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MechEverest, MIT's 29th Annual Mechanical Engineering Design Contest, scheduled for May 5 and 6

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Design 2.007, MIT's most famous mechanical engineering contest, culminates on Wednesday and Thursday, May 5th and 6th, in a gravity-defying race up a sheet metal "mountain."

"MechEverest," the name of this year's design challenge, began in the usual manner at term's beginning, when each student in Professor Alexander H. Slocum's course, Design and Manufacturing I, was presented with a box of items ranging from windshield wiper motors to rubber bands.

The goal of the course is to design, build and drive, via remote control, a machine that can perform assigned tasks while defending itself against competing machines. The contest is structured as a single elimination competition, with rounds lasting 45 seconds each.

For MechEverest, the tasks include climbing the mountain and dumping hockey pucks in X-shaped holes. Each competitor may begin with up to ten hockey pucks loaded into his/her machine. The object is to drop the pucks into the cross-shaped holes as high as possible on the table. Contestants' machines may not cross the center line of the "mountain" to attack an opponent's machine until he/she has scored at least one point.

Professor Slocum said, "This year's contest is particularly challenging because gravity is no longer the contestant's automatic friend. In addition, there are a number of structural issues, such as a lightly damped compliant steel surface, magnets in the kit, and heavy hockey pucks as the scoring items."

David Abrameto came in second place in last year's contest, "Ballcano." An undergradate assistant for this year's course, Mr. Abrameto said, "The course was very stressful and time consuming, but also very educational. Last year's contest was a fantastic experience, and I personally had a great time going all the way to the finals and finishing second overall."

Jennifer D. Navarro, another Design 2.007 veteran, said, "2.007 is a great course, you learn planning, design, machining and time management among other things. It is probably one of the most enjoyable learning experiences I've had at MIT. The contest is also a great way to display what you have learned throughout the semester, it's much better than a final exam!"

MechEverest is free and open to the public.

When: Wednesday, May 5, 6pm and Thursday, May 6, 6pm
Where: Johnson Athletic Center, MIT Campus
Course web site:

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