Beijing team’s rubber band-powered car snags grand prize at 8th Annual Formula-E race

by August 12th, 2013

Formula-E Best in Show winners, from Beijing University of Technology

Formula-E Best in Show winners, from Beijing University of Technology

Champagne flowed as winners and challengers celebrated after a long road of trial and error in the annual Formula-E race at Art Center on August 8, 2013.

Teams from three Southern California colleges and two universities in China were sweating it out as their remote controlled, rubber band-powered cars zoomed around the tracks for five hours in the afternoon sun.

The top award, Best in Show, was presented to team Final-E from Beijing University of Technology. The talented team members Sui Hao, Xuan Jinran and Zhang Han also placed in three other race categories. The only other competitor to do the same was Art Center’s team Tensegrity, consisting of Renee Mascarinas, Kun Huang and Jecky Chow. (See below for more race results.)

Racers ascend the Sinclair Hillclimb

Racers ascend the Sinclaire Hill climb

The crowd of race fans groaned when a car wiped out and cheered a perfect run across the finish line. The air was thick with anticipation as each miniature car approached the raceways in the picturesque sculpture garden as deer grazed on the lawn at Art Center’s Hillside campus.

Offering lively play-by-play of all the action was Trevor Anthony Pitzel, actor and host of Fan Village for the IndyCar Nation official fan community.

A highlight of Art Center’s Graduate Industrial Design (GradID) curriculum, the competition is a design challenge that pushes the boundaries of performance. The event has grown to include industrial design students from Pasadena City College (PCC); California State University, Long Beach (CSULB); Beijing University of Technology and Tsinghua University.

A delegation of 51 students and five faculty members travelled from China to attend this year’s race, nicknamed the Formula-E World Series. The competitive spirit of the event was further expanded this year when 16 teams from three Beijing universities competed in their own Formula-E race at Beijing University of Technology. Art Center’s Andy Ogden, chair of GradID, with faculty members Wook Kim and Stan Kong attended those “playoff” races in July. The Chinese students built an exact replica of the Formula-E tracks using concrete board and wood.

Whether conceiving cars, apps or a business, designers need to understand the big picture to stay relevant and competitive in this rapidly changing global economy. Faculty guide teams through the grueling 13-week process of planning, designing and making rubber band-powered cars to compete in the race. The demanding exercise, says Ogden, offers a valuable experience in systems design for students who will become leaders of innovation.

A panel of distinguished judges included Art Center President Lorne Buchman, Pasadena City College President Mark Rocha, Art Center Trustee Doug Boyd and designers from Honda, Tesla Motors and Toyota. Judging was based on a variety of criteria including quality, craftsmanship, materials, style, engineering, branding, innovation, and, of course, performance.

Among the many special guests in attendance were Pasadena’s Mayor Bill Bogaard and Art Center alumnus Ed Honowitz from the Office of Senator Carol Liu, 25th Senate District.

The recent addition of the Beijing teams is the result of Ogden’s visiting professorship three years ago at Beijing University of Technology to discuss a collaborative initiative between the colleges. During discussions about the education methodology of design used by the department, the group focused on the value of the Formula-E curriculum. Following that meeting, Beijing faculty members developed a course of study featuring the same rules and dimensions used by the Art Center students.

Formula-E is an integral part of the curriculum for Art Center GradID students during their third term.  The project teaches lessons in strategy, product development, science, engineering, design, fabrication, testing and evaluation, branding, communications, and event planning through a fun and real world product development experience. In the process, students learn about competition, teamwork, setting goals and creating design plans that are then executed, producing a variety of results.

Art Center’s Grad ID program is consistently ranked nationally as the number one graduate industrial design program both in U.S. News & World Report and in DesignIntelligence. In five of the last six years, it has been ranked number one in DesignIntelligence’s “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools” issue.

RACE RESULTS:

Best in Show was presented to Final-E (Beijing University of Technology)

Sui Hao, Xuan Jinran, Zhang Han

Sinclaire Hill Climb

1st Place – Final-E (Beijing University of Technology)

Sui Hao, Xuan Jinran, Zhang Han

2nd Place – Telesia (Art Center)

Annette lamb, fede volio, steve cheung

3rd Place – Tensegrity (Art Center)

Renee Mascarinas, Kun Huang, Jecky Chow

Ashtray Drag Race

1st Place – Tensegrity (Art Center)

Renee Mascarinas, Kun Huang, Jecky Chow

2nd Place – Final-E (Beijing University of Technology)

Sui Hao, Xuan Jinran, Zhang Han

3rd Place – TIE

H.E.R.O. (Hyper Elastic Racing Organization) (Cal State University Long Beach)

Matthew Grant, Ryan Nguyen, Channing Shattuck

DT Lancers (Pasadena City College)

Sandy Lee, David Harbottle

Figure 8

1st Place – Telesia (Art Center)

Annette Lamb, Fede Volio, Steve Cheung

2nd Place – Tensegrity (Art Center)

Renee Mascarinas, Kun Huang, Jecky Chow

3rd Place – Zepher (Art Center)

Mark Hummel, Alex Livingston, Zarouhi Mazmanyan

Best Design

1st Place – DT Lancers (Pasadena City College)

Sandy Lee, David Harbottle

2nd Place – Final-E (Beijing University of Technology)

Sui Hao, Xuan Jinran, Zhang Han

3rd Place – Energy+ (Beijing University of Technology)

Li Hui, Li Xin, Liu Chang

 

 

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