Students in the A. James Clark School of Engineering demonstrated their hovercraft inventions from their ENES 100: Introduction to Engineering Design class project in the Jeong H. Kim Building on Wednesday, May 14, 2008. About 14 finalist teams competed with one another, testing their autonomous hovercraft designs around a small track set up in the Kim Building rotunda. A team from Prof. Mel Gomez's class took first place in the competition.
Students tested out the course a number of times before competing in time trials. The hovercraft devices had to travel along the track without touching any of the walls. There were many challenges for the hovercraft to overcome, particularly navigating around the track's four difficult turns. Other challenges included the lack of control over the hovercraft and exhausting battery power.
ENES 100 brings together students of all different engineering disciplines, including those who are undecided. The professors of this multi-section course have the students team up in groups of approximately 10 people and ask them to create an autonomous hovercraft device to take around a track at the end of the semester. The class offers the opportunity for students in the engineering field to gain first hand experience with electrical engineering.
Dr. Gomez, a participant in the Clark School's Keystone Program, taught a section of ENES 100 students for the first time this semester. Two student teams from his course did time trials, and one of the two took first place in the competition.
See video from the May 2009 Hovercraft Competition
May 14, 2008