For my sophomore design class, I worked with a team to design and prototype a economical charger for the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) computer. My team liked the idea of a simple hand-crank generator, but current hand-crank generators aren’t practical to use when the user needs to use the laptop and the charger at the same time. Thus, we decided to use a simple mainspring to store the energy and release it when it is convenient for the user.

This is a very important project to me. Up until I took this class and worked through this project I had some doubts as to whether I should be a mechanical engineer. Design is what I live for, and this project was my first chance to flex design muscles. The design chosen by the group was one that I developed the concept for. I spent many hours outside of class researching existing designs, design requirements, human factors and formulas so that our team would turn out this top-notch design.

Other important things I learned from the project:

  • Functional analysis
  • DFMEA
  • Tesing plans
  • Prototyping