UA Engineering Students Compete in Robotics Program

  • March 11th, 2014
Joshua Mays and Chelsey Blake, both seniors in electrical and computer engineering, work in space provided the IEEE robotics team in Houser Hall on the UA campus.
Joshua Mays and Chelsey Blake, both seniors in electrical and computer engineering, work in space provided the IEEE robotics team in Houser Hall on the UA campus.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A team of engineering students at The University of Alabama will compete in the IEEE SoutheastCon Hardware competition March 13-15 in Lexington, Ky.

The team is challenged with creating a battery-powered, fully-autonomous robot capable of maneuvering across a basketball-themed, 8-by-4-foot arena. The robot uses infrared sensors, color sensors and gyroscopes to detect and move across a series of white lines drawn on the arena and to locate a series of blue square blocks placed in various locations along the lines.

A mount is placed atop the robot to hold three Nerf guns. Once the robot finds each blue block, it stops and uses ultrasonic sensors to aim and fire a dart into a goal mounted above the arena. The robot is equipped with omni-directional wheels, allowing it to return to the edge of the arena after firing and scoot across to each adjacent white line to find the next block. Teams are judged based on how accurately the robot accomplishes each task.

The team began the project last semester as part of a senior design project. It divided into two subgroups, the chassis team, primarily responsible for creating the drive train capable of navigating the course, and the turret team, responsible for targeting the guns and delivering the dart on target.

Team members used plastic materials printed from the UA 3-D Printing lab in Hardaway Hall to construct the robot’s mount for the Nerf guns, wheel hubs and sensor mounts.

The team is advised by Dr. Kenneth Ricks, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Members of the team include:

  • Kate Allen, a senior in electrical engineering from Niceville, Fla.
  • Ashli Barns, a senior in computer engineering from Sumiton
  • Chelsey Blake, a senior in electrical engineering from Flowermound, Texas
  • Nicole Evans, a senior in electrical engineering and math from Chelsea
  • Travis Hartley, a senior in electrical engineering and math from Killeen, Texas
  • William Logan, a senior in electrical and computer engineering from Gulf Port, Miss.
  • Joshua Mayes, a senior in electrical engineering from McCalla
  • Stephen Merritt, a senior in electrical engineering and physics from New Orleans
  • Daniel Petroski, a senior in electrical engineering from Nashville, Tenn.
  • Ian Tuene, a senior in computer engineering from Chesterfield, Va.
  • Matthew Weinstein, a senior in electrical engineering from Mission Viejo, Calif.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has nearly 4,500 students and about 120 faculty. Students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz and Truman scholars.

Contact

Adam Jones, engineering public relations, 205/348-6444, acjones12@eng.ua.edu; Judah Martin, engineering student writer, jmmartin5@crimson.ua.edu.

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.