Carnegie Mellon University
February 21, 2017

Celebrating National Engineers Week at Explore Engineering Event

Celebrating National Engineers Week at Explore Engineering Event

The bridge inspector drone is able to scan a bridge in a fraction of the time it would take a human inspector. What would currently take a week to inspect, the done can compete in about 90 minutes. The bridge inspector drone is able to scan a bridge in a fraction of the time it would take a human inspector. What would currently take a week to inspect, the done can compete in about 90 minutes.

CEE graduate and undergraduate students gathered alongside students from other departments in Scott Hall Sunday to celebrate the start of National Engineers Week at the first-ever “Explore Engineering!” event sponsored by the College of Engineering. More than 500 K-12 students were able to discover different aspects of engineering through a variety of hands-on demos and activities, including the CEE students’ Gumdrop Fun with Civil Engineers and Professor Burcu Akinci’s Laser Scanning and Drones for Bridge Repair project which is a collaboration with the Robotics department.

ASCE’s table, Gumdrop Fun with Civil Engineers, manned by Julissa Cruz (BS ’18) and Lauren Mueller (BS ’19), challenged students to make secure structures with a variety of candy and toothpicks. Cruz and Mueller challenged the children to design and build structures that met height or shape requirements to support a weighted object.

"I think it is important for young students to be exposed to the thinking process that we engineers go through when thinking how to solve some of today's engineering problems,” said Cruz, who is president of the ASCE Chapter. “Once kids start thinking like engineers, the rest is all paperwork. Not to mention, who doesn't like building structures out of marshmallows and gummies that you can eat later?"

PhD student Varun Kasireddy demonstrated his research group’s robotic drone. Kaisreddy showed visitors how their drone uses cameras to scan bridges and autonomously collect data that engineers can then analyze the structural health of bridges much more quickly and safely than human inspectors.

National Engineers Week, or EWeek, consists of over 70 engineering, education, and cultural societies and over 50 corporations and government agencies dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. EWeek runs from February 19-25, 2017.