April 10, 2018 - 11:30am
Public invited to vote for best project design
First year engineering students at Vancouver Island University (VIU) are building model, moveable structures with Popsicle sticks to test their design skills – and now they want the public to help choose a winner.
In a friendly competition, sponsored by Herold Engineering, Helijet International Inc., and the Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (EGBC), 10 teams from the Engineering Design II class have been creating model structures out of Popsicle sticks, dowels, a variety of sensors and actuators, and an Arduino microcontroller.
Their creative designs will be on display Friday, April 13 in the Upper Cafeteria, Building 300, at VIU’s Nanaimo Campus from 9 am to 2 pm. The public is invited to stop by and celebrate the achievements of these engineering students and provide feedback on how well they met their design objectives.
“The students are working on one of three projects: Two are moveable bridge structures, and the third is a moveable canal structure,” says Brian Dick, Chair of VIU’s Department of Physics, Engineering and Astronomy. “In all three cases, the goal is to build a structure that is autonomous, in other words it must operate on its own without human intervention. The system must control traffic, move the structure deck according to project requirements, accommodate specific stakeholder demands, and be robust enough to support a fixed weight. A complicating element was that each structure was designed by one team of students, but built by another. During the build, the two teams collaborated to work through any challenges that arose.”
A number of constraints were presented to students as part of their design, one of which is its aesthetic appeal.
Local engineers, the public, staff, students and faculty at VIU are being asked to rank each of the structures in terms of what design best addresses stakeholder needs, which best displays innovation and practicality, as well as which shows the best reflection of the original design teams' intent. Students will receive marks based on this feedback. Dick’s first-year course is part of the Fundamentals of Engineering Certificate.
“We’ve been running the program at VIU for a number of years and we typically have around 40 - 45 students each term,” says Dick.
Successful completion of this certificate with a minimum required GPA and time of completion qualify students for admission into the second year engineering program at the University of British Columbia (UBC), the University of Victoria (UVic), Simon Fraser University (SFU), or the University of Alberta. For more details, go to scitech.viu.ca/engineering.
Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University