16 October 2014 11:13

A team of engineering students from Lancaster University has won the first ever National Undergraduate Design Challenge.

Lancaster engineering students, Panos Megerditchian, Paul Muchatuta, Adeel Irfan and Kristina Zinenco, triumphed at the National Undergraduate Design Challenge, the newest of a series of challenges organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

This year’s team won the North West Regional Challenge for the fourth time for Lancaster University, earning them a place in the first national competition. The team competed against 11 universities to design and make a robot-like device able to climb up the inside of a vertical transparent tube, with the quickest device to reach the top and return to the starting point winning.

The Lancaster team impressed the panel of independent IMechE judges, winning the presentation and technical poster elements of the competition, and went on to get through a series of three heats, accumulating enough points for a place in the final. The team went on to win the final race against Kingston University, becoming the first winners of the national competition.

The trophy was presented by Will Butler-Adams, the Managing Director of Brompton Bicycles, who praised their unusual design.

The competition, which was held at IMechE’s headquarters in London, was designed to encourage students to engage with their discipline, giving practical experience while at university.

Dr Stephen Quayle, who supervised the team, said: “I’m very proud of the students and how they responded to the challenge. Despite technical problems they remained calm under pressure and delivered in all three areas of the competition. The third round heat against Bolton was very competitive with a photo finish to decide Lancaster the winner by what must have been a margin of only hundredths of a second.”  

One of the team members, Paul Muchatuta, said: “I have no doubt that everyone who competed gained something valuable from the challenge and I am sure that the four of us who managed to win both the regional and national competition will use this successful project as motivation to drive us to continue to work hard and hopefully achieve great things in the future for ourselves, Lancaster University, and civilisation as a whole.”