Figuring out how to build and power a race car using a 16-foot long rubber band is not your typical corporate team building exercise. But, it turns out, that’s exactly the kind of creative boost the business world needs. For the first time, the international Formula-E race at Art Center included a “Pro Class” category with teams participating from Mattel in El Segundo and Axial, a remote control car company based in Irvine. Competition was fierce and teams were gunning for the gold in the 9th annual “day at the races” showcasing talented students, businesses and even a junior race car design set.
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.)
Beijing Team “Ghost” Top Winner in 7th Annual Design Competition
For the first year ever, the Formula-E Race has gone global. Known as the race where the rubber meets the road, Formula-E is the annual contest of rubber band-powered miniature cars designed by teams from Art Center and Pasadena Community College. But 2012 will be remembered as the year the Department of Industrial Design at Beijing University of Technology joined the competition – and when the dust settled, the international visitors smoked the locals.
Devoted race fans endured sweltering heat at the August 9th event on Art Center’s Hillside campus to witness Beijing’s team “Ghost” take first place in two races plus Best in Show. Art Center’s team “Ahn and Ahn” took first in The Sinclair Hill Climb track and the team from Pasadena Community College won The Eckles Design, Build, and Approach Award.
A highlight of Art Center’s Graduate Industrial Design (GradID) program, the race is judged by a panel of distinguished industry leaders. This year, the panel included designers from Honda R&D, Disney, BMW Group Designworks USA, LEGO Concept Lab, Tesla Motors, Fisker Automotive, Mattel Hot Wheels, Calty, and Nissan. Judging was based on a variety of criteria including quality, craftsmanship, materials, style, engineering, branding, innovation, and, of course, performance.
Sweating it out as MC for the event was the humorous Matt Gallant, host of ABC’s American Inventory and Animal Planet’s The Planet’s Funniest Animals.
The purpose of the class project is to teach lessons in strategy, product development, science, engineering, design, fabrication, 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 to varying degrees of success. Continue reading
Department Chair Andy Ogden writes about the event on the Grad ID blog:
“At the end of every summer term for the last 6 years, teams of Grad ID students have been running on the sidewalks of Art Center’s campus chasing Radio Controlled cars propelled by 16 feet of rubber band. That scene is the culmination of a term long project in which the students go on a journey through the phases of conceiving of and then developing unique race vehicles that go far beyond the typical theory, visualization, model making and presentation activities that make up most of a design education experience —to developing, producing, testing, integrating technical systems and deploying an invention that actually has to work—in a high visibility forum,”
Don’t miss one of our favorite events tomorrow, Super Thursday—the GradID Formula E Race! The race is the culmination of a GradID class in which students team up to develop high-performance scale racing vehicle prototypes, and then put them to the test on the track.
The vehicles will be on display from 11 am until 2 pm, during which time faculty, corporate sponsors and guests will judge the projects. Don’t miss the main event—three races will take place at 1, 2 and 3 pm. More than just a race, this fun event showcases design ingenuity and continues a new tradition at the College. Everyone is invited to take part in cheering on their favorite Formula E racers!
Get a sneak peek into tomorrow’s event from these student-made videos from last year’s class: