Intro AE class student sets a record
A team of ambitious first-year areospace engineering students has beat Prof. Julian Rimoli at his own game.
Adam Green, Hayden Mah, and Ebrahim Yavari - all students in Dr. Eric Johnson's Introduction to Aerospace Engineering class -- managed to pull off a near perfect score in Truss Me!, an educational app that Rimoli developed last year to teach up-and-coming engineers about truss behavior. Later, one of the young engineers bested that, submitting a perfect design.
"I was really impressed with how well they understood the concepts," said Rimoli, a guest lecturer who spoke to the class about structures.
"And the nicest thing is, really: their design was better than my best design. In fact, it holds the record: it's better than any design I've seen so far."
That's no mean feat.
Since its 2013 debut on iTunes, Truss Me! has developed a world-wide following among engineering students, educators, and game afficianados of all ages. Last May, it was officially incorporated into the engineering curriculum at the prestigious ETH Zurich, where Rimoli presided over its inaugural competition.
During their class period on Feb. 12, the first-year Georgia Tech engineering students earned a score of 87, which was very impressive. But, an hour later, Adam Green pulled off a 97. A few minutes after that, a 100.
All told, Rimoli has used the app to instruct more than 1,000 college-level students - at Tech and elsewhere.
"But none of those students did as well as Adam," Rimoli said. "His design was a stand-out."
Using a graphical interface to simulate the real thing, Truss Me! tasks players to design a "moon lander" that is super light but which will not bend or break upon impact. Every change the students make in the design must take into account the specific landing gear and payload constraints of the vehicle.