March 1, 2005
Phone: (504) 865-5210
An electronic board game invented by a Tulane University engineering professor and two graduate students created a buzz among toy storeowners at the recent International Toy Fair in New York and has also garnered praise from BusinessWeek and other media.
Tulane Professor Michael Larson and graduate students Luke Hooper and Del Segura created the game, called "Deflexion," through Larson's product-design course, which teaches students both engineering and marketing skills. "Deflexion" involves two players who move mirrored and non-mirrored Egyptian-themed game pieces around a board divided into squares.
Each player has access to a low- powered laser, which he or she tries to bounce off the board's mirrored pieces in the direction of the opponent's "Pharoah" piece. The player who first lights up his or her opponent's Pharoah piece with a laser beam wins. Larson and his students built the prototype of the game from scratch using manufacturing equipment in a newly outfitted product design studio located in Tulane's mechanical engineering department.
With a $12,680 grant from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, Larson and his students manufactured 500 copies of the game, which they have begun to market to potential distributors at toy fairs. On March 19, "Deflexion" will be entered into the "March Madness of the Mind" exhibition presented by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance at San Diego's Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
This event will spotlight inventions by 14 of the nation's top teams of student scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.
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