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Out to launch: Freshmen mechanical engineers compete in annual design challenge

December 4, 2014

Freshmen mechanical engineering students from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering engaged in a fierce but fun competition Wednesday afternoon, a challenge that has become an annual rite of passage: the “Mousetraps and Rubber Bands” contest.



Held in early December on the stage at Shriver Hall, the contest—the final assignment in their Freshman Experiences in Mechanical Engineering course—challenges teams of students to use two mousetraps, six rubber bands, and $15 worth of materials to design and build a vehicle that performs a certain task.

This year’s task required the vehicles to travel six feet from the starting box along the stage to a 6-foot tall, 4-foot-wide barrier, over which the device then had to launch a 7-ounce salt-filled balloon.

“No motors or batteries are allowed,” said Steven Marra, senior lecturer and instructor for the course, who dubbed this year’s contest “The Big Barrier Battle of Baltimore.”

Twenty-six teams battled it out for about an hour until Kyle Doran, Connor Joyce and Brendan Szuwalski emerged victorious.

Excerpted from The Hub. Read more and view a gallery of photos taken at the event here.

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