Build, then eat: Car-building contest lets students explore engineering


It's the ultimate green car -- one that can be eaten when the trip is done.

The Incredible, Edible Vehicle Competition today is in the Great Plains Room of the Nebraska East Union. Doors open at 2 p.m. and the competition begins at 2:30. The event is free and open to the public.

Students in Dennis Schulte's introductory biological systems and agricultural engineering class will demonstrate their edible cars during the event.

Schulte started the Incredible Edible Car competition a few years ago to foster teamwork among his students. There is one simple rule the four-member teams must follow: The car must be made of food and nothing else. Oh – and the students must eat the car at the end of the competition.

Evan Curtis, department of Biological Systems Engineering, is coordinating the event.

Curtis said there is always a variety of designs using a variety of products each year.

He said the craziest thing he ever saw was a car made entirely of raw spaghetti. He's also seen whole chunks of sausage and cheese. He said this year Rice Krispy treats seem to be popular.

“It's a good way for students to show their creativity,” he said.

Curtis expects about 20 cars this year.

E-Day, a day for engineers, is held annually. Seniors show their engineering projects and companies represented by Department of Biological Systems Engineering alumni set up displays.

The edible car competition will be one of the activities at the event. The teams must roll their cars down a sloped track to see which one travels farthest and stays in one piece. The top three teams receive a certificate. Teams must also make a poster detailing the process of making the car.

The Department of Biological Systems Engineering is jointly in the College of Engineering and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.