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Casey Campbell | Gazette-Times
Oregon State University student Leif Schneider, center, explains how his team’s electric motorcycle works to a group of onlookers during OSU’s ninth annual Engineering Expo on Friday.
Engineered excellence

OSU engineering students present projects

By KYLE ODEGARD


Gazette-Times reporter

Oregon State University showed off more than 100 student projects Friday afternoon during its ninth annual Engineering Expo.

“This is what we can do with our education,” said senior Chris McReynolds, next to a remote-control robot developed in cooperation with the Salem Police Department’s SWAT team.

He and six other students built it, and McReynolds said he was excited to work on a project that could someday save lives.

The robot includes audio and visual capabilities and can go off road and off curbs. But household stairs have proved to be a problem. “Needs more power,” McReynolds said.

He graduates in June, but the kinks with the robot could be worked out in future years, as the project likely will continue.

Nearby, student Leif Schneider explained an electric motorcycle for a crowd of people.

“We spent every night for six months working on this,” he said.

For now, the motorbike can go 35 mph for an hour. With more expensive batteries, it could go seven times as long on one charge.

Other projects included: building insulation made from recycled plastic bags and packing peanuts; an oversized videogame controller that can be reconfigured to have oversize buttons, sip-and-puff controls and other features for people with disabilities; and a method of using cell phones to transmit medical records.

“It’s so exciting. I’m so glad I got to be a part of it and show off my little project,” said Akhila Nandgopal, a freshman from India who designed a skateboard lighting system to keep riders safe at night.

Several companies sponsored projects and had representatives in attendance.

Bob Bales of Portland, a 1973 graduate of OSU and software engineer, also came down for the expo and said it would have been helpful for students years ago.

“We never had anything like this,” he said. “You could see what it really takes to do a project, rather than just doing a lab exercise,” he said.

Kyle Odegard covers Oregon State University. He can be contacted at kyle.odegard@lee.net or 758-9523.

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