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Purdue students recognized for innovative products

WEST LAFAYETTE — A child-friendly car seatbelt device and an innovative suitcase handle were the winners in Purdue University's annual contest for student entrepreneurs.

Senior Monica Harvey captured the $1,000 top prize in the undergraduate division for her pitch for a buckle that attaches to a car seat to encourage seatbelt use among children through music and toy-like designs.

In the open division, graduate student Jeffrey Ackerman won $1,000 with a pitch for a device that can be attached to a suitcase to increase the energy efficiency of walking and running while reducing the user's muscle strain.

Nearly 40 contestants participated in the 2012 Purdue University Elevator Pitch Competition recently in West Lafayette.