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Ohio Northern University’s College of Engineering to host robotic football game against Notre Dame

Mar 26, 2013


Saturday, April 6 • 7 p.m. • King Horn

Students from Ohio Northern University’s T.J. Smull College of Engineering have created a team of robotic football players to compete in the fifth annual University of Notre Dame robotic football competition on Saturday, April 6, at 7 p.m. in the Ohio Northern University King Horn Sports Center. The event is free and open to the public.

As part of their senior capstone project during the 2012-13 academic year, a team of ONU students manufactured 12 robotic players (quarterbacks, centers, linemen, running backs, wide receivers and a kicker) with funding from the University of Notre Dame. These players will compete in an eight-on-eight, modified-rules football game, which tests the skills of each robot specific to their 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 game itself consists of two 15-minute halves and a 10-minute halftime.

The ONU team is made up of Michael Horth, a senior mechanical engineering major from Akron, Ohio; Hunter Turner, a senior mechanical engineering major from Tipp City, Ohio; Loren Camp, a senior mechanical engineering major from Zanesville, Ohio; Shawn Pavel, a senior computer engineering major from Delphos, Ohio; Peter Kleysteuber, a senior electrical engineering major from Fairborn, Ohio; Taylor Zank, a senior electrical engineering major from Angola, Ind.; Noah Orr, a junior computer science major from Centerburg, Ohio; Paul Sorensen, a sophomore computer engineering major from Ada, Ohio; Jared R. Schatzinger, a junior mechanical engineering major from Shelby, Ohio; Michael Limbird, a senior computer engineering major from Attica, Ohio; Tyler Germann, a freshman electrical engineering major from New Haven, Ind.; and Joshua Gedert, a freshman computer engineering major from Toledo, Ohio.

The students are advised by ONU faculty members John-David Yoder, professor and chair of mechanical engineering, and Sami Khorbotly, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. Yoder worked with a Notre Dame faculty member, Dr. Michael Stanisic, to coordinate the project.

The teams will compete for the Brian Hederman Memorial Robotic Competition Award. Hederman was a Notre Dame student who suffered an untimely death after his freshman year in 1995. A drawing he left behind inspired the award plaque and the competition itself. Notre Dame was victorious in last year’s game.

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.

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