The engineers strike again

UWaterloo’s engineering teams cleaned up at this month’s Canadian Engineering Competition (CEC). From March 3-6, engineering students from universities across the country went head to head at McGill University for prizes in design, consulting, reengineering, debate and communications. All four UWaterloo teams that competed brought back silver or gold medals, showcasing once again why Waterloo is one of the top engineering schools in Canada.Senior Design Team

After placing second in the provincial competition, UWaterloo’s senior design team went up against seven other Canadian teams in Quebec. Their challenge? To build a robot that could collect and deliver food and water to a hypothetical village surrounded by difficult terrain. Eric Shi, Kenneth Geertsema, Wesley Fisher and Daniel Lizewski wrestled with mountains, gravel, sand and a river – all obstacles to transporting resources from A to B.

We had to design a robot that would be operated completely wireless,” explains Eric. “It would navigate around a 4ftx4ft area with different terrain sections. The robot had to gather 3 foam blocks (representing foot packages) and 500mL of water (from a river), and deliver them to home stations. Mobility in the rough terrain proved to be the most challenging obstacle to overcome.

Robotic design on terrainAt the end of the 10-hour competition, the senior design team had invented a Bluetooth controlled robot with four wheels and a mechanical arm to collect water and pick up food packages. The team, all 3B Mechanical and Mechatronics engineering students, met the challenge head-on, earning second place nationally based on their robot’s performance, presentation and overall design.

While UWaterloo’s senior team was doing battle, the UWaterloo junior design team placed first in Canada for their built drawbridge, which spanned a one-metre gap and was capable of supporting a remote-controlled car. Likewise, Waterloo’s Project Reservoir won first place in the innovative design category for their agricultural water control and environmental monitoring system. Fellow students from Team GraFET won second with their sensor for detecting harmful gases.

While the competition was fierce, participants also had the opportunity to connect with industry professionals and meet potential mentors during their sojourn in Montreal.  As Eric recounts,

There were a lot of great companies to network with at the event through a career fair. We plan to compete again next year and hopefully take first place at CEC.

Congratulations to each of our student medalists for showcasing Waterloo’s innovative spirit on the national stage!Senior Design Team

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