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Students with a penchant for tinkering have an opportunity to shine thanks to Tech Carnivol, a new event to be held during Engineer’s Day on October 22.

Tech Carnivol is an engineering festival designed and organized by UT students to help spotlight STEM education and its impact beyond engineering. It will feature competitions in robotics, business, coding, and computer security, and is open to all UT students as well as area high school students.

“Our goal is to bring together and engage students from various schools and colleges in a fun-filled series of science- and engineering-related competitions,” said Andy Sarles, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and faculty advisor to Tech Carnivol. “This festival will serve as a platform to the young and talented brains to showcase their skills while also serving to inspire and motivate high school students to hone in on their own education interests.”

Guru Venkatesan, a graduate research assistant in biomedical engineering and Tech Carnivol president, said the event will be “a Bonnaroo for science and engineering, with all sorts of fascinating and engaging events happening around you.”

“The hope is that this festival will attract students of all fields and can also serve as a platform to network and work together with people outside their own disciplines and schools,” he said.

One of the planned competitions is the Autonomous Robotics Challenge: Line Vollower.

In that event, teams will design basic robots capable of following simple instructions to perform tasks autonomously. Successful teams will build a robot that can navigate its way through six gates on a pre-set course while following a line, with the winning teams earning cash prizes and robot kits.

“Each team will have three attempts to have their robot navigate the course and come to a stop in a ‘parking’ area at the end,” said Andrew Orekhov, event manager for Line Vollower. “The best time out of those three runs will be used for scoring, in addition to points gained for passing through gates and stopping in the parking area.

“The fundamental problem here is to integrate software and hardware in order to make the robot efficient and specific for the types of problems we inflict.”

Registration is free, but required by early October for some events.

MAHLE and AMS helped sponsor the festival, with Pololu and also lending support. The Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering and the Engineering Entrepreneurship Program helped sponsor the event from the college’s side.



David Goddard (865-974-0683,