Contact

Joe Monaco
KU Office of Public Affairs
785-864-7100

Public invited to test KU student-designed automobile concepts

Thu, 04/11/2013

LAWRENCE – For the past few months, University of Kansas students at the Center for Design Research have partnered with Ford Motor Company on a project to eliminate something most people use every day: the automobile gearshift.

Now the Lawrence community will have the opportunity to test the students’ new designs and provide feedback.

At noon Sunday, April 14, KU students will set up the front half of a Ford Taurus at Hy-Vee, 3504 Clinton Parkway, and invite the public to test working models of new steering wheels, dashboards and consoles developed by the students. The students will solicit feedback to help refine their designs before presenting them to Ford later in the year.

The goal of the KU-Ford research partnership, which was first announced in September 2012, is to redesign or eliminate the traditional automobile gearshift, that clunky handle that’s been between the front seats of many cars for decades. Such a redesign would free valuable space that Ford wants to use for other purposes.

Ford provided the CDR with the Taurus shell – known in the industry as a “buck” – a few months ago to help KU students develop new designs. But the student-designed prototypes could fit into any Ford, from the Taurus to the Fiesta to the F-150 pickup.

Ford representatives will soon be in Lawrence to review the student work, led by Department of Design Professor Greg Thomas, who directs the CDR.

“We’ve been working with Ford for a few months now, and we’re excited for the general public and potential consumers to try our new concepts,” Thomas said. “This project has been a great opportunity for KU and for Ford. Our faculty and students get the experience of working on a real-world project for one of the world's most innovative companies, and Ford gets to utilize the talent we have here at KU.”

The CDR was launched in 2011 to conduct innovative research in smart technologies, consumer products and services. The CDR has been especially focused on the areas of distracted driving and automobile safety, as well as wireless technologies that impact health and wellness. In addition to Ford, the CDR is currently doing projects for Bayer HeathCare, Garmin and a number of other companies.

The CDR is part of the School of Architecture, Design and Planning at KU.



Tears. Smiles. And hugs. That’s what Match Day brought as KU Medical Center’s first Salina class learned where they would go for their residencies — the next step in their medical training. See the Salina Journal’s report and photos: http://bit.ly/1HtAWbW Tags: #KUworks #KUmatch #Match2015 University of Kansas Medical Center Salina Journal KU School of Medicine-Wichita

Play written by #KUprof explores the student perspective of school violence. http://t.co/xPFKz91P5s #KUworks
Lauded race and class historian becomes KU Foundation Professor David Roediger’s award-winning research and writing has already transformed how historians view the growth of social freedoms in America though the intersection of race, class, ethnicity, and labor. Now Roediger, as KU’s first Foundation Distinguished Professor of History (http://bit.ly/1AbAqYw), will continue to break new ground in those fields as he leads KU’s departments of American Studies and History. Roediger likes to study historical flash points — where one particular change brings a cascade of wider cultural changes. His latest book, “Seizing Freedom, Slave Emancipation and Liberty for All,” makes the point that as slaves began freeing themselves across the South during the Civil War, their emancipation inspired and ignited other cultural movements for freedom — such as the women’s movement for suffrage and the labor movement for better working conditions and an eight-hour day. Understanding the individual stories of average people who wanted to make their lives better, including slaves or factory workers, is important to understanding the wider political movements and elections, Roediger said. “It's tempting to think that all the important political questions have been decided,” he said, “but actually people are constantly thinking about what freedom would mean for them.”


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times