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Thursday, August 24, 2006
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Ohio University engineering students enjoy summer successes

ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 24, 2006) -- Several Ohio University Russ College of Engineering and Technology students had productive summers, as two groups participated and placed high in two separate competitions.

Advised by Ohio University Engineering and Computer Science Professor Frank Van Graas, students Dustin Bates, Nirav Parikh and Jidong Huang took first place at the third annual Institute of Navigation Autonomous Lawn Mower Competition at Wright State University June 1-3.

"It was good combination of theoretical and practical knowledge," Parikh said. "As an avionics major, designing, building and programming a completely autonomous vehicle was an excellent experience for me."

The competition tested the team's ability to design and program an autonomous lawnmower to accurately and rapidly mow a grass field. The team's mower, Sherman, placed first out of five entries after it mowed 90 percent of the 30 x 45 foot area in less than 10 minutes. The Ohio University team's first-place prize was $8,000.

Also in June, Matt Myers, Adam Myers, Jeff Friedlander, Josh Kephart and Don Venable, engineering undergraduates in the EECS capstone senior design course, entered the annual CanSat Competition and won $1,500 by placing second.

The CanSat Competition, organized by the American Astronautical Society, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, National Space Grant Consortia and Universities Space Research Association, is a design-build-launch competition for students. 

Competing against U.S. and Canadian high schools and colleges, the team used a miniature GPS, processor and telemetry hardware to design a payload with specified dimensions of a soda can and a weight of less than 320 grams. The payload was launched on a rocket, and maximum altitude, downrange distance traveled, time of flight and temperature profile were measured.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy, (740) 597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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