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Human-powered vehicles race with resourcefulness
by Sarah Cooper
Apr 18, 2008 | 1196 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<a href= mailto:dreid@dailysparkstribune.com>Tribune/Debra Reid</a> - UNR mechanical engineering student Blanca Miller shows the Battle Born's steering and brake control. Miller and her teammates will attempt to hit 50 mph in the carbon-fiber, human-powered vehicle this weekend.
Tribune/Debra Reid - UNR mechanical engineering student Blanca Miller shows the Battle Born's steering and brake control. Miller and her teammates will attempt to hit 50 mph in the carbon-fiber, human-powered vehicle this weekend.
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The bright blue egg-shaped car might catch some air as it comes off the ramp at Stead Airport today, said Candice Bauer, vice president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Mechanical engineering students at the University of Nevada, Reno, have spent the last few months pouring their energy into the human-powered car. Their creation will be competing against 24 other cars Saturday and Sunday in speed events and obstacle courses in the 25th annual Human Powered Vehicle Challenge.

The competition will begin with the sprint event on Saturday at 8 a.m. on the closed runway near the Air National Guard building. One vehicle will take the track at a time, seeing how fast it can travel the 100 meter road.

Then, at 1 p.m. seven of the human-powered cars will tackle speed bumps, ramps, slalom courses and tight parking spaces.

"That's fun," Bauer said. "A lot of (the cars) catch air going over the speed bumps and coming off the ramps."

The final event begins Sunday at 8 a.m. with the endurance event at International Game Technology (IGT) at 9295 Prototype Drive. All 24 of the cars will take to the road at once and sprint 20 laps around the two-mile track. The track winds around Prototype Drive, portions of which will be closed for the event.

"There are going to have to be a couple of driver changes in there," Bauer said.

The festivities will wrap up Sunday at 1 p.m. at Harrah's Hotel and Casino, when awards will be bestowed on the fastest car in each event.

"This year's vehicle represents a big change from the designs of previous years," UNR team captain Scott Waters said in a release. "We are very excited to represent Nevada on our home turf this year."

According to Bauer, the most exciting part of the event will be all the innovative technology.

"It's just a phenomenal thing," Bauer said. "We have our future leaders here. They are the ones that will be designing the technology that we will be using in the future. Watching these kids come up with new ideas is amazing."

Tara Lewis, a junior mechanical engineering major at the university, is one of the students who helped build the car. She said she hopes that that those who attend the event will get some good entertainment out of it and learn a little about the inventive ideas that are coming out of the engineering school.

"It's good entertainment for anyone who is interested in simple machines," Lewis said. "People can really look forward to seeing some of the new ideas and innovations. These things are works of art."
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