Competition Challenges Students to Design Devices That Use Alternative Energy

In a unique form of a relay race, engineering students will run model-sized vehicles that are specially designed to initiate motion of the next device on a flat track.

"Energy Relay," the 2012 ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Student Design Competition to be held at Hilton Americas Houston, showcases the creativity and ingenuity of student engineers representing tomorrow's workforce of innovators and problem solvers.

The challenge for the twenty student teams in the competition is to design four self-propelled devices, three of which are capable of transferring energy to trigger motion in subsequent devices positioned on a 12-meter course. According to the rules of the competition, the motion of the second, third and fourth vehicles in line on the course must be initiated by the prior device.

"Students participating in the design challenge are exposed to the basics of alternative energy via a scaled, technical experience," noted Timothy M. Hodges, chair of the 2012 ASME Student Design Competition. "Students are placed in a design and build environment in which they must troubleshoot their designs and fix problems that arise."

Judges will score each run, applying a formula that accounts for elapsed time between the time the first vehicle is switched on and the time the fourth one crosses the finish line.

Student Design Competition Finalists:

  • California State University, Northridge
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Hong Kong Polytechnic University (China)
  • Indian Institute of Technology (India)
  • Institut Superieur de l'Aeronautique et de l'Espace (France)
  • Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Supereriores de Monterrey (Mexico)
  • Instituto Tecnologico Superior de Coatzacoalcos (Mexico)
  • Khalifa University of Science, Technology & Research
  • Lebanese American University (Lebanon)
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Notre Dame University (Lebanon)
  • Oregon State University
  • Purdue University
  • Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo (Mexico)
  • University of South Alabama
  • University of Toronto (Canada)
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Wyoming
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology
  • Western New England University

The Student Design Competition will be held in conjunction with the 2012 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Nov. 9-15. The annual Congress is a premier global conference that focuses on today's technical challenges, research updates and breakthrough innovations that are shaping the future of engineering.

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