Patent-earning senior design project makes roads safer

Written by: 
Leslie Wimmer

In 2004, Adam Marlowe ('09) was driving home when a motorcycle driver in front of him used his engine to slow his motorcycle down instead of using the brakes.

"By using the engine, his brake lights never came on, and if I hadn't noticed the speed change I could have hit him," Marlowe says. "I knew then that there had to be a solution for this problem."

When Marlowe began his senior year as an engineering technology student in UNT's College of Engineering, he had an opportunity to find that solution. Seniors in the college take a two-semester capstone course in which they use the information and skills they've learned for group research projects that will solve real-world problems.

Marlowe teamed up with Bryan Cotanch ('09) and James Parker ('09), also engineering technology students, to create a brake system that signals brake lights to turn on when a vehicle slows down, even if the driver hasn't touched the brake pedal.

The group's design became the first undergraduate project to earn a patent in UNT history.

"Getting a patent on the design was huge for me," Marlowe says. "It's the No. 1 bullet under 'accomplishments' on my resume. To me this shows that our team had a great idea, we pursued it and followed it through to the end."

Today, Marlowe is a systems integration engineer at L3 communications. Cotanch is an electronics technician with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Continue Reading