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An ‘EGGsplosive’ Robot Contest

December 5, 2005 — Raw eggs will serve as make-believe bombs when robots built by University of Utah students attempt to transport and safely dispose the “eggsplosives.” Other undergraduates will display their research projects. And junior high school students will build trebuchet-style catapults to hurl toy cougars – the mascot of the University of Utah’s rival, Brigham Young University.

Those will be the highlights on Thursday Dec. 8 when the University of Utah’s Department of Mechanical Engineering hosts its fourth annual Undergraduate Research Day in and around the ballroom of the Olpin Union Bldg.

News media are invited to cover the events, which are open to the public:

  • The Trebuchet Competition will run from 9:30 a.m. through 11 a.m. in the ballroom. Teams from several junior high schools around Utah will build trebuchets, which are catapult-like devices powered by a counterweight rather than by sudden release of tension. The teams will compete to determine which trebuchet can fling objects the farthest and most accurately across the ballroom. The objects are stuffed, toy cougars – BYU’s mascot.

  • Competitive poster presentations of undergraduate research projects will be on display from 9:30 a.m. to noon in the ballroom corridor. Winners will receive cash awards of up to $250. Projects include a mobile robot that walks, climbs or rolls; design of insoles to help athletes jump higher; research on natural wind-tunnel conditions on the Bonneville Salt Flats; and evaluating the effectiveness of radiation shielding materials for future spacecraft. Students have been asked to be at their posters by 10 a.m., when judging begins.

  • The EGGsplosive Disposal Competition will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the east portion of the ballroom. More than 100 first-year mechanical engineering students worked in teams to design and create robots – at a cost of no more than $15 each – to transport raw eggs through an obstacle course and deposit them safely in a bucket. The eggs are meant to represent bombs, but if dropped, they will only go “splat!” rather than “boom!”