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Dal Engineering students win first place at Canadian Engineering Competition

Posted by Jennifer Moore on September 23, 2013 in Awards
Dream Team
Dream Team

A team of fourth year students from Dalhousie Engineering competed in the Canadian Engineering Competition held in Ottawa this past March. The team, called The Dream Team, came in first place in the Senior Design category. The team of four consists of two mineral resource engineering students; Matt Thompson and Jeff Grover and two mechanical engineering students; Brent Libby and Alex MacDonald.

The challenge that the team was faced with was to create an autonomous robot to navigate to the bottom of an abandoned mine site, and to collect any remaining payload that was otherwise unrecoverable.

“It was a great experience to win such a prestigious competition against tough competitors from all over Canada”. Said Brent Libby. Teammate Alex MacDonald echoes that sentiment. “Winning the Senior Design category wasn’t only rewarding after a stressful day of designing and building, but it also made our team extremely proud to bring the winning title back to Nova Scotia."

MacDonald also points out, that with any engineering task, challenges arise. “In particular, with the Lego robot, our team had issues both with the optical sensors range and the bump sensors responsiveness.” The Team pulled through with innovative ideas and fixed the issues before testing time. “We were nervous for final judging, but quite confident in our overall ability.” Says Libby.

The Atlantic Engineering Competition held in Fredericton this past February, led the team to advance to the national competition. The team placed second in the Senior Design Category. In the Atlantic competition, the team was instructed to design a water filtration device to be mounted to the roof of a home in Africa. It had to collect rainwater and separate all types of debris with limited supplies on a minimal budget.      

The Dream Team’s win at the Canadian Engineering Competition enabled them to proceed to Shell’s inaugural International Engineering Competition. The competition was held in Alberta from September 11-15. A set of pool balls and a piano and were given to the team. From these objects the team had to create a calculator that was capable of addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division. “This competition wasn’t a real-world design issue like the prior competitions, but more of a competition in ingenuity and innovation.” Explained MacDonald.

The team placed fourth in the international competition, just getting edged out of the international broadcast of the top three teams. “Each competition was a great learning experience for all of us." Said MacDonald. Libby adds; “The best part was meeting other accomplished engineering students who will someday be industry leaders in their chosen sectors. Bringing together a collection of some of the worlds most diverse and innovative students really puts into perspective that engineering can be whatever you make it to be.”