Students from Around the World Made E-Fest North a Success

More than 900 engineering students, educators and visitors attended E-Fest North, which was held at the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing, Mich. The festival, held from April 5-7, provided students with an action-packed weekend filled with engrossing sessions and workshops, a variety of networking opportunities, and exciting ASME student competitions.

E-Fest North featured a variety of sessions that both entertained and informed the students attending. One session that was particularly popular with attendees was the keynote presentation, “Making the Moon Accessible to the World,” featuring John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic. During the presentation, Thornton talked about his small, Pittsburgh-based company and its objective of becoming the first private company to make a moon landing. Students in the audience were captivated by his presentation, with many staying after the session had ended to ask additional questions.

Another session that was a hit with E-Fest participants was the presentation, “Roller Coaster Dynamics: Engineering Thrill.” The session, led by Professor Jeff Rhoads from Purdue University, gave attendees an introduction to the field of roller coaster theme-park ride design, with an emphasis on the evolution of ride designs, the fundamentals of roller coaster dynamics and recent efforts to engineer even more intense roller coaster experiences. Rhoads also discussed the various types of ride design software that enable rapid prototyping of roller coaster designs using virtual reality.

In addition to the sessions and workshops, E-Fest North featured several of the Society’s major student competitions, including the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (HPVC). Thirty-seven teams took part in the competition, which tasked teams of engineering students to design and build human powered vehicles and then test the durability of those vehicles in men’s and women’s drag races and a two-and-a-half hour endurance competition.

Ohio University was the overall winner of the HPVC with their entry, Lynx, taking home the top prize. The team also placed first in the design category, and finished second in the women’s drag race, and third in the men’s drag race and the endurance category.

The University of Toronto was the overall runner-up, winning the second prize. The team also placed first in the men’s and women’s drag races and the endurance event.

South Dakota State University finished third overall.

The University of Florida won top honors at another competition, the Student Design Competition, for which students were challenged to design and construct remote-controlled devices that could quickly collect an assortment of balls of different sizes from their stands, and then place them in a collection area without the balls hitting the floor.

The team from Instituto Tecnologico de Ciudad Juarez in Mexico placed second, while the University of Cincinnati took home the third prize.

Other big winners at E-Fest North included Schmuel Schollar from the University at Buffalo and Rodolfo Bailon of Instituto Tecnologico de Ciudad Juarez, who each placed first in separate Old Guard Oral Presentation Competitions; Ahmad Nimer of Texas A&M University, who took first place in the Old Guard Poster Competition; and Cameron Metcalfe of Eastern Washington University, who finished first in the IAM3D Hovercraft Competition.

Radhika Murgai, a junior at Michigan State University who served as the Student Design Competition student lead, was quite impressed with her experience at the festival. “I’ve seen so much innovation here and that’s what engineering really is about,” she said. “I think engineering is a great field to be in, and I’m really glad more attention is being brought to it through events like this.”

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Register for E-Fest South America, the fourth E-Fest in 2019, to be held in Lima, Peru, in August.