Robotic Lawn Mower, Drones to be Showcased During UA Engineering Design Day
More than 350 undergraduate engineering students will showcase innovations at the 2014 UA College of Engineering Design Day.

By Pete Brown, College of Engineering
April 30, 2014

triumph spitfire 2.jpg

British roadster royalty meets future propulsion power: UA engineering students converted a 1977 Triumph Spitfire into a turbine-powered car.
British roadster royalty meets future propulsion power: UA engineering students converted a 1977 Triumph Spitfire into a turbine-powered car. (Photo: Pete Brown)

Creative sparks will fly at the 2014 Engineering Design Day at University of Arizona, an event featuring 64 original engineering projects by more than 350 students majoring in various engineering disciplines.

The College of Engineering event will be held Tuesday in the North Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with an awards ceremony at 4 p.m.

“This is the best day of the academic year,” said Jeff Goldberg, dean of the college. “This is the day when we show the world how engineers help people and improve the quality of life by designing engineering solutions to societal problems.”

Various industry-related companies sponsor many of the creations, which could go on to be real commercial products. National and local engineering firms also support the projects by providing judges who rate designs and select winners for the numerous cash prizes, also provided by industry partners.

“The Interdisciplinary Engineering Design Program at the University of Arizona allows teams of engineering students to work directly with industry and faculty on real-life projects,” Goldberg said. “Seniors from across the College of Engineering work in multidisciplinary teams to solve design problems identified by industry partners, faculty, and student clubs.”

352 engineering seniors – a record number – are participating this year, after having worked on their projects since the fall semester of 2013.



The design projects include:

  • A robotic lawn mower.
  • A turbine-powered hybrid car.
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for use in hazardous environments or to help search and rescue teams locate lost or injured hikers.
  • A smartphone app that uses bicycle-mounted radar to alert cyclists when a car is coming up on them from behind in a way that poses a collision hazard.
  • A resistance suit for astronauts to counter bone and muscle loss caused by extended periods in zero gravity.
  • A smartphone app that tests users’ hearing and works as a customizable hearing aid.
  • A new camera for handheld use by astronauts, mounted on spacecraft or on planetary surfaces.

More than $14,000 in prize money, provided by event sponsors, will go to winning teams for the Best Overall Design Award, the Fish Out of Water Award, the Innate Art and Beauty of Engineering Award, the Best Sustainable Engineering Award, and other honors.

Some of the projects on display – such as the turbine-powered car, the robot lawn mower, and aquaponics projects – will be set up under tents on the UA Mall in front of Old Main.

Extra info

For a schedule and maps, visit the Engineering Design Day website.


Resources for the media

Jini Kandyil


Pete Brown


Karina Barrentine