Engineering an Impact

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The Beginning

The 2016-2017 Michigan Tech Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Annual Report was the biggest (and thickest) to date. This year’s theme focused on the research students are conducting as part of their undergraduate and graduate studies. While the focus of the research changed, the thing that remained constant was the high caliber research being conducted and the even greater potential for impact on the world around us.

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Dr. Predebon and the ME-EM AR Committee gave us the theme and the list faculty. It was our team’s job to reach out to each of the faculty and find a story to tell through the research of one of their graduate (or undergraduate) students. Matt and Ashley started the process interviewing members of only a few of the Department’s numerous Senior Design teams and continued that trend with the graduate students. In each interview, we talked about their past, their research, and where they see themselves going in the future. Our job as storytellers was to understand their research and share the impact their research could have in the field, in areas ranging from autonomous systems to mobility, noise vibration and harshness to energy systems, biomechanical and space systems all the way down to the nano and macro scale.

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Beyond finding the story of the student and their potential for research impact, Matt was responsible for showcasing the student’s passion for their work through photos to be used in each story throughout the report. These carefully planned shots were taken in research labs, shops, laboratories, and in the field – each portraying the unique research characteristics of each project.

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Beyond the words on the page and the photos, it is the design that captures the audience’s eye and leads them from one page to another. Lauren compiled the stories, photos, and data using the university brand colors. The flexible design grid allowed the design elements to unify the design across headlines, quote boxes, and colored blocks. She also reviewed, selected, and edited the best photos (taken by Matt) before utilizing them in the design.

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The cover needs to capture the story – that students are making an impact through their research and that it’s a big impact – featuring students from page 2 all the way through page 51. The cover focuses on the research of Guilherme Ribeiro, a graduate student under Dr. Mo Rastgaar. Ribeiro’s research is focused on creating the next generation of ankle-foot prosthetics using motion capture and sensing systems, all beginning by exploring the natural gait of a healthy ankle-foot, through tracking instrumentation present in the photo.

Watch the video below for an inside look at the cover creation.

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