Skip Navigation

Capstone Projects - 2012 – Kinetic Sculptures for Maine Discovery Museum

Photos from Maine Day Design Competition

Movie of Kinetic Sculptures

Channel 5 News Story

Niles Parker,  Executive Director of the Maine Discovery Museum in Bangor inspired these projects with the following request:

I’d love to meet with you and your students and talk about the idea for a kinetic sculpture installation for the first floor of the museum.  You may be familiar with some of the large kinetic works created by George Rhoads that have been installed in Logan Airport, The Boston Museum of Science and other science centers/museums.  Here is a link to a YouTube video showing one of his sculptures.

It is this type of installation that is the inspiration for this project.   At the museum in Bangor, Maine we have several large storefront windows that front on Main Street.  I’d love to create a colorful, dynamic, kinetic sculpture that could be seen just inside one of our windows as well as from the lobby of the museum entrance.  I love the idea of creating a piece here that might have some features which speak to Bangor or Maine.  I have nothing specific in mind, but think that students could have a lot of freedom and latitude in designing and creating such a piece.  The ideas of motion, physics, energy, etc. could all be highlighted in such a sculpture, and done so in a very attractive, fun manner that will stop people in their tracks as they walk down Main Street.  I’m really thinking this could become a bit of an icon for the museum.

MET464/465        2011-2012 Kinetic Sculpture Project

Objective:  Design a kinetic sculpture for the Maine Discovery Museum or other approved location.

General Specifications:

General Specifications must receive a two-thirds class vote to be added, changed or removed.

Each Kinetic Sculpture must:

  • Be designed to be totally enclosed for safety
  • Run continuously once started
  • Reset automatically
  • Be interactive in some way
  • Be aesthetically pleasing
  • Have durable design with 10 year life expectancy
  • Run 100 hours without malfunction
  • Be easy to service when needed
  • Meet customer needs
  • Appeal to non-engineer
  • Incorporate a new and patentable feature
  • Have a customer or Maine related theme
  • Have limited operation noise most of time (occasional sound effects may be desirable)

Maine Day Competition:

The Maine Day competition will be judged by a team of 8 judges:

  • the director of the Maine Discovery Museum
  • an art professor
  • 3 engineering technology  professors
  • 3 children that would likely attend the Maine Discovery Museum

Each team will nominate one judge for class approval.  The judges will rank our given criteria 0 to 4 points per section.  These sections will be safety, complexity, originality, a run test, aesthetics, acceptable noise, interactivity, durability, and customer or Maine related theme.

Final Score:

The winners will be the team with the most points.

Maine Day Score Sheet


Back to Capstone Projects

Mechanical Engineering Technology
5711 Boardman Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5711
Phone: (207) 581-2340
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469