Dorm rooms in residence halls vary in layout and furniture, but a similarity among them is a lack of space. This forces many students to consider lofted beds, which can be difficult to climb up and down.
Elvin Garayev, Dalton Garrett, Andrew Bowman and William Yount, all juniors in the College of Engineering, worked together to design a solution to this problem: the Stow Step. It acts as a step with a part that connects to the railing on lofted beds to minimize the hassle of going up and down.
They initially started this project in their Mechanical Engineering 263 class during their sophomore year. Garrett lived in Earhart at the time.
“You have to step on something else to get onto your bed ... so it’s like, this is the thing that all of us had to experience with lofted beds and what not, so that’s how we’re focusing on it,” Garrett said.
After learning the design process, brainstorming solutions and using a decision matrix, the team had to utilize what they learned.
“(In the class, you) use your engineering skills to make it feasible and then present your product. And so we kind of came together as a group through that project,” Garayev said.
The Stow Step has a base piece and a step piece that can be assembled with an included bolt and nut. The piece can then be slid into an existing rail, but two or three Stow Steps may have to be combined depending on the height of the lofted bed and the height of the user.
All Big 10 schools use the same supplier for beds, the company BedLoft, which serves 73 universities according to its market research. From the company’s market research on Purdue, 76.5% of respondents lofted their bed and 43.9% of students utilized the rails at the end of their bed.
The team spent a large amount of time designing and redesigning, continually improving its product in the class. They also analyzed how they could bring down the cost and predict what it might be.
“This is a good reference point. ... We (had to have sold) it for $80 (but now) we can sell it for $20,” Garrett said.
The team said it had already gone to the Office of Technology Commercialization, which helps with patents of paper and the application process.
“Technically, we give off two thirds, where our group only owns one third of the product. Now, one third goes to our department, so, that’s mechanical engineering. And then one third goes to the OTC,” Garayev said.
While the team members are all busy with their own activities, such as various sports, fraternity activities and their classes, they say they are always looking to improve the Stow Step and are still in the process of working to commercialize it.