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Engineering Skills on Display at the Tucson Festival of Books

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Engineering Skills on Display at the Tucson Festival of Books

March 3, 2012

Got math? Attendees at the popular Tucson Festival of Books 2012 with an interest in some of today's engineering skills can experience these firsthand directly from college students studying at the University of Arizona.

Hands-on demonstrations of Lego NXT Mindstorm robots are scheduled for this year's Tucson Festival of Books, March 10-11. UA Engineering 2011 photo.

Robotics activities from the UA Lego Roboclub, a racing vehicle display from the UA Baja Club, flight control simulations from the aeronautics and astronautics students, medical hardware displays from UA Biomedical Engineering Society, bridge building from civil engineering students and more are scheduled to appear at the UA College of Engineering area of the Science City section of the festival, March 10-11, 2012, on the UA Mall.

Automated Lego robots used for generating interest in math, technology and engineering skills are scheduled for hands-on display at this year's festival. The UA Lego Roboclub uses Lego’s Mindstorm NXT kits and Robolab software to demonstrate the fun side of math and engineering.

New display from biomedical engineering
A brand new display from the UA Biomedical Engineering Society designed to show the advancements of wheelchair technology in the biomedical and biomechanics fields of engineering is scheduled at this year's Tucson Festival of Books.

A short obstacle course using engineering student volunteers will demonstrate the differences between using a hospital wheelchair and an athletic wheelchair to overcome obstacles found in day-to-day life on and off campus.

"The club chose this event to demonstrate how biomedical engineers are advancing these technologies to prevent shoulder and back injury in owners of wheelchairs," said Marissa Lopez-Pier, member of the UA Biomedical Engineering Society. "We’re hoping this course and display inspire support for wheelchair innovations that make it easier for users to overcome daily obstacles,” she said.

The UA Society of Civil Engineers will be demonstrating practice builds of their steel bridge in preparation for their National Conference appearance March 22 at Cal Poly State University Pomona. UA SCE will also be building a Geodesic Dome -- a partial sphere shape structured from a series of triangles, rather than a series of arches -- to demonstrate domes as some of the strongest and tautest structures in existence today.

FLL State Champions to present fruit wax coating research
Also in the UA Engineering area of Science City is the team of middle-school students who won theFIRST LEGO League statewide competition for LEGO robot designing and programming.

Arizona FLL state champs, Team TOXIC (Team Of Xperts In Computers), will be presenting their research on solutions to the problem of bacteria getting trapped under the wax used to preserve fruits and vegetables. TOXIC will be presenting in Science City on Saturday, March 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Also on hand in the UA Engineering area will be specific information on University of Arizona engineering degree programs, including academic resources and guidelines, and representatives from nationally affiliated student clubs active on the UA campus. For high school students, information on the Summer Engineering Academy, a weeklong residential camp held on the University of Arizona campus beginning June 3, will be readily available.

More robotics info
The UA Lego Robotics Outreach Club, or UA Roboclub, operates the Summer Robotics Workshops, a series of two-day Lego NXT Mindstorm workshops available to students in grades 4 through 11 who are interested in Lego-based interactive lessons structured as engineering design projects. The 2012 workshops take place between May 14 and July 25. More information on the Lego camps and UA RoboClub can be found on the RoboClub website at

The UA College of Engineering offers the Summer Engineering Robotics Camp, a weeklong camp open to students entering grades 6, 7 and 8 held on the University of Arizona campus. More info including an online application can be found at

UA Engineering at the Tucson Festival of Books
Area featuring Lego robotics demonstrations, Lego robotics demonstrations, racing vehicle, aeronautics software, a brand new display from the UA Biomedical Engineering Society and more.

Saturday and Sunday, March 10 - 11, 2012


Lego Robotics Demonstration
On the Science City Main Stage
Saturday, 4 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m.

Festival's Science City, located at the east end of the UA Mall

More info on the types of engineering skills on display can be found