High schoolers to build innovative automated machines at Purdue

January 30, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. —Several Indiana high school teams will compete in the Phoenix Contact Nanoline Contest on Saturday (Feb. 1) at Purdue University's College of Technology, striving to build the most innovative automated machines possible.

Each team is provided with the same basic kit of Phoenix Contact Nanoline controllers and nanoNavigator software. They also receive a $200 gift card to purchase additional equipment for their projects.

Brad Harriger, professor of mechanical engineering technology, and Alka Harriger, professor of computer and information technology, spearhead the regional contest.

"Success in the contest relies heavily on problem-solving skills," Brad Harriger said. "It is giving them an introduction to controls, and we're trying to get them excited about technology and using it to solve problems."

Competing teams come from Benton Central High School, Walker Career Center in Indianapolis, Plainfield High School, F.J. Reitz High School in Evansville, Jasper High School, Dubois Middle School, and Forest Park High School in Ferdinand. Teams have designed a wide range of projects, including an automated pet feeder, automated lawn mower, vending machine, text blocker, environmental monitor and an affordable wind-energy generator.

"They are asked to innovate a product that somehow shows off the technology and creates something useful that has the potential of reaching a larger market," Alka Harriger said. "Part of their presentation involves talking about the broader appeal of their product."

The competition begins at 9 a.m. in Knoy Hall, and public displays and demonstrations begin at 1:45 p.m. The awards ceremony will be held at 2:30 p.m. in the Electrical Engineering Building, Room 170.

The winner of the Purdue competition will travel to the national competition in Harrisburg, Pa. The winner of the national competition will travel to Germany in April to showcase their project at the Hanover Fair, the world's largest industrial trade show. Phoenix Contact began the contest in 2009 as part of its STEM initiatives. 

Writer: Jim Schenke, 765-494-6262, jschenke@purdue.edu 

Sources: Brad Harriger, 765-494-7515, bcharrig@purdue.edu

Alka Harriger, 765-494-2565, harrigea@purdue.edu

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