Each year, students within the Fundamentals of Engineering Certificate complete a capstone design project as part of their ENGR 121 course. This year (under the sponsorship of Herold Engineering, a local engineering firm), they were required to work in small groups to build a model bridge replacement of the Portal rail bridge spanning the Hackensack River just west of the Secaucus Junction in northeastern New Jersey, USA.
Their bridges (made of popsicle sticks, string, and glue, were required to autonomously detects boat traffic, check the bridge deck for obstructures, and open the deck to allow boat passage. The system must also control rail, pedestrian, and bike traffic travelling over the bridge and close the bridge deck after the boat has passed. At the same time, the structure must be built to exacting standards and maintain 75kgs distributed across its deck. Additional constraints presented to students as part of their design include cost and aesthetic appeal.
On 10-Apr/2015, as part of the aesthetics constraint, local engineers, the public, and staff, students and faculty at VIU were asked to rank each of the bridge structures in terms of what bridge design best displays innovation and practicality, as well as considering user safety.
First-year engineering students (left to right) Jeff Schidlowsky, Jillian Newell, Corey Wakita, and Kristian Jessen have designed a model bridge using popsicle sticks as a class project.