High fives

By Brooke Adams, communications specialist, University Marketing and Communications

Here are five cool projects highlighted in the 2017 Student Innovation at the U report, published by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. You can read the entire report, which celebrates the creativity and ingenuity of U students, here.

  • Low-cost air quality sensors: A team of electrical and chemical engineers, led by student Jonathan Whitaker, developed a hand-sized air quality sensor that costs $150. The team is distributing sensors to 150 schools across the Salt Lake Valley and has manufacture-ready plans for mass production.
  • Celebrate Everyday: Jocee Porter, majoring in computer engineering, managed to squeeze volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters between classes. There she met a 16-year-old girl who had recently lost her father and couldn’t afford a prom dress. Porter reached out to friends and soon had the perfect dress for the girl. As Porter shared the experience, she collected more dresses — and ideas for a business she named Celebrate Everyday. Porter now provides free dresses to women across Utah.
  • Dialed Cap: Evan DeGray, a Lassonde Studios resident and multidisciplinary design major, couldn’t find a tool kit that fit his bike the way he wanted. So DeGray, working in the Foundry at the Lassonde Institute, made one and launched a company — Rugged Components LLC — in the process. The Dialed Cap is the world’s first steer-tube integrated multitool.
  • Foster the Children: Utah foster children are getting a boost thanks to the creative teamwork of Daniel Hirst, an electrical engineering major; Meghan Pollard, a marketing major; and Caden Gregorie, an entrepreneurship major. The three came up with Foster the Children as a class project. The organization creates T-shirts from artwork of children in foster care. Proceeds from sales of the T-shirts are used to provide children in foster care with educational support and opportunities.
  • Project Embrace: Mohan Sudabattula, who is majoring in biochemistry, philosophy and health, society and policy, came up with Project Embrace in 2015 while volunteering at a pediatric clinic and seeing how quickly children outgrew prosthetic devices. The international nonprofit collects medical devices — such as crutches, slings, medical boots and braces and wheelchairs — that are still in good condition but no longer being used and repurposes them. In the process, it helps to reduce global health inequalities. Project Embrace is currently collecting items to donate to an orphanage in Hyderabad, India, this summer.