Civil engineering students tackle infrastructure challenges of the future

Aggies Invent Construction 2

At the most recent Aggies Invent, several students in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University worked to solve the infrastructural and architectural problems of the future.

Students were challenged to incorporate the latest technology, like 3-D printing, drones and robotics, as they competed to create the most innovative and compelling solution for building horizontal or vertical buildings. This theme pushed students to think ahead into the next 100 years and anticipate the drastically different and advanced technology of the future that would be incorporated into a job site.

At Aggies Invent, students are given only 48 hours to solve the issue presented to them and create a prototype. Each Aggies Invent theme is different, to provide students versatile situations to demonstrate their readiness to tackle the next big issue. Joeris and JB Knowledge sponsored the construction-themed weekend.

Aggies Invent Construction 1

Civil engineering students played a critical role in each of the top two winning teams. The first place team, It's A Climb, consisted of civil engineering freshman Erick Zaruma, petroleum engineering senior Abrar Alshaikh, mechanical engineering sophomore Mauricio Bailey, mechanical engineering junior Jesus Maltos and master’s candidates in industrial engineering Komal Koya and Hemik Parikh. The team developed a sensor that attaches to a ladder to indicate if the ladder is not placed correctly. This device will help stop falls from ladders, responsible for a quarter of all falls in construction and will prevent $11 million from being lost in accident costs each year.

Second place went to Green Is The New Black made up of civil engineering master’s candidates Nidhi Raut, Yash Menaria and Akash Baja; civil engineering undergraduate student Kush Daxesh Patel; applied math sophomore Diana Aviles and computer science freshman Justin Rodriguez. Green is the New Black’s project focused on recycling plastic for use in asphalt pavement.

“We proposed a technique to utilize waste plastics in the asphalt road construction process,” said Patel. “As an environmental engineering student, the menacing issue of plastic waste in the environment is very close to me.”

Along with the general creation process, Patel assisted Green is the New Black in making the team’s idea marketable and attractive to users like construction companies.

“The people at Aggies Invent were extremely helpful and the guys with JBKnowledge helped us out a lot, too,” Patel said. “The facilities at the Engineering Innovation Center were great, the atmosphere was very conducive for learning new things and we were well-fed throughout the weekend. All in all, it was an awesome experience.”

The top three winning teams were awarded $1,000, $750 and $500, respectively and will gain global exposure through Aggies Invent’s partners.

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Contributing author: Ryan Terry