The current after-market automotive rear seat entertainment tablet headrest mounting solutions aren’t very aesthetically pleasing and they lack integrated inductive charging. The students on the Alps Alpine team will design and prototype an aesthetically pleasing solution that has wireless inductive charging integrated into it so the tablet will charge while connected to the headrest mount.
Alps Alpine is a global manufacturer of automotive electronics such as human-machine interfaces (HMI) that deliver the ultimate in feeling and functionality, sensors representing the automobile’s nervous system, and communication technology for connected cars, as well as outstanding system design and software development capabilities within sound, visual and infotainment domains.
Consumer preference for automotive rear-seat entertainment is rapidly shifting from static, vehicle-mounted screens, to personal device usage. Current vehicle tablet mounts that connect to the back of front seat headrests functionally hold devices, but do not include wireless charging, and are not aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, tablets and phones require charging on long trips which is often cumbersome with wired connections.
The students on the Alps Alpine team will research, design, and develop a functional prototype with high design aesthetic of a device that will:
- Securely mount to a vehicle headrest
- Securely retain a consumer tablet
- Provide inductive charging
The realization and implementation of this product would demonstrate that Alps Alpine can create an after-market headrest-based RSE solution that allows the passenger to view streaming content, hold and interact with the tablet, and charge the tablet. This creates value for Alps Alpine in the after-market business.
Full Project Details
Mechanical Design (2-3 Students)
Specific Skills: Mechanical Design, CAD, Techniques for fast prototyping/additive manufacturing. Experimental Testing and Evaluation. Some experience with electronics.
Likely Majors: MECHENG, ISD-AUTO, ISD-GAME
Wireless Power Integration (2-3 students)
Specific Skills: Wireless power transmission in consumer electronics, inductive charging, sensor integration.
Likely Majors: EE, CE
Product/Industrial Design (1-2 student)
Specific Skills: Design Science, Design Process, Ergonomics, User Studies, Creative. Development/Generation of Solution concepts, Rapid Prototyping.
Likely Majors: ISD-Design Science, IOE, MECHENG, ARTDES
Craig has worked in the automotive industry for over 10 years, beginning with FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) in Auburn Hills, MI, in the Uconnect product strategy group and then in the innovation engineering group. Craig was the hardware lead for the R1 infotainment headunit (HU) and made significant contributions to FCA’s connected vehicle concept. For the past 2+ years, Craig has worked for Alpine Electronics in Auburn Hills, MI, as a technical business development manager, and currently, as an advanced technical planning manager for Alpine’s in-vehicle infotainment platform.
Before venturing into the automotive industry, Craig worked for Palm, Inc, in the “WebOS days” in product management as a wireless technology strategist in the Smartphone group and at SanDisk in product management heading up the Sansa accessory products. Craig started his career in the semiconductor industry working for National Semiconductor’s Mil-Aero group and later at Philips Semiconductor in various engineering, international product marketing and project management positions. In addition, Craig has worked for, and consulted with, a number of start-ups over the years. Craig has a BSEE from the University of Arizona and an MBA with emphasis in International Business and Marketing from the University of San Francisco.
Associate Chair of Masters Education and Student
Experience, Integrative Systems + Design
Hortop earned her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology. Her industry experience has primarily been in the automotive field, both here and in Germany. Most recently, she had taught in Mechanical Engineering as the ME 450 (Capstone Design) coordinator, and now coordinates the Capstone course in Integrative Systems + Design (ISD 503). Amy has previously mentored MDP projects.
Course Substitutions: Honors, ChE Elective, CE MDE, EE MDE, IOE Grad Cognate, ISD Design Sci, ISD AUTO 503, ISD GAME, ISD MFG 503, MECHENG 490, SI Elective, SI Grad Cognate
Citizenship Requirements: This project is open to all students on campus.
IP/NDA: Students will sign standard University of Michigan IP/NDA documents.
In Person/Remote Participation Options: Work will take place on campus with occasional visits to the Alps Alpine office in Auburn Hills, MI, to hold meetings, leverage design resources, and give presentations, as safety protocols allow. (MDP will provide transportation.)
Internship/Summer Project Activities: Students will be guaranteed an interview for a 2022 internship. The interviews will take place between February and March of 2022.