Robotics competition held at Tech

May 12, 2016


Staff Reporter | jmp073@ latech.edu


The competition’s winning robot (above) was able to track movement and fire nerf darts. Photo by Brian Blakely

The competition’s winning robot (above) was able to track movement and fire nerf darts. Photo by Brian Blakely


Computer science’s annual robotics competition took place Friday in the student center, with an estimated 100 participants and a room full of spectators.



The featured competitions included an original design contest and a race through a maze. Each of the nine robots in the maze category had to find its way out of the maze within a minute.



Ben Choi, who oversees the robotics competition, said the 15 design projects all brought something unique to the competition.



“Students just go haywire and create all kinds of amazing projects,” said Choi, an associate professor of computer science. “I’m really impressed by the performance of the students. Each of them is really distinct.”



Nathan Ruppel and his team designed a card shuffling and dealing robot for the competition. Ruppel said several components go into making the machine operate.



“What we do is randomly select which of those servos runs at a certain time,” he said. “If we want to deal five cards out, we pick a random number between one and six. Whatever that number is, we run that servo to deal one card out. We will do that five times, that way we have a random card that comes out at each time. The whole thing can also turn. If you want to deal with four people, it would turn 90 degrees to deal out those five cards.”



Ruppel said although his team did not start the project when it was assigned, they still created their shuffler with hard work and late nights.



“The project was assigned about two months ago,” he said. “We had a lot of ideas going through our head, but we didn’t actually start building it until two weeks ago. This whole week we have been working on it as often as possible.”



Graduate computer science student Oledele Sowemimo and his team created a robotic car controlled with hand motions made in front of a sensor.



“If you are within 100 meters of the car, you can actually control it,” he said. “It transmits a signal to the accelerometer and the accelerometer controls the RF motor. Then the transmitter detects the direction that you are actually moving your hand.”



Choi said the students who participated in the robotic rendezvous learn while building their projects.



“This is an amazing project,” he said. “They do things by themselves. While doing the project, they are learning. They have a lot of fun with it.”


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