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Engineers Day at U.K. February 25, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Family, Technology.

Today, my son and I attended Engineers’ Day at the University of Kentucky, hosted by the College of Engineering. The event ends a national celebration of engineering, known as Engineers Week.

My son expressed interested in attending the annual event after receiving a bookmark advertising it at school. For six years I worked at the Center for Robotics, which is part of the College of Engineering. I have not been back there in at least eight years. So, I told my son I would show him where I used to work and show him some really cool technology. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was right.

The first person I ran into was RJ. He is the head of the rapid prototyping lab, where they use stereo lithography and a short run, cool temperature plastic injection mold press to fabricate test parts. They still have some of the same equipment that was in use back in 1994 when I worked there. But, they also have some new equipment that allows them to make larger prototype parts in less time.

Next, we went down to the area where Richard was demonstrating a machining center and the plastic injection mold press. My son was fascinated by the explanation and demonstration of how metal and plastic parts are created by manufacturers.

Following the manufacturing demonstrations we walked through the Center for Robotics building, now named the Center for Manufacturing, and I pointed out where my former office and lab areas were located. My son was less than overwhelmed.

What did grab my son’s interest was the computer science department’s demonstration of software that could generate Soduko puzzles. He discovered them last year and found it really amazing that a program could be written to solve existing puzzles and even create new puzzles. The person demonstrating the program running on a Linux workstation walked him through the logic, then generated a couple of puzzles and printed them for my son to take with him. I believe that was my son’s favorite activity the whole day.

There were many more research labs and engineering demonstrations that we visited throughout the engineering buildings. We also checked out the courtyard where they showed off several vehicles created by the engineering students, including the solar powered car. In the end, it was more interesting and informative than I expected. And, my son found it interesting and he learned a lot, which made me happy. It was a good day.



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