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  One-handed Kitchen

Ross Students Tackle One-armed Kitchen

10/31/2006 --

Cast your ballot Nov. 22 28 for best student-designed and manufactured product.

The mid-term elections are over, but Ross School alumni and others are invited to vote in another election later this month. And this one has no negative advertising.

The annual competition features products designed and manufactured by students at the University of Michigan's Ross School, College of Engineering and School of Art & Design who are enrolled in the Integrated Product Development (IPD) course.

This year's 14-week course is called "The One-handed Kitchen." Teams made up of four students manufacture and market a self-contained, one-handed food preparation system that allows people with the use of just one arm or hand to make a meal. And, as in real life, the market determines the winners.

The competition, under the guidance of William Lovejoy, the Raymond T. Perring Family Professor of Business at the Ross School, also requires each team to create a Web page to market its products and compete in an IPD trade show.

Before launching their products, the student teams design a manufacturing process and estimate the fixed and variable costs of production. These calculations influence the prices they declare prior to competition. During product reviews leading up to the contest, designers and engineers from industry critique the students' designs and offer advice on how to improve the products.

The public is invited to vote online on the products, starting at 8 a.m. on Nov. 22 and ending at 5 p.m. on Nov. 28. Students will use the results from the online voting to reevaluate their inventories and perfect their sales pitches for the on-campus trade show, 6 p.m. 8 p.m. Nov. 29 at Tishman Atrium in the Computer Science and Engineering Building on North Campus, which is also open to the public. Here, voters test and rank the products. Market results from the online and actual trade shows determine students' grades.

Lovejoy and two colleagues from marketing and engineering at Stanford University launched the course nearly 16 years ago. It has been featured on CNN and in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Business Week.

The IPD course is sponsored by the Tauber Manufacturing Institute.

For more information, contact:
Heather Thorne
Phone: 734-936-8421