In the world of HVAC design, recognition for innovative and outstanding work can take many forms: awards, bonuses, raises, promotions, and even good old pats on the back.

In this age of the Internet and social media, there's one more, and I want you, design professionals in the HVAC industry, not only to be aware of it, but to take advantage of it.

This recognition innovation comes in the form of an interactive, Internet-based game show called “The World's Smartest Design Engineer.” The idea takes advantage of the popularity of gaming throughout the world and will serve not only to engage and entertain engineers, but to educate them and provide jumping-off points for discussions among members of the engineering community.

With monthly awards and grand prizes, increasing levels of complexity, and a format open to all engineers, the game not only will generate substantial excitement in and of itself, but lead players to read a number of different publications from the Penton Media family of magazines, including HPAC Engineering.

Here's how it works: The game has five levels of difficulty, and questions span eight categories:

  • All Things Energy.
  • Electrical/Electronic.
  • Hydraulics & Pneumatics.
  • Motion Control.
  • CAM/Manufacturing & Assembly.
  • Computer-Aided Design & Analysis.
  • Mechanical Design.
  • Editor's Grab Bag.

The game awards points for correct answers in each of the categories, all of which must be completed to win. Speed of response also accrues points.

Each month, a winner will be determined by the highest number of total points that month. The grand-prize winner will be the person who accrues the highest number of total points for the year.

Industry, academia, and even the U.S. government are beginning to use online-game initiatives for education and training. With the wealth of information and knowledge available from Penton Media's group of engineering-focused magazines, this game not only is engaging, but educational.

It is a form of program learning that enables the participant to understand levels of information before advancing to more difficult material.

So what does it mean to be “The World's Smartest Design Engineer?” Obviously, there are some big-time bragging rights, but the prizes are pretty cool, too. Top prize for the overall winner is a minimum cash payment of $5,000, and among other prizes are Kindles, iPhones, and gift cards.

“The World's Smartest Design Engineer” is expected to attract a wide following of contestants. Networking and socializing possibilities will expand throughout the run of the game.

The game launched March 1 and will end Dec. 31 of this year, with the grand-prize winner, “The World's Smartest Design Engineer,” being announced in January 2011.

The contest is being hosted on the Machine Design magazine Website (http://bit.ly/avT3YC). Stop by, sign up, and check it out. Let me know what you think. And if you've got the stuff, enter the contest. I'd love to be able to announce that a reader of HPAC Engineering won. Talk about bragging rights!

Good luck.

Send comments and suggestions to mike.weil@penton.com.