Technical girls build walking robots inspired by nature
The 3mE Girls Challenge ‘Where nature meets technology’, an event for girls in their fifth year of pre-university education who want to acquaint themselves with the mechanical engineering programme, has turned out to be a massive hit. After the huge success of the first edition last year, the Department of Mechanical Engineering organised a follow-up on 9 February 2018. Eighty girls with a predilection for science focused all of their energy on the question of ‘how to build a walking robot inspired by nature out of technical Lego’. Following the two-and-a-half hour workshop, animal-like robots wandered happily around, including a dung beetle, a chicken, a dog and even a firefly. It was a feast for the eyes. The fastest robot and the most innovative and creative robot were awarded a fashion cheque and a unique piece of jewellery made on a 3D laser printer by a mechanical engineering alumnus.
Initiators Paul Breedveld, professor of bio-inspired technology and Aimee Sakes, a PhD candidate in the Department of BioMechanical Engineering, can both look back on another great afternoon. The girls’ effort and fresh approach to this mechanical engineering problem was a pleasure to witness. We hope they enjoyed it as much as we did.
Why a Girls Challenge?
Decaan Theun Baller:
‘The Department of Mechanical Engineering trains engineers to help solve social problems, for example by creating tailor-made implants, wind turbines that work together, self-driving cars and new ways of storing energy. Indeed, mechanical engineers are in great demand and are ideal candidates to work at companies that focus on a large number of social themes. We have noticed that girls often have a one-sided view of mechanical engineering. One only likes what one knows, as they say, so this is a pity because it is precisely girls who often do well in our programme. That is why we organise the Girls Challenge every year now. We have noticed that it is a real eye-opener for a lot of girls interested in engineering. And of course they have a fun day and get to know our faculty. It’s a win-win situation for both of us.’
Curious about our students and PhD candidates studying mechanical engineering? Read more here about their experiences (in Dutch):