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Micromouse Team Wins Regional Competition

MicromouseOhio Northern engineering students placed first among 13 universities at the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Region 2 Micromouse Competition held at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa.

The competition is a challenging and popular robotics competition. Teams construct an autonomous robotic "mouse" that navigates to the center of a random maze from a specified corner in the shortest amount of time possible.

Members of the ONU micromouse team are Allan Hall, a senior in electrical engineering from Springboro, Ohio, Robert Milos, a senior electrical/computer engineering from Kettering, Ohio, Neal Shine, a junior in electrical/computer engineering from Lima, Ohio, Kyle See, a freshman in computer engineering from Lucasville, Ohio, and Tyler Bednarz, a freshman in electrical engineering from Canton, Ohio. The faculty advisor for the team is Dr. Khalid Al-Olimat, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Allan Hall said being a part of the micromouse competition team was a great experience. “The project was the chance to take a design from concept to reality. Working on the project has given me the opportunity to present a research paper at the ASEE conference in Pittsburgh and compete at the IEEE Student Activities Conference in Philadelphia.  It was rewarding to watch our mouse perform so well and showed the value in continuing to apply myself in the engineering profession.”

Competing against larger schools like Penn State and Ohio University, Neal Shine said, “it was great to take a first-year micromouse to such a large competition and come out victorious. There were plenty of headaches along the way, but in the end I feel like we have all gained invaluable experience in our respective fields.”

Robert Milos added, “it was amazing to see the accomplishments of the micromouse at the competition. In testing, the micromouse was able to map the maze and find the shortest path, but, to get it to that point required a lot of work, especially the week before competition. As an upperclassman on the micromouse team, I was able to serve as a mentor to our freshman members. We all really enjoyed the competition at Temple University.”

Dr. Al-Olimat pointed out that the students built the mouse from scratch as an IEEE student chapter extracurricular activity. Through participation in such activities, students learn cooperation, teamwork, time management, responsibility, problem solving and communication, he added. Dr. Al-Olimat expressed his thanks to Drs. Sami Khorbotly and Srinivasa Vemuru for their input during the design phase. In addition, he thanked Dr. Eric Baumgartner, dean of college of engineering, for the financial support and for encouraging students to be involved in extracurricular activities.