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CMU Students Get Creative At Annual Engineering Festival

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- From computers to robots, Carnegie Mellon University is known for innovation.

On Friday afternoon, students let their creative juices flow with their annual Engineering Fest.

The gymnasium was a kaleidoscope of colorful concepts, as the electrical and computer engineering department - department 18 - presented the annual "Build 18 Engineering Festival."

Organizer Michael Ryan, a senior in the electrical engineering department, says the festival is student run.

"We have everything from a Nerf gun alarm clock that wakes you up with a bang, to a blimp that delivers the mail," he says. "So it really gives you a chance to think outside the box."

More than 70 teams, three students each, have exactly seven days to come up with whatever they wish.

Engineering major Pronoy Biswas combines Morse code with a watch that presents pages from Wikipedia. What appear to be weapons from Star Wars actually demonstrate a bending of bright lights to help with night driving.

The projects are very complex, but the rules are actually quite simple. Do not spend more than $250, which works well within a college student's budget.

Each team must include at least one engineer. But that leaves room for a business major with a passion for fashion.

Mia Skinner invented what she calls "sparkle pants," complete with blinking lights.

"They're controlled with an app," she says, "which can control the intensity, turn them on and off."

Students were able to give free rein to their imaginations. No tests. No grades. Just an an A-plus show.

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