Olin College Teams Excel in Recent Engineering Competitions

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Teams from Olin College of Engineering successfully competed in the 2012 Baja SAE East competition, the ASME HPV East competition and the 6th International Robotic Sailboat Championship.

The Olin College Sailbot team prepping for competition

Olin’s Phoenix Racing team, Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) team, and Sailbot team recently competed in three separate engineering events. Each placed highly in its respective competition.

Olin’s Phoenix Racing team competing in 2012 Baja SAE East, made the trip to Auburn University’s National Center for Asphalt Technology in Opelika, Ala., in April to compete against eighty-six teams from all over the country. The thirty-member squad traveled to Alabama with their off-road, mini-baja vehicle in the back of a truck. With its sleek design and exceptional endurance, the vehicle led Olin’s Baja SAE team to success in the Hill Climb (44th place), Suspension (29th place), Land Maneuverability (29th place), Acceleration (43rd place), and Endurance (50th place) individual competitions. Overall, the team placed 44th in the 2012 competition.

Olin’s Phoenix Racing team is sponsored by Boeing, National Instruments, BOSE, Autodesk, Barrett Technology, MacDiarmid, MOM South and Mortgage Capital; as well as The Patterson Family, Andrew Tsang ’09, Michael Siripong ‘07, The Andree Family, The Gutcher Family, The Martelaro Family, The Raymond Family and The McMullen Family.

The Olin College Human Powered Vehicle team recently competed in ASME’s Human Powered Vehicle Competition East ([ASME HPVC) at Grove Street College in Grove City, Pa., taking home the 2012 Knovel Award for Design Innovation, a third place finish and placing in the top five in every event.

The team won the 2012 Knovel® Award for Design Innovation for their ingenious rider variation compensation system, which allowed for quick and easy height adjustments between tall and short riders. Olin placed third overall out of thirty-two teams; and placed third in the Design Event, third in the Women’s Speed Event, fifth in the Men’s Speed Event and second in the Endurance Event. Even though Olin’s HPV team may not have duplicated last year’s first place standing, it did create a great deal of buzz across the Internet for a crash that can be seen here.

"I love the Olin HPV team because it allows me to gain experience in mechanical engineering projects outside of courses,” said Jackie Rose, a co-leader of Olin’s team. “I also really enjoy building a vehicle for a competition, because it gives us a high goal to strive towards. Also, the team itself is an excellent group of people, and I love working with all of the people on it.

This year's sponsors included Kazak, who gave the Olin HPV team a large amount of carbon fiber cloth; CD-adapco, who granted the team licenses for simulations software; Landry's Bicycles for various bicycle parts; the Olin Student Academic Grant Committee; and alumni Eamon Doyle, Casey Canfield, Jacob Izraelevitz, David Stamp, and Jacob West. The faculty advisor was Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Aaron Hoover.

A team with far less experience in competition, Olin’s Sailbot team, was founded just this year by James Regulinski ’12, Jaime McCandless ‘12, Jason Curtis ‘12, Andrew Fabian ‘12, and Abe Feldman ‘12. It didn’t take long, however, for the team to enter their project into competition. The robotic sailing team recently made its way to Vancouver, B.C., for the 6th International Robotic Sailboat Championship, despite having to disassemble and reassemble its boat for the lengthy trip.

With the help of an impressive performance in the Navigation Contest, Olin College and its Sailbot, named ‘Blackbody Radiation,’ were able to claim second place out of nine teams from all over the United States and Canada. Six events took place and each event was scored on a ten point scale. Olin College placed fourth and second in the two fleet races, second in the Station Keeping event, first (three way tie) in the Navigation event, second in the presentation event, and second in the Long Distance event.

“I participate in Sailbot because it's fun, it's exciting, and I'm pushing the boundaries of what I know how to do,” said team member Eric Schneider. “The team did great at the IRSC in Vancouver, taking 2nd place by just a few points in its rookie year. We are really excited to expand and further define the mission of the team this year -- we don't want to be defined by the IRSC -- our goal for the end of 2012 -- but instead use it explicitly as a stepping stone, an intermediate waypoint on the way to an advanced, useful robotic platform propelled by the wind.”

The team’s rookie year became even better, as team representatives Jaime McCandless and Jason Curtis, along with faculty members Drew Bennett and Dave Barrett, were selected to give a keynote presentation about Sailbot at National Instruments Week 2012 (NI Week August 6-9 2012). National Instruments has arranged to ship out Olin’s competition boat for show and is even assembling a demo of the Olin Sailbot Team’s small R/C test platform. The presentation will be eight minutes long and will draw an audience of 4,500 engineers.

The Olin College Sailbot Team was sponsored by Olin College, National Instruments, CustomMade.com, and Olin’s HPV and Baja clubs. The faculty advisor is Drew Bennett, but the team also has garnered much assistance from faculty members Scott Harris, Garland O’Connell, and Dave Barrett.

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Alyson Goodrow
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