UPEI Engineering Expo: 3 cool projects

Future engineers and entrepreneurs got to show off their projects this week at the annual expo at UPEI's School of Sustainable Design Engineering.

From better snowplows to happier dogs, students show off their smart designs

Future engineers and entrepreneurs got to show off their skills this week at an expo at UPEI.

It's an annual event held by the university's School of Sustainable Design Engineering.

Students partnered with communities, companies and businesses, both on PEI and across the country.

Some got to actually implement their design, while others are still in the prototype phase.

All of the designs set out to solve problems — everything from how to conserve water in firehoses, to how to get meat out of a lobster claw.

Here's a look at three cool ones:

1. Friendly Muzzles

UPEI students designed this kinder, gentler muzzle for your dog. (CBC)
Zumer Fatima and her teammates created muzzles that make dogs look less aggressive and feel more comfortable.

"The current designs that are actually on the market are pretty intimidating to look at, and when the dog wears it, they look pretty scary," she explained.

The group worked with B.C.-based company Dirty Dog Adventures to create the model, made almost entirely with a 3D printer.

Fatima said older muzzles often look and feel like cages. She hopes this one will be far less restricting.

"It's comfortable, because it has felt on the top and bottom and it lets the dog drink water and have treats."

2. Disaster Relief Vehicle

This van turns into an emergency, on-site office for disaster relief workers. (CBC)
This group refurbished a van to help victims and volunteers in emergencies such as fires or floods.

Students worked with the Canadian Red Cross to create a space for temporary, on-site outreach during disasters.

"We had to implement the necessary storage and assessment area and ensure that there was adequate space for everyone to work within the vehicle," said second-year student Hannah Jenkins.

Some of the features include a fold-down desk, extra ceiling lights, in-floor storage compartments, and an inverter for electronics.

3. Snow plows to protect sidewalks

This adaptation should help cut down on snowplow wear and tear on the boardwalk in Summerside. (CBC)
Wyatt MacNevin and his group tackled the problem of snow removal for the city of Summerside.

"Their current snow-removal process, it damages the boards quite frequently," said MacNevin, "So it cost the city a lot of money and time each spring."

The design used two adjustable metal shoes that raise the blade, so it doesn't scrape the boardwalk.

MacNevin said the model was tested a few weeks ago. He hopes the city will begin using it by next year.