Veronica Spencer
Engineer, Designer, and Maker
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Morehouse College Torch

A creative partnership between the Georgia Institute of Technology and Morehouse College to honor and celebrate 150 years of excellence.

 
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Morehouse College Relay Torch

A creative partnership between the Georgia Institute of Technology and Morehouse College to honor and celebrate 150 years of excellence.

Project Background

Morehouse College is a private, all-male, liberal arts, historically African-American college in Atlanta, GA that was established in 1867. In continuing their longstanding educational partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology, Morehouse commissioned a special commemorative torch that was designed and fabricated by an interdisciplinary team of students from Georgia Tech, with support from Morehouse students.

Design Goals

  1. Survive a 150 mile run from Augusta to Atlanta while maintaining the original flame.

  2. Contain a camera capable of live-streaming content.

  3. Contain a GPS tracker for accurate torch location.

  4. Have an elegant and commemorative stand to mark the occasion and the torch creation.

  5. Build 5 identical systems.

Project Duration

Spring 2017

Key Advisors

Dr. Katherine Fu, Georgia Tech

Dr. Willie Rockward, Morehouse College

Final Design Write-up - Used to explain the specifications and usages of each part of the system to non-engineers.

Final Design Write-up - Used to explain the specifications and usages of each part of the system to non-engineers.

DSLR glamour shot for promotional materials.

DSLR glamour shot for promotional materials.

 
 
 
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The Design Process

Aesthetics

The aesthetics for the Morehouse Torch were devised through a combination of imagery on the campus, as well as imagery that represented the traits of the Morehouse Man - the paragon of responsibility, intelligence, and leadership to which all graduates are held. I captured my moodboard by using a mixture of Pinterest inspirations and images I took myself.

An Unlikely Inspiration

The gyroscope subassembly was used to stabilize the flame and the fuel source during the relay. Because the team lacked the time to develop the liquid-gas most commonly seen in Olympic Torches, the flame was fueled by a gel similar to those found in catering canisters. Based on the popular anti-spill baby bowl design, the gyro successfully contained the fuel source and prevented splashes or other failures.

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Final Fabrication

Everyone on the team came together to assist with fabrication. Not only did we construct the torches themselves, we also developed an ecosystem to support the torches for the planned relay logistics.

Parts for the gyroscope assembly were made by the Machining Mall, and the torch bodies were powder coated at Snyder Cycles. We also purchased custom enamel medallions sporting the 150th Anniversary logo. Aside from that, everything was fabricated and tested at the Invention Studio at Georgia Tech, utilizing our waterjet and sheet metal tools.

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Creative Team:

  • Veronica Spencer, Design Lead, Georgia Tech

  • Eli Brand, Engineering & Ergonomics, Georgia Tech

  • David Gamero, Engineering & Electronics Integration, Georgia Tech

  • Joshua Von Holtz, Engineering & Flame Wrangler, Georgia Tech

  • Jared Mitchell, Flame Modification & Fueling, Morehouse College

  • James Stukes, Website Development & Electronics Integration, Morehouse College

Publications & News:

See my full write-up of the project here!

Georgia Tech's official publication of the collaborative project.

Morehouse College’s press release about the Torch Relay.