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Mobile Handwashing Station Wins Jackson Award

Sep 10, 2020   |   by Julie Bonette

A team of undergraduate students who designed a mobile handwashing station called the Watermobile earned Summer term's Phillip R. Jackson Award for the best overall performance in ENGS 21: Introduction to Engineering.

The members of the winning team are: Annemarie Horn ’22, Erika Hernandez ’22, and Emily Appenzeller ’22. The team’s TA was Emma Doherty ’21 and their instructor was Gary Hutchins, a staff member in Thayer’s Machine Shop.

The group was inspired to develop and prototype the Watermobile to provide water access, sanitation, and hygiene when they learned that 1 million deaths per year could be prevented with routine handwashing, but 85% of households in Sub-Saharan Africa lack access to basic handwashing facilities with soap and water. The group’s resulting high-capacity portable handwashing system significantly reduces the amount of time and effort needed to travel to acquire water while providing an easy-to-use, durable handwashing system.

Other projects this term included: "Rocky Road Rope Cleaner," a quick and convenient, dynamically-resizing climbing rope brush; "The Lean Mean Gas Pump Cleaning Machine" that automatically sanitizes gas pump handles, and; "Sight Support" which combines a traditional walker with a cane to provide both physical and visual aid to those that need it.

“All of my students worked exceedingly hard for 10 weeks to develop solutions to a variety of challenging societal needs,” said Dartmouth engineering researcher and instructor Ryan Chapman Th’19.

The Jackson Award, named after and established by the former Thayer Board of Advisors member, is given each quarter by a review board which applies the following criteria:

  • Societal importance of the selected problem
  • User-centric design considerations
  • Sophistication of the design and degree of difficulty
  • Functionality of the prototype, its documentation and testing
  • Holistic approach to the engineering design process
  • Consistent outstanding performance on both written and oral milestones

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