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UK Engineering Students Display
Baseball-testing Machine

By George Lewis

Photo of baseball-testing machine in action
(Click photo to enlarge)
UK engineering students Jennifer Smith (left) and Dock Carter watch the flight of the baseball as they demonstrate the baseball-testing machine they designed and built.

The device uses electro-mechanical systems and motor controllers to toss baseballs, one at a time, in the direction of three targets. Following each toss the system automatically reloads, aims and launches the next baseball. The device demonstrated accuracy, speed, consistency and reliability, said O. J. Hahn, UK professor of mechanical engineering and the students’ mentor.

 

Jan. 24, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- While most sports fans are caught up in college basketball and the hoopla surrounding Super Bowl XXXVII, four University of Kentucky mechanical engineering students figuratively stepped up to the plate Jan. 22 to demonstrate their award-winning baseball-testing machine.

The students designed and built the machine as part of a competition called “Baseball Frenzy,” sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

The students are Karen Ballman of Nicholasville, Ky.; Dock Carter of Louisa, Ky.; Chris Delaney of Philpot, Ky.; and Jennifer Smith of Lexington.

Their challenge was to design, build and test a prototype to detect defective baseballs before they are packaged.

They won the regional competition and went on to win second place at the national level, the equivalent of the World Series in this particular sense.

The device uses electro-mechanical systems and motor controllers to toss baseballs, one at a time, in the direction of three targets. Following each toss the system automatically reloads, aims and launches the next baseball. The device demonstrated accuracy, speed, consistency and reliability, said O. J. Hahn, UK professor of mechanical engineering and the students’ mentor.

The students received a trophy and split $1,000 cash from the ASME representative. Their UK student chapter of ASME received $500.

The students presented a plaque of appreciation to Andrew Kerr and Mike Toon, both of LexMark Inc., for their corporation’s support.


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