ITLL Design Expo To Showcase Student Inventions, Assistive Technology, Robotics

Published: April 21, 2002

A collapsible skateboard that fits inside a backpack, a customized wheelchair for a child with cerebral palsy, and an assortment of electromechanical robots will be among the more than 70 student-built engineering projects featured at the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory's Spring Design Expo on Saturday, April 27.

The Design Expo is a popular, educational event for families and an opportunity for K-12 students to learn about 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 ITL Laboratory is located on Regent Drive about one block south of Colorado Avenue. Free parking is available across the street in Lot 436.

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 engineering program that gives students the opportunity to work in teams on hands-on design projects early in their college careers.

This semester's projects include assistive technology devices for people with disabilities, Lego robots, "Battle Bots" and Rube Goldberg contraptions. Assistive technology projects are developed by students who work directly with clients to meet their specific needs, while other projects challenge students to incorporate engineering theory into a project that is just plain fun.

Some course sections built electromechanical robots that will compete to scoop up ping-pong balls on a prescribed course, while another focused on Rube Goldberg projects, which perform simple functions in complex ways.

Marketable products from the sophomore-level Innovation and Invention course, including a collapsible skateboard, a continuously variable bicycle transmission and a powered glove that enhances grip strength, also will be exhibited, along with several senior "capstone" design projects.

Volunteers from industry, government and the community will serve as judges, rating each project on its originality, craftsmanship, understanding of engineering principles, effectiveness and poster presentation. 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.