Winning Students Selected for Future Engineers’ Think Outside the Box Challenge

Grand-prize winners Thomas Salverson and Emily Takara to receive tour
of Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Future Engineers, along with NASA and the American Society of Mechanical
Engineers (ASME) Foundation, announced today the two winners from Future
Engineers’ Think Outside the Box Challenge, a national design
challenge issued to K-12 students to celebrate the launch of the Bigelow
Expandable Activity Module
(BEAM), the first expandable habitat
deployed on the space station.

Out of 122 submitted designs from 26 states, one national winner from
each age division was chosen by a panel that included retired astronaut Nicole
. The winner from the Teen Group (ages 13-19) is the Expanding
designed by Thomas Salverson, a Gretna, Neb. native, now a
freshman at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The winner of the
Junior Group (ages 5-12) is the Space
designed by Emily Takara of Cupertino, Calif. These students
will receive a grand-prize trip to Las Vegas, Nev., for a tour of Bigelow
– the space technology company that developed BEAM under
contract to NASA.

The Think Outside the Box challenge asked students to design a 3D
printable object that assembles or expands to become larger than the
printing bounds of Made
In Space’s AMF 3D printer
, located on the International Space
Station – with the ultimate goal of creating an object that is useful
for an astronaut living in microgravity.

Salverson’s Expanding Pod is a set of containers intended for astronauts
to store small items on the International Space Station. His design is
comprised of multiple cylinders that slide and twist to create five
sealed stowage compartments that lock into place.

“I enjoyed the difficulty of this challenge since it made me think in
terms of ‘expanding’ an object, which was something I had never
considered before when 3D printing,” said Salverson. “It took me many
prototypes before I had successfully made my completed design, making it
all the more rewarding now that I’ve been selected as a grand-prize

While researching some of the challenges that astronauts face while
working in space, Emily Takara discovered that astronauts sometimes have
trouble moving easily in large, open spaces. That led Emily to design
the Space Anchor, an extendable arm and grabber set that prevents
astronauts from getting stuck while floating in microgravity.

“This challenge taught me to persevere and be creative,” said Takara.
“It has also inspired me to continue designing, as well as teach others
computer-aided design.”

The Challenge semifinalists and finalists from each age group are:

Teen Semifinalists (Ages 13-19):

  • Ansel Austin, Cupertino, Calif. – Bio-Fold
    Lab Rack
  • Parker Jones, Auburn, Ala. – Footshield
  • Thomas Salverson, Gretna, Neb. – Expanding
  • Noah Tatman, Spring, Texas – Space
  • Sydney Vernon, Bellevue, Wash. – Iron
  • Vitus Putra, Cary, N.C. – Adaptive
    Food Holder
  • Ethan Cranston, Golden, Colo. – Washcloth
  • Daniel Probst, Virginia Beach, Va. – Multi-Tool
  • Kevin Shu., Lubbock, Texas – Folding
  • Alex Caswell, Wheaton, Ill. – Expanding

Junior Semifinalists (Ages 5-12):

  • Owen DuFrene, Portland, Ore. – The
  • Lauren Lee, Cupertino, Calif. – California
  • Trisha Sathish, Cupertino, Calif. – Nature
  • Emily Takara, Cupertino, Calif. – Space
  • Anna Hamblet, Milton, Mass. – Assemblexes
  • Nagasai Sreyash Sola, Ashburn, Va. – Microgravity

Each student finalist has been awarded an exploration worthy Heimplanet
inflatable tent
for their family and a $50 3D printing gift
certificate from Shapeways.

The Think Outside the Box challenge is the fourth in a series of
space innovation challenges developed by Future Engineers with the ASME
Foundation, and with technical assistance provided by NASA. The series
is designed to extend the reach of NASA’s In-Space Manufacturing
research by inspiring and educating the next generation of scientists
and engineers about 3D printing technology, space exploration, and
digital design skills. Previous Future Engineers challenges have called
upon students to design 3D models of space tools, containers, and
objects needed for the future of space exploration. The next challenge
launches in October 2016.

For additional information on the Future Engineers 3D Space Challenges,
or to sign up for information on upcoming challenges, please visit the Future
Engineers Website


Coast Public Relations
Matt Wolf, 520-390-1985