An engineer from Indiana is the winner of a United States Bowling Congress (USBC) technology contest to design a device that measures the amount of friction on a bowling lane. Testing the coefficient of friction of lane surfaces is important so that USBC can ensure that friction between bowling balls and the lane surface is within standards for USBC-certified competition.

Gaetan Vich of Goshen, Ind., an engineer at an automotive supply company in Elkhart, Ind., submitted the winning design as team “Science Friction” and took home the $5,000 first prize. The device Vich designed is called the “Lane Rover,” a battery-powered, motorized carriage on four driving wheels. The force of friction is measured and calculated as the 13.5 × 9.5 in. machine pulls a small sled over a wood or synthetic lane surface.

Eugene Lucas, a consulting mechanical design engineer with Hayward Engineering & Research Associates in Hayward, Calif., was runner-up in the competition and earned $2,000. Lucas described his device as similar to a hand-pushed odometer that highway patrol officers use to measure distances at an automobile accident scene.

USBC's objective through the contest was to tap into top engineering minds to explore the possibility of finding an even more streamlined and efficient way to test friction of bowling lane surfaces. For more information, visit www.bowl.com.