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For the third consecutive year, Cal Poly/s student chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers has earned first place in a national design competition.

The SHPE Student Chapter Contest awarded Cal Poly top honors last month at the National Technical Career Conference in Dallas for the Automatic Wrinkle Remover the students designed as a more efficient alternative to the conventional iron. Team members Abi Arroyo, Watsonville; Martin Barajas, Burlingame; Daniel Gutierrez, Los Angeles; Manuel Razo, Merced; and Miguel Trujillo, Pixley, designed the device to be easy to use and inexpensive to mass produce.

The wrinkle remover is a vinyl 10-inch by 30-inch by 60-inch box with a telescoping pole for hanging clothing. A steamer at the bottom of the box does the job of removing wrinkles.

"It was a fun project," said Trujillo, the team leader and idea-man for the device. "I got the idea when I was getting ready for an interview and needed to iron a shirt. It/s a lot easier than setting up an ironing board."

The students entered the competition because they wanted to succeed personally, as well as give the Cal Poly SHPE student chapter some national recognition, Trujillo said. "We worked together as a team to build something from scratch. There/s a lot of self-fulfillment in that."

During the contest, the students put clothing in the steamer while they explained its mechanics, economics and practicality to a judging team of business professionals. The students not only demonstrated how the device worked, but showed off their marketing skills and ability to work together as a team. "We had to sell it to the judges," Trujillo said.

"We targeted it toward business people 7 the ones who wear rayon and polyester."

Another Cal Poly team earned a fourth-place award for The Impact Jack, a tool that combines a tire jack with a wrench that will lift 1.5 tons and operates by wireless remote control. Team members Flavio Acosta, Daisy Cisneros, Frank Lopez, Ruben Magana, Carlos Oropeza and Santos Najar designed the jack as a safe alternative for changing tires on busy highways or on roads with limited shoulders.

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The Cal Poly teams were supervised by David Cantu, MESA director, and Ronald Mullisen, professor of mechanical engineering.

The contest was open to all SHPE student chapters in the United States. The products designed were judged for marketability and benefits to users. The designs could not duplicate existing products, but could be improvements to existing products.

Feb. 10, 2005

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