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Innovating the Future

Green LightStatement of Work for Project Green Light

EDSGN 100: Introduction to Engineering Design

Client-Driven Design Project, Fall 2010

PSU – Berks Campus


Project Objective:

Design an eco friendly product that utilizes renewable and sustainable energy sources (e.g. solar panel, small wind turbine, human energy or chemical cell technology) to produce a light source. The product should not rely on fixed grid power or pre-packaged/pre-charged batteries.
The product should have the following features:

  1. Low Cost
  2. Portable; user friendly; can be carried and handled by an adult
  3. All components must be available “commercial-off-the-shelf”
  4. Various applications, not a single purpose device; it’s primary function must be a light source; it must have at least one additional function

Project Description

New eco-friendly technologies are entering the market place at an accelerated pace. With the growth, expansion of newer applications and increasing demand, prices are dropping faster than forecast. This phenomena offers the opportunity for additional applications in the consumer and commercial marketplace by combining various technologies and taking advantage of the accelerated price slope.
Today, consumers are eager to reduce their power consumption and carbon footprint. Currently, there are a variety of eco-friendly, low-cost portable devices available to consumers with limited applications. Given the market opportunity, it is desired to explore further applications for renewable energy sources.

Project Requirements:

It is desired to use renewable sources of energy to create a light source and power new applications. The project should highlight the following features:

  1. Benchmark existing products on the market today
    • Find existing light sources that are powered by renewable energy
    • Determine common applications of existing products
  2. Select target market
  3. Select a power source (e.g. solar, wind turbine, human energy or chemical cell)
  4. Select the light technology (e.g. incandescent or LED) and other function(s) (e.g. radio)
    • Determine the load (current (mA)) associated with the light technology and function(s)
  5. Select type of energy storage device for later usage
  6. Determine electrical requirements and/or motor technology, if applicable
  7. Create conceptual “black-box” design
    • Peak performance output (Watts)
    • Estimate how much time will be required to charge storage device
    • Estimate output hours based on type of energy storage device
    • Approximate size and weight
    • Life-cycle assessment
      • lifetime of product
      • recyclability of components

Key Deliverables:

Each team will present their project and concept
Note: The course instructor will clarify his or her expectations for these deliverables and their respective due dates.

  • Technical report
    • Project Description
    • Complete list of design concepts showing top 3-4 initial selections
    • CAD drawings detailing the design solutions for the product
    • Conceptual black-box design
  • Non-Working Prototype/model of product encasement
  • Demonstration of input/output sources
  • Poster Board for Design Showcase
    • A Committee of judges composed of faculty members and their designees will provide feedback to all teams covering:
      • ingenuity
      • potential of success
      • possible shortfalls

Materials Provided:

Project Sponsor:

Flemming parlays experience to help student entrepreneurs
Published in ALUMNI News, Winter 2009-2010, by By Ryan C. Szivos

Throughout his professional career, Gregory Flemming ’63, has had the opportunity to be part of, and witness firsthand, the computer industry’s growth and impact on our society. Now retired, Flemming is sharing his expertise in the industry to help cultivate young entrepreneurs at Penn State Berks.

Flemming grew up in Reading as one of eight children in a working class family. After graduating from Reading Central Catholic High School, he could not afford to attend college. However, when he heard about Wyomissing Polytechnic Institute, Flemming saw an ideal way to further both his educational and professional career. “WPI offered the opportunity to take on an apprenticeship for two and-a half years, where you had the chance to alternate between working and attending classes,” Flemming explains. After completing the two-year WPI engineering degree, Flemming decided to further his studies at Penn State’s University Park campus with a four-year degree in Mechanical Engineering. Flemming was met with more than a dozen job offers after graduation.

Eventually, he decided on a career at IBM. Shortly thereafter, he pursued a master’s degree in industrial administration–an “engineer’s MBA”–at Purdue University. He states that he then returned to IBM’s Endicott, New York location just as the computer industry was coming into its own. “When I came out of graduate school, the computer industry really started to take off,” recalls Flemming. “Computers had previously been used primarily for tasks such as accounting but the creation of IBM’s System/360 opened up entirely new applications.” As the company grew, so did the opportunities for Flemming to climb the corporate ladder.

In 1970, he accepted a position as Engineering Manager in Europe for a start-up printer plant. “Working in places like Sweden was a complete change,” explains Flemming. “You learn about different cultures and what motivates people in other areas of the world. For the people I worked with in Sweden, what really motivated them wasn’t financial gains, but the opportunities to work in other parts of the globe and to tackle new challenges.” This experience dealing with a wide range of people, Flemming states, was invaluable at his next position.

After returning to the United States in 1972, he was appointed to a position in which he oversaw approximately 7,000 employees. “At times, this was a very challenging position,” explains Flemming. “You needed to learn the human side of the decisions you make. If we had to fire someone, we made sure to do our homework, and then we made sure to help them land on their feet.” Flemming also has the distinction of being part of the inception of the personal computer in 1979. “The team that really pushed for the development of the PC was a group of twelve young entrepreneurs,” states Flemming. Flemming’s last executive stop at IBM was in Business Development, where he participated in the buying and selling departments. “I spent a lot of that time dealing with lawyers and investment banks,” states Flemming. “It was both difficult and eye-opening as you learn to deal with a completely new aspect of business. The important thing, though, is to hold onto the ethics you develop early in life.”

Flemming retired from IBM in 2000, and he and his wife Barbara moved back to Reading. He continued to serve as a consultant for the company until 2008. Now, it is his hope that in retirement he can share his experiences with students at Penn State Berks. He has not only helped Berks to develop an Entrepreneurship minor, but serves on the Entrepreneurship Advisory Council and helps organize panels that give presentations at the college throughout the year. Flemming tries to help students view life as a three-chapter process. “Each chapter of your life lasts about 30 years,” explains Flemming. “

In the first chapter, you gain an education, develop your values, and establish a career. In chapter two, you develop that career, build a family, and create wealth. In chapter three, you take care of your health, spoil your grandkids, and have fun. You also try to give back and share experiences in which you succeeded and failed.” It’s Flemming’s hope that he can help students to approach their lives with a long-term view and to plan for their futures. “Things are different than when I came out of college,” states Flemming. “It’s harder for graduates to get into the bigger companies. As a result, they need to begin at smaller businesses or start their own companies.” It is with this latter endeavor that Flemming is passionately trying to help students succeed. He hopes that his efforts to cultivate small businesses in Reading will pay off down the road.“I want to see Reading and Berks County really prosper,” explains Flemming. “By helping to give these students the tools and advice to start their own businesses locally, I hope to see the area boom like it once did when I was a student.”