Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Student-invented device eases installation of child car safety seats

19.05.2003


Low-tech ‘Main Squeeze’ compresses for snug fit inside vehicle


By turning a simple crank, a parent car uses the Main Squeeze device to ensure that a child safety seat is installed tightly against a car’s permanent seat for maximum protection.
Photo by Will Kirk



Three Johns Hopkins University undergraduates have invented a low-tech tool that makes it much easier to properly install child safety seats in automobiles, ensuring a snug fit and maximum protection for the child.

The device, dubbed "Main Squeeze," is intended to simplify the difficult task of compressing a child safety seat against a car’s permanent seat during installation. Incorrectly installed, a loose car seat can shift during an accident and leave an infant or toddler exposed to unnecessary risk of injury.


The tool was designed and assembled over the past school year by three mechanical engineering majors enrolled in the Whiting School of Engineering’s Senior Design Course. First, the tool is attached to a car’s seat belts or to part of the permanent car seat. Then the user simply turns a crank that slowly applies up to 200 pounds of compression to the base of the child seat. Main Squeeze holds the child seat in this snug position, leaving the installer free to fasten it tightly into place with the car’s seat belts or built-in LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system. When this installation is completed, the Main Squeeze tool is easily removed

The student inventors -- David Apple, 21, of Herzlyia Pituach, Israel; Eric Park, 22, of Great Neck, N.Y.; and Jennifer Parker, 22, of Newburyport, Mass. -- were assigned last fall to create a device that would make it easier to install child safety seats in vehicles. The project was sponsored by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

"Researchers have determined that too many of these seats are installed improperly, exposing children to a greater risk of injury," said Michael Ho, a staff member at the center who monitored the project. "We asked the students to come up with a solution."

In their research, the students, all seniors, learned that snug installation of a child seat is so difficult that many parents seek help from specially trained police officers, firefighters and public safety aides. Snug installation is achieved if less than 1 inch of movement occurs on each side of the safety seat when it is severely shaken laterally by an average size adult male. When installation assistance is not available, parents are left on their own to fit the child seat securely.

"The problem is, to compress the child seat into the car you have to climb inside and apply pressure with your knees," Apple said. "That’s not always easy to do."

Added Park: "A parent or grandparent who is too tall or doesn’t weigh enough or has back problems may not be able to get a snug fit. Our goal was to come up with a lightweight, portable, relatively inexpensive tool to provide the compression that’s needed."

The students’ design is decidedly "low-tech," involving no motorized parts or electricity.

"We used a large steel acme screw, an aluminum crossbar and a padded wooden block mounted on a ball-joint," Parker said. "You put the block into the base of the child seat, attach the crossbar to the car’s seat belts or to the bottom of the permanent seat, and then simply turn the screw with a crank."

The screw applies the necessary force to get a tight seal and holds the child seat in place until it can be fastened into the car via the car’s seat belts or built-in LATCH system (required on all car models introduced after Sept. 2002). The student inventors created an assortment of attachments so that Main Squeeze can be used on a variety of newer and older model cars.

At the beginning of the school year, the students were given a budget of $8,000 to design, assemble and test their invention. Including the cost of the back half of a 1984 compact car used for testing, the students said they spent roughly half that amount to complete the Main Squeeze project. They plan to patent their prototype and look for a company interested in mass-producing the device.

The child safety seat installer was one of 11 Johns Hopkins projects completed this year by undergraduates in the Senior Design Project course. The class is taught by Andrew F. Conn, a Johns Hopkins graduate with more than 30 years of experience in public and private research and development. Each team of three or four students, working within budgets of up to $10,000, had to design a device, purchase or fabricate the parts, and assemble the final product. Corporations, government agencies and nonprofit groups provided the assignments and funding. The course is traditionally a well-received hands-on engineering experience for Johns Hopkins undergraduates.

Phil Sneiderman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhu.edu/
http://www.me.jhu.edu
http://www.jhsph.edu/Research/Centers/CIRP

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Laser rescue system for serious accidents
29.11.2016 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

nachricht Bremen University students reach the final at robotics competition with parcel delivery robot
19.10.2016 | BIBA - Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>