Thursday September 28, 2017

Dayton Flyers: Saving Lives and Saving Seats

By Katherine Pasternock

Dayton Engineering graduates and students win big for innovative designs and research, ranging from more comfortable stadium seating to emergency response drones.

Neet Seat, a pouch that attaches to arena seats, is designed to comfortably hold coats and other items so fans can enjoy the game. Zach McHale ’06, is committed to providing a better seating experience for fans by preventing popcorn and soda from spilling all over their items. Neet Seat frees up space so anyone can cheer on the Dayton Flyers or any other sports team of choice.

McHale recently won first place at the University of Dayton’s 11th annual Flyer Pitch business plan competition in March. Over 200 teams competed in six different rounds held in Dayton, China, and Vietnam. McHale won $25,000 for his clever design.

Another Dayton graduate and researcher, Kristen Comfort, has recently won a five-year, over half-million-dollar CAREER award to build a cellular model that could lead to better medicine delivery to illnesses like tumors and infections.

Comfort’s cellular model will act more like the human body, allowing a better understanding and visualization of human-drug interactions. Her research could be more cost effective and ethical because it will avoid animal testing.

Kristen Comfort is also the director and chair of the bioengineering program. She has experience in testing 3-D cultures, multicellular systems, and fluid flow models. She wants to use her grant to combine these experiences and create a more realistic system for drug-testing.

Dayton graduate students and undergraduates will also be involved in Comfort’s project. "In addition to having the resources to carry out some really exciting and innovative research, I’m thrilled to be able to use the CAREER award to introduce science to a new group of students” said Comfort.

Undergraduate students can also get hands on engineering experience outside of the classroom. Senior Gonzalo Perez built a prototype of an emergency response drone called Code E. Perez received $7,000 in funding for his design from the Office of the Dean in the School of Engineering.

Perez’s drone, with a motor upgrade, will be able to deliver up to 20 pounds of emergency equipment to a scene to assist before a medical crew can arrive. Emergency supplies could include medication, water, or even a defibrillator.

Perez has pitched his invention to the University’s business plan competition twice as well as the Standard Symposium. This year he made it to the Flyer Pitch semifinal round and will present the completed project to the Ohio Emergency Management Agency for consideration. Perez will graduate in August and has applied for a provisional patent for Code-E.

All information from the University of Dayton Magazine Summer 2017 

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