Winners of the SourceAmerica Design Challenge
The SourceAmerica Design Challenge is an engineering competition that has teams of students working hand in hand with people that have disabilities to create new forms of useful technologies. This competition runs at the national level and has students that are currently attending high school or college as its participants. Each team works closely with an individual provided by a nonprofit agency that has a disability. Together they invent a device, process, software or system that would be useful to those looking to enhance productivity or those who may face workplace obstacles. Teams have their final product graded on how well in works in real world situations and how much of an impact it would make in the workplace.
Though the years that this challenge has been held it has benefited several groups of people. Those with disabilities are able to work alongside other students as equals and then are able to reap the rewards and new technologies that were created for the event. The students get to step out of traditional classroom studies to work on a project that with significantly improve the lives of others through increasing job proficiency. Also, the nonprofit agencies earn increased revenue and workplace efficiency, not to mention any media coverage that may occur during the SourceAmerica Design Challenge.
This year the first place winners of the SourceAmerica Design Challenge were Concord High School and California State University. The team from Concord High School made a computerized scale which was color-coded. Named the “Weigh Master” it would increase efficiency and make it easier at the nonprofit company Maggie and Friends which is based out of Wilmington, Delaware. California State University eliminated physical discomfort by reformatting the creation process of hole punchers. By implementing LEAN on their engineering techniques there were able to increase production rates by 50 percent. Their nonprofit agency, FVO Solutions, is located in Pasadena, California.
The second place teams were Copley High School who worked with the nonprofit agency Weaver Industries ProPak to increase the number of employees that can assemble grinder caps and Ohio University who teamed up with SW Resources to create a hand press which helps more employees complete a specific task. The other finalists at this years SourceAmerica Design Challenge were Copley High School who teamed up with SecurShred and Lawrence Technological University who worked with Services to Enhance Potential who won third place, Olathe East High School who won fourth place with Shawnee Mission Northwest High School and Wethersfield High School who worked with CW Resources to win fifth place.