December 10, 2007

Student Robotics Show

Nora Paul judges annual mechanical engineering student robot show

The show is the culmination of six weeks of work for 210 engineering students who created computer-controlled machines that "do something interesting." Students received a kit of parts, including a computer, and could add no more than $30 worth of their own materials.

"That means the students had to be creative, prowling the back aisles of Target or looking in dumpsters," said William Durfee, mechanical engineering professor and director of design education. "There are serious objectives to these limits because, in the real world, these future engineers will have to deal with cost constraints when they design things."

The robots must act for no more than 60 seconds and have at least one moving part, but it is up to the students whether the unique machines do something useful -- such as crushing pop cans or cleaning gutters -- or exist solely to amuse and delight like the dancing Altoids box.

Posted by ossma003 at December 10, 2007 1:56 PM