Stamping out Cigarettes - The MIT Way

Boston, MA (PressExposure) December 05, 2008 -- With the help of a Diet Coke/Mentos geyser and a miniature anvil, among other items, "The Wile E. Coyotes" took first place in MIT Medical's "Kick Butt" design competition on Nov. 20.

For the contest, which was held to mark the American Cancer Society's annual Great American Smokeout, each team had to build a deliberately over-engineered mechanical apparatus to perform the simple task of extinguishing a cigarette in an extremely indirect and convoluted fashion.

The four-member Wile E. Coyote team (sophomore Nate Pallo and freshmen Sebastian Denault, Simone Agha, and Tucker Chan) outscored their competitors, "Cig-ARRETE" (juniors Sadie Scheffer and Brooke Jarrett and sophomore Kari Williams), partly due to malfunctions by Cig-ARRETE's apparatus that required some intervention by team members to keep the chain reaction going.

Both teams made use of marbles, popping balloons and dominoes, though Cig-ARRETE used cigarette packs in place of standard dominoes. The Wile E. Coyotes' apparatus employed a "cellular automata array"--when a specific LED cell in the array was activated, it triggered a motor, which cut a thread, which released a spring-loaded needle, which popped a balloon, which released a string attached to a miniature red anvil, which fell on the cigarette.

Cig-ARRETE started its chain reaction when a pi?ata in the shape of a pair of lungs was "ripped apart" to release a cascade of cigarette butts. The apparatus made liberal use of duct tape as well as paper cups, string, and a handmade toy truck going down a ramp. While it ultimately lacked sufficient robustness, it nearly made up for it with three-dimensional complexity.

The devices were judged on a variety of criteria, including complexity and creativity, by noted artist/inventor Arthur Ganson, creator of the MIT Museum's ongoing exhibition "Gestural Engineering;" Hale Bradt, professor emeritus of physics; and Thomas Byrne, clinical professor of neurology in the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Ganson will also run next week's annual Friday After Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction event sponsored by the MIT Museum.

During the "Kick Butt" contest, staff members from MIT Medical's Center for Health Promotion and Wellness handed out free "quit kits" and information about MIT Medical's quit-smoking services, which are available free to any member of the Institute community. The contest was co-sponsored by the Tech Health Alliance and the MIT chapter of the American Cancer Society's Colleges Against Cancer.

A big check for the $750 contest prize was donated by Signazon.com. Signazon.com, based in Dallas and Boston, helps non-profit organizations and businesses create oversized checks and full-color banners.

To find out more about MIT’s “Kick Butt” contest, please visit:http://medweb.mit.edu/about/news/smokeout.html

For more information on Signazon.com’s big checks, go to:http://www.signazon.com/ceremony-oversized-checks.aspx

To learn about The Great American Smokeout/Health Challenge,

see:[http://www.cancer.org/docroot/subsite/greatamericans/smokeout.asp]

About Signazon.com

About Signazon.com:
Signazon.com is the leading online custom business sign design and manufacturing company, deploying the very latest in ecommerce technologies, creative template based design and commercial manufacturing for yard signs, magnetic signs, oversized checks, real estate signs, political signs, promotion signs, vinyl banners, vinyl lettering, and sign and banner accessories since 2005. Their website offers consumers and businesses high quality signs and banners with easy online custom sign design, fast delivery and unbeatable prices. For more information, please visit http://www.signazon.com.
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If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Crystal Winslet, please call 1-800-518-1217 or email Public Relations at Crystal.Winslet@Signazon.com.

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Press Release Submitted On: December 02, 2008 at 4:57 pm
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