CU-Boulder Students Collaborate On Race Car With Students In England And Singapore

Published: March 7, 2002

University of Colorado at Boulder engineering students will participate in a first of its kind, round-the-clock Global Design Initiative with students in England and Singapore March 11-15.

The goal of the project is to design a race car in just five days by taking advantage of successive time zones to do 24-hour-a-day design.

Students from Aston University in Birmingham, England, and Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore will collaborate with CU-Boulder students on the design, with each team handing off their work electronically to the next group at the end of the day.

Students in Singapore will start off the project Monday at 9 a.m. their time, and after eight hours, they will hand off their work to students in Birmingham, where it will then be 9 a.m. CU students will begin their work Monday at 10 a.m. Mountain Standard Time, which comes seven hours after Greenwich Mean Time. The cycle will repeat itself each day throughout the week, with the CU students finishing the project at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Each team's shift will overlap at the beginning and end of the day with their partner teams' shifts to allow them to communicate about progress on the design. A Web camera as well as a microphone and speakers at each site will allow team members to interact with one another.

The idea for the Global Design Initiative originated last fall at Aston University, which then searched for students at other schools around the globe to participate.

CU-Boulder mechanical engineering Professors Ken Gall and Larry Carlson, who are the faculty advisers on the project, said CU students jumped at the chance to be involved in an exciting, hands-on design project, which offers the opportunity for real-world international collaboration.

"This is the first time this has ever been done in an educational setting," said Gall. "So it gives the students an opportunity to be in on the ground floor of something really innovative."

Twelve CU students at all levels from freshmen to graduate students will work on the project in the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory, which is part of the Engineering Center Complex. Lab Stations 1A and 2A on the Hewlett-Packard Lab Plaza on the main level have been reserved throughout the week for the project.

Senior and first-year graduate student Doug Schuler, who is leading the team along with doctoral candidate Brian Corff, noted that "the time constraints of the project are huge."

Normally, students work all year designing and building a Formula race car for the annual Society of Automotive Engineers competition in Detroit. In this case, students will produce only a finished design, which any of the schools are then free to build if they wish.

SolidWorks, a U.S. company which is providing design software, is the primary sponsor of the project.

The entire process will be captured live on the project Web site,