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LTU team a national finalist in design challenge for people with disabilities

Release Date: February 16, 2017

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Lawrence Technological University is one of three national finalists in the SourceAmerica Design Challenge, a national engineering competition benefiting people with disabilities.

The semester-long competition kicked off last fall with 160 registered high school and college teams. Students worked with businesses that had obstacles to full productivity for employees with disabilities. Following meetings with management, they spent time getting to know the employees and assessing how processes could be changed to provide better outcomes. As a final step, teams submitted a final paper and video about their Design Challenge projects.

The competitors from LTU, part of a sophomore-level engineering design class, worked with Services to Enhance Potential, a Livonia-based nonprofit that seeks to boost employment among people with disabilities.

The LTU project, a Spray Bottle Assembly Device, features a hand press that reduced physical discomfort for employees with disabilities who assemble spray bottles. For employees with dexterity issues, the new device enabled them to complete the process with a single hand, resulting in increased productivity, efficiency, and comfort.

Team members are Mohammad Ahmad and Jassem Allahadan of Saudi Arabia; Jonathan Behr of Farmington Hills; Devson Butani of Rajkot, India; and Steven Graczyk of Troy. All are mechanical engineering majors.

LTU and the two other college finalists will compete in the Design Challenge finals on April 6 in Washington, D.C. The other finalists are from Ohio University and California State University – Los Angeles.

Vienna, Va.-based SourceAmerica was founded in 1974 as a national nonprofit providing technical assistance to nonprofit agencies seeking to employ people with disabilities. For more information, visit www.sourceamerica.org/design-challenge, or contact Theresa O’Neill at toneill@sourceamerica.org or (703) 584-3965.