BYU’s mechanical engineering department hosts annual ‘Lab-o-ween’ to showcase research labs

BYU’s mechanical engineering department hosted the 10th annual “Lab-o-ween” open house on Oct. 31.

The event gives professors and students the chance to showcase the department’s research to hundreds of new students and local visitors. 

“We wanted to help the students know that we do research and what kind of research we do and get them excited about doing research themselves,” said Steven Charles, a professor of Biomechanics at BYU and the director of Lab-O-Ween.

There were dozens of participating labs, including bioengineering, 3D-printing and neuromechanics. Several students used the event to share their research and recruit students to projects.

“We’re just showing off all of our cool robots trying to get people to join our lab, and volunteer, and want to do research with us,” Haley Sanders, a masters student in the Robotics and Dynamics lab, said.

The Robotics and Dynamics lab displayed a mobile base robot, a soft robot that moves using air instead of motors and robots that know a thing or two about trick or treating. 

“A lot of times in mechanical engineering you don’t get to see things move around. But in this lab you get to see, like, if you tell a robot go from point A to point B, you get to see that and it’s really satisfying, really cool,” Sanders said.

Visitors had the opportunity to actively participate in the labs and were able to take flight in the aerial robotics lab with the help of graduate students like Jaron Ellingson.

“Really cool projects. We go fly outside a lot. But then also if you don’t want to go outside, we have this cool flight room,” Ellingson said. “Who doesn’t like flying drones?”

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