A design team launches a ring into the air using their device

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

Discs take flight in design challenge

Each fall, first-year mechanical engineering students at Johns Hopkins University put their design skills to the test in a rite of passage known as the MechE Freshmen Design Competition. This year, they were challenged to design and build a device that could launch a small ring across a room, propelled only by the energy of a falling five-pound weight.

Student teams competed in head-to-head matches during the single-elimination tournament that took place in Levering Hall on the university's Homewood campus on Wednesday. After several nail-biting rounds, ultimate victory went to students Yarin Camacho Aparicio, Zuriel Joven, and Claire Cui, who called themselves "Team 95."

"I'm happy we were able to hold our Design Challenge in person again," said Steve Marra, associate teaching professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering and the mastermind behind the annual competition. "The students did an excellent job designing and building their devices, and I was especially impressed by the diversity of approaches they took in launching the rings."