The pediatric adaptive skiing system is one of more than nine funded undergraduate research projects under way at any given time within the Department of Mechanical Engineering. It is also one of over 250 funded undergraduate research projects campus-wide.   Working to build a pediatric adaptive skiing system, mechanical engineering sophomore Jacob Hopkin says, “It will be a novel device able to adapt to children with different levels of disabilities, as well as progress with these users as they learn to ski.”

Along with fellow mechanical engineering student Dallin Rees, Hopkins works one-on-one with mechanical engineering assistant professor Andrew Merryweather in the  Ergonomics and Safety Lab. “Dr. Merryweather is awesome! He is always willing to take time out of his day to meet. In fact, he almost missed an abstract submission because of his willingness. Sorry!”

Merryweather and Hopkins are hoping to have their skis on the snow soon for preliminary testing with the finished product deliverable in February.

From Pocatello, Idaho, Hopkins notes that, “Between loving everything outdoors, i.e. skiing, mountain biking, running, and a great engineering program, the University of Utah was a natural choice for me. Campus lies in an ideal area for all of those activities and beyond that, the U’s mechanical engineering program is competitive with the most prestigious in the west.”

“One of the benefits of majoring in mechanical engineering is that mechanical engineers know some of all engineering disciplines, which I believe makes for a more rounded engineer. Additionally, I like choices and a mechanical engineering degree opens the door for an advanced degree in other engineering majors. Regarding my current research, I love the project. It combines a large number of my interests. Plus, I am able to directly give back to the community.”