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Course Information

Instructor Info:Donna Cohn
Office Extension x6032
Term: 2014S
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Lemelson Center for Design SHOP
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Lemelson Center for Design SHOP
Monday Wednesday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Lemelson Center for Design 113
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Lemelson Center for Design 113

We have recently received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to further our work on a low cost pearl millet thresher intended for use by small shareholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.  Students, faculty, and visiting professionals will work together to produce at least 3 thresher prototypes suitable for extended field-testing during the latter half of 2014.  

Course Objectives:

Our funding is to develop and field test a simple extremely affordable pearl millet thresher, and to quantify the results. In this class we will build upon previous work - specifically the innovation which uses a sharp force to remove just the edible grains from the stalk while leaving the rest of the panicle intact.  The assumption is that this can largely eliminating the need to winnow while producing clean unbroken grain. There can be many design variations to the machine that removes the grains of millet from the stalk. In prototyping we have successfully used hardware cloth, bicycle spokes, spoke nuts inside a bicycle wheel rim, and a “cheese grater” surface to generate the force.  Ideally, the thresher will be human powered but feasible to motorize, and can be adapted to suit local customs and traditions.

The objective for this course is to produce, test and quantify output of at least 3 prototype designs. 

Evaluation Criteria:

Each participant will contribute in tangible and specific ways, according to background and areas of expertise. In writing your evaluation, I will consider the following:

Class participation Did you show up to class regularly and on time? Did you do the readings, digest and reflect on them?

Fabrication and Design assignments Did you put in the time and practice necessary to learn new skills? Did you work to overcome any particular challenges or push yourself to work in a new way? Did you do consider a range of ways to solve the presented problems?

General resourcefulness and overall effort Did you move beyond superficial attempts to get information? Were you a responsible and reliable team member on collaborative projects?

Please come to class on time! Let me know in advance when you need to miss a class.