Four SPS teams to tackle two real-world challenges

Student Powered Solutions teams from four schools got projects underway in January with visits to the employers that have posed challenges for their analysis and recommendations.

A student dons the mask that the ETC uses in virtual reality demos

Teams from Mt. Pleasant and South Allegheny high schools will be working with Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) to come up with ways of improving a mask that the ETC uses in Virtual Reality demonstrations.

Students from South Fayette and Pittsburgh Perry high schools will be working with Covestro, a maker of high-tech polymers, to brainstorm features that passengers are likely to want in driverless cars as automakers bring more of them to market in the next decade.

The ETC project is aimed at devising alterations that would make the Virtual Reality mask easier to sanitize between uses. Students at the ETC use the mask in Virtual Reality projects and the ETC’s Educational Network Coordinate John Balash uses it in work with students in schools around the region. To prevent it from building up germs and skin oils, users currently use a combination of disposable tissue-paper shields and alcohol wipes to keep it clean. SPS teams will investigate alternative sanitizing practices as well as mask modifications.

For teams working with Covestro, the mission is to brainstorm ideas for equipping driverless cars with creature-comforts because most of those in use today—from technology to seating, soundproofing and safety features—require the kinds of polymers Covestro develops and makes.