An uplifting experience – Metro US

An uplifting experience

Engineering students create Lego-robots

Robin Kuniski/For Metro Calgary

U of C engineering student Stephanie Pon makes a few tweaks to her team’s robot, George, as it gets ready to climb a tether in the school’s first “Space Elevator” competition yesterday afternoon at the Schulich School of Engineering.

Robin Kuniski/For Metro Calgary

Taras Karpachevsky and Mike James try to jump-start their robot yesterday during the U of C space elevator contest.

Lifting a load to space might be a tall task, but University of Calgary students took a shot at doing it eight feet at a time.

The Space Elevator Robot competition pitted teams of first-year U of C engineering students against one another in a test to see who could create a Lego-robot capable of lifting the most weight in the fastest time up an eight-foot tether.

Sixteen finalists raced their Lego-bots yesterday at the Schulich School of Engineering, including Chris Lomheim’s team.

His team’s robo-lifter prepared to boost two bottles of water weighing 1.7 kilograms up the tether — and do it faster than other teams.

Lomheim said it can be tough coming up with innovative ideas for the Lego creations, but his team, which has been working on the robot for nearly five weeks, tried to keep it simple.

“There’s a lot of similarities in some of the ideas, but we went with a little simpler design — we wanted something that was going to be fast and haul a lot of weight and just get us points,” he said.

Teams were scored on the height the load was lifted, the weight of the load and the innovation of their design.

Lomheim said it’s a healthy competition among engineering students.

“It’s pretty good spirited,” he said.

“We all want to see each other do well, but you still want to win.”

The idea of a space elevator originated in 2000 with NASA scientists considering the possibility of a mass-transit system for the next century moving people, payloads, and power between earth and space.

[email protected]