John Feldhausen is a senior at the University of Dayton.  He majored in Mechanical Engineering and graduated in May 2020.  John and his teammates worked on the Power-Assisted Hand-Cycle Challenge for our Challenger, The Adaptive Cycling Foundation.

The team set out to design a sleek, fully removable, power-assisted handcycle that alleviated the inherent difficulties that a handcyclist encounters when riding with upright cyclists.  Riding uphill for an extended period of time poses a great challenge to handcyclists, and ultimately the goal of this design was to remove that burden altogether.

Specifically, the team wanted to provide a solution that allowed any handcyclist, regardless of their physical strength, to be able to travel uphill at a speed of 20 mph for at least 2 hours. Not only did the final design accomplish this task, but it also includes a digital display, fully controllable speed settings, auto cruise functionality, as well as a regenerative braking system. Lastly, the removable nature of the power assisted system, provides the rider with the option of completely returning the bike to a non-power-assisted state. With this feature, the rider may enjoy travel without the additional weight of the PAS if they'd please.

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Why did you choose your major?   I have always been passionate about all aspects of science, yet I struggled to identify what field stood out to me more than others. With my dad being a mechanical engineer, it made sense for me to start there because I knew of the wide course variety that the major offered. What is funny to me, is that five years later, finished with school, I still struggle to isolate passions—everything excites me. However, I can say that I enjoy the computational and programming aspects of research most, regardless of the exact application.

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Describe your experience working with QL+ so far.  Working with QL+ has been both a journey and a privilege. There is really no way to verbally capture the value that they have provided each student over the course of this project. We were able to experience the complete design cycle in an environment where our skills were both put to test and appreciated at every level. I think of QL+ as an incubator for innovation. They fund, encourage, assist, and appreciate—I couldn’t ask for anything more. As far as challenges go, the most memorable hurdles with this project were the calculations for motor and battery selection. We needed to incorporate the speed, range, and weight requirements in such a way that we were confident that our hardware selection would meet the anticipated stress demands, while also delivering a fully removable system. Without being able to weld components to the frame, designs demanded creativity to meet the desired functionality.

What is it like working with your Challenger?  Our group had minimal engagement with our provided Challenger and most of that was left to QL+. Because contact with the Challenger was limited, the group took the initial design prompt and attempted to document the proposed design so that it could be leveraged to many future Challengers. With the collaborative nature of this project, The Adaptive Cycling Foundation will be able to take the design from this year for many years to come.

What would you say to other students about QL+?  I would say the QL+ provides absolutely everything anyone could want out of a senior design client. It has been a complete joy to work with them and I would encourage future students to partner with them if given the chance.

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What are your plans after graduation? 
I am currently pursuing a MS in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Dayton, working in The HEAT Lab under Dr. Joshua Heyne pursuing research of biomass-derived jet fuel to assist in producing a sustainable future of aviation.

What has been the proudest moment of your college career?  Being accepted into graduate school here at The University of Dayton with the privilege of working on The HEAT Lab research team has been the proudest moment of my college career. Having the opportunity to continue my education on a team that consistently strives for excellence excites me for what lies ahead.

What three words best describe you?  Charismatic, inquisitive, approachable

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