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News: PCC Races to the Top in This Years Formula E Challenge

PCC Students

Sixteen teams competed at this year’s Formula E Challenge at Art Center College of Design, with several Pasadena City College students taking home awards.

The Formula E Challenge is a playful design project in which student teams design remote-controlled race vehicles powered by 16 feet of rubber band. The Formula E course culminates with a race event where design teams compete in a handling course, a drag race, a hill climb, a beauty contest, and best in show.

“It was big this year,” said Stan Kong, PCC assistant professor in the Visual Arts and Media Studies division. “There was a huge turnout, and it was really exciting.”

According to Kong, the project teaches lessons in strategy, product development, science, engineering, design fabrication, branding and event planning.

“You’re learning on so many different levels,” Kong said. “Students learn about competition, working in teams, setting goals, and plan implementation.”

Six students from Kong’s class were paired up with six other teams from the Graduate Industrial Design teams. The competition also included two teams from Cal State Long Beach and four teams from the Beijing University of Technology and Tsinghua University.

This year was Instructor Sandy Lee’s first time doing the Formula E Challenge.

“Being invited to compete was really exciting,” Lee said. 

Lee had four teams in the challenge from her Solid Works class, an advanced course for problem-based projects. One of her teams, the DT Lancers, won the Best Design award.

“This was right up our alley,” she said.

The panel of judges included Dr. Mark Rocha, PCC superintendent/president; Joe Futtner, interim dean of Visual Arts and Media Studies; and many prominent designers like Shelley Short of Disney Imagineering R&D, and Steve Tkachuck of Industrial Design at Samsung Design America.

“We had to talk about design intent,” Lee said. “We had to explain how it works, and why it works, and our design inspiration. It was as much about marketing the vehicle as designing and building it.”

Several PCC students who were placed with the Graduate Industrial Design teams won awards. Jecky Chow, who was with Team Tensegrity, took third place in the hill climb race, first place in the drag race and second place in the figure 8 race. Steve Cheung from Team Telesia took second place in the hill climb race and first place in the figure 8 race, and Zarouhi Mazmanyan from Team Zepher took third place in the figure 8 race.

Congratulations to all our PCC students who participated in the Formula E Challenge!

Release Date: 08/26/2013
Contact: Juan F. Gutierrez , Director, Public Relations
Phone: (626) 585-7315

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