A steel six-wheel shopping cart with nylon webbing siding and child seat won the ninth annual National Engineering Design Challenge for a safer shopping cart, sponsored by JETS, a national, non-profit educational organization that promotes educational excellence in math, science, and technology in high schools. To prove its stability, three students balanced on the buggy's side during competition. The cart stood motionless. A novel six-wheel design is the key to the cart's steadiness. On the standard cart, the turning wheels are in the front and the pivot point is in the back, creating front-wheel steering. The diameter of the smallest circle it can make, therefore, is twice the cart's length. The Queen of Carts' two center wheels not only act as stabilizing wheels and keep the cart going straight, but also are the pivot point. The cart can turn from either end--from front or back around the center wheels. Also, while standard carts carry most of the load in the front over the turning wheels, making them difficult to maneuver under heavy loads, the Queen of Carts can easily carry loads up to 1,200 lb. Alysse Beutel, Patrick Flannery, Judith Luckie, Jessica Rudy, and Rebecca Wilson from West Perry High School in Elliottsburg, PA designed the Queen of Carts. FAX: (212) 967-7292
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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