. Even more exciting is the fact that nowadays, starting a business does not necessitate leaving school, as more and more universities are striving to accommodate entrepreneurial students.
In this new eGFI blog series, we bring you four inspiring stories of undergraduate engineering students who have successfully patented their original ideas, teamed up with classmates and professors to launch businesses, and navigated the startup world, all while keeping up with their coursework.
So step aside, Bill Gates – the days of dropout turned entrepreneur may be numbered.
Science fiction stories have served as inspiration for many a brilliant engineer, and Ayanna Howard is no exception. At age 11 she discovered the show Bionic Woman, where a badly injured athlete is given artificial limbs that grant her superhero-like abilities, and decided that she wanted to create technologically advanced prosthetics when she grew up. Howard later realized that medical school held little appeal to her, and instead opted to pursue robotics.
It’s fortunate that she did. After completely her PhD in electrical engineering at the University of Southern California, Howard went on to work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where she led research teams to develop software for Mars-roving robots.