The College of Engineering (CoE) is using both a System Engineering Process based on the Vee- Model and the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) framework to develop an entrepreneurial mindset while meeting technical objectives for a sequence of product design course. KEEN encourages the entrepreneurial mindset in engineering students through a collaboration among over 36-plus colleges and universities across the United States. KEEN offers a number of resources to individual engineering faculty and through the KEEN’s network of institutions, the resources include various grants and conferences and workshops for faculty.
In 2017, the authors attended one such workshop called the Integrating Curriculum with Entrepreneurial-Mindset (ICE) Workshop, developed by Lawrence Tech and Saint Louis University through support from KEEN. The objective of this workshop is to help engineering faculty understand innovative teaching strategies such as active and collaborative learning (ACL), project/problem based learning (PBL) and entrepreneurially-minded learning (EML). Through the ICE Workshop, cohort groups were formed to help develop EML content for the course to be integrated into an existing engineering course.
Using the system engineering approach and elements of the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) framework, one student project involves an automobile application, entitled,
Compressed Air Controller Tire Inflation System (CACTIS). Vehicles are being used off-road on rough terrain for the purposes of work, utility and recreation. When vehicles go off-road, they should reduce the air pressure in their tires, as this results in better traction, increased maneuverability, a smoother ride, and less chance of tire damage (Lilienthal, 2011). Often, the terrain demands tire pressure changes of twenty PSI or more. This results in even longer times adjusting tire pressures both before and after the vehicle goes off-road.
Bigger tires and lower pressures can push inflation and deflation times to 20 or more minutes for all four tires, totaling nearly an hour if setup times are included (Under Pressure, 2011). Current on-board equipment available to consumers allows for transportation of an air tank and compressor to alleviate the need to find a gas station or other air supply as a source to refill tires. These systems allow a user to change the pressure in their tires, though the system is far from intuitive, and requires constant monitoring.
The paper will define the system engineering process from inception of design to project completion and will review the design, including a needs analysis, market research, safety regulations, and ethical considerations of the project. Highlights of key documentation such as, final system and subsystem block diagrams, testing procedures, testing results, and concepts used to program the CACTIS. With a constructed user manual, final testing results, a breakdown of how time was spent, and needed project improvements allowing initial requirements to be met. The system engineering approach includes: defining specifications, implementing test procedures, performing the design process, recording test results, and developing and demonstrating prototype.
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