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Robotics at SIUE

The SIUE School of Engineering faculty and students organize several robotics mini camps and visit middle schools each year to talk about the importance of robots in our lives. The workshops, along with the regional botball competition held on campus each year, intrigue hundreds of young people interested in pursuing careers in engineering.

SIUE School of Engineering Hosts the 2014 Annual Greater St. Louis Botball Tournament
Middle and high school students engaged their minds and robots on Saturday, April 12 when 21 teams competed in the annual Greater St. Louis Botball Tournament at SIUE. Before a crowd of more than 150, teams challenged one another in two-minute rounds to perform a number of assistive robotics tasks.

Building on last year’s theme of a Mars Sample Return Mission, the robots had to help Botguy, the competition’s mascot, recover from the long journey in space. The students built autonomous robots that traveled around a game board earning points with four goals to accomplish in two-minute rounds:

  • Assist Botguy with gross motor tasks by moving exercise equipment in bins
  • Hang hangers on various height racks
  • Remove items stored on shelves
  • Move an exercise bench over to a physical therapy area and place Botguy on the bench

“Each year, we try and define some unique, challenging tasks that allow both the novice teams and those with more experience to succeed by scoring in the competition,” said Dr. Gary Mayer, assistant professor of computer science in the SIUE School of Engineering and the event organizer. “This year, it was the hangers. Many teams answered the challenge and were consistently successful in earning points.

“As an educator, it’s a great thing to see, and everyone should be proud of what these students accomplished.”

Botball teams score equally in three categories of documentation, seeding rounds and the double elimination tournament. In each category, teams earn a score of 0.0 to 1.0. The Daniela Rus team from Wabash Valley in Terre Haute, Ind. won the competition with a total score of 2.930 out of the possible 3.0.

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