Invention Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I2E)

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RFP*: Invention, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship (I2E)

* RFP is an acronym for Request For Proposal. Internationally, RFPs are called ITTs, an acronym for Invitation To Tender governmental agencies use RFPs to solicit new business.

Introduction and Overview

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are competing to invest in the next major project in technical innovation. Learning to identify real world problems is essential. Real world problems can relate to the Internet of Things, the Maker Movement, NYU Tandon School of Engineering research focuses (bioengineering, information technology, and urban systems), and the Engineering Grand Challenges put forth by the National Academy of Sciences. These current topics, in addition to any ideas you can generate on your own, will be the basis of your open-ended design project. The key to the next major breakthrough in the technical innovation is understanding the limitations of the market and technology, including economic, social, and physical constraints. This semester-long design project will guide you through the process of identifying a problem, brainstorming a solution, building a prototype, and creating your own startup with funding from the Musk or Bezos.

Students will work in teams formed at the start of the semester. By the end of the semester, you must create a new type of technology that solves a specific problem. You must outline the problem to be solved, describe existing approaches to it, and detail how this new invention will work, both the science and engineering behind it. It can be a technology you have invented, or one you have adapted from elsewhere. The idea is to help students understand the importance of validating their initial hypotheses using the scientific method. Interviewing potential customers will teach you whether to “pivot” or “persevere” with your original idea. Students will be graded not only on how much work is put into the project but also on how well you explain what you have learned from your engineering design.

Specifications

You will be spending your time in the General Engineering Prototyping Lab and the NYU Tandon MakerSpace designing your projects. We will do our best to pair you with an upper class student who can act as a mentor for your project. Example materials that will be provided for the project include Arduinos, Raspberry Pi, 3D printer filament, light sensors, flex sensors, temperature sensors, IR sensors, GPS, accelerometers, breadboards, and switches. These items and more can be found in the I2E Kit Components provided for this lab and the semester-long design project. Additional equipment may be ordered if it can be justified within a specified budget. Each project should have at least two digital signal inputs and one output, or a design or corresponding difficulty. Throughout the project you will be instructed on brainstorming, the engineering design process, and entrepreneurial strategies. Lessons on the Lean Startup Methodology will instruct you on how to take your design beyond the classroom and prepare you to work on your own startup. Student prototypes will be judged by professors and the best teams will be awarded a prize.

Example Project Ideas

  • Air quality tracking and alarm system
  • Energy tracking device for a building environmental control
  • Wearable device that uses renewable energy
  • Gesture control of a computer screen
  • Blood sugar medical wearable device
  • Sensors that monitor and help correct posture

Creativity and innovation are always rewarded. Original designs will receive extra credit.

Mobile applications and websites do not satisfy the project requirements alone, but extra credit will be awarded for mobile applications and websites connected to your design.

Microsoft Project

A time management plan using Microsoft Project (MS Project) must be created. You can learn Microsoft Project by doing the MS Project Skill Builder. This plan must include all tasks related to the project. The MS Project schedule should include the following:

  • Minimum of 20 tasks.
  • Milestones should be clearly indicated on the project plan (duration of zero days).
  • Each task must include the person responsible for completing the task (resource names).
  • Use the Copy Picture function to include the project plan in the presentations. DO NOT take a screenshot.
  • Gantt chart must be displayed alongside the tasks list (fit onto one slide).
  • Gantt chart must clearly show a progress line.
  • Clearly state during the presentation whether the project is on time, behind schedule or ahead of schedule

For help in planning the project, review the page called How to plan the schedule and calculate costs for a project.

Drawings and Code

Any 3D models or code generated for your project must be thoroughly documented. Create four drawings of the prototype: front, top, side, and isometric view. All code must be commented so that someone without experience with the language used can understand what the code does.

Cost Estimate

A cost estimate must be generated that specifies the cost of all the materials and labor required for the construction of the design. Tabulate this cost information clearly in an Excel spreadsheet, using the materials cost list provided. Help in calculating the cost is available by reviewing How to plan the schedule and calculate costs for a project. The costs for the parts can be found on the EG 1003 Lab Manual.

Note: You should only use the materials contained in the I2E Kit Components and use the links to determine their price. If you want to use other parts, get permission from your faculty member to do so, and also determine the cost of the parts you want to use that are not in this list. With proper justification, up to $50 will be made available to purchase additional items. This will not be reimbursed, General Engineering will make the purchase. All additional purchases must be justified by Milestone 2.

Create a cost estimate on a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The cost estimate should include the following:

  • Labor cost breakdown with hours and rates
  • No decimal places; this is an estimate after all. Round appropriately
  • Total cost must be shown in the bottom right corner

Milestones and Benchmarks

As you work on your project, you will be required to present periodic reports on your progress. We call these Milestones. All the items assigned in each Milestone are called deliverables. These deliverables often consist of a combination of written submissions, presentations, and demonstrations.

Milestone 1

Milestone 1 will be the initial project proposal. You must present one slide with details (description, drawing, and cost estimate) on the top 3 project ideas. Select the most promising idea to present for the rest of the presentation. Based on the feasibility of the project and the details of the schedule and the budget, the professor will accept or reject the proposed idea. Teams must outline their Benchmark A, Benchmark B, and Commissioning objectives and have them approved. Prepare a preliminary sketch of the design, a cost estimate, and an MS Project plan.

Look Ahead: What tasks are planned between now and Milestone 2?

See How To Give a Milestone Presentation for the format of a Milestone presentation.

Milestone 1 Deliverables:

  • Presentation:
    • Three initial design ideas with project description, initial concept drawing, and cost estimate
    • Project description (Establish Benchmark A, Benchmark B, Commissioning Requirements)
    • Design canvas
    • Mission statement
    • Preliminary conceptual drawing
    • Cost estimate
    • MS Project schedule
    • Progress update: current state of the project

Benchmark Assessment A

Benchmark assessments evaluate the progress of the project. Benchmark Assessment A is due at the end of Model Shop Session 1. There are penalties for not completing on time. Refer to the EG1003 Grading Policy for more information.

To pass, the design must complete all of the following:

  • Have an initial physical prototype
  • Have conducted two interview with a potential customer

Milestone 2

Milestone 2 will focus on the first pivot of your prototype’s design, this means you will decide whether your team should pivot or persevere. If you decide to continue with the current development or change your design you will be required to justify your decisions. Using CAD software, prepare four views of the latest design: front, top, most detailed side, and an isometric drawing. Complete and comment the latest code required for the project and the latest MS Project plan reflecting any schedule changes. Finally, calculate a revised cost estimate.

Look Ahead: What tasks are planned between now and Milestone 3?

See How To Give a Milestone Presentation for the format of a Milestone presentation.

Milestone 2 Deliverables:

  • Presentation:
    • Project description
    • Design approach
    • Design changes (Pivot 1) since Milestone 1
    • Design canvas
    • Mission statement
    • CAD drawings: top, front, most detailed side, isometric
    • Flowchart of code functions
    • Cost estimate (previous and current). What changes were made?
    • MS Project schedule (previous and current). What changes were made?
    • Progress update: current state of the project (time, budget, etc.)

Benchmark Assessment B

Benchmark Assessment B is due at the end of Model Shop Session 2. There are penalties for not completing on time. Refer to the EG1003 Grading Policy for more information.

To pass, the design must complete all of the following:

  • Second physical prototype, based on Milestone 2 pivots
  • 2 more interviews completed with potential customers

Milestone 3

Milestone 3 will focus on your Pivot 2. Using CAD software, prepare four views of the latest design: front, top, most detailed side, and an isometric drawing. Complete and comment the latest code and the latest MS Project plan reflecting any schedule changes. Finally, calculate a revised cost estimate.

Look ahead: What tasks are planned between now and the completion of the project?

See How To Give a Milestone Presentation for the format of a Milestone presentation.

Milestone 3 Deliverables:

  • Presentation:
    • Project description
    • Design approach
    • Design changes (Pivot 2) since Milestone 2
    • Design canvas
    • Mission statement
    • CAD drawings: top, front, most detailed side, isometric
    • Flowchart of code functions
    • Cost estimate (previous and current). What changes were made?
    • MS Project schedule (previous and current). What changes were made?
    • Progress update: current state of the project (time, budget, etc.)

Commissioning

Refer to the syllabus for the commissioning deadline. There are penalties for not completing on time. Refer to the EG1003 Grading Policy for more information.

To pass, the design must complete all of the following:

  • Fully functional prototype or proof of concept
  • Sensor design that requires two inputs and one output, or design of similar difficulty
  • A total of 6 customer interviews

Final Presentation

The final presentation will be a technical briefing, similar to the milestones, but also serves as a sales presentation explaining why your company should be selected instead of the competition. Please include the following:

  • Problem statement
  • Solution overview
  • Company description and qualifications
  • Drawings
  • Flowchart of code functions
  • Cost estimate
  • Microsoft Project schedule
  • Video demonstration of prototype in use
  • Why should the company be awarded this contract?

Submission

When submitting the project, the TA will verify online that the following forms have been signed:

  • Benchmark Assessment A
  • Benchmark Assessment B
  • Commissioning Statement

The project should be submitted as a folder containing the following deliverables:

  • Hardcopy and CD/DVD/USB containing:
    • Cover page and table of contents
    • Final presentation
    • White paper
    • Flowchart of code functions
    • All the drawings of your design (initial through final)
    • Promotional video
    • Final MS Project Schedule
    • Final cost estimate
    • Resume(s) (No fictitious resumes will be accepted.)