Ohio Northern University to face Notre Dame in annual robotic football competition
Students from Ohio Northern University’s T.J. Smull College of Engineering have created a team of robotic football players to compete in the annual University of Notre Dame robotic football competition on Friday, April 10, at 7 p.m. in the Ohio Northern University King Horn Sports Center. The event is free and open to the public.
The Polar Bears defeated the University of Notre Dame, 29-7, last year in South Bend, and ONU snared the Brian Hederman Memorial Robotic Football Trophy for the second consecutive season. The award is named after Hederman, a Notre Dame student who suffered an untimely death after his freshman year in 1995. A drawing he left behind inspired the trophy and the competition itself.
A mix of students from ONU’s Polar Robotics Club and from an engineering capstone team manufactured multiple robotic players (quarterbacks, centers, linemen, running backs, wide receivers and a kicker) for the annual gridiron showdown. These players compete in an eight-on-eight, modified-rules football game that tests the skills of each robot specific to its position against robots built by Notre Dame students.
Equipped with sensors that flash different colors when the mechatronic players are hit, tackled or injured, the robots are roughly the size of desktop printers.
The ONU team is made up of Ethan Hess, a senior mechanical engineering major from Urbana, Ohio; Alyssa Cuzzolini, a senior electrical engineering major from Columbus, Ohio; Keith Paul, a senior computer engineering major from Sidney Ohio; Paul Sorensen, a senior computer engineering major from Ada, Ohio; Tyler Silcox, a senior computer engineering major from Pittsburgh, Pa.; Jeff Campbell, a senior electrical engineering major from Pittsburgh, Pa.; Brian Swanson, a junior electrical engineering major from King Mills, Ohio; Jared Schatzinger, a senior mechanical engineering major from Shelby, Ohio; Alex McMullen, a senior mechanical engineering major from Plain City, Ohio; Alex Strimbu, a junior mechanical engineering major from Avon Lake, Ohio; and Tyler Germann, a senior electrical engineering major from New Haven, Ind.: Meghan Letizia, a junior computer engineering major from Dublin, Ohio; Nicole Graf, a freshman mechanical engineering major from Mentor, Ohio; Bryan Wilson, a senior electrical engineering major from Jeannette, Pa.
Members of the capstone team are Keegan Ross, a senior mechanical engineering major from Pickerington, Ohio; Nathan Rosenbaum, a senior mechanical engineering major from Orville, Ohio; Joshua Chenault, a senior electrical engineering major from West Jefferson, Ohio; Zach Myers, a senior electrical engineering major from Strongsville, Ohio; and Tyler Hertenstein, a senior engineering education major from St. Marys, Ohio.
The students are advised by ONU faculty member John-David Yoder, professor and chair of mechanical engineering, and Heath LeBlanc, assistant professor of electrical engineering. Yoder worked with a Notre Dame faculty members Michael Stanisic and James Schmiedeler to coordinate the project.
Despite the air of a sporting event, the game is actually a display of the accumulated knowledge of sophisticated engineering concepts. The technical challenges of designing and building the robot football players deepens student understanding of and ability to implement engineering principles. The participants will take the skills they acquire during the project and use them in their careers as engineers, applying the same principles to develop, among other things, intelligent prostheses, biomedical devices and electromechanical systems in general.