3mE Girls Challenge huge success

15 June 2017 by Webredactie 3mE

Last Friday during the 3mE Girls Challenge, eighty tech girls in their fourth or fifth year of pre-university education tackled the mechanical engineering challenge of how to make a walking robot that is fast, inventive and sustainable. As inspiration, they were given a short class by Paul Breedveld, Paul Henselmans and Aimee Sakes experts in the field of bio-inspired technology.

They explained that many mechanical engineering objects are inspired by animals. After seeing several examples of ‘robo-animals’, made of technical Lego, the students set to work. In the inspiring environment of the Autolab the girls brainstormed, which resulted in interesting insights and designs.

Click here for an impression of the day.

So how did the day unfold?
With fifteen large boxes of technical Lego (including motors), the girls split up into groups and chose the components for their designs. Supervised by PhD candidates Aimee Sakes and Paul Henselmans from Mechanical Engineering, they all built in their own individual way a series of highly diverse robots. It was a constant stream of tips, individual ideas and creations, help when things got tough, but above all an extremely positive atmosphere. After working for twelve and a half hours, the girls enjoyed a delicious High Tech High Tea where they had the opportunity to talk to our PhD candidates and students about studying mechanical engineering. Many girls were surprised at the programme’s diversity and the many different fields of research offered at 3mE. After High Tea it was time for the real work to begin.

And then it happened…..
During a short pitch to an expert jury, consisting of dean Theun Baller, professor Paul Breedveld, associate professor Maria Santofimia, and PhD students Sarah Barenswaard and Lotte Leufkens, the girls enthusiastically presented their designs. The jury were pleasantly surprised and overwhelmed by the creative and extremely inventive pitches. All of the robots then competed on a ‘race track’ where a clear winner emerged as fastest walking robot: the Herbert Vissers College from Nieuw-Vennep!

The five girls were overjoyed with their prize. All five received a fashion voucher for 50 euros and a unique piece of jewellery made of laser-cut wood designed by our alumnus Elise Buiter (see www.houtwerkenzo.nl). The jury also awarded a prize for the most creative design. That went to a group of girls from different schools from the Amsterdam region. They designed a fantastic walking robot with all the trimmings, including wings, wheels and feet!

In short, we all enjoyed this challenge, which is certainly worth repeating in the future.


3mE congratulates the winners of the challenge and invites them all to visit us again during our open days. We would also like to thank the other participants for their dedication and fresh ideas about this mechanical engineering challenge.

Photo's from left to right: all walking robots, the winning team and the most creative design

© 2017 TU Delft

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