The smell of buttery popcorn wafted across the Science Center Plaza as Harvard engineering students competed in a computer-aided robot tournament, admired a 3-D printer’s output, and even rode a lightweight go-kart that runs on minimal energy.
At the fourth annual School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) Design and Project Fair on May 6, hundreds of students representing 18 Harvard courses presented projects they had worked on over the past semester or two. With fresh popcorn, candy, and a roaring crowd cheering on the battling robots, the plaza felt more like a carnival than an academic fair.
The students’ projects ranged from a 3-D printer than can make ice sculptures to a bare-bones guitar amplifier. Paul Karoff, assistant dean for communications at SEAS, said the students are sometimes encouraged to participate by faculty, but other times “really start taking the initiative themselves.”
Midway through the fair, Harry R. Lewis, the interim dean at SEAS, presented four seniors with awards for outstanding work on their final capstone projects, as judged by the engineering faculty. Another eight students were awarded honorable mentions.