Student Teams Demonstrate Their Design Skills Next Month at Congress

The student team from the University of San Diego and their inspection vehicle prototype took top honors at the District D regional ASME Student Design Competition last April. The team will be one of the 23 teams of ASME student members competing in the final round of the competition next month at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition.

In the aftermath of the Fukushima facility tragedy, the nuclear industry sent out a Request for Proposal to universities calling for prototypes of a small, remote-controlled inspection vehicle that could determine the level of radioactivity and damage in compromised nuclear plants, thereby protecting humans from radioactive contamination. Next month at the ASME Student Design Competition championship round in San Diego, Calif., 23 student teams will demonstrate the prototype inspection vehicles they designed and built — and will compete for a $3,000 top prize.

The Student Design Competition finals will take place on Sunday, Nov. 17, during the 2013 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition.

This year, the teams of ASME student members were challenged to design and build inspection vehicles that could navigate around obstacles while traveling to inspection points and bringing sensors back to a designated return area. The devices then had to be able to return to their starting locations, ready for another run. In addition to the $3,000 first prize, the winning team will receive $1,000 for the university's student section. The second-place team will receive $1,000, plus $500 for its student section, while the team finishing third will receive $500 and an additional $250 for the student section.

Tom Zirmirski (left) and Jarius Amar will represent the New Jersey Institute of Technology at the Student Design Competition finals in San Diego, Calif.

Two of the competing teams are from the same school, Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky. Other universities entered in the finals include Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Mass.; New York Institute of Technology, New York, N.Y.; New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, N.J.; Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada; Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Mich.; the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.; the University of the Pacific, Stockton, Calif.; the University of San Diego; the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Instituto Tecnologico de Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico; the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.; and the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C.

This year, nine teams will travel to the competition from outside North America: Hong Kong Polytechnic University; École Nationale Supérieure de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace (ISAE-SUPAERO), Toulouse, France; Özyeğin University, Istanbul, Turkey; Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería, Lima, Peru; Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia; Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Notre Dame University, Zouk, Lebanon; and the British University of Egypt and the Higher Technological Institute, both located in Cairo.

For more information on the ASME Student Design Competition, including a description of the design challenge for next year's contest, visit