Everyone knows the soothing effect of going home after a hard day and burrowing under your blankets. A mechanical engineering student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst did her senior honors thesis on a new kind of “weighted blanket” designed to soothe patients with high anxiety resulting from autism or mental illness. Lexington resident Marnie Bonner created her “deep pressure touch simulation (DPTS) device” after surveying 25 healthcare professionals about the pros and cons of five weighted blankets already on the market.
The 90,000-member Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has just named David Schmidt of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department as the 2009 recipient of the Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award, which is focused on exceptional younger engineering educators. Schmidt's honor makes it the second year in a row that a professor from the university's Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has won the Teetor Award.The 2008 recipient was Professor Robert Hyers.
Former Milford high school student John Gabour is currently working on a project to help protect hypersonic aircraft, traveling at more than 7,000 mph, from the catastrophic problems caused by heat and related stresses. NASA is funding the mechanical engineering senior so he can identify new kinds of sensors to help monitor temperatures exceeding 5,000 degrees F, which build up on the leading edges of hypersonic jets.