A student’s design for a stationary exercise wheel that fits underneath office desks, turned in as extra credit in the fall 2011 Design Process class at Texas A&M’s College of Architecture, won a national invention competition.
Jenny Bohac, an animal science major from Bolingbrook, Illinois, said she submitted her invention to the Student Ideas for a Better America contest, sponsored by the National Museum of Education, on a whim.
“I didn’t expect to win at all,” said Bohan, who also created a computer model to further her idea’s development.
“People who have sedentary jobs can burn some calories while they sit around all day,” said Bohac, an animal science major. “With the exercise wheel, you can pedal as if you’re on a stationary bicycle right under your desk at work.”
The benefits from the exercise wheel, she said, include happier employees, happier work atmospheres and fewer obese, sedentary employees across the country.
The Akron, Ohio-based museum has nurtured innovation from high school and college students through several initiatives, including helping more than 85 students and teachers bring their inventions to market and developing several national invention competitions.
In the Design Process classes, led by Jorge Vanegas, dean of the college, and Rodney Hill, professor of architecture, students create knowledge for individual and group projects. They must document and conduct patent searches on at least two innovative ideas each week. Numerous class projects have placed well in social entrepreneur competitions, and the students routinely generate and post YouTube videos to further illustrate their ideas.