JMU engineering students selected as top five for global challenge

JMU engineering students collaborating at Dukes Invent Challenge 2019

SUMMARY: The winning team of JMU engineering students who participated in "Dukes Invent," an intensive, 48-hour design experience held in February, has been selected as one of only five teams to attend the Global Round Competition in April at Texas A&M.

By Caleb Ayers, CISE student writer

JMU engineering and integrated science and technology students had the opportunity to choose between 16 different problems, provided by companies from a variety of industries. "Dukes Invent" was part of a global event organized by Texas A&M University, “Invent for the Planet,” that involved groups from 37 universities in 23 countries spanning 6 continents.

After forming a team and choosing a problem, JMU students spent their weekend brainstorming, developing and prototyping solutions. Teams concluded with a presentation, video, and whitepaper.  

Dr. Paterson presenting to engineering students at Dukes Invent Challenge

Three JMU teams were formed based on team members’ interests. Team one identified a process to produce clean and reliable drinking water for those who don’t have access; team two used technology to solve the issue of isolation among the elderly; and team three sought to protect aircraft wing structures from large hail. “One thing that impressed me was students’ ability to work really well together in their teams,” says engineering professor, Justin Henriques.

Each JMU team developed an interesting solution to their designated problem, said Kurt Paterson, Head of JMU Engineering. “We should be proud of their involvement and their ability to go from an industry need to a fleshed out idea within 48 hours,” he says. “It’s very impressive and a great professional experience for the students who were involved.”

Students collaborating at Dukes Invent Challenge

The value of the event stems not only from the practical problem-solving experience, but in the collaboration with students and universities around the country and world. Each university live streamed their progress to each other, and students, professors and the companies involved could communicate with each other to collaborate and network, using the Microsoft Teams collaboration tool. “It was a neat example of how global engagement can be done these days,” says Paterson.

"Dukes Invent was a great experience. I was able to connect with hundreds of students around the globe, talk to them, and even help them with translation. I worked with a team who was invested in helping people around the world.” says Sanarea Ali, a junior in the engineering program.

Engineering students, Mark Livingston, Charles Seaver, and Dean Woodwell took home first place with their discovery, inspired by the pufferfish, to rapidly deploy a self-inflating hail protection pad on aircraft wings. A week after the competition, they were invited to participate in a video call with a team of Airbus engineers to further explain their solution.

Their winning presentation was selected as one of only five teams to attend the Global Round Competition, April 23-24, at Texas A&M.  They will be competing against teams from the University of Thessaloniki (Greece), Swansea University (Wales), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and Texas A&M.  

JMU Engineering is already planning for ‘Dukes Invent 2020,’ and plans to involve even more students, alumni, and industry partners.

Learn more 


Published: Monday, March 18, 2019

Last Updated: Thursday, March 28, 2019

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