ECU robotics team places third in competition – The Daily Reflector


Monday, December 16, 2013


East Carolina University’s robotics team recently placed third in the Association for Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) national robotic competition.

The ATMAE annually sponsors a robotics competition in conjunction with its conference. Students and their faculty mentors from colleges and universities from across the country come to learn from one another, network and compete. Skills the students learn in classes at their respective schools, such as computer-aided design, electronics, computer programming, fabrication, and project management, to name a few, are put to the test during this competition.

During this year’s competition, the eight competing teams were required to collect ping-pong balls autonomously from a table in round one and manually from the floor in round two, sort the balls by color, and shoot them into color-coded designated basketball hoops.

The number of correctly sorted balls placed in the proper hoop and the time it took to perform these tasks determined the winner.

ECU began construction of its robot in January with the formation of its team, which was composed of students from a robotics course and volunteers. The team was divided into smaller groups and tasked with specific assignments.

At the end of spring semester, the robot was checked operationally to identify flaws, weaknesses in the design, and opportunities for improvement. When students returned for the fall semester, they picked up where they left off and completed the robot by making changes that were agreed upon by the team at the end of spring semester. After these changes were incorporated, more testing was done. This iterative process continued up to the date of the competition.

In addition to the design and construction of the robot, the team also was tasked with producing a poster and technical report. This requirement tested the team’s marketing and presentation skills as well as their technical writing skills.

Points were awarded for the poster and technical report in addition to the points awarded for the robot’s performance.

This year’s robotics competition consisted of two runs with points being awarded for each run. ECU’s team had to overcome some technical issues during the autonomous round of the competition. The robot failed to see the table and locked up while looking for the table. As a result, ECU earned no points during the first round.

Thanks to the resourcefulness of the team members, they were able to fix the problems and make adjustments in their robot’s navigation strategy. ECU earned 26 points in the second round — more than any other team for a single round and enough to propel the team into third place.

The Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering is a professional association of more than 1,000 members who share technology, management and applied engineering ideas, research, and applications. The members include college and university educators, administrators, students, and industry professionals in the United States and overseas, who are dedicated to solving complex technological problems and developing the competitive technologist and applied engineering workforce. This is done through specialized accreditation for two- and four-year degree programs, personal certifications, an annual national conference, publications, awards and scholarships, a career center, a website filled with valuable content, and numerous opportunities to develop professionally.

via The Daily Reflector.