Three SASD students win big at New York International Auto Show

Three SASD students win big at New York International Auto Show

Runya Sun, an industrial design major at the Shintaro Akatsu School of Design (SASD) at the University of Bridgeport, won the Grand Prize at the 2015 New York International Auto Show today and two other SASD students took home fourth and fifth-place prizes.

The competition was held at the World Traffic Safety Symposium, one of the featured industry events at the auto show, which is being held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan from April 3-12. The show is one of the biggest in the world, attracting an estimated 1 million visitors, including media, automotive executives, designers, and other professionals.

“What’s my reaction?” joked Richard Yelle, director of industrial design at SASD. “Fantastic!”

The cash prizes recognized the students’ innovative use of design and technology to enhance vehicle safety.

Sun took home the $4,000 award for his entry, “Distance Sensor.” It was designed for often-overlooked accidents that occur when car doors are opened while a car is parked. “These are hard to avoid as drivers and passengers can’t easily see what’s behind them,” said Sun. “Though the side view mirror can help, there is still the issue of blind spots.”

The Distance Sensor works by activating parking proximity sensors on the side view mirrors and bumpers as soon as a driver turns off a car. Timed to operate for 60 seconds after the car has been turned off, the sensors detect the movement of pedestrians and vehicles and will prevent doors from opening for five seconds when any motion is detected. If nothing is detected, the doors will open normally.

Xinyu Yuan’s “Blind Spot”” system took fourth place. It aims to better protect some 3 million Americans who suffer from whiplash annually due to rear-end vehicle collisions. The two-part system works by employing an air bag that holds drivers’ and passengers’ necks in place during a crash. It also uses a rail system that allows seats to slide back approximately three inches during a crash, thereby absorbing impact.

Zhang Da came in fifth place with his device called “Quick Grip,” a product which enables drivers to quickly attach snow chains during snowy and hazardous driving conditions.

“As we know, installing snow chains can take people a very long time,” said Da. “Quick Grip allows people to put the device on the wheel, push and rotate the button, and you’re finished. It will only take a minute for each tire.”

The Quick Grip system is designed to be easily stored and versatile. Its tread plate is changeable, using a variety of materials and designs for different driving conditions and environments.

Yuan and Da each won $1,250.

“What is really interesting about this is that these are three Chinese students looking at problems in North America and coming up with solutions,” said Yelle. “Anybody that knows about highway safety and car safety knows the difference between what it’s like in China and what it’s like here in the U.S. These students can bring back their knowledge to China and possibly make a difference.”

This year’s sponsors are Nissan, Volvo, Chubb Insurance, and AAA, in conjunction with Noys and the National Road Safety Foundation.

Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625,