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Robotics Team Setting a Course for Land & Water Challenges
June 24, 2011
Members of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's Robotics Team
have been busy applying their problem-solving skills toward
designing and building two robots for national competitions.
Now, they're tweaking and testing their innovative ideas.
Testing Things Out: Robotics Team members test their
underwater robot prototype in the campus swimming pool. The
group includes (from left) Trenton Tabor, president; Kevin Risden,
vice president; and Dan Galway, mechanical team leader.
An autonomous-controlled ground vehicle was unveiled at the
Intelligence Ground Vehicle Competition (Rochester, Mich.) after
two years of development. The robot is programmed to complete
a course on a large playing field, without hitting obstacles.
It utilizes such technology as a laser reader camera, donated by
Elphel, to detect traffic cones and fences that are conveniently
placed throughout the course.
Robotics Team President Trenton Tabor indicates that team
members designed the robot to utilize easily interchangeable parts
in order to insure longevity of the project.
"Everything can be snapped out fast," Tabor said.
The team has also built an underwater robot prototype for next
year's international Marine Technology Society's Remotely Operated
Vehicle (MAT ROV) competition at NASA's Johnson Space Center in
This year's MAT ROV contest focused on the challenges faced in
the offshore oil and gas industry. The mission tasks included
removing a damaged riser pipe, capping a wellhead (like the Gulf of
Mexico oil spill), collecting a water sample, measuring depth and
||Looking Ahead: Robotics Team President Trenton Tabor tests
the autonomous-controlled ground vehicle through a test run during
the Intelligence Ground Vehicle Competition.
Rose-Hulman's underwater robot prototype has completed
preliminary testing in the swimming pool of the Sports and
"We're right on track with the underwater robot prototype," said
Tabor, a senior mechanical engineering major who is spending this
summer learning more about robotics systems at Carnegie Mellon
University (Pa.). "Being new to these national competitions,
our team is experiencing a big learning curve. We learn
something more about the robot every day."
Rose-Hulman's Robotics Team consists of 25 students from
different majors that are working on software, electrical and
mechanical subsystems for both robots.
"We are all passionate about robotics," stated former team
leader Nick Wahl, a 2010 mechanical engineering graduate. "It
is fun to share that passion with others."
Corporations and foundations are interested in the robotics team
and new robotics minor degree program. Rockwell Collins has
recently made a $15,000 donation to support the team. The
donation will assist in the development of the underwater
robot. Other corporate support for the team has come from
Precise Path Robotics, Advance Circuits Solutions, Garmin and
Learn more about the Robotics Team at www.rhitrobotics.org/wiki/team.
- By Jessica Squires,