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 New players, standardization and digitalization for more rail freight transport
16.07.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht A helping (Sens)Hand
11.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>