HMC's First (and Last) Annual First-year Duct Tape Challenge


On November 1, 2004 sixteen first-year Harvey Mudd College students (and their advisors) gathered for the first annual HMC "duct tape challenge." The challenge was a classic one: design, build, and test a container that would protect a raw egg from breaking in a fall from one or two stories.

The catch.

The only materials available for use were two rolls of duct tape (including their cardboard centers). Nothing else could be part of the protective structure. In addition, the container had to allow for easy access to insert and extract an egg -- say, within 5 seconds. As a result, wrapping the egg in lots of duct tape wouldn't fly... .

The results!

Click on a description for the full-sized image.

        Lining things up

        Parachute: before

        Parachute: during

        forgot to rotate this one

        Prof Orwin's team also created a parachute

        A minimalist approach

        by Prof. Jacobsen's advisees

        Graham is rightly skeptical

        Before the first drop


        minimalism is hard on eggs...

        two teams remain

        "accessible" ?

        we need a second story

        Matt is confident

        still confident

        no longer so confident

        the parachute tries the same drop



        Prof. Orwin's team celebrates

        with their trophy: duct tape

The reason why one shouldn't take movies with a poor camera
in low light unless making a Blair Witch sequel, e.g., Da Hip Hop Witch.