Fall 2023 xLab student projects

Over the fall semester of 2023, students who participated in xLab projects were partnered with companies to work on real-world digital innovation projects focused on responsible technology. Read about each of the projects:


For the fall 2023 semester, the xLab team has been delving into how to adapt home appliance products to the younger generations. Utilizing their backgrounds in business, computer science, and anthropology, they have executed two rounds of nation-wide surveys that explore Millennial and Generation Z preferences in relation to subscription-based services and kitchen appliances.

The team has also completed a comprehensive literature review that compares the consumer behaviors of Millennials and Gen Z and embarked on a web scraping process to analyze the current market. In the realm of refrigerators, the team has identified innovative avenues, with a particular focus on the younger generations' emphasis on blending technology with food safety and customizability.

These discoveries open new horizons for the team’s corporate sponsor, a global electronics company. The team will present their findings and recommendations at the end of the semester, which will be built upon in a new project with the company next semester.


This semester, KeyBank teamed up with the xLab to gain critical insights on the financial habits of Generation Z and how their digital banking resources can pivot to best meet these needs. Using a mixed methods approach, xLab students on this project took a deep dive into current banking trends while simultaneously conducting user research to empathize with Gen Z and cultivate insights into their financial needs and goals in addition to their habits around money, financial literacy, and attitudes toward financial institutions. By combining survey and interview data with extensive secondary research, we captured the diversity of financial experience in this generation.

This experience is marked by new responsibility that comes with the independence of young-adulthood and self-motivated education in the financial space. This research will inform a user flow in KeyBank’s digital banking to enable Gen Z to meet their financial goals and support KeyBank as they serve the next generation of banking.


In the fall 2023 semester, the Penske xLab team undertook the challenge of creating a dynamic pricing model for Penske rental trucks. Instead of aiming to predict a fixed price, our group concentrated on forecasting utilization rates for specific trucks in different cities, including Cleveland, Tampa, and Denver. This task encompassed three primary components: competition research, data aggregation, and model construction and analysis.

The initial step for this project involved data collection. We gathered supplementary data using online web-scrapers to input into the model. Subsequently, this data, along with truck transaction data, was fed into various statistical models, such as linear regression, random forest regression, and gradient boosting, to predict utilization trends in truck rentals. The execution of the project required utilizing the Python programming language and essential libraries like pandas and scikit-learn, a machine learning library.

The resulting models offer Penske valuable insights into truck utilization under various weather conditions and enable the establishment of optimal board rates. This information can then be leveraged to optimize their pricing strategy for their on-demand fleet.


This semester, xLab is working with Progressive to develop a privacy-preserving web based application that aids in employee stress level recognition and strives to enhance their wellness and resilience in the workplace.  

The work builds on that of student teams from previous semesters: In the first phase of the project, students gathered insights into employee health and job metrics that contribute to stress. Next, they demonstrated the end-to-end flow of simulated health and stress score data from an employee app to a supervisor app.

By the end of this semester, the student team will have accomplished two significant milestones. They will demonstrate the end-to-end flow of health data from Fitbits worn by a cohort of Progressive employees and deploy a Docker container with all of the applications and dependencies to the cloud.