ITLL Fall Design Expo To Showcase Student Inventions, Robotics, Junkyard Machines

Published: Nov. 28, 2001

From robots battling to scoop up the most ping-pong balls to a variety of machines built from recycled materials, K-12 students interested in building things will enjoy the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory's Fall Design Expo on Saturday, Dec. 8.

The semi-annual Design Expo, which is free and open to the public, will feature more than 60 inventions and other projects designed and built by CU-Boulder engineering students. The Expo is a popular, educational event for K-12 students and families, and an opportunity to see engineering in a university setting. It also is the highlight of the semester for more than 300 undergraduates.

Students will demonstrate their projects to the community from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the ITL Laboratory in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. The laboratory is located on Regent Drive about one block south of Colorado Avenue . Free parking is available in Lot 436.

The fall Expo, sponsored by Quantum Corp., will include robotics and recycling as new project themes, along with the traditional categories of assistive technology devices for people with disabilities, new commercial products and Rube Goldberg contraptions. Rube Goldberg projects, such as this semester's automatic burrito-maker, perform simple functions in complex ways.

Most of the projects have been designed and built by students in the college's First-Year Engineering Projects course, a special feature of CU-Boulder's program that gives students the chance to work in teams and do hands-on design early in their studies.

This semester, students in one section of the course focused on using their skills to build robots, or "CU Bots," which will compete against each other in a free-wheeling ball game. Students in another section were challenged to build "junkyard" machines using recycled materials available at Boulder's ReSource 2000.

Volunteers from industry, government and the community will serve as judges at the Expo, rating the team projects on originality, craftsmanship, understanding of engineering principles, effectiveness and poster presentations. An awards ceremony will be held at the close of the event, and prizes will be given to the best project in each category. Members of the community can vote for their favorite project to win the "People's Choice" award.

For more information, call (303) 492-7222.