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One of the highlights of the Expo each year during the ICACC conference is the Shot Glass Drop Competition sponsored by the Schott North America. The competition—mainly for fun and bragging rights—involves engineering a container composed only of plastic straws that is designed to protect a glass shot glass as it is dropped from increasing heights.

As featured in the above video the 2013 competition literally reached new heights with the help of a motorized lift platform. In previous years, the designs were so good that many shot glasses survived drops from the tallest ladder available, a 15-footer. This year, organizers arranged for a motorized lift to be available—and it was needed! Two shot glass entries survived even 18-foot drops, forcing the competition to a record 21-foot height. This final drop pitted a container designed by Sylvia Johnson, an ACerS Member and chief materials technologist for entry systems and technology at NASA Ames Research Center, against a design by Christian Espinoza-Santos and Daniel Ribero Rodriquez, graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

The winner: the team of Espinoza-Santos and Ribero Rodriquez—by a crack!

Also, a big thanks goes to Vision Research, a company that provided the audience that watched the competition with super slow-motion replays of the shot glass impacts. Vision Research is a manufacturer of the Phantom brand of digital high-speed imaging systems used across a wide variety of applications including defense, engineering, science, medical research, industrial manufacturing, packaging, sports broadcast, TV production, and digital cinematography. According to the Wayne, N.J.-based company, Vision Research “designs and manufactures the most comprehensive range of digital high-speed cameras available today, all of which deliver unsurpassed light-sensitivity, image resolution, acquisition speed and image quality. Over the course of its 60+ year history, Vision Research has earned numerous awards in recognition of its innovations in high-speed digital camera technology and sensor design, including a technical Emmy and an Academy Award. Vision Research sets the benchmark in the high-speed imaging industry, adding a new dimension to the sense of sight, allowing the user to see details of an event when it’s too fast to see, and too important not to.” For additional information regarding Vision Research, please visit the company’s website.