May 2005

Adventures in technology

What were eight Schenley High juniors and various canines doing at Daedalus every Tuesday morning for a semester? They worked side by side with our researchers, designers and engineers to develop a prototype hazard-warning vest for dogs. The vest makes a dog highly visible at night and day with reflective fabric and flashing LED’s. The students are a part of the Honors Program in Pittsburgh’s Schenley High Technological Studies Magnet. Pittsburgh Technology Council’s Adventures in Technology Program pairs high schools with companies throughout the region to strengthen students’ problem-solving abilities while generating excitement about career opportunities.

Daedalus took the Schenley team through all the stages of a product development process. At Daedalus’s suggestion the students brainstormed ideas for an electronic pet toy and settled on the concept of a dog safety vest. The team worked on what the product looks like, the materials it is made of, how it works, and a basic business plan. Daedalus made its shop, workstations and rapid prototyping equipment available to help them realize their ideas. The students presented their prototypes, documentation, and business case along with a few encouraging barks from Frodo, Isis, and Spunky to the Technology Council, their teachers, and our staff in May 2005.

Daedalus designer Joy Cottrill and mechanical designer Stephanie Sanford were impressed with the student’s computer aided drawing ability, while electrical engineer Jesse Kuhn was pleased with their bench skills. Student Kaetlyn Brown used the techniques learned in her fashion arts class to create the vest patterns for sewing the prototype. Kaetlyn’s colleague Jon Angelo felt the Daedalus professionals “really know what they are doing” and appreciates their tutoring. Schenley program coordinator David Smith already has orders for two vests from fellow faculty members.