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Racing robots at Engineering Design Show

9 October 2014

Lego robots

Lego robots: From left, University of Waikato Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) students Jeff Mo, Sheena Mira-ato, Brad Hansen, Ryan Jones and Peter Oomen with the Lego robots they will race at the upcoming Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show.

Programming Lego robots to have a sense of direction has been the task for a class of University of Waikato engineering students this semester.

The robots will be put to the test at the upcoming Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show, in a race to determine the fastest, most accurate prototype.

“Each robot must be designed so that it can ‘sense’ its way around a given track at the fastest speed possible,” says University of Waikato engineering tutor Alista Fow.  

Designing successful robots

Each pair of students is given the same basic set of hardware. “What defines a successful robot largely comes down to how the team has programmed the software to work with the hardware, plus we’ve also seen a lot of experimentation with the number and placement of the sensors.”

The Software Engineering students have spent the semester designing and building the Lego robots as part of a second-year engineering design paper.

While the students have been provided a practice track for testing, the race day track will be at least twice the size and the robots will be required to navigate the track with additional obstacles, which will add to the challenge.  

“Good scores in the competition will be reflected in the students’ final mark for the project, so there is a lot riding on a good performance.”

Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show

The robot race is part of the Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper Engineering Design Show from 21-22 October. The race is scheduled for 11am Wednesday 22 October in the first floor foyer of S Block at the University of Waikato. The event is open to the public.

During the two- day event, second, third and fourth-year Engineering students showcase their research and design projects in the forms of posters, displays and seminars. Topics covered include Chemical and Biological Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Materials and Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Software Engineering.

In addition, the School of Engineering will host an industry session, in which a series of research presentations will be given by engineering staff from 3.30-5pm Tuesday 21 October in S Block. Please contact [email protected] to register your interest for the industry session.

The Engineering Design Show programme will be available online shortly: www.sci.waikato.ac.nz/engineeringdesignshow