Engineering Open House 2016: The STEM of Innovation, March 11-12


Please note: Springfield Ave. will be closed from Matthews to Wright St. from 6:00 a.m. on March 11 until 5:30 p.m. on March 12 for Engineering Open house.

“The STEM of Innovation” is the theme for the 96th annual Engineering Open House (EOH) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In addition to more than 200 exhibits, EOH this year offers quite a few new attractions, with exhibits ranging from student start-up exhibits to non-Newtonian fluid demonstrations. Again this year, EOH is also showcasing the Midwest Robotics Design Competition and a giant Tesla Coil concert that will light up the Bardeen Quad on Friday night!

All events and exhibits are free and open to the public. Student projects and start-up exhibits will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 11, and from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 12, on the Engineering Campus, which is north of Green Street.

This two-day mega event, organized by Engineering Council, attracts several thousand visitors each year. An informative and comprehensive Visitor's Guide will ensure that families have a fun learning experience as they walk through the exhibits. A free mobile app, created especially for EOH, includes exhibits details, maps and much more to guide you through EOH 2016. The app is available for download on Google Play Store and the iOS App Store.

Physic professor Mats Selen
Physic professor Mats Selen
Featured speaker for EOH 2016 Mats Selen, physics professor and recipient of the 2016 U.S. Professor of the Year award. With his unique brand of physics-related slapstick, Selen is known to local television viewers as the “Whys Guy” for his eye-opening (and, very fun) demonstrations. He is also the founder and mentor to the Physics department’s award-winning Physics Van program that brings unforgettable scientific wizardry to area schools. (See EOH app for details). His presentation, "Education Meets Innovation: A Love Story", will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Friday in the Grainger Auditorium of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Building.

On Friday, 25 high school teams will compete in the Rube Goldberg machine contest. Student teams from across the region will try and create the wackiest and most entertaining way to open an umbrella. Participants in Saturday’s Middle School Design Competition will test their mettle in creating a fully functional windmill.

The Midwestern Robotics Design Competition, formerly the Jerry Sanders Creative Design Competition, is an annual national robotics competition held at the Kenney Gym. College robotics teams compete in a large course conceptualized and designed by the competition committee. With various prizes and a fun-filled atmosphere, this competition attracts talented engineering students from across the country.

Following Professor Selen’s presentation, EOH 2016 closes its Friday festivities with a giant Tesla Coil Concert on the Engineering Quad at 8.30 p.m., Get ready to be amazed as thousands of volts of electricity zap through the air to mimic well-known musical tunes.

New for this year: Engineering Open House will showcase a number of student start-up businesses. With a great emphasis on entrepreneurship today, it is time to introduce younger students to concepts that can take innovations to market. These hand-picked start-ups, located in the basement of the Grainger Engineering Library, depict what it truly means to be at the STEM of Innovation.

Several popular food trucks will be located along Springfield Avenue to feed the masses touring the exhibits. There is also an entertainment tent nearby, featuring campus performers and a variety of musical styles.

Parking is available and is free to the public. Directions for parking can be found on the EOH website. From there, visitors can board a free shuttles with stops near the Illini Union and various contest locations.