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Global competition challenges TAMU-CC students to save the world

Posted at 7:28 PM, Feb 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-20 20:29:50-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A select group of students at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi spent their weekend looking for solutions to the worlds greatest problems.

Three groups of students took part in the international competition Invent for the Planet.

“This is an event that gives us an opportunity to help the world," said Macario Hernandez III, a senior in mechanical engineering. "So, that’s the biggest thought I've had ever since I got accepted to this event. Because ever since I was little, I've always wanted to help people. And this event gave me the opportunity to do just that.”

In just 48 hours, Invent for the Planet challenges groups of students to choose from a list of real world needs, develop an invention to combat that issue and present it’s feasibility and effectiveness.

The competition isn't restricted to just engineering students. It's open to everyone, to show that everyone can bring something to the table.

nolan bell - senior in mechanical engineer

“We had to work with people outside of our common major," Nolan Bell said, a mechanical engineering senior. "So, I was working with a PhD candidate who is doing some educational research. Worked with computer scientists, electrical engineers and coming together and building a good team, was an interesting process.”

“Even it just being slightly different, in regards to engineering, we’ve been able to brainstorm with each other a lot better," Hernandez said. "I personally have learned quite a bit from each and every one individual here.”

One group approached the problem of vision impairment, specifically in children. They created a robot to help them navigate new environments.

Another group addressed having emergency resources readily available in a disaster. They invented the REC-It, a box where resources and energy can be stored at, say a park and it can be transported elsewhere.

The third group had to come up with an invention to modernize the electrical grid, particularly for natural disasters. The came p with a pin and pulley system to keep electrical transformers in tact during storms and decrease repair times.

“This project allows us to get hands on experience with it and allows us to build confidence in our abilities and our skills,” said Bell who took part in in addressing vision impairment.

This is the third year TAMU-CC has taken part in the competition. It was founded by Texas A&M University at College Station in 2018. TAMU-CC is one of 29 universities in over a dozen countries that competed. The competition began at 4 p.m. local time of each university and was completed at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

For most of the students this was an introduction to real world work as they approach graduation.

“It’s definitely a great experience for me because I haven’t done any of the design process for engineering," James Tate said, a junior in electrical engineering. "So, this was a really good path for me to see what it might be in the future.”

“I think it’s great," Branton Winkenwerder said, another junior in mechanical engineering. "It’s really applicable to the real world and I feel like we all really learned a lot. We each had specific skills we were able to share with each other and I think it will just help us out in the long run all together. Lots of great opportunities here.”

Bell's team creating a solution for vision impairment was voted the winner by the judges. They'll get to compete against the other winners across the world later this spring.

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