Imagineering Competition Kicks Off

Last year's competition award winners Evan Lowell and Mehmet Akbulut (ME'16) demonstrated their robotic guitar player.
Last year's competition award winners Evan Lowell and Mehmet Akbulut (ME'16) demonstrated their robotic guitar player.

The Fifth Annual Imagineering Competition – a chance for students to showcase their creativity and entrepreneurial capabilities on ideas that can impact society – will kick off with a meeting for interested student on December 2nd at 5pm in Singh Imagineering Lab.

Thanks to the support of John Maccarone (ENG ’66), undergraduate students can, individually or in teams, create and enter an original project to compete for following prizes:

– 1st Prize: $3,000, plus assistance with patent submission, marketing analysis consultation, and an invitation to serve on Competition Committee next year.

– 2nd Prize: $1,500, assistance with patent submission, and marketing analysis consultation.

– Best in Class Prizes: $500, awarded to best project from each undergraduate class (mixed teams are categorized by team leader’s year group).

Projects can address any application, but are particularly encouraged in areas at the intersection of healthcare and IT; energy and sustainability; security/cybersecurity; and Global technologies for the developing world.

Teamwork and Innovation

Last year’s competition was won by ME ’16 students Evan Lowell and Mehmet Akbulut, who created a machine that emulated how a human plays guitar. Called Cithara, the device combined an off-the-shelf guitar (acoustic or electric) with two components powered by Arduino microcontrollers: a slider mechanism that presses frets at designated locations and a robotic arm that strums or plucks selected strings.

For this year’s competition, students can begin their projects now and complete them any time up to the judging of entries, which will occur in mid-April. The exact dates for the judging will be announced to participants during the competition. Entry forms must be turned in no later than April 1, 2016.

The competition website offers more details, including rules and information to help students generate their project ideas. It will post a list of possible project topics that students can choose from if they have difficulty generating their own. Imagineering Lab Manager Joe Precopio will maintain a list of students who wish to be part of a team but have not formed one. Questions can be addressed to

All submissions will be judged on the basis of originality, ingenuity, and creativity of the project; the quality of the design and prototype; the functionality of the project; and the relationship of the areas of emphasis noted above. The project presentations or demonstrations will be open to the public. Each contestant or team must offer a short (15 minute) presentation and/or demonstration to the Competition Committee, covering the origin of the idea, the purpose of the prototype, design features, the build/assembly process, and a brief description of potential market and customer impact.

The Binoy K. Singh Imagineering Laboratory, which opened in the Fall 2011, gives students the resources to take on extracurricular engineering initiatives and think about new ways to address society’s challenges. The Singh Imagineering Lab provides easy access to entrepreneurially minded College of Engineering students, and other BU students working with them, without limiting the topic or timeframe of use. Using the lab’s tools and machinery – and guidance from faculty, graduate students and undergraduate peers – students are encouraged to pursue their ideas and designs and even commercialization ideas.

For more information, visit the Competition page.