Student team wins awards in Shell 'Hack-a-Truck'
Four senior mechanical engineering students at Lamar University currently building a car for the Shell Eco-marathon took some time off last weekend to participate in the Shell Hack-a-Truck competition in Mountain View, California at the Google Garage bringing home two awards.
Over the weekend, the team comprised of Justin Amedee or Orange, Steven Do and Andres Torres, both of Port Arthur, and Kamdon Weaver of Mesquite, was paired with a team of Cedarville University students to innovate two areas of the food truck experience, focusing on the inside and outside of the truck. Teams were tasked with incorporating bright energy solutions to redesign the experience in aspects involving: lighting, heating, waste production and handling, but most importantly, to make it fun, making the food truck experience as innovative and energy-efficient as possible.
“This was a rare treat for our students to participate,” says Ken Aung, professor of mechanical engineering and advisor of the students in their senior capstone course. Lamar University was only eight universities selected to compete.
“Our students were able to face real-world issues under time constraints with limited resources,” Aung said. “This is exactly what it is like to be an engineer.”
Students were to receive no help from their advisors during the competition, but were mentored by Cameron Davies, owner and president of Cruising Kitchens, celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre, Jaime Moreno and Jose Luis Martin-Oar of Mormedi, a consultant firm that excels in areas of service and digital design.
Lamar’s team was tasked with designing the inside of the food truck. “Going into the competition we were very excited, but also very nervous,” Amedee said. “We weren’t sure how we would measure up to the other schools we would be competing against, but once we were settled in and started working, we realized that we were all in the same boat.”
“We initially wanted to create a potato-themed food truck, but ran into obstacles with the cook time. Thanks to a suggestion from Lefebvre, we changed course to poutine, a traditional Canadian using French fries and cheese curds. We created a menu that containing traditional (cheese curds and gravy), cheeseburger, chicken and gravy, and steak and egg poutine as well as a dessert option and named our truck “Routine Poutine,” Amedee said.
The team had most of Saturday to plan, design, and print a 3D model to prepare for judges on Sunday. Projects were judged on integration, innovation, creativity and usability.
“It was an amazing experience and a breath of fresh air being able to get out of the classroom and actually contribute to something that really matters,” Amedee said. The combined Lamar-Cedarville team did not walk away empty-handed as they were tapped for the “Best Engineering Design” and “Best Energy Calculation” awards in the competition.