Course Detail: ARTE104 - ART AND ENGINEERING: How to Build and Race a Kinetic Sculpture. (Live Online Synchronous)

ART AND ENGINEERING: How to Build and Race a Kinetic Sculpture  How do a group of students design, build and race a bicycle powered work of art that can float, go through sand and mud, and survive 15 miles of Baltimore roads? It all starts with the plan and a great design. This virtual workshop will engage creative students in building the model prototype and challenge them to work as a group to propose the kinetic sculpture design for UMBC students to build during the Fall 2021 semester.  The UMBC Kinetic Sculpture Team led by professor Steve McAlpine, has won a grand prize and two design awards over the past five years, participating in races in Baltimore, Maryland and Lowell, Massachusetts. If safety requirements permit a visit to campus, students will be invited on the final day to inspect and test drive both UMBC kinetic sculptures, as well as, to share, test and race the models they have built.

In this course students will learn about: 

  • Sustainable Design: Upcycling, Why it's important, finding and joining recycled materials that will survive the rigors of the Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture race.  
  • Building Prototypes: The difference between prototypes and models, the importance of testing and learning from a trial and error process.  
  • Engineering Kinetic Sculptures: Structural stability, impact of vibration, efficiency, steering, and water displacement.  Artistic Design, design thinking, sketching ideas, turning 2D into 3D, and repurposing materials.  
  • Environmental Science: Ecosystems, "waste=food", biosphere meets techno-sphere, tragedies and heroic solutions.  
  • Group Design Process: Generating ideas, sorting out disagreements, and working towards innovative solutions.  
  • Building Your Own Kinetic Race Team: How to form a school team, how to find workspace, how to raise money/support and how this makes you an awesome college applicant.

This class will also share videos and photos from the race and design process in previous years to help students understand the limitless scope of what is possible from a design perspective.  

"Eating tacos is good.  Having a bicycle wheel taco in the race is bad!" Steve McAlpine

Live Online Synchronous: (LOS) Students are in class continuously for the duration of the class, for presentations, assignments and group work with an instructor present.


Available Sessions - Click on date(s) below