Eggs and bagels were served, but not for brunch.
Instead, they were launched from mechanical devices built by first year engineering students during the 10th Annual Grand Design Challenge (GDC).
The competition culminates the First-Year Introduction to Engineering Design course, and is designed to help students develop durable skills that will prove extremely useful when they become practicing engineers.
“As they work in the lab section, the teams can communicate and collaborate with each other, share ideas, tips and tricks,” said Dr. Mauro Caputi, PhD, associate professor and director of first-year engineering. “The competition is similar to engineering companies working on a large-scale project, with many different teams working together. There is no individual team winner – it’s the company that wins a contract to build the product.”
Students from six lab sections were divided into teams and given a budget of $15 to purchase construction materials such as foam core board, mailing tubes, dowels, hot glue, and tape. Each team was required to design and build one of six specified mechanical devices, each powered by no more than ten rubber bands. Project choices ranged from a machine that could launch up to six bagels over a wall and land them safely on a platform to a car that could travel a long distance and automatically return.
Electrical engineering student Eric Samuel and teammates Michael Gidiuli, James Heath, and Scott Marcondes were one of the six teams of the Thursday afternoon lab section that took first place at the GDC. They designed a mechanical system that could launch up to six hard-boiled eggs as far as possible in 90 seconds without cracking.
“My biggest takeaway from the (competition) was learning the value of teamwork and working under pressure,” Samuel said. “As an aspiring engineer, it also taught me a lot about what to expect in the work field. I think that every freshman engineer who attends Hofstra would say that this was the best experience of their first semester.”