Miller School of Albemarle

A Student’s Impression of the Engineering Design Symposium

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My Impressions of the IEEE Systems and Information Engineering Design Symposium at UVA by Meghan N.

On Friday, May 1, 2011, a group of Miller students went to an engineering symposium at the University of Virginia.  Most of us didn’t know what to expect.  “It will probably be boring,” is what we thought.  But when we arrived at UVa, we quickly found out that we were wrong.  Surrounded by college students and teachers, and being the youngest in the room, we were all a little intimidated.  Once everyone had arrived, we were all ushered into a large room and spoken to by a guest speaker that works in the Pentagon.  He shared an experience he had about when he was working in the navy.  Though it was about a ship (USS Stark) being destroyed in March 1987 by an Iraqi aircraft, it had much to do with engineering.  I thought the story was really interesting.  “Well, maybe this won’t be so bad,” I thought.

After the speech, we were dismissed and free to start our exploration.  The first presentation I attended was “Water Purification After Natural Disasters”.  A group of college students had come up with an ingenious way of testing water sources after a natural disaster occurred such as an earthquake or a tornado.  Basically, they designed a light weight kit that they drop into the water.  The kit then tests the water and sends the results to home base from a smart phone that comes with the kit.  The kit has enough battery to last for a month and only needs to be visited by an actual human once.

Another presentation that saw had to do with kids starting ATV’s, all terrain vehicles.  They had gathered evidence proving that deaths from four wheelers have been mainly caused by small children.  Their project was how to prevent children from starting them.  They used many different methods to support their invention.  A requirement that they engineered was a weight limit that was necessary to ignite the ATV.  When someone is sitting on the ATV, he or she must sit on a green line and if they are 90 pounds or more, they may start the engine.  But here’s the catch:  If an eight year old, ninety pound kid sits on the line, chances are that the child will not be able to reach the handle bars.  The handle bars, likewise, also require a pushing of a button to start the engine.  Furthermore, in relation to being the proper weight and having long enough limbs to reach the handle bars, the child also must push a pedal with their foot.  Simultaneously performing all of these tasks together, the ATV will turn on.  I thought this was very clever and was by far, my favorite presentation.

The engineering seminar was very interesting, and it opened a lot of doors for me that would never have opened otherwise.  Thank you very much Dr. Neeley.

Written by Miller School of Albemarle

May 9, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Posted in Posts

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