Year: 2018/2019
Location: Buffalo, NY

The Smart Drive Shaft Alignment Tool (SDSAT) accelerates helicopter tail rotor drive shaft alignment.


SDSAT was designed to improve
the speed and accuracy of
aligning tail rotor drive shafts
of Navy Helicopters. When the
drive shaft goes out of alignment,
the helicopter can no longer fly,
and historically, repairs for this
problem could not be made at
sea. These helicopters would be
decommissioned until the ship
docked, and even then the repair
takes over 40 man hours, require
perfectly level ground, and two
workers. Our design uses computer
vision to calculate drive shaft
alignment 100x more accurately
than previously possible and allows repairs to happen shipboard in under two hours.

I contributed to many features of this project, most notably the design of the hood. This feature blocks light between the camera and the screen allowing for accurate readings. It is necessary to completely occlude light between the two devices, while not shifting either device in the process.

Early prototypes explored a variety of methods for occluding light around the screen. These included canvases that covered the entire device and separate parts that mounted in between the screen and camera. We decided that an integrated hood best met the design requirement of SDSAT. The final hood was made out of a blackout ripstop nylon which would hold up to shipboard conditions such as sun and saltwater, while being flexible and non-intrusive.

MARCUS EISENDORF is an industrial designer based in Brooklyn, New York. He has designed luxury leather goods with GioBagnara in Italy, consumer electronics at Plantronics in Santa Cruz, collaborated with Josh Owen at his eponymous studio in Rochester, designed housewares with Modest Matter and Bruer in Santa Cruz, and high tech maintenance equipment with RED-INC in Buffalo. He graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2017 and enjoys a cool breeze on a hot day.

To contact

phone: 831.818.6632