Students host largest Build18 to date


January 25, 2016

Not only was this year’s Build18 a success, it was the largest in its history. With over 90 teams participating in the sixth annual freestyle tinkering event, Build18 served as a magnificent playground for Carnegie Mellon’s most curious students.

The event’s mission is to provide students with a risk-free environment to pursue personal engineering challenges, where the only limiting factor to creation is their own ingenuity. Originally named after the electrical and computer engineering (ECE) course prefix, Build18 signifies the start of the spring semester and a chance for students to build for fun.

“Although this was the largest Build18 to date, it was also one of the most successful,” says Katie Costa, advisor for ECE student organizations and activities. “The event’s popularity is growing with students and sponsors. This year, we had over 300 students participate and 31 companies pledging a donation.”

Hundred of spectators filtered into Wiegand Gym to get a glimpse of the creative tinkering projects. This year, some of the projects included a constellation-scribbling coffee maker, a virtual Harry Potter wand dueler, an emotion-reading flower, and a life-sized game of battleship, complete with fireballs after a successful sinking.

“The entire CMU community looks forward to Build18,” says Brandon Perez, ECE senior and this year’s Build18 chair. “It’s a chance for students to get their hands dirty with practical applications, leveraging what they’ve learned in class to construct a project, limited only by their imaginations.”

The event concluded with an evening reception at Phipps Conservatory where Pete Brown, a principal program manager at Microsoft, gave the keynote address. 

“Our students work extremely hard during the year,” says Costa “To see them take time out of their busy schedules and build amazing projects in just one week is pretty amazing. I hope they find Build18 to be a fun, creative break from their demanding academic schedules.”

Congratulations to the 2016 Build 18 project winners: 

1st Penguin: Emotional Flower
Lab Rat: I Touch My Head – Aural Arousal
Media Magician: Raspberry Farm
Builder’s Choice: Chairware
Faculty Choice: Harry Potter VR Spell Dueler
Officer’s Choice: Mega Man Arcade Table
Sponsor’s Choice: Destination Constellation
Outstanding Project: Battleship

 Sponsor Awards:
Apple: Couchtron
Harris Corporation: Smart Pill Case
Lockheed Martin Innovation Award: Destination Constellation

Thank you to the following Build18 corporate sponsors:

American Eagle IMC Financial


Lockheed Martin
ARM Microsoft
AT&T Northrup Grumman
Bosch Oculus
Cadence Oracle
Cisco Meraki Palantir
ECE Alumni Qualcomm
Ford Raytheon
General Motors Sandia National Labs
Google SpaceX
Harris Corporation      Texas Instruments
Hillcrest Labs Union Pacific