• Home
  • HSD
  • HSD-Level-2
  • Rules

High School Design Rules

High School Design 2016 - Island Escape (Last updated 10/14/16 at 9:40am)

Welcome to the rules page for High School Design 2016 - Island Escape. On the morning of the competition, your travels have led you astray and you are now marooned on a deserted island. You have no idea where you are and there are no clues to help you. The island's weather seems fairly normal (much like the Great Plains of the continental U.S.) and you can't see any identifying markers. But you have to make it to KU today - how will you escape?

Updates to these rules and synopses will be made throughout the time leading up to the competition. As updates are made, a timestamp will appear next to the updated competition. If you have any questions, please reach out.

Aerial Escape (Aerospace) Synopsis:

You and your team are attempting to escape the island with flight. Due to the size of the island, the distance of an obstacle-free runway is limited. Edging the island are tall trees that obstruct the end of the runway. You measured the tree line to be 8 feet away from your start point. Safety is a main concern and terrain worsens as you travel further down the runway. In order to have a successful escape, your team must build an aircraft that can achieve flight in the shortest distance possible. You must also reach a high enough altitude by the end of the runway to elude the treetops and free yourselves from the island. Your team has estimated that the tallest trees in your flight path are approximately 6 inches tall. 


Advanced Rules

Island Shelter (Civil) Synopsis:

You might be stranded on a deserted island, but, luckily, you are a civil engineer and can build yourself shelter. Because your location is unknown, you have to build your shelter to withstand any weather conditions the island may experience. Teams will design their structures before competition and come with explicit design plans that they will follow to build their structure on the day of competition. As a civil engineer, you are also concerned about the cost effectiveness of your structure; each rod has a value of $5 and each connection has a value of $3.  Each team must present their final product to the judges on the day of competition before they are allowed to test their structure. Presentations should include the team’s design process and any calculations considered. Schools are invited to participate in either the novice or advanced competition. Teams that wish to participate in the advanced competition are given more difficult structural requirements, expected to provide plan sheets created in AutoCAD, and will be subjected to a more strenuous weather force.

**Due to time constraints, we will not be able to gather and ship starter kits of K'Nex. A list of approved pieces is included in the updated rules.

**Due to overwhelming popularity, we may need to cap the number of teams able to register for this competition. Spots in this competition will be filled on a first-come first-served basis. We apologize for any inconvenience.


Water Escape (Chemical) Synopsis:

You've grown tired of your time on the island and your team has decided it's time to try a water escape. You decide to construct a water vehicle which will carry all of you to safety, however, you have no engines, springs, batteries, wires, or anything to build or run a motor. However, you notice that all around you are common items that can be combined to create reactions that could potentially power your boat in the water. How will you escape?


Survival Vehicle (Mindstorms) Synopsis (Updated 10/14):

Teams will need to design, build, and program a “survival vehicle” using a Lego Mindstorms EV3 or NXT 2.0 kit. The vehicle’s task will be to escape the blast radius of a volcanic explosion while safely rescuing island inhabitants in a variety of island terrain. There are three rescue zones, each with different terrain, that the survival vehicle must visit to pick up the islanders. The rescues will become progressively more difficult. You have three minutes to rescue the inhabitants and get them to the “shore” to escape the island. At the end of the three minutes, lava will reach the shore ending your chances of survival. The vehicle will need to perform these tasks autonomously, with no external influences from the team members. Scores will be determined by the number rescue zones navigated through, the number of inhabitants saved, and the success level of the escape.



Digital Lifeline (Programming) Synopsis:

While the rest of your compatriots are devising ways to leave the island, you realize that if you can't survive your time here to begin with, then escape is a useless goal. You and your team decide that you will use your skills to keep everyone alive. Using your knowledge of programming, you will solve a series of challenges facing the group on the island. Go as far as you can to keep everyone alive.



One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
Connect with KU Engineering

KU School of Engineering Facebook pageKU School of Engineering YouTube ChannelKU School of Engineering Twitter Feedinstagram icon

KU Today