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2013 High School Design Competition: License to Build, set for Nov. 5

Friday, September 20, 2013

High school students from around Kansas and the Kansas City metro area will soon be immersed in a world of espionage – taking part in an action packed day full of speed and adventure – all while learning about many different disciplines of engineering and computer technology – at the 2013 High School Design competition sponsored by the University of Kansas School of Engineering and the Halliburton Company.

The annual competition will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at KU’s engineering complex. This year’s main event, titled “License to Build,” spans a broad range of technical fields, focusing on mechanical and civil engineering. Teams will be required to construct a small automobile-like device capable of completing an air test, a land test, and a water test.

Working in groups of up to four students (grades 9-12), each team must design and build a mechanical vehicle that can compete in a drop test, a speed test, and a water test. Check in begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Horejsi Center. The competition begins promptly at 9:15 a.m. There will be three events and the opportunity to compete in side events throughout the day focusing on other technical areas such as chemical engineering.  Click

here for maps and directions


Lunch and competition t-shirts will be provided.

This annual event is held to demonstrate the fun and competitive nature of engineering to high school students with the hope that it sparks their interest in engineering and opens the door to the opportunities it can bring.

Registration is now closed.

Click for

the rules

for this year’s competition.

Check out previous years competitions:

2012: Rock Chalk Renaissance:


2011: Rock Hop Jayhawk:


Lego Mindstorm Challenge

Teams interested in robotics, programming, or Legos, will have the opportunity to compete in the Lego Mindstorm competition. The competition will require constructing a robot to complete three different challenges related to Spy Boot Camp Training: Sprints, Marksmanship, and Intel Gathering.

Teams registering in the Lego Mindstorm Challenge will be offered a standard Lego kit of parts and a complete course layout from the KU School of Engineering. Kits must be returned at the conclusion of the competition in good condition and with all parts included.


Lego Mindstorm rules and a course diagram and be

seen here.

Check out previous compeitions from previous years.

2012 Lego Mindstorm:

2011 Lego Mindstorm:

License to Build Q & A:


Do teams build the vehicle at the high school in the days/weeks leading up to the competition, or do they build it on the day of the competition once they arrive at KU?


Teams should arrive at KU with their vehicle done and ready to compete. Time is limited the day of the competition and there are hundreds of teams competing. Getting the vehicle done early also allows teams time to test and refine their design before the competition.


Would a microcontroller (i.e. an arduino) be against the rules of the competition?


As long as the microcontroller is not being controlled remotely, it is allowed. The microcontroller must be a pre-made program that once started, runs on its own.

Lego Mindstorm Q & A:


Can teams pick up the Lego Mindstorms kits if they come to Lawrence themselves prior to Oct. 18 to pick them up?


If teams contact the High School Design Committee prior to Oct. 18, the committee will set aside a LEGO kit and have it available for pickup between noon and 5 p.m. on Oct. 18 in the School of Engineering Dean's Office. Otherwise, all kits will be shipped on Oct. 18.


May teams modify the existing (underlying) software and/or hardware of the Lego Mindstorms kits?


Teams may not modify the existing (underlying) software and/or hardware of kits provided by the KU School of Engineering. This is University property and therefore violates existing agreements. Teams will be required to disassemble the University's LEGO kits in the last minutes of competition prior to awards.


Exactly how many kits will schools be provided with for the Lego Mindstorms competition?   


Schools will receive up to two EV3 kits for the competition. Schools with more than two teams will be guaranteed one NXT kit as well. When registration closes on Oct. 18, the High School Design Committee will determine if more NXT kits are able to be distributed.


Are wireless communications allowed during the Lego Mindstorm Competition?


Although the EV3 kit includes a wireless controller, it is not allowed. Bluetooth is also not allowed. All robots must perform autonomously


Will teams be able to send a sound signal (i.e. send a sound from a  cell phone to the robot while it is running)?


No. Teams are not allowed to use wireless communications with the robot. This includes sending a sound from a cell phone. High noise levels are expected in the competition room and it's unlikely the robot would be able to pick up any specific sounds.


What is height of the physical barrier of the course (internal and perimeter)?


A 2x4 wooden barrier will be used. The dimensions are roughly 1.5 x 3.5. Robots are not permitted to climb over these barriers.

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