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Citadel News Service
7 Feb 2011

Lowcountry students compete in bridge building and robotics competitions

The Citadel School of Engineering will celebrate National Engineers’ Week with the 12th Annual Engineering Fair for middle and high school students on Saturday, Feb. 26 in Buyer Auditorium, Mark Clark Hall.  The fair will begin at 8 a.m. and conclude at noon.  The event is free and open to the public.

The Engineering Fair is designed to expose Lowcountry middle and high school students to fundamental math and science principles for understanding engineering issues and methods.  Highlights of the annual event include the bridge building and the robotics competitions.

The bridge competition will judge bridges in five categories.  All bridges, constructed of craft sticks and wood glue, will be loaded at mid-span with up to 100 pounds.  For the Best Structural Design, the maximum load divided by the bridge weight will determine the score.  Awards will also be given for Best Architectural Design, Most Original Design, Most Constructible and Best Craftsmanship.  Bridges may be individual or team entries.

In the robotics competitions, students pit their team-built Lego robots against each other in one of two head-to-head competitions.  The first competition is a baseball game where the robots must be able to both run around bases and be able to search for a ball hit into the outfield.  In the second competition, robots must push cups into a hole while trying to prevent their opponent from capturing their cups.  For both competitions, the robots must think and make decisions completely on their own. 

The fair also will feature interactive displays of inventions designed and built by Citadel electrical engineering senior design teams.  Inventions include several autonomous robots, a multi-touch interface for driving a car, a smart non-lethal riot control gun, and a collision avoidance system for trains.

Following the fair, the Storm The Citadel trebuchet competition, sponsored by Google, will be held on Summerall field.  This competition will challenge teams to design and build a trebuchet within specifications to accurately hit a target.  There will be competitions for High School, College and Corporate levels.

National Engineers’ Week, or EWeek, is held every year during the week of George Washington’s birthday.  It is co-sponsored with the Charleston Engineers Joint Council.  For more information on EWeek, go to www.citadel.edu/eweek.

“Engineering Week is an exciting time for us,” said Dennis Fallon, dean of the School of Engineering.  “It’s an excellent opportunity for us to showcase the work of our cadets as well as introduce the field of engineering to middle and high school students.”

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