Design Expo shows off talents of EMU students

The scientific and artistic prowess of Eastern Michigan University students is often underestimated.

Thursday night’s “Crossing Lines” Design Expo, part of the 2014 Undergraduate Symposium, proved EMU students have some serious creative skills. The design expo featured a plethora of works, which showcased EMU students’ innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.

Wendy Kivi, the event coordinator, proudly referred to the works as, “a conglomeration of interdisciplinary projects, many of which are 3D-based.”

Interdisciplinary was certainly the best word to describe the collection. Projects were submitted by several departments in the university. The expo included the typical paintings and ceramics, and also the atypical meditation enhancers, beer bottle labels and
psychological studies.

Kivi said the students had to be nominated by their faculty mentors to be included in the design expo – so quality was assured.

One of the expo’s most intriguing projects, a wooden mold used to swiftly create concrete water filtration systems, is already being implemented in the field. Aaron T. Howard, an EMU undergraduate student and the project’s designer, mentioned that the mold is being used to bring fresh water to the people of Bangladesh.

Howard is an employee of OHorizons Foundation, which utilizes the filtration system in third world nations. He predicts that the system will be brought to more thirsty people in the near future.

Another stunning project in the expo was that of Jennifer Flanagan, an undergraduate EMU student, digital designer, textile scientist and merchandising consultant.

At first glance, Flanagan’s project looked like a high-end party dress. However, upon closer examination, it is easy to be ensnared in her world of scientific fashion.

The dress was made of a unique new-age seamless fabric, embroidered with her own intricate design. The pattern was a result of some intense computer manipulation by Flanagan. She said the fabrics were melted together through localized heat, a very tricky matter.
If there isn’t enough heat, the fabrics will not meld, but if there is too much, the fabrics will burn.

The design expo featured many other inspired pieces, including Greek pottery, posters representing Detroit, paintings which were sewn, T-shirts with comical innuendos, odd and fluffy furniture and fantasy advertisements for a Batman versus Superman showdown. The expo mixed cybernetics with biology, and fiction with observation.

The young artists and engineers featured in the design expo have a promising future ahead of them – and as long as it continues to inspire secret geniuses, so does EMU.

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