Societal Engineers Ready to Put Their Ideas to the Test

Third Annual Imagineering Competition Begins

By Kathrin Havrilla

Last year, the Imagineering Competition's $2,500 first prize went to Konstantinos Oikonomopoulos (ME '14) (left) and Lanke A. Fu (ME '14) (right) for Smart Bike, a bicycle they enhanced to automatically shift gears in response to changing terrain and road conditions.
Last year, the Imagineering Competition's $2,500 first prize went to Konstantinos Oikonomopoulos (ME '14) (left) and Lanke A. Fu (ME '14) (right) for Smart Bike, a bicycle they enhanced to automatically shift gears in response to changing terrain and road conditions.

The College of Engineering’s third annual Imagineering Competition starts today, encouraging students to express their creativity and entrepreneurial capabilities on ideas that improve society. The competition is open to individuals and teams who can take advantage of the extensive resources in the Binoy K. Singh Imagineering Lab to produce an original project that reflects the ideals of the Societal Engineer. 

First-, second- and third-place prizes of $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000, respectively, are up for grabs, along with assistance with U.S. Patent submission and a marketing analysis consultation. Projects may begin any time after November 15, 2013, and entrance forms must be submitted by April 1, 2014.

Students can create their own project ideas and teams (which may include students from other BU colleges and schools as long as at least one ENG student is on each team), and the Imagineering Lab will post a list of potential project topics and team members to support this process. Projects may address any challenge, but are especially encouraged in the intersection of healthcare and IT; energy and sustainability; security, especially cybersecurity; and global technologies for the developing world. Imagineering Lab assistants will be available to address questions and obtain additional materials and equipment as teams transform their ideas into prototypes.

The competition will end on April 15, when a Competition Committee will begin judging qualifying projects based on originality, ingenuity and creativity; quality of design and prototype; functionality; and relationship to areas of emphasis. Entrants will also provide a 15-minute presentation on the purpose of the prototype, design features, the build/assembly process, and a brief description of the project’s potential market and customer impact. Afterwards, they will field questions from the committee. 

Sponsored by John Maccarone (ENG’66), the competition aims to inspire student to embrace the entrepreneurial process, and design, build and test new technologies that promise to move society forward. In that spirit, some of last year’s finalists produced prototypes for a Smart Bike that automatically shifts gears in response to changing terrain and road conditions; a Roommate Friendly Alarm Clock, which uses a concentrated beam of high-brightness LEDs and an under-pillow vibrating motor to wake up only one person in a room; and a Smart Medicine Cabinet that uses built-in electronic sensors and Internet connectivity to make taking medicine and ordering prescriptions simple and stress-free.

Interested students can register for this year’s Imagineering Competition online, and any questions should be sent to engadmsw@bu.edu.

Imagineering Lab programming is supported by the Kern Family Foundation and alumni contributions to the ENG Annual Fund.

 

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