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Smiles Crack at Egg Drop Contest

Date: October 26, 2010

The Department of Engineering & Computer Science’s 2nd annual Egg Drop Challenge was a smashing success—literally. The event, which challenged students to create a vehicle to withstand a several-story fall while protecting the egg inside, took place on Tuesday, Oct. 19, at the Andrews University Science Complex.

The contest was designed to teach engineering students, “Creativity, how to calculate force, look at design aspects and thoughtful strategy,” said Hyun Kwon, assistant professor of engineering and coordinator of the event.

Students in the Intro to Engineering class participated in the event as part of a class project. Each student was challenged to design and create a vehicle that would allow an egg to be dropped from the top of a building and land without breaking. Then, on contest day, 20 teams of students gathered to watch as the various “egg vehicle” designs were dropped from the top of Haughey Hall to the concrete sidewalk below. Judges evaluated designs that fell “as slowly and fancy as possible.”

Some designs, such as Tyler Colomb’s, were simple yet effective. He used a pillow for padding and secured the egg on top using duct tape. Students were amazed when the hard crash left the egg unharmed. Colomb received Best Cushion Award from the judges, Gunnar Lovhoiden and Roy Villafane, faculty members from the Department of Engineering & Computer Science.

Unlike Colomb’s, most egg vehicles used trash bags as egg-parachutes and balloons to decrease the force of the drop. Designs ranged from helicopter models to hang gliders and used materials such as peanut butter jars, cups, cotton balls, floss and even cereal boxes to protect the egg. Mervyn Besra’s project was made of “a platform that added drag force, sponges that worked as shock absorbers, and a cup filled with water and balloons to lessen the impact,” he described. When his vehicle landed safely, Besra said, “This is a great feeling and it makes me feel accomplished. It’s really exciting to go from an idea like this to functional reality.”

Some participants were surprised that their designs worked. “I thought ours was going to break!” laughed Michael Hernandez. He and his partner, Konner Dent, created a vehicle using an umbrella, red tubing, bungee cords and a bucket stuffed with newspapers to make a circle-like vehicle, one of the largest at the event. The judges awarded the boys’ efforts with the Most Creative Design Award, a prize that included an alarm clock, “So that they can come to class on time,” said Kwon.

Other recognition was given to: Frantz Orelus and Omar Brown, Slowest Landing Award; Haniel Olivera and Stefan von Henner, Most Fun Award; Betsy Quetz and Shemaiah Telemaque, Best Balloon Design Award; and Michael Husper and Isabel Ong, Most Unexpected Award. Each student received a 2-gigabyte USB drive for their efforts and participation.

-Written by Ashleigh Jardine, student news writer, Office of Integrated Marketing & Communication

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