Fighting fire with innovative engineering

Young engineers have built an early prototype of a new "smart" fire suppression system that pinpoints the location of a fire in a building and douses the fire with flame suppressants.


Conventional smoke detection and sprinkler systems are important safety tools and help to save lives, but indiscriminately soaking an office building, home, or workplace with water can cause tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

A group of graduating engineers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute set their sights on this problem, and have developed a promising solution. Seniors Jake Pyzza, Erik Kauntz, and Ryan Clapp researched, designed, and built an early prototype of a new "smart" fire suppression system that pinpoints the location of a fire in a building and douses the fire with flame suppressants.

The group developed and built their invention last year as their final project for a yearlong capstone mechanical engineering course, and they are among a handful of winners of the fall 2008 "Change the World Challenge."

Created in 2005 by Rensselaer alumnus Sean O'Sullivan '85, the bi-annual "Change the World Challenge" competition is intended to support entrepreneurship education and inspire ideas to improve the human condition by providing a $1,000 cash award for ideas that will make the world a better place.

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