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Graduating students from the College of Engineering at North Carolina A&T University won the “Most Innovative Design” award at this year’s Sandia National Laboratories Senior Design Bonanza. According to N.C. A&T,  the team, which was made up of all mechanical engineering students, were outside of their comfort zones but still delivered a working prototype.

“We hope this capstone project becomes the tip of the iceberg for increasing Sandia’s investment in higher research at A&T,” Mookesh Dhanasar said in a statement.

Dhanasar, a mechanical engineering lecturer and senior design project coordinator, asked for more companies to visit N.C. A&T and discover faculty research project opportunities at the university.

The National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia operates Sandia National Laboratories as a contractor for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and supports numerous federal, state, and local government agencies, companies, and organizations.

This year, Sandia National Laboratories challenged Senior Design Bonanza teams to design a Flight Accelerometer Switch integrated with data acquisition, processing and communication systems, and able to fit within an egg.

The switch, reportedly no bigger than a quarter of the size of a penny, had to detect flight information such as acceleration, velocity, and temperature and relay that data real-time to a ground control station. The competition also required a collection of skill sets, including electrical engineering and computer science, in order to succeed.

N.C. A&T participated alongside University of Georgia, The University of Texas at Austin, Rochester Institute of Technology, Howard University and The University of Colorado Boulder. (Photo by H. Scott Hoffmann/News & Record)

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