Conestoga news

March 22, 2024 11:56 AM

Sustainable solutions to societal issues focus of engineering design challenge

School of Engineering & Technology students at Conestoga joined a lunch-time design competition to showcase their expertise and innovative ideas.

Engineering success.jpg
School of Engineering & Technology students at Conestoga joined a design competition to showcase their expertise and innovative ideas.

In celebration of National Engineering Month in March, an open invitation went out to all students in the school to participate in the event hosted by Engineering Student Outreach Ambassadors at the Cambridge - Fountain Street campus on March 19.

The challenge: address a current societal issue through sustainable and eco-friendly solutions. The students needed to identify a problem, conduct research, create a design and then develop a prototype using recyclable materials.

“You have to use your imagination when you’re building too,” ambassador Zoe Talbot told the students.

They certainly got imaginative with not just the building, but also coming up with a problem and their unique solution to tackle it.

“The aim of this challenge is to take a problem in today’s society and create a sustainable solution to it using recyclable materials,” Talbot said.

The supplies included: string, elastics, felt, paper clips, zip ties, wooden sticks, wire, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, straws, pipe cleaners, tape, cardboard and construction paper. The students even plucked items from the snack table and blue box as they engineered their solution.

The student teams started with brainstorming and a blank page where they needed to sketch their design before the hands-on work could begin. Then they set to work building prototypes for problems that ranged from very big - creating a self-contained city out of an old cargo ship - to the small - replacing plastic produce bags with an expandable paper version.

Other designs included a 3D printer for homes, a processor to turn plastic waste into fuel at home, a high-efficiency cargo ship, and an unmanned aerial vehicle to monitor for forest fires. The students’ solutions were judged based on criteria that included creativity and innovation, functionality and practicality, design appeal and use of simple materials.

Prizes were awarded to the three top-placing designs. First prize was awarded to the forest-fire protection system by Devon Ernest and Jackson Whynott, second place to the paper produce bag by Yasu Hsieh and Kyunga Kim, and third place to the greener cargo ship by Leo Joseph.

Conestoga’s School of Engineering & Technology offers a comprehensive suite of programs with a wide range of credentials in areas including architecture, civil, construction, mechanical and electronics. Conestoga is Ontario’s only college to offer fully accredited engineering degrees.