Students Explore Interests in Robotics through
Certificate Program & Competitions
|Putting Robot Through Paces: Rose-Hulman Institute of
Technology students Keqiong Xin and Colin Shipley watch patiently
as their robot completes the task during this spring's the
"Simpson's Hide and Seek Adventure" competition.
Robotics has grown into a $20 billion global industry, with the
International Federation of Robotics reporting that the world robot
population has nearly doubled in the last four years. Robots
recently helped a police bomb squad disarm a car bomb in New York
City's Times Square and are assisting engineers in solving the Gulf
of Mexico oil leak.
"The competition proved to be quite challenging for the
students, but there were some clear winners," Berry
stated.Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology students are meeting the
increasing need for graduates familiar with robotics through a
multidisciplinary robotics certificate program that blends
mechanics, electronics, controls and software.
"The robotics industry has been compared to the personal computer
industry in the 1970's. It is exploding! Our robotics certificate
program is at the right place and right time," says Carlotta Berry,
assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and one
of three certificate program faculty advisors.
Rose-Hulman's robotics program features mobile robotics and
mechatronics. Students taking a mobile robotics course showcased
their robotics programming mastery this spring in the "Simpson's
Hide and Seek Adventure" competition. It was an extension of last
year's "Simpson's Seeking Spectacular" competition because it also
included localization as well as path planning.
|Winning Edge: Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology students
Steven Riddle and Samantha Danesis make sure their robot stays on
course during the spring quarter's mobile robotics course's final
competition. The team, which also included Julius Kasniunas, earned
first place honors.
This year's competition was more difficult, according to Berry,
because the robot was placed in the world at an unknown position
and had to use a Markov decision process to determine its location
by identifying gateways in the world, such as corners, hallways and
dead ends. Once the robot was able to reliability identify its
place in the world, it was then required to quickly drive home
without hitting obstacles.
Trouncing the competition and earning first place honors was
Team Maggie, which included 2010 mechanical engineering graduate
Steven Riddle, 2010 computer engineering graduate Samantha Danesis
and 2010 electrical engineering graduate Julius Kasniunas. Coming
in second was Team Flanders, developed by 2010 mechanical
engineering graduate Colin Shipley and graduate student Keqiong
Berry noted that next year's competition will prove to be even
more exciting as students will be asked to integrate map making of
the maze world.
Students with knowledge in robotics will help Indiana take
advantage of big opportunities in this technology sector, according
to Jim Jay, president and chief executive officer of the state's
technology initiative, Techpoint.
Rose-Hulman alumnus Jason Zielke is president and chief operating
officer of Indianapolis-based Precise Path, which has designed
robots that will mow golf course greens.
|Learning About Robotics: Students show off their projects
in the final competition of a mobile robotics course this spring at
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. In the front row (from
left) are Juergen Kunzmann, Colin Shipley, Jon Krotz, Julius
Kasniunas and Grant Walthall. In the back row (from left)
Professor Deborah Walter, Jian Li, Keqiong Xin, Professor Carlotta
Berry, Joe Downey, Steven Riddle, Samantha Danesis and Jon
Papp. Missing are Richard Stoner and Bob Stiefel.
While Rose-Hulman doesn't offer a major in robotics, students
majoring in mechanical, electrical, computer or software
engineering, and computer science gain knowledge in their academic
areas. The students then choose one of seven tracks to gain
experience in another robotics field. Finally, the students work on
a multidisciplinary senior project, with students from the other
majors. Tracks currently available include: computer science and
software engineering with controls, computer science and software
engineering with hardware, computer science and software
engineering with mechanics, computer engineering, electrical
engineering with programming, electrical and computer engineering
with sensors, electrical engineering with mechanics, mechanical
engineering with electronics, and mechanical engineering with