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Roadside Emergency Warning Device Wins Thayer's Jackson Award

Sep 05, 2019   |   by Catha Mayor Lamm

Jaymie Wei '22, Brandyn Humberstone '22, and Julia Kern '19 won summer term’s Phillip R. Jackson Award* for best overall performance in ENGS 21: Introduction to Engineering. Their prototype, TriAndGlow, is a "rapidly-deployable warning device for roadside traffic emergencies that is small, time-efficient, and attention-grabbing."

In ENGS 21, undergraduates have the opportunity to design and build an engineering solution to a real-life challenge. This term’s theme was “Improving Disaster Relief and Emergency Response Efforts.”

"With the traffic signs [first responders] currently use, they're pinching their fingers, they're taking a long time to set up with cars going by at 70 mph," said Humberstone. "With TriAndGlow, they just drop them out their window and they’re done."

The group first tried to design a better, easier traffic sign stand but realized that approach didn't offer much improvement to current practice. After more investigation, the group decided to take advantage of the widely-recognized warning symbol of a blue or red flashing light. "Everyone we talked to said they would know what a blue or red flashing light meant. So there's no need for an actual sign," added Humberstone.

According to the Award Review Board, this group "steadfastly practiced a holistic approach to the engineering design process” and "constructively took criticism, continually rethinking the problem and courageously setting aside old ideas in the quest for better solutions."

*Each quarter, the Phillip R. Jackson Award—named after and established by the former Thayer Board of Advisors member—is given to the group with the best overall performance in ENGS 21 as determined by the 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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