University of Vermont

cems
College of
Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Engineering students transport cranberries

Release Date: 04-22-2008

Author: Dawn Marie Densmore
Email: Dawn.Densmore@uvm.edu
Phone: Array Fax: 802-656-8802

Be amazed! Be very amazed! Cranberry bogs have appeared at UVM's College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) and they're being used to teach engineering students the principles and elements involved in applying engineering concepts to real life problems.

Come see what the students in Freshman Design (EE/ME 001) have accomplished in just six weeks. Approximately 16 teams will exhibit their created devices on: Friday, April 25, 11:00am-3:00pm, in Perkins Lounge.

These first-year Electrical Engineering (EE) and Mechanical Engineering (ME) students have been challenged to design, build and test Berry Movers — machines to move cranberries floating in the "bog" up 0.5 meters to the "bank," in just three minutes. Built from a finite catalog of parts and materials selected by faculty and available from the "UVM Perkins Store," students' final scores will take into account expenditures for material and electrical power.

Two different kinds of electricity, renewable and the grid, are available to students to move the cranberries and deposit them into the "bank." "Using the grid is cheaper," says Mason Maltais, "but not reliable as it shuts off about 25% of the time!" Maltais is just one of the approximately 100 undergraduate students in Dr. Michael Rosen's course who have taken on this challenge.

Why transport cranberries? "Moving cranberries is a unique way to engage students in applying the skills of engineering," Rosen explains. CEMS Dean Domenico Grasso wholeheartedly agrees. "Undergraduate engineering projects should provide experiences that engage students in the excitement of science and technology through discovery," he says.

And where are all the cranberries coming from? Our thanks go to Vermont Cranberry Company!