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Robots, and Rockets, and Racecars! Oh, My!

The U of U Department of Mechanical Engineering will hold its 14th annual  Design Day showcase on Tuesday April 19 in the Olpin Student Union. The event is open to the public, who will have an opportunity to attend three different competitions and even try out this vehicle built by SAE Baja 2011.

April 15, 2011 — A buoy to harvest energy from ocean waves, a device to help restore hand function in patients with deteriorated muscles, racing vehicles and a rocket that one day may be launched into space are among senior design projects that will be showcased Tuesday, April 19, during the University of Utah‘s 14th annual Mechanical Engineering Design Day.

The public and news media are invited to the event from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in and around the ballroom of the A. Ray Olpin Union Building. Faculty and students will be available to answer questions.

Mechanical engineering juniors will compete in RoboBall, during which remote-controlled robots will shoot balls and play defense in a game of basketball. This is the first year the mechatronics class will use remote-controlled robots instead of preprogrammed, autonomous robots. Sophomores will compete in a contest in which trains powered by compressed air navigate through cattle and tunnels while racing to the end of the track. Freshman will use autonomous robots to shoot stuffed toy lions, tigers, zebras and monkeys at targets while racing in the Three Ring “Circuits” event.

“Design Day provides an opportunity for all our undergraduates to showcase their year-long projects,” says Tim Ameel, professor and chair of the university’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. “Seniors will be exhibiting their innovative solutions to some of today’s engineering challenges. It is exciting to see the students’ ideas come to fruition.”

Mechanical Engineering Design Day events are:

  • Senior Design Showcase – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Union Ballroom.
  • Mechatronics Competition (RoboBall) – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Saltair Room.
  • Thermodynamics and Sustainability Competition (This competition is with trains is named 25:10 to Yuma (instead of 3:10) because the class number for the course is mechanical engineering 2510) – 10 a.m. to noon in the East Ballroom.
  • Design Competition (Three Ring “Circuits”) noon to 2 p.m. in the West Ballroom.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah is committed to providing students with a broad-based, rigorous and progressive education. By combining state-of-the-art facilities with renowned faculty, the department provides an education that gives students the necessary skills to become the next generation of innovators. For more information about the Department of Mechanical Engineering, visit

List of Senior Design Showcase Projects

Ballistic Launcher

Bio-Inspired Graspers

Buoy Power Generator

Electrathon 2011

Formula SAE 2011

Grand Canyon Alternative Motor

Instrumented Golf Club

Land Sailor/ Eco Hawk

Modular Sump Refugium

NASA Great Moon Buggy 2011

SAE Baja 2011

Team Flugtag

Tesla Turbine

Triaxial Rock Testing Machine



Wearable Exoskeleton