The Solar Powered Derby is a modern twist on the classic Pinewood Derby. This was the first year Virginia Tech's student chapter of IEEE began working with the local Cub Scout Packs to organize this event. Each youngster was given a kit that includes everything they needed to build a solar-powered derby car. The kits included a solar panel, small motor, wheels and frame. They were challenged to use their creativity and ingenuity to build the fastest and coolest car possible, and then raced them against each other. These events occurred in earlier this March.
Virginia Tech's IEEE planned the event as part of their community outreach efforts with the goal of introducing and promoting STEM disciplines such as alternative energy, electronics, and mechanical engineering to the young people of our community. This project received the support from the Blacksburg community with external sponsorship from Rackspace. IEEE partnered with the Virginia Tech’s Constructors' Consortium to build a two, 30ft, 5 lane flat tracks for the race. Building Construction majors Matt Garman and Trevor Stanley jumped at the opportunity to apply their building construction skills to give back to the Blacksburg community.