Robot Rescue: Annual Engineering Design Competition
‘Robot Rescue’ is the theme of this year’s 20th Annual Electrical and Computer Engineering Design Competition. Students are asked to design the sensors and controllers that power the robot through the obstacle course so that no human interaction is needed. In other words, the robot must operate autonomously during the competition and employ whatever strategy the student has designed without interference.
The competition will be held of Wednesday, July 20 at the Sexton Gym at 1360 Barrington Street. The finals begin at 6:00 p.m. and go until the last fictional employee is rescued.
The annual competition is part of Design Methods II (ECED 3901), a mandatory third-year engineering course where part of the class is devoted to theory while the other part is designing and building the actual robot. Students begin working on their robots in May and have three months to design, build and test them, all while managing a full course load.
Students are required to complete two progress reports, a final report, and various assignments and labs detailing all aspects of the planning stages from design to delivery. They’re asked to record everything from project scheduling, brainstorming sessions and prototyping and submit it as a formal engineering progress report.
The fictional manufacturing plant is represented by a surface that’s 28 feet long by 16 feet wide. The surface is made up of fixed walls, destructible walls, moving doors and several other obstacles that will remain a mystery until the competition is underway. At the far end of the surface, there is a flashing red light revealing where the trapped employee is.
“How well they do in the competition is a very minor part of this whole thing. It’s how they get there that’s important. That’s why the bulk of their mark comes from the progress reports.” -Dr. Sara Stout-Grandy, professor in electrical engineering at Dalhousie University.
“Because I work in industry, I know what’s expected. Any student can pick up a textbook and learn the circuits. But to build them, test them, and get the circuit to work multiple times and under pressure is the real test. It requires integration, system testing and knowing how to join functions together and how to test them and backtrack when mistakes are made. It’s a huge skill, one that I use everyday in the workplace and this is what I want to convey to students.” -Dr. Sara Stout-Grandy, professor in electrical engineering at Dalhousie University.
“It’s like, ‘here’s a kit, here are the requirements, have fun.’ So at the end, we turn the robots on and hope for the best.” -Kathleen Svendsen, electrical engineering student at Dalhousie University.
“The competitive aspect of this project is pretty mild. We’re all friends and we’re all here working in the labs for hours on end. We help each other out when we can.”- Matt Duffy, third-year engineering student at Dalhousie University.
“Looking back, Dr. Peter Gregson-the mastermind behind this competition- was so ahead of the times. It’s progressed quite a bit to keep up with industry standards but the focus on proper design approach and hands-on problem solving remains.” -Dr. Sara Stout-Grandy, professor in electrical engineering at Dalhousie University.
|Matt Duffy & John Walsh|
- Katie McDonald, Communications Officer, 494-1323, email@example.com