The JPL Annual Invention Challenge is ready for its thirteenth year. The title for this year's contest is the "Ping-Pong Ball Climb Contest". The objective and rules are listed below. Questions related to this contest should be directed to: Paul MacNeal at work phone (818) 354-7824, FAX (818) 354-2284, M/S 126-347, located in Building 126-336, or e-mail to paul.d.macneal@jpl.nasa.gov.

OBJECTIVE: Create a device that moves an officially supplied ping-pong ball from near the ground and causes the ball to touch and hold against a ceiling located 2.0 meters above the ground. The winner will be the team whose device accomplishes this task in the fastest time.

Rules:

ELIGIBILITY
1) The contest is open to all JPL employees, contractors, and immediate family members. The contest is also open to teams of students from Southern California middle schools and high schools providing that they have completed all required forms as outlined in rules 3 and 4 below.

REGISTRATION -- JPL PERSONNEL
2) Applications for JPL employees, contractors, and immediate family members entering the contest must be filled out and submitted to Public Services prior to midnight November 19, 2010. Completed entry forms should be directed to Public Services at FAX (818) 393-4641, or sent via email to Margaret.R.Porter@jpl.nasa.gov. An entry form is included at the end of the rules. All entries will be time stamped based upon the time received. Only the first 20 JPL/contractor entries will be permitted to compete. Five alternates will be accepted in case some entries withdraw prior to the competition.

JPL employee family members and friends are welcome to watch the contest, but must be cleared through the security office prior to arrival. JPL employees must fill out the visitor request form as found in the link: http://eis/international/visitrequest.html.

REGISTRATION -- SCHOOLS
3) In order to streamline the paperwork process at JPL, each team must mail their completed student team entry form (attached) and the "Authorization and Release for Photos and/or Video Recording" agreement form (attached) for each person (student, guest, teacher, and chaperone) planning to attend the JPL contest. Each video release form must be completely filled out and signed. If the student is under 18 years of age, then their parent or guardian must also sign. The entire set of forms must be filled out and submitted to Public Services no earlier than September 6, 2010 and be postmarked no later than midnight October 2, 2010. Completed forms must be mailed to Public Services at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, M/S 186-113, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109. All entries will be time stamped based upon the time received. Student teams will be notified to verify their acceptance into the contest by October 6, 2010. Questions regarding the entry forms can be directed to Maggie Porter in Public Services at (818)354-0112. Each school is allowed no more than three teams. Internal school competitions are encouraged to select the top three teams if necessary.

Any foreign student (18 or over) or adult will need to fill out a special form which is processed by the Public Services Office. The process takes nearly three weeks, therefore, if you plan on attending the contest at JPL, and you are a foreign national, it is important that you contact Public Services prior to November 8, 2010.

Additions or corrections to the registration forms and/or photo release forms need to be mailed to the Public Services Office with a postmark no later than Thursday, December 2, 2010. Faxed forms will not be accepted. Failure to send in the signed video release form by the requisite time will prevent participation and access to the JPL contest for those students that fail to comply with this request.

SPECIAL RULES FOR SCHOOL TEAMS
4) Only the first 75 student team entries will be permitted to compete at the regional competitions. Student teams will compete at a regional competition held on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles and Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. Details for the regional competitions will be sent to all registered teams. The top five teams with the fastest times that complete the task from each regional competition will be invited to compete at the JPL contest held on Friday, December 10, 2010 (see Rule 5 below). In addition, the next 10 teams with the fastest times that complete the objective between both regional competitions will also be invited to compete at the JPL contest.

LOGISTICS
5) The date and time for the final contest is Friday, December 10, 2010 between 11:30 AM and 1:00 PM. The contest is held at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109. The contest area is located north of the fountain area, in front of the Administration Building (Bldg. 180) steps. The contest will be held rain or shine, but will be covered from the rain. Check-in for the event will begin at 10:15 AM.

DEVICE RULES
6) The device must have the following characteristics:
a) Be capable of lifting an officially supplied ping-pong ball from its starting position (contained within the device) and allow the ping-pong ball to contact a ceiling located 2.0 meters (78.75 inches) above the ground. The official time for the task ends when the ping-pong ball visibly contacts the ceiling. Make sure that the contact can be seen from the ground by the official starter (i.e. do not place the ping-pong ball in some sort of box that hides the ball from sight).
b) Be capable of holding the ping-pong ball against the ceiling for at least 5 seconds after initial contact. A minor amount of intermittent contact is allowed after the first contact with the ceiling as long as the ping-pong ball settles and remains in contact with the ceiling.
c) Be able to accept and hold an officially supplied ping-pong ball. The ping-pong ball is a table tennis ball of official weight and size (2.7 grams and 40 mm in diameter). The ping-pong ball may not be altered in any way. No glue or any other adhesive material may contact the ping-pong ball at any time. If the ping-pong ball is permanently damaged (cracked or dented) during or after the operation of the device, the device will be disqualified.
d) Be no larger, prior to the start of the task, than 50 cm (19.7 inches) high by 1.20 meters (47.2 inches) wide by 1.20 meters (47.2 inches) long. The ping-pong ball must be located within the maximum envelop.
e) Utilize safe energy sources. Examples of disallowed energy sources are chemical explosions, caustic gases, and rocket motors. High pressure gas systems and other questionable sources must be cleared through Paul MacNeal and the Safety Coordinator prior to performing at both the regional contest and the final contest.
f) Be initiated by a single operation (cut a string, flick a switch, pull a pin, etc) provided by the contestant. No human power may be used to add dynamic or potential energy to produce motion in the device. All stored energy systems must be energized prior to starting the task.
g) Be made from any materials as long as they are non-toxic and safe. Gases and fluids, if used by your device, cannot come in contact with the ball. For example, you cannot propel the ball upwards by turning a high pressure stream of water onto the ball.
h) May contact, without causing damage, the vertical post holding the ceiling prior to, during, and after the completion of the task. Damaging the vertical post is grounds for disqualification from the contest. See Rule 7 for geometry definition.
i) May contact, without causing damage, the ceiling and/or its supporting structure during and after the completion of the task. Damaging the ceiling and/or its supporting structure is grounds for disqualification from the contest. See Rule 7 for geometry definition.
j) Place the official entry number provided by the contest organizer (3" high numbers) on at least two sides of the device for easy identification.
k) Not use any clamps, tape, or any other means to attach to the ground. The device must only rest on the ground before and during the load application, however heavy weights may be used.
l) Be able to adapt to non-level ground (see Rule 8).
m) SPECIAL RULE FOR SCHOOL TEAMS ONLY: To avoid plagiarism, each team that competes at the regional contest will have photographs taken of their device. The basic concept of the device (energy source, size, method of climbing) must be maintained. The regional contest host will mark the device in an identifiable manner to confirm authenticity at the finals. Minor modifications to the device are allowed within these constraints.

CEILING DEFINITION
7) The ceiling and its support structure have the following characteristics:
a. The ceiling and its support structure are constructed of wood and metal.
b. The geometry of the ceiling and its support are shown in Figure 1.
c. The height of the ceiling above the ground is nominally 2.0 meters (78.75 inches). Small variances due to non-level ground are to be anticipated.
d. The vertical post has a thin steel cover 0.018" thick (1012 carbon alloy steel). It is 6.0" wide (15.2 cm). The sheet metal is backed up with a ¼" thick piece of Masonite attached to a 4 x 4 (actually 3.5" x 3.5") wooden post. The vertical post will be parallel to a gravity vector within 1 degree.
e. The ceiling has a thin steel cover 0.018" thick (1012 carbon alloy steel). It covers the entire width (15.75" or 40 cm) and length (29.5" or 75 cm) of the ceiling. The sheet metal is backed up with a 1" thick piece of plywood attached to 2 x 4 wood studs. The ceiling will be perpendicular to a gravity vector within 1 degree.
f. The entire ceiling and its support structure are held in place with the use of ballast placed on the base. No less than 50 pounds or more than 100 pounds of ballast will be used to hold the ceiling structure in place. The entire structure utilizes leveling screws to maintain proper orientation (even on a slightly sloped surface).
g. Detailed plans for constructing the ceiling structure can be found on the JPL Invention
Challenge web site (http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/events/inventionchallenge/) by clicking on "2010 Invention Challenge Rules and Forms" link.

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CONTEST FACILITY DESCRIPTION
8) The contest site is located in front of the steps leading to Building 180. The site will contain only one area for setting up and operating the device. The ground is concrete with a rough finish and has a slight slope.

CONTEST PROCEDURE
9) The order in which teams will participate is selected by a random process. The contestant and his/her team will be given a three minute period of time to set-up their device, initiate and have their device perform its task, and remove the device from the contest area. Strict time limits will be imposed to ensure that all contestants are able to operate their device. The starter will hand the team the official table tennis (ping-pong) ball. The team is responsible for placing the ping-pong ball inside their device.

Once the team has been introduced and has introduced their team and given a brief description of their device, the field judge will ask the team if they are ready. The starter will ask if the timers are ready. The official starter will give a countdown (3....2....1....GO!) for the start of operation for the device. Timers will start the time at the starter's direction. The timers will stop the watch at the direction of the official starter. The official starter will voice an audible "STOP!" when the ping-pong ball initially and visibly contacts the ceiling. The time will be averaged by two or more official timers. The official time will be recorded to the nearest 0.01 seconds on the entry form. The starter will inspect the ping-pong ball for damage. If the ping-pong ball is permanently damaged, the device will be disqualified.

Any device that fails to have the ping-pong ball contact the ceiling surface prior to a 60 second time period will be declared as not completing the task. If the ping-pong ball never contacts the ceiling surface or does not hold the ping-pong ball against the ceiling, the device will be declared as not completing the task. The starter's decision is final with regards to issuing the audible "STOP" statement.

Once the operating time has been finalized and entered into the scoring sheet the team will be asked to remove their device and place it in a designated viewing area as directed by volunteers.

AWARDS
10) Trophies will be divided into two categories: JPL employees/family/contractor entries and school team entries. Trophies for fastest time to complete the task will be given for first, second, and third place for each category at all contests (regional contests and the JPL contest). If two or more times are within 0.02 seconds of each other than equal trophies will be awarded. Certificates will be issued for the lightest, heaviest, smallest, largest, most unusual, most artistic, and most creative designs.

 

JPL EMPLOYEE, CONTRACTOR, OR FAMILY MEMBER ENTRY FORM FOR 2010 INVENTION CHALLENGE

ENTRY NUMBER ______

Date Received: ________ Time received: _________

Name(s): __________________________________

M/S: ____________

Phone: (____)_____________

E-mail Address: ____________________________

Title of Entry (be creative): ____________________________

 

 

 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Weight: _______ pounds

Length: _____ inches, Width: _____inches, and Height: _____inches

 

Time to complete the task: __________ seconds

Comments:

Pass safety inspection? ________________

SCHOOL ENTRY FORM FOR JPL 2010 INVENTION CHALLENGE

ENTRY NUMBER _______

Date Received: ________ Time received: _________

School Name: _______________________________________

Single Point of Contact Information:

Name: _________________________

Phone: _(____)________________

Email Address: ___________________________________________

School Address:__________________________________________________
Street City Zip Code

Team Name: ___________________ Entry Name: ______________________
Put entry number somewhere on the device
Team Member Names and Ages (if over 18, state Citizenship):

1)________________________________

2)________________________________

3)________________________________

4)________________________________

5)________________________________

6)________________________________

7)________________________________

8)________________________________

Chaperone/Teacher Names and Citizenship (mandatory)

1)________________________________

2)________________________________

Note: All persons planning to attend the JPL contest must fill out and turn in an "Authorization and Release for Photos and/or Video Recording Photography Release Form". Students under 18 years of age must also have their parent or guardian sign the form.

Teacher/Educator Advisor: _______________________________________

Phone of Advisor: ___________________________

SCHOOL NAME ____________________________ ENTRY NUMBER ______

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

Weight: _______ pounds

Length: _____ inches, Width: _____inches, and Height: _____inches

 

Time to complete the task: __________ seconds

Comments:

 

Pass safety inspection? ________________


Jet Propulsion Laboratory
California Institute of Technology

4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, California 91109-8099

 

AUTHORIZATION AND RELEASE FOR PHOTOS AND/OR VIDEO RECORDING

SUBJECT PRODUCTION: 2010 JPL Invention Challenge
I, ________________________________________, hereby grant to the California Institute of
(Person signing form)
Technology the right, without fee, to make and use photos and/or video tape recordings

of ____________________________________________in connection with the subject
(Person attending production)
production in any manner or form and for any lawful purpose at any time. I waive any right that I may have to review or approve the finished product, or the use to which it may be applied. I release and discharge the California Institute of Technology and its employees, and its subcontractor(s) and employees from any liability to me by virtue of any representation that may occur in the making or editing of said photos and/or video tape recordings.

I have read this agreement before signing below and warrant that I fully understand its contents.

Signed:_________________________________________Date:______________

Address:__________________________________________________________

Parent or Guardian:______________________________Date: _______________
(if not of legal age)

 

School Name: __________________________________ Entry # ________
(leave blank)

› Download 2010 Rules and Forms
› Materials Needed for Ceiling Support