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Human Power

Human PowerIn their first-ever appearance at the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME) Human Powered Vehicle Challenge, Ohio Northern University engineering students placed third against tough competition.

On May 7-9, the “Wanna Be ONU” team comprising eight senior mechanical engineering students competed in the east division of the three-day event at Central Connecticut State University, placing second in the design category and third overall. ONU finished behind only perennial favorite Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Competing against a field of 18 teams in the unrestricted division, team members say they were very pleased, even shocked by the success of their senior capstone project in the competition. Their prototype vehicle received high marks for design, speed, safety and functionality.

Team members include Kevin Bash from Arlington, Ohio, Luisa Chinchilla from North Olmsted, Ohio, Luke Feeney from Rawson, Ohio, Brandon Heyman from Forest, Ohio, Brent Hiser from Gibsonburg, Ohio, Mike Johnson from Mount Pleasant, Pa., Jim Northrup from Sugar Land, Texas, and Russ Taylor from Saint Paris, Ohio. Each member worked more than 300 hours on the project, including a frantic final week of late nights and early mornings making final touches.

ASME says the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge “provides an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate engineering students to demonstrate the application of sound engineering design principles in the development of sustainable and practical transportation alternatives.”

The goal of the competition is to get people thinking about alternative modes of transportation. Practical, everyday applications for such human powered vehicles might be commuting to work, transporting goods to market or running errands. According to the team, improved materials could make the vehicle lighter and more efficient, and increased weather protection could make the vehicle a real year-round alternative to driving a car short distances.