Students on the UTC-Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Robotics Team achieved prestigious recognition for their performance at the 2014 IEEE SouthEastCon Hardware Competition held in Lexington, Kentucky. It is the second time UTC has sent a team to the competition, which required participants to design a robot that shoots a projectile from various distances to emulate the playing and shooting dynamics of basketball.
Robots followed three lines with randomly positioned shooting blocks and then fired a dart while covering the shooting block. Teams were ranked based on the number of points earned by completing goals and completion time, requiring the highest scoring robot to be both fast and precise.
With more than 42 universities competing, some with an additional team consisting of mostly graduate students, after the first three heats of the competition the UTC team was in 2nd place overall with only a seven-point difference (UTC: 2334 points) from 1st place (The Citadel: 2341 points). This placement determined the top four teams for the final round. The final placement for UTC was 4th place in the SouthEastCon.
“It is rewarding to see the effort put forth by these students. The real reward they have obtained is the knowledge and skills that were developed in order to compete at this level,” said Dr. Trevor Elliot, Adjunct Instructor in the UTC College of Engineering and Computer Science.
Elliot says the achievement demonstrates UTC can compete with and beat students from more well-known schools such as FIT, Duke, Tennessee Tech, and Virginia Tech—which Elliot points out placed 6th, 11th, tied at 18th, and tied at 21st respectively, compared to UTC’s 4th place finish.
“This achievement shows the students’ ability to work with other engineering disciplines to create a well-rounded design. This is a compliment to the colleges standing tradition of interdisciplinary design that has provided a means for students to understand other engineering disciplines and how to work with those in other disciplines.”
The robot was the result of an interdisciplinary design project in the senior design sequence of classes in the College of Engineering & Computer Science.
The 2014 UTC design team included: Bryce Williams (EE), Brain Allsbrooks (EE), Mohammed Alsomali (EE), Laurent Francois (EE), Ronald Lane (ME), Joe Pfeiffer (EE), Cyril Shircel (EE), Joseph Simmons (ME).
Additionally, Levi Hereth (CE), Kellie Keith (EE), David Mcpherson (EE), Daniel Membreno (IE), David Myers (EE), Fredrick (Lee) Napier (EE), Charles Wheeler (EE) finalized some components of the design, competed, and will be among those who design the 2015 robot:.
Mathew Joplin and Erica Swift are prospective team members for the 2016 robot.
“Special thanks to Drs. Ed McMahon, Abdul Ofoli, and Trevor Elliott for the advisory role they provided. Dr. Elliott not only traveled with us, drove the van we commuted in, but also stayed up all day and night making sure we had everything needed,” said Mohammed Alsomali, Chairman of the UTC-IEEE Student Chapter.
Alsomali spoke for all the students when he expressed appreciation to IEEE Chattanooga section, UTC College of Engineering & Computer Science, UTC Office of Diversity and Equity, and UTC Student Government Association for their continued sponsorship of this project.
“As we continue to grow as a team, partnerships with our sponsors are vital to the success of UTC-IEEE Robotics team, they are truly appreciated,” said Alsomali.