Mechanical Engineering Students Succeed at Theme Park Design Competition
While many people enjoy riding roller coasters, some University of Arizona engineering students want to get a little more involved. Students from the UA Theme Park Entertainment Group earned some of the highest praise of any group at the Toronto Metropolitan University Thrill Design Invitational competition in Orlando, Florida. The competition invited student groups from 18 universities to present real-world creative, artistic and technical solutions to challenges related to the theme park industry: roller coasters, live shows, mechanical rides and more.
Judges awarded the UA TPEG team the highest marks overall, with distinction for technical skill, feasibility, innovation and communication. The UA engineering students were awarded more commendations per challenge than any other student team.
"Our solutions showed a full consideration of what it takes to entertain: story, emotion, beauty, feasibility and ability to convey our vision into the minds of the judges," said mechanical engineering major Nicholas Sivertson.
When mechanical engineering major Alex Drey first visited a theme park as a child, many of the rides scared him. However, roller coasters always fascinated him. And the more theme parks he went to, the more he appreciated the themes, environment and systems.
"As a mechanical engineer, I love things that move," Drey said. “When you realize that a roller coaster contains thousands of moving elements that need to function properly in tandem and be reliable for years, accounting for manufacturability, safety, cost, maintenance, and more, you then can understand the amount of time, effort, design, money, trial and error, and engineering that goes into every single aspect of the coaster."