Published: Nov. 29, 1998

A device intended to keep popcorn from burning, called "The Popcorn Popper Stopper," and a microwavable ski boot liner will be among the innovative new products designed by University of Colorado at Boulder engineering students and demonstrated at the ITLL Fall Design Expo.

Nearly 50 student inventions created by both first-year and senior design teams will be showcased at the Expo, to be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday,

Dec. 5.

The Expo is free and open to the public. The exhibition of students' creative ingenuity will be in the College of Engineering and Applied Science's award-winning Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory, located on Regent Drive about one block south of Colorado Avenue.

Free parking is available on Saturdays in the Regent Drive Autopark, across the street from ITLL.

In addition to designing innovative new products, many students have designed devices to meet the needs of specific clients. For example, one student invention will help a man who suffered a stroke regain the mobility he needs to write a letter. Another device improves the maneuverability of a bi-ski for disabled athletes.

Yet another team of students has designed a prototype of a climate-controlled habitat that will sustain insects, or "bugonauts," in space.

Five teams of students who created zany "Rube Goldberg" contraptions will link together their devices during the Expo in an attempt to set a world record for the most consecutive steps by their devices. The goal is to have at least 120 steps.

The devices, which honor the World War II-era engineer and cartoonist, are elaborate contraptions built to perform simple tasks using a number of unusual processes and transitions.

Most of the students are taking the College of Engineering's first-year projects course, which gives them hands-on design and building experience early in their careers. The course is taught in the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory, which officially opened in April 1997, offering a state-of-the-art experiential learning environment.