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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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Engineering open design competition Saturday

Saturday, a group of around 30 underclassmen will present their own creations of ingenuity, many inspired by their daily lives. The engineering open design competition takes place in the Cherokee Ballroom at 10 a.m., where 12 members from six prominent engineering firms in Fort Collins will act as judges for the day.

Junior electrical engineering and math major Sam Wright, who has a role in planning the event, said that the students will present their projects — working or not — to the judges, in the hopes of winning the first, second and third place prizes that will be given.


Currently, they have about $600 as well as some donated electronics set aside for prize money, Wright said.

The students have a certain budget to follow and they are able to do anything that they want as long as they stay in the budget, Wright said.

Some of the projects from this year and years previous include a card dealing and card shuffling machine, an automatic chess-playing machine, a business card that lights up and an automated HVAC system, designed by Wright and a few colleagues.

Cameron Bloom, a junior engineering major, president of electrical and electronic engineers was part of the group that created the HVAC system last year.

Bloom explained that Sam’s father initially inspired the HVAC system idea. He noticed that sometimes there would be an imbalance between his bedroom temperature and living room temperature because the fireplace was going in the living room, for example. The HVAC system makes the temperature in every individual room customizable by individually pumping air into whichever room needs it, Bloom said.

They worked on it from October to April.

Bloom said that they actually won the completion last year, on the grounds that scoring was focused on creativity, presentation and technical execution.

“Our unofficial motto is that our workshop is designed to the point that an English major could come in and design a robot or whatever they wanted to do and present it,” Bloom said.

Sophomore electrical engineering major Michael Habel was also inspired by a need when he created his robot for this year’s competition.


“I D.J. on occasion, and bring speakers and all types of equipment with me. One night I decided I should make something that would be useful in this endeavor,” Habel said.

The robot is made out of a metal frame, is about three feet squared, and about eight inches tall, Habel said. Eventually, he will add rails to the current plywood base so that it can hold his equipment. Currently, Habel said that the machine is remote controlled, but is working on it’s ability to actually follow someone around via an infra red transmitter.

Habel said that during the creation process, he has found some help for the project from his father, his classes, and a lot of research on the internet.

Collegian Writer Cailley Biagini can be reached at

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