Tag Archives: manufacturing

Innovation: An Amphibious Prosthetic Leg

In 2004, U.S. Marine Corp. veteran Dan Lasko lost his left leg while serving in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, he is far from the only casualty of war; roughly 6% of all injured veterans have lost a limb. This makes it critical to innovate new solutions to help veterans return to an active lifestyle.

An active lifestyle was very important to Dan Lasko; the 33-year old has two young sons and all are active swimmers. But Lasko faced a unique problem in that that amputees cannot easily swim; prosthetics legs are not designed to go between land and water in a functional way.

In a collaboration between Northwell Health, J. Walter Thompson New York, and Lasko, the team designed and developed an amphibious prosthetic leg. Using extensive design and testing, “The Fin” was developed – 3-D-printed prosthetic leg that can help one naturally walk into the water, swim, and even dive.

Innovation changes lives.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the steps of the innovation process.
  2. Students: What are the critical factors to successfully developing a new product?
  3. Show the video of The Fin’s development: https://youtu.be/m8KmWGZvkI4
  4. More information is also available at: https://www.northwell.edu/about/news/press-releases/northwell-returns-amputees-water-creating-first-3d-printed-amphibious-prosthetic-leg
  5. There are numerous other innovations that are focused on improving lives. Divide students into teams and have team search for a similar problem, and solution, to the one discussed in this case.

Source: Ad Week  

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New “Handle” Robot from Boston Dynamics

Robotic technology is advancing by leaps and bounds. But the ultimate in robotic technology today undoubtedly comes from Boston Dynamics, a spin-off from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Google. The company has a variety of robots with two legs, four legs, and wheels. They can run, leap, fly, walk, and climb buildings.

The newest robot from Boston Robotics is called “Handle.” This robot stands 6.5 foot tall, can travel at a speed of 9 miles per hour, and can even jump a height of four vertical feet!  Handle can go up ramps, spin, bend, travel over uneven ground, stairs, and pick up and carry objects up to 100 pounds.  It uses electric power to operate hydraulic actuators and can cover 15 miles on a single battery charge. The robots use sensor-based controls and computation to build complex, state-of-art robotic devices.

Handle joins a unique product line of sophisticated robots. See them all and be amazed!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the concepts of products, product line, and product mix.
  2. Bring up Boston Dynamics’s Web site and YouTube page: http://www.bostondynamics.com, and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7vVhkEfw4nOGp8TyDk7RcQ.
  3. Show the latest video of Handle, plus other videos (these are guaranteed to get students excited).
  4. Using Boston Dynamics, illustrate the concepts of products, product lines, and product mix.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team come up with an example of other companies and state the products, product line, and product mix.

Source:  Boston Dynamics, YouTube

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Vehicle Dependability Study

Cars are one of the most expensive and involved purchases that consumers make. They have an extended decision-making process, use multiple information sources, and include multiple evaluation criteria before making a final decision. The decisions that car buyers make impact not only their immediate budgets, but also their long-term budgets with respect to repairs and vehicle dependability (post-purchase behavior).

One source often used by consumers is the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study. According to the most recent study, car buyers avoid models with poor reputations for dependability. The good news is that buyers do not have to spend a lot of money in order to get a dependable vehicle.

The study examines problems experienced over the past 12 months by original owners of 3-year cars. Eight categories are examined, including exterior, engine/transmission, audio/communication/entertainment/navigation, interior, features/controls/displays, the driving experience, heating/ventilation/air condition, and seats. The survey examined responses from 35,186 original owners of 2014 auto models.

Check out the report and see where your vehicle placed.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  2. Poll students: What are factors that influence consumer purchases of cars?
  3. Divide students into teams.
  4. Have each team select two criteria and draw a positioning map for automobiles using those criteria (Ex: price and reliability).
  5. Show the J.D. Power report and video:
  6. http://www.jdpower.com/cars/awards/Vehicle-Dependability-Study-%2528VDS%2529-by-Category/1882ENG
  7. Based on the J.D. Power ranking, how could different auto manufacturers use the rankings to reposition their products?

Source:  J.D. Power, Manufacturing Business Technology

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