Cornell College students leverage final project to help beyond the classroom

Published: May. 4, 2016 at 7:51 PM CDT
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A final project for three Cornell College students isn’t ending even though the class Is over.

“I focus this course to get students interested in engineering,” said Brian Johns, assistant professor of engineering. “Especially students who have never met an engineer, talked to an engineer, or doesn’t know what an engineer does.”

Johns gives students an open-ended final project with one task; solve a problem.

For theater design student Amanda Bentz, art student Giovanni Rivera, and dual-enrolled high-school student James Cannon, that left a lot of leeway.

“I opened up Pandora’s box, there were infinite possibilities,” Bentz said. “I’m glad I got into a group with Gio and James because they’re very idea driven.”

But Bentz sparked the initial project idea, after describing her roommate who has broken at least six pairs of glasses in about two years.

“We wanted to try to fix the problem of broken glasses frames.,” Cannon said. “We have a couple friends who will routinely break their plastic glasses frames and it can be a tedious process to go to the eye doctor to grab a new pair."

The group designed eyeglass frames that can be printed on a 3D printer in four hours for about five dollars.

Now that their Introduction to Engineering class is wrapped up, the group plans to perfect and patent their design over the summer.

They hope to partner with an organization to send the frames to developing countries where affordable eye care doesn’t exist.

“We want people without the resources to have something very necessary for day to day living,” Bentz said.