The teams have been given 1 sheet of balsa wood 6"x36"x1/8", 1 sheet 6"x36"x1/4", 2 sheets of 80 grit sandpaper, and 2 sheets of 180 grit sandpaper. Using these materials and no others, they must design and cut a flying vehicle using the laser cutter as their only tool. No glue or other foreign materials are allowed. They may use scissors or a razor to cut the balsa to fit in the laser cutter. A team member (designee) will then have 3 chances to throw the vehicle as far as possible. The design that flies the furthest wins the $500.
MADMEC, the Making and Designing Materials Engineering Contest, is entering its fifth year. The competition is a joint venture between MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Saint Gobain, BP, and the Dow Chemical Company. MADMEC challenges teams of students to design and build prototypes that address a variety of energy, environmental, or habitat issues through the use of materials science.
Five teams competed in MADMEC, the Making and Designing Materials Engineering Contest, for a total of $20,000.
Smart Curtain prototype
The first-place team ($10,000) was Smart Curtain, Sisi Ni and Ling Li, who designed a "stealthy and smart" energy conservation system that closes a curtain when the sun is shining to reduce solar heating. Their innovative system uses a light detector to actuate a shape memory alloy that opens and closes the curtains.
The New York Times reported on GenShocks, shock absorbers that harvest the energy from potholes and other bumps in the road, and store it for other use by the vehicle. GenShocks grew out of the 2007 MADMEC competition: The Curie Brothers won third prize with their idea which they have further developed prior to establishing Levant Power Corporation. They look to be well on the way to bringing their product to market.
At the MIT Energy Conference, now in its fifth year, visitors learn about new inventions and network with the innovators and problem-solvers. CNET covered the event and mentioned Sunpoint, the 2008 MADMEC winners.
Thermeleon, a team of current graduate students and recent alums, took first place in last night's MADMEC finals. The team has developed a color-changing roof tile that is white to reflect sunlight when the outside temperature is warm, and dark to absorb hear when the weather is cold. The MIT News Office has published a story on their work.
Congratulations to the Course III student teams members of SunPoint and Levant Power who have advanced to the Grand Prize judging which will take place May 12, 2009 at 2:00pm at the Wong Auditorium, E51.
SunPoint: Forrest Liau
Both teams got started through MADMEC I (2007) and MADMEC II (2008) as and CurieBrothers (now Levant Power) and Heliotrope (now SunPoint), respectively.