Look out, world. Here comes a generation of wildly creative engineers.
We see Gadget Freak projects from all walks of life, but many of our most imaginative gadgets are created by very young engineers. Most of our budding engineers are moving their way through college mechatronics programs, but some were in high school when they developed and submitted their creations.
Click the image below for a slideshow of the best gadgets from some of our youngest engineers.
Gadget Freak Case #196: Mayan Water Sound Fountain
Here's an entertaining gadget from a trio of engineering students -- a waterfall over a miniature Mayan temple that responds to music. Speakers and lights are built into the Mayan pyramid, and water flows through the center of the gadget for a powerful overall effect. The device includes a pyramid plexiglass body, a water system, a control unit, speakers, and an output screen with LEDs.
Do you have a Gadget Freak project you would like the world to see? Send a brief description of your gadget and a photo to Senior Editor Rob Spiegel.
Great Post Rob, Unfortunately there are very few companies that will allow time for great creativity such as this. After retiring from the appliance industry, I look back and realize that things that could have been done were never done because of time, money, and the downright "not invented here" syndrome. It's very refreshing to see these students bring forth their creative talents and hopefully, they will find a suitable outlet to market.
taimoortariq, it is still much more likely that some private company can do waht you describe better than the government. The goal is admirable and very worth the effort, it is just that private industry can probably do a better job than the government. That is not the way that it should be, but it looks like that is the way that it is, unfortunately.
So this is not intended as any criticism of your idea, just saying that the government would not likely be able to do it as well as other organizations can.
William, I was actually refering to the engineering competitions for young participants who want to show case their abilities in such an event. So that their talents can be identfied. It will mean filtering of more capable and technicaly advanced individuals. In no way, they would be wasting more efforts or resources on the less capable individuals. It will just provide more oppurtunities and chances for a common person to participate in such events, regardless of his school status. He/she will be judged simply on pure talent, ambition and skills. And then they can be selected and eventually guided for future accordingly.
taimoortariq, of all the possible parties that could be doing things I would choose the government as a last choice, based on prior performance. Private industry can do a better job, and would indeed do a better job because in industry you must be good or go out of business. The government would be mandated to be "fair" and give those with no talent, no motivation, and no ability, the same chance as the others, which would be a waste of resources.
That is because in order to succees one must want to suceed and at least try to be a success.
Nice point there Jim. What the unfortunate thing is that talent like this is forgotten eventually and not groomed in a proper way. These kids have potential in them all. It is the governments Job to arrange innovative competitions, so that they can filter out pool of talent and skills from kids.
Some projects were really great, specially the boosting of RC cars range and speed using audrino controller but as Jim said, I also found some of the projects pointless, they have all got brains but lack proper direction.
Also the bicycle auto gearing seems like a blessing for all those people who used to fight with gears while running it. I was one of them.
JimT, when I called the Mayan pyramid fountain "completely impractical," I didn't intend to diss it, since art and archaeology are two of my interests. Much in art and entertainment is completely impractical but fulfills other human needs. But I think you made a good point about targeting engineers' creative efforts.
As I hinted; I was hesitant to imply any of the projects were less than wonderful, but now see a growing concurrence. Innovation should not be 'corralled' but certainly benefits from guidance. I hope DN can get some mutual benefit -- if an initiative launches.
JimT - I completely agree with you, it always troubles me when I think about hackers or all of the energy very talented people spend on writing viruses. It reminds me of the Bruce Willis movie - Die Hard or Live Free. If someone had mentored those hackers, their intelligence perhaps could have been redirected to great things instead of a dysfunctional subculture that gloried in destructive accomplishments. While fictional, I think they really do exist at some level and have gotten lost along the way to perhaps a brilliant career that could have served to improve rather than destroy.
As far as some of the projects - I think that goes back to mentoring as well. As as a student project, one would think they would be assigned a faculty advisor to guide them in their choices. However, I think we also need to define the goal of the project. If they are learning foundational electronic theory and how to design and implement it, learning programming, what it takes to actually build a more complex project including part selection and locating, and documentation, and the ability to work together as a team, these are admirable goals and perhaps at this level, practicality of the project is not as important as enthusiasm...
In our third annual contest, Design News and Allied Electronics are going to crown a winner in early 2016 for the best reader gadget submission this year, and once again, you, the readers, are the judges!
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.