Students, NASA JPL Engineers Compete in 20th Invention Challenge

Press Release From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Tuesday, November 28, 2017

WHAT:         Middle- and high-school teams will demonstrate unique devices they have built to compete in the “Wiffle Ball Loft Contest,” the 20th annual Invention Challenge hosted by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on Friday, Dec. 1.
The objective is to create a device that can put up to 10 wiffle balls into a plastic tub located 19 feet, 8 inches (6 meters) away within one minute. The winner will be the team whose device places the most wiffle balls into the tub.
Twenty-one student teams will compete from schools throughout Southern California. The student teams were invited to the JPL Invention Challenge based on results from two regional contests held on Nov. 18. Nine teams of JPL engineers and scientists will also compete. With competitors from Turkey, Tanzania and Ethiopia, this year's Invention Challenge has more international participation than ever before.
While the contest rules change each year, the goal is the same: to give students an opportunity to be creative and have fun with math, science and engineering.
This year’s devices must launch or loft as many as 10 officially provided wiffle balls and have them land in the tub, which rests on a platform. No tape or adhesives may touch the wiffle ball. The device must be operated by a single operation (cut a string, flip a switch, pull a pin, etc.) provided by the contestant. No human power may be used during the initiation of the device. In the event of a tie, the team that completes the task fastest would be declared the winner.
Trophies will be divided into two categories: JPL employee/family/contractor entries and school team entries. Trophies will be given for first, second and third place for each category. Certificates will be issued for the lightest, heaviest, most unusual, most artistic and most creative designs.
More information is at:
WHEN:         Friday, Dec. 1, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine.
WHERE:       Mall area of JPL, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, California.  JPL is located off the Berkshire/Oak Grove Drive exit of the 210 (Foothill) Freeway.
CONTACT:   To arrange access, media must RSVP to Andrew Good in JPL Media Relations at or 818-354-5011 by Tuesday, Nov. 28 at noon. Media who arrange access must also bring valid media credentials and government-issued photo I.D., and for non-U.S. citizens, valid passports.
2017 JPL Invention Challenge: Participating Schools
Diamond Bar High School (2 teams)
South East High School
Oakwood School (2 teams)
New Village Girls Academy
Lakeside High School
Alexander Hamilton High School (2 teams)
Oxford Academy
Temple City High School (3 teams)
Santa Monica High School
Ramon C Cortines High School VAPA
Heart of Los Angeles
Los Angeles High School
Village Christian High School
Lawndale High School (2 teams)
Nobel Charter Middle School

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