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Humoud Alhumoud and Khalid Alharbi make last-minute adjustments to their USB lampStudents Humoud Alhumoud and Khalid Alharbi make last-minute adjustments to their USB lamp before presenting it to their classmates Monday.

Production project casts new light on engineering studies

There’s more than one way to produce a lamp. That’s what students in a third-year class taught by engineering professor Jill Urbanic learned over the course of a project that wrapped up Monday.

Teams of students were tasked with designing and building articulating lamps powered by the USB port on a personal computer.

The teams had only a few weeks to complete the project, giving them hands-on experience in dividing responsibilities and running parallel tasks. Students used varied approaches—creating parts with a three-dimensional printer, casting them in silicon moulds, even machining them in metal.

When it comes to understanding theories of industrial engineering, said student Sultan Badurayq, there is no substitute for hands-on experience.

“You can read about how to work within constraints, but when you touch it, you feel it exactly,” he said.

Badurayq called it one of the most challenging projects he has worked on.

“We got to experience so many different aspects of the process,” he said.

Dr. Urbanic said she was pleased with the results: “The students have done a great job!”