Design ACE 2013 saw engineers come up with solutions for everyday problems
The fifth edition of Design ACE, a South India-level design competition, concluded recently, with students creating great ideas and designs. It was organised — by Barry Wehmellers International Resources in partnership with SolidWorks, a company that produces a 3D design modelling tool — to inspire engineering students to hold on to the sacred ideals of innovation, design and belief in core engineering.
In what was arguably a congregation of mechanical engineers, the theme of this year’s edition was to create a mechanical design that could improve our everyday lifestyle. The contest attracted around 320 registrations. An impressive 94 models were submitted from which 45 models were chosen to go through to the pre-finals stage. Nine teams were selected for the final round from which top three ideas bagged the prizes.
Working around the theme of making the lives of others better, the winners derived their ideas from increasing societal problems. The growing number of automobiles seems to have pushed M. Navin Kumar and K. Suresh (first place) from Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore, and the team of Pragadish and Saravana Kumar (third place) from KCG College of Engineering, Chennai, to provide practical solutions. While Navin and Suresh created a foldable car that would reduce the size of the car to up to 30 per cent, Pragadish and Saravana Kumar displayed a working model of a shock absorber that could convert the energy to electricity to power devices and equipment in a vehicle.
“With more vehicles plying, we wanted to free up some space on the road,” said Navin and Suresh who received a prize of Rs. 40,000.
The duo from KCG set out to improve fuel efficiency and use the energy generated to good use. “Only 15 per cent of fuel is used to power the car. The rest is used to power devices and equipment in the car. Since shock absorbers generate so much energy, we wanted to put that to good use,” said Pragadish, who has plans of designing an electric car that can be used as an alternative. “I am inspired by Tesla Motors,” he adds.
M. Dhivakar and A. Satis Kumar (second place) from Sona College of Technology, Salem designed a sophisticated wheelchair that could lift the person on it up to three feet so they don’t need anyone to help them get on and off their bed and so on. “We have a friend in class who uses the wheelchair. We could see how difficult his life was and thought we should do something about it,” says Dhivakar.
The event provided an alternative to the mundane paper presentations that happen at most of tech fests. One of the jury members, Suchit Jain, vice-president, strategy and community, SolidWorks, quipped, “When I was a student of IIT-Bombay decades ago, I couldn’t come up with stuff like these.”