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Engineers Show Off Ingenuity at U

Engineers Show Off Ingenuity at U

Posted - Apr. 23, 2004 at 4:06 p.m.



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Ed Yeates ReportingFrom injection needles the size of a human hair to robots rescuing beanie babies, today was the day for ingenious engineers at the University of Utah to show off their wizardry.

It's hard enough challenging Evil Knievel in miniature. But these Evil EGGnievel devices had to soar off a jump and land hard without breaking an egg. All kinds of stunts at the U Union Building today. And though people hooted and hollered at the outcomes, all this was designed to let budding engineers show off their real world skills.

Dr. A.K. Balaji, U of U Dept. of Mechanical Engineering: "Real world skills because you're trying to make a design to work within a period with what was about three and a half months or so - semester long project - and in about 14 weeks, they have to build this stuff."

Some of this stuff wasn't for stunts. How about micro-needles delivering insulin painlessly. 36 micro-needles fit on a minute chip. Compared with a conventional needle, a micro-needle's actual length matches the thickness of only two human hairs.

There was also what’s called a micro jet engine. It weighs only five pounds. It has 39 pounds of thrust at 110 thousand RPM's that can push a three foot plane perhaps 300 miles per hour.

We saw a self-balancing wheelchair. How about an ascender device allowing climbers to go up or down a rope by simply moving the feet.

A real showstopper were the robot heroes, which on their own had to crawl over an obstacle course, seek out lighted beanie babies and rescue them.

The winning team's reward is skipping the final exam. For a college student that's a lot.

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