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October 1, 2014 4:11 PM

Egg Drop competition on target to build teamwork

Students in Conestoga’s Robotics and Automation program put their analytic, creative and teamwork skills to the test at the college’s Cambridge (Fountain Street) campus last week as they created devices that would safely manoeuvre fresh eggs through a twenty-foot drop to land intact on a target below.

The annual Egg Drop competition, held this year on September 18, is a component of the program’s Problem Solving and Design course, which provides students with opportunities to work in teams as they apply their skills and knowledge to trouble-shoot and solve engineering problems.

Working with limited time, tools and materials, student teams were required to design a device that could transport a fresh egg intact from the second storey of the building’s atrium to a target on the floor 20 feet below. The winning team was the one that designed the lightest device, safely transported the egg and had it land nearest to the centre of the target.

“The challenge for the students is to work creatively with meagre specifications to achieve success,” said Professor Henry Kastner. “What really matters is the design process. A positive outcome is a bonus.”

This year’s top design, a gyrocopter constructed from straws, masking tape and paper, was created by second-year students John Balsillie, Tyler Cressman and Brian Ferguson.

“We chose the materials for our design based on their strength-to-weight ratio,” said Balsillie on behalf of his team. “Although the exercise sounds like something you might do just for fun, it was really a great test of our knowledge and helped us develop a better understanding of how to work together as a team to achieve a common goal.”

Mechanical Engineering Technology - Robotics and Automation is a three-year diploma program that includes three co-op work terms in industry. It combines theoretical knowledge with applied skills in the control of robotic and automated equipment using electronics, programmable automation controllers, computers, hydraulics and pneumatics.

For more information, visit the program website.

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