December 11, 2015

Indiana Kicks Off Its Bicentennial Celebration

Indiana began the countdown to its 200th birthday Friday with the unveiling of the Bicentennial Torch.   - Brandon Smith

Indiana began the countdown to its 200th birthday Friday with the unveiling of the Bicentennial Torch.

Brandon Smith

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana began the countdown to its 200th birthday Friday with the unveiling of the Bicentennial Torch. 

The torch, which is a little less than two feet tall and weighs less than five pounds,  was designed by team of Purdue University professors, engineers and students over the course of a year. It will be used for a relay next year that will travel more than 2,300 miles to all 92 counties.

Team leader Timothée Pourpoint says the torch was based on the one that serves as the centerpiece for the Indiana state flag.  And the Purdue professor says it was a challenge to make the torch easy to handle while packing a lot inside it.

“The batteries, the fuel tank, the electronics, the GPS, the camera, the electronic board to control everything, the Wi-Fi antenna, the burner assembly, the fuel pump…what else do we have in there?  I think that’s about it – but we have a lot of things,” Pourpoint said.

The torch runs on Indiana-produced E-85 biofuel.  And Pourpoint says it’s also equipped with an automatic safety feature

“In case it gets dropped, in case it falls – somebody can trip – and so what we have is a system to turn off the flame within a second of the torch passing 45 degrees,” he said.

The torch relay will take place between September and October of next year.

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