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Media Advisory: Mousetraps, Rubber Bands Will Power Student Devices in ‘Special Delivery’ Race

Batteries NOT Required: Freshman Engineers’ Inventions Will Run on ‘Green’ Energy

November 30, 2010
MEDIA CONTACT: Phil Sneiderman
(443) 287-9960

WHEN: 1:30 to 2:20 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010.

WHERE: In the lobby outside the auditorium (room B17) in the basement of Hackerman Hall on The Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore, Md.

WHO: 18 three-member teams of Johns Hopkins students in a freshman mechanical engineering course will compete in a series of races to deliver a “payload” past obstacles and across a finish line.

WHAT: Each student team was required to design a device powered only by the energy stored in two mousetraps and six rubber bands provided by the instructor. Each device must proceed along an 8-foot-long course, avoiding two barriers as it moves toward the finish line. The device must carry or hurl its payload—an object the size of a credit card—past the finish line. Along the way, the carrier device can shed parts of itself, like a rocket leaving its booster sections behind. In a series of races along two parallel courses, student devices will compete to be first to get their payload across the finish line. Accuracy and speed are required to win.

WHY: While working on their projects, students have been learning about design approaches, potential and kinetic energy, friction, prototyping methods and other topics relevant to mechanical engineering.

FACULTY SUPERVISOR FOR THE EVENT: Allison Okamura, professor of mechanical engineering in Johns Hopkins’ Whiting School of Engineering.

More information about the design project and competition rules can be found at this Web site: https://haptics.lcsr.jhu.edu/wiki/images/b/b3/Freshman_project_fall10.pdf

A video about a previous Johns Hopkins mousetrap and rubber band design competition can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3DhgSXha-M


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