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AUS engineering freshmen build rubber band-powered helicopters
Over 200 engineering freshmen at American University of Sharjah (AUS) built rubber band-powered helicopters, made out of paper and plastic, at the 9th NGN110 "Introduction to Engineering and Computing" Competition held on May 1. The students were divided into 40 groups and had to ensure their helicopters stayed air borne for the longest time.
The NGN 110 Competition, now in its ninth edition, is part of a first-year course entitled Introduction to Engineering and Computing (NGN 110) taken by all engineering students enrolled at AUS. The competition was organized by Dr. Fadi Aloul, Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, who tasked students with building a helicopter that had to be of a specific weight, was built from specific materials and had to fly over eight seconds. Each team was given six weeks to complete their project.
According to Dr. Aloul, "The goal of the competition was to help students learn from day one how to work in teams, how to resolve conflicts and make decisions and how to think as engineers. Through this project they learned time management and ways to design a good engineering solution that meets specific constraints and criteria and then present this work in a suitable fashion."
The first place winners were Muhammad Adnan Akram, Wajdi Derbieh, Mohammad Munir Ba'ba, Maryam J.S Alojeiri and Fatima Anwar Moughanieh. The team won AED 1,500 and their helicopter stayed airborne for almost 11 seconds.
The awards were presented by Dr. Leland Blank, Interim Dean of the College of Engineering, and Associate Dean Dr. Hany El-Kadi.
"The project was quite a challenge that demanded both time and dedication, yet at the end I've learned that persistence and hard work do result in a positive outcome," said winning team member Moughanieh. "Winning the competition was not my aim initially and I didn't anticipate it. So when we did win, it came as fantastic surprise."
Each helicopter was timed by a team of judges including associate professors of civil engineering Dr. Rami Haweeleh and Dr. Paul Nancarrow and laboratory instructor Naveed Nawaz.
In previous years, the competition required students to design and construct bridges, cars, boats and paper planes, among other structures.