A team of current and former WSU students has been selected to participate in the annual March Madness for the Mind on March 20 at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
Sponsored by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), the event is a celebration of creativity and entrepreneurship. Select groups of students that have received NCIIA support are invited to showcase their projects during the alliance’s annual meeting.
Also at the meeting, Howard Davis,
clinical assistant professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering, and Bob Olsen,
associate dean for undergraduate programs and student services in the College of Engineering and Architecture, will present papers on innovations in teaching technical entrepreneurship.
The students earlier formed Developing World Technologies, a nonprofit organization to create and distribute culturally relevant, life-changing technologies in developing countries. The team focused on human-powered irrigation pumps with the idea of increasing farming productivity.
Their product, the WaterCycle, is a continuation of several earlier iterations of senior design projects as students have worked to solve the engineering, communication and logistical challenges of providing their product in Malawi, the third poorest country in the world. The bicycle-powered irrigation pump is easy to use, durable, affordable and easily transported.
“Our motivation isn’t to ‘get rich,’” said senior Brendan Dallas. “It is a passion to follow a vision and to help people. That vision really materialized during our two-week excursion in Malawi.”
The team hopes to start selling its pump by November. Members also hope to develop the product so it can be locally built and assembled in the regions where it will be used. The team plans to partner with the WSU student chapter of Engineers Without Borders on testing designs and on future projects.