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June 21, 2016 • Headline News
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In request of a patent

Jac-Cen-Del grad designs safer car seat

Two recent IUPUC (Indiana University / Purdue University at Columbus) college graduates are trying to make child safety seats easier to use. Casey Cooley of Hope and Torie Gilland of Osgood have developed a working prototype of a car seat that takes the guesswork out of strapping in a child. Torie is the daughter of Steve and Julie Gilland and a 2012 Jac-cen-Del graduate. As part of their mechanical engineering senior capstone design course, students had to work in groups of two or three to come up with a design idea. They then had to use their engineering skills and knowledge to develop and create a working prototype. They had one semester, or four months, to complete the project. Originally the duo planned and began work on a seven-in-one makeup brush kit, said Cooley. But, the plan changed completely and unexpectedly when Gilland was riding in a vehicle with her niece. Gilland saw that the harness, used to keep children secured to the seat, was noticeably loose. The team scrapped the original idea to begin working on a retractable harness. Although child safety seats can reduce the chance of death or injury in the event of a car accident, three out of four seats are being used incorrectly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

JCD grads request patentTHE REPUBLIC PHOTO
IUPUC mechanical engineering students Casey Cooley, left and Torie Gilland, a JCD 2012 graduate, and Bud Kincaid, a lecturer in mechanical engineering, display a retractable harness for child car seats for the students’ senior capstone project.

In researching literature for the project, the team discovered the most common errors in car seat usage are loose attachments to vehicle seats and loose harness straps. A 2011 study of more than 4,000 vehicles by the NHTSA revealed that 46 percent or more of children were riding in vehicles where the child safety seats were improperly installed, and in the event of a crash the child’s protection was compromised.

“When I thought of this retractable harness idea, I knew I had to pursue it not only for my personal gain and interest but also with hopes of saving the lives of precious children,” Gilland said. “The seat belts are retractable, just like the ones we are already using in our vehicles. When you place the child in the car the belts are in the slots on the side of the seat instead of behind the child, which is what current seat belts do,” Cooley said of their prototype. Time became the biggest challenge for them, Cooley said. They had already spent a month working on the makeup brush concept and the new plan had a larger scope than the remaining time allowed between the rest of their classes and personal activities. Cooley credits their success in completing the seat to her time management skills and Gilland’s motivation.

“They identified a significant need, child safety , and one the team felt passionate about,” said Bud Kincaid, a lecturer in mechanical engineering at IUPUC. “The originality of their concept was verified by researching relevant literature and patents. The project stretched their creative and design skills. Gilland and Cooley demonstrated terrific drive in getting a very challenging project designed, developed and a working prototype produced.”

The women graduated May 7. Gilland is working as an intern mechanical engineer at GECOM Corp. in Greensburg and will transition to a production engineer with the company. They plan to continue pursuing their child safety seat and have sent in a request for a patent.


Local Bulletin Board

Application deadline is Friday, August 5.
Tyson Fund grant applications available
Many years ago, before Jim Tyson passed away, he wanted to set up a system to perpetually assist the residents in Versailles with things that might otherwise increase their taxes. He decided that he would set up a trust so that groups that are nonprofit and hold an IRS 501c (3) or (4) exemption could request funds to help them out with projects that would otherwise fall on the taxpayers in the Versailles area! For more information about the Tyson Fund, eligibility and how to apply read page 2 of the Osgood Journal dated June 14.

Contest is set for July 17.
Applications available for county queen contest
The Ripley County Queen Contest is set for July 17. To enter the pageant, contestants must be 16 years old and cannot be over 21 by the time of the 4-H fair for this year, which starts July 23. Read the rules and more details on page 2 of the Osgood Journal dated May 31.

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