Jet Propulsion Laboratory National Aeronautics and Space Administration California Institute of Technology
NASA Logo - Jet Propulsion Laboratory + Visit JPL Education Gateway
+ Visit NASA Education Portal
JPL Home Earth Solar System STARS AND GALAXIES Technology
Education Gateway
Education Gateway Home Page Educators Students Educator Resource Center Informal Education Team Competitions JPL Education Kids
   + IC HOME
   + IC ARCHIVES
2007 Results
2006 Results
2005 Results
2004 Results
2003 Results
2002 Results
2001 Results
2000 Results
1999 Results
1998 Results
JPL Annual Invention Challenge - ENTRY 3
 
 
a) What your team thought of the challenge (objective)?
I thought it was a great idea, it presented a real challenge to move such a heavy object as a bowling ball onto a delicate platform.

b) What ideas your team considered?
From the beginning I only considered a rail made out of metal tubing. The design considerations were, how to stop the bowling ball short of the platform. I thought of using a container of water, as it would make a big splash and be very dramatic, but then though it would not be fast enough to win.

c) What was your final design?
Three rails made out of electrical conduit, which ended directly over the lower platform. The ball was stopped by two pieces of angle iron which sprung apart when a pin was pulled which was activated by the dropping ball. The ball then dropped the last 1.5 inches onto the platform.

d) What was your testing process and how did you improve?
The device worked the first time I tried it. The testing process was to improve the timing of the angle iron release device so that the ball did not linger any longer than necessary.

e) What were your feelings or experiences at the JPL contest?
Disappointment, since the ball stuck in the rail midway down and I was disqualified.

f) How would your team improve your design?
I think the design was fine. My only explanation is that the ball I used in practice must have been slightly smaller than the game ball. The rails were adjustable, and I should have tested the rails with the game ball and made the final adjustment after the invention was set up in the contest area. It still would not have been the fastest time, but at least it would have worked.

To return to the results page please click here.
For a photo gallery of the 2004 event, click here.
For the event rules please click here.


 
 
 
NASA Privacy Statement Glossary Sitemap Feedback
FIRST GOV   National Aeronautics and Space Administration