Mechanical engineering course inspires new product
Jorge Colman, a junior Electrical and Computer Engineering student in the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering, has developed a device that allows iPhone and iPad users to wirelessly watch and manipulate applications on their TV, monitor or projector.
The invention would allow people to play games, video chat, surf the web, watch movies, browse pictures, display PowerPoint presentations and manipulate anything that exists on their iPhone or iPad. With a patent pending and a rough prototype, Colman is accepting pre-orders and working with the Bloch School’s Entrepreneurship Scholars program to develop the final product.
The idea grew out of a project that Colman completed in Assistant Teaching Professor Katherine Bloemker’s Mechanical Engineering 130 — Introduction to Engineering Graphics course in the spring of 2011. Using SolidWorks and AutoCAD, the course covers 2D and 3D design. No previous 2D or 3D CAD experience is necessary to take the course.
How did you build the product?
The whole design project took about six months. After that, I bought components online and at a supply store to build the prototype. To learn about the patent process, I bought a book, and then contacted the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, who sent me a patent pending number.
The information is sent wirelessly from the transmitter attached to the iPhone/iPad to the receiver, which is connected to the TV set. Right now, the device is capable of transmitting audio and video at 480p, but I’m working on another prototype that will transmit full HD 1080p resolution.
How can the device help people?
It is beneficial for people with vision problems, because it allows people to magnify text from an iPhone or iPad.
It also allows people to display PowerPoint presentations without a laptop or desktop computer. With the wireless transmitter, people can simply display their iPhone or iPad on a TV, monitor or projector.
How have professors helped you with this project?
Design professors have walked me through this project, and I’m starting to learn what’s going on in the circuitry — electronic circuits, logic design and electronics. Associate Professor Cory Beard is consulting with me on signals and power transmission, too.
What other programs have helped you with this project?
I joined the Bloch School’s interdisciplinary Entrepreneurship Scholars program, which helps students create business plans and present ideas to investors. At the end of the fall 2011 semester, I will present my business idea through the Bloch School’s Venture Creation Challenge.
I’m also a member of the School of Computing and Engineering’s Robotics Team, which has broadened my understanding of electronics. In my free time, I build devices that allow people to play arcade games at home.
What are your educational and career goals?
After graduating with my Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, I plan to pursue a Master’s degree in Robotics. I also would like to own my own company that designs products to make life easier.
How did you become interested in electronics?
Growing up in Paraguay, I didn’t know anyone who had a computer. My neighbor used to fix TVs and radios, and I would bring the leftover components to my house. I got electrocuted three times, and the voltage levels are a lot higher there.
When my family visited friends, I would take their TV sets apart. The TV would be completely in pieces like Legos, and my parents would have to pay for it.