Delaware Public Media

Concord HS wins national engineering competition second year in a row

Apr 11, 2017

For the second year in a row, a team from Concord High School in North Wilmington has won a national engineering competition.

 


The SourceAmerica Design Challenge asks high school and college engineering students to come up with innovative solutions to help people with disabilities be productive workers.

 

The 11 students on the Concord team partnered with Wilmington nonprofit “Waggies by Maggie and Friends,” which employs people with disabilities to make dog treats.

 

One employee couldn’t package dog treats because she couldn’t read a scale. So the students developed a computerized scale that uses voice commands and visual cues.

 

“If it’s overweight it will be red with a minus sign that says ‘too much’ and when it’s okay it will be a green screen with a smiley face that says ‘that’s good’ that will prompt the user to remove the bag and move to the next one," said team member Matias Saavedra Silva, a senior at Concord.

 

He said it took six months and a lot of trial and error to develop the scale, which they call the Weigh Master. 

 

Dylan McAllister, a senior also on the team, said the final product has made it possible for the woman who couldn't read a digital scale to package dog treats.  

"We really improved her ability to weigh the bags. Before she wasn’t able to have that job so she was stuck in the cooking process,” he said. 

The team learned of their victory last week at the finals in Washington D.C., beating 160 teams from 26 states.

Saavedra Silva said the team learned a lot from last year's winning team -which also came from Concord. 

Most of the students plan to to pursue a career in engineering.