Engineers help people and improve the quality of life, and some of history's greatest engineering achievements started life as classroom projects.
That tradition is in full force at the 2012 Engineering Design Day at the University of Arizona College of Engineering, a creative extravaganza featuring more than 50 original engineering projects by more than 250 students majoring in various engineering disciplines.
UA engineering seniors will compete for more than $13,000 in industry-sponsored prizes.
Student projects on display at UA Engineering Design Day, on May 1 in the Bear Down Gymnasium, include:
- A low-cost alarm that gives an alert when children or pets are left locked in a car.
- An intelligent robotic vehicle that is aware of its surroundings, for use in hazardous operations such as bomb-disposal, fire fighting and post-disaster search and rescue.
- A smart horse racing helmet for jockeys that streams sound, vision and GPS data to give viewers a virtual reality experience that creates the illusion of being in the race along with the jockeys.
- A micro GPS location tracker and radio transmitter to be used among a population of golden lion tamarins, which are spectacular but endangered flame-colored miniature monkeys found in a dwindling portion of Brazil's coastal rain forest.
- A NASA-funded radiation-proof wireless camera for use aboard space vehicles and on planetary rovers that can take both high-quality video and still images.
Many UA Engineering Design Day projects and prizes are sponsored by industry, and go on to be real commercial products. National and local engineering firms also support the projects by providing judges who rate designs and select winners for the numerous cash prizes, also provided by industry partners.
The Interdisciplinary Engineering Design Program – also known as Engineering 498 – at the UA allows teams of engineering students to work directly with industry and faculty on real-life projects. Seniors from across the College of Engineering work in multidisciplinary teams to solve design problems identified by industry partners, faculty, and student clubs.
This activity culminates in the annual Engineering Design Day in early May, when all teams exhibit their work to the public and external judges.