Department of Mechanical Engineering

Brigham Young University 

Provo, UT 84602

(801) 422-2625

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1st Place ASME International Mechanisms & Robotics Competition

Updated: Sep 6, 2018


BYU Compliant Mechanisms Research graduate student Clayton Grames was awarded 1st Place in the Graduate Division of the 2015 ASME International Student Mechanisms Design Competition at the ASME-sponsored IDETC conference in Boston, Massachusetts.


Clayton Grames and Jordan Tanner submitted the entry “The Split CORE: A Meso-Scale minimally Invasive Surgical Instrument” which was based on their thesis research. The research is funded by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., the surgical instrument is designed to be compatible with the company’s da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. Clayton is a current BYU graduate student and Jordan recently completed his MS and is working as an engineer in Texas. The BYU team tied for 1st Place with a team from the Technical University of Delft in The Netherlands.


The contest involved two rounds of competition to eventually select the winners. Round one was the qualifying round during which written reports were evaluated by a panel of judges chosen from academe and industry. The top entries were selected as finalists and their expenses were paid to participate in the competition’s second round, which was held at the ASME IDETC conference in Boston. At the conference, each team made an oral presentation and were allotted display space for presentation and interaction with the judges. Submissions were judged on the basis of creativity, practicality, integrity of analysis and design methodology, and quality of a fabricated prototype and a final report. Clayton represented the BYU team at the conference and the results were announced at an award ceremony on August 4, 2015. He may be the first person in the decades-long history of the contest to win 1st Place in both the undergraduate (2013) and graduate (2015) divisions of the competition.


The competition was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the ASME Design Engineering Division, and is organized by the ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Committee. Professor Girish Krishnan of the University of Illinois was the competition organizer. Dr. Spencer Magleby was the advisor for the team entry with Dr. Brian Jensen and Dr. Larry Howell as co-advisors.