Six teams to compete at Purdue in 2018 midwest Nanoline automation contest

Phoenix Contact Nanoline Contest

An automated disk jockey for school dances, a tomato harvesting system and a voting machine which prevents fraud are among the student design projects competing in the 2018 Midwest Regionals of the Phoenix Contact Nanoline Contest.

Six teams from high schools around the state will present their projects Saturday (Feb. 3) in Knoy Hall of Technology. The teams showcase the students’ skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by designing and building a working automation system.

Judging begins at 9 a.m. with the public invited at 11:30 a.m. to view the projects in rooms B19, B29, B31, 202, 242, and 256. The public also is invited to the 1 p.m. awards presentation in the Wetherill Laboratory of Chemistry building, Room 200.

The regional competition at Purdue is overseen by Alka Harriger, professor of computer and information technology, and Brad Harriger, professor of mechanical engineering technology.

“Young people often don’t realize work in STEM is rewarding and meaningful,” Alka Harriger said. “This program demonstrates that STEM can be fun and that it’s exciting to start with an idea and take it to a finished product that does meaningful things.”

The Nanoline is a compact, intelligent controller that can be used for complex industrial applications or simple projects like automating multiple basic tasks. Students learn to program the Nanoline using nanoNavigator software and other electronic components in their designs.

The contest allows teams to build any type of automated system they choose. “Many of the projects that have competed in regionals or nationals were way beyond basic task automation,” Harriger said.

Judges will select two or three teams to advance to a national competition on Feb. 17 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Two teams from Benton Central High School and one each from Walker Career Center in Indianapolis, Porter County Career Center in Valparaiso, Carroll High School in Fort Wayne, and Southern Indiana Career & Technology Center in Evansville are competing.

In previous years, student teams built a fully automated t-shirt cannon, a power chair for toddlers with neurological disorders, and an alert system for schools.

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