Engineering Course at University of Maryland Uses Legend of Zelda to Teach Machine Design
A new course in Engineering at the University of Maryland is enlisting the help of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom to teach students about machine design (thanks, Go Nintendo).
No, this is not a dream and yes, you read that correctly. There is an actual university course where you are graded on your Ultrahand skills.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to Machine Design
The course, ‘The Legend of Zelda: A Link to Machine Design’ (a smashing name, we might add), was devised by the university’s Professor Ryan D. Sochol after he was impressed by TOTK’s in-depth physics system and potential for real-world application. It was launched earlier this year and has since amassed a waitlist more than double the originally-offered number.
According to the University of Maryland’s news story, the course uses TOTK’s Ultrahand and Fuse mechanics to give students experience in design, prototyping and testing builds all within the safe confines of Hyrule — as long as you don’t mind the odd pesky Moblin, that is.
Unique Approach to Teaching Engineering
For those who don’t know (we didn’t), engineering students typically use CAD software (Computer-Aided Design) to design everything from vehicles to robots. Professor Sochol realised that a very similar system was at play in Link’s latest adventure, albeit one that is unique to the situations in the game, and subsequently designed the course to make the most of the tools at hand.
Hands-On Learning and Unique Challenges
The course divides the class into teams and provides each group with a Nintendo Switch, a copy of the game and a Pro Controller — all of which can be taken home for research. The teams are set a variety of tasks including Machine Design Challenges and have to use the game to make their ideas a reality.
But wait, how is this all marked? Well, Sochol states that a “major part of the grading” comes down to — wait for it — an in-class race. Yes, the team whose build can complete the challenge across land and water the fastest will nab themselves an A+. Pretty neat, eh?
What do you make of this TOTK course? Are there any other educational applications for the game that you can think of? Let us know in the comments.
[source enme.umd.edu, via gonintendo.com]