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Ohio Northern University engineering students to create robotic football players

May 27, 2010

football robotsStudents from Ohio Northern University’s T.J. Smull College of Engineering will create two robotic football players to compete in the third annual University of Notre Dame robotic competition next spring.

As part of their senior capstone project during the 2010-11 academic year, a team of ONU students will create two robotics players with funding from the University of Notre Dame. These players will compete in a “combine,” which tests the skills of each robot specific to their position, and will join robots built by Notre Dame students in a game of eight-on-eight, modified-rules football.

Dr. James Schmiedeler, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Notre Dame, has organized the program. Schmiedeler also serves on the ONU Mechanical Engineering Program Working Group.

Schmiedeler said an advantage he sees for this project is that the students work on a much larger team than they would for a typical senior design project, which is more representative of what they can expect in industry.

“They will work with a group of five or so students to build their robot, but beyond that, they will work with the other small groups that comprise their team to field a full team of robots and compete together in the game,” Schmiedeler said. “The very realistic management and communication challenges the students experience as part of the project are as important as the technical challenges they will face. We see this and the ‘rigorous design/build/test/demonstrate’ experience as the positives of the project.”

The ONU team includes mechanical engineering seniors Daniel Piehl of Harrod, Ohio, Patrick Rachow of Strongsville, Ohio, Kyle Simmons of North Lawrence, Ohio, and Matt Zehner of Shelby, Ohio. The team also includes electrical engineering seniors Talal Alshaikh of Findlay, Ohio, Amy Murray of Botkins, Ohio, and Melissa Turner of Coldwater, Ohio, as well as computer engineering seniors Andrew Rickard of Van Wert, Ohio, and Andrew Stephon of New Philadelphia, Ohio.

They are advised by ONU faculty members John-David Yoder, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Sami Khorbotly, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

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