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Ohio Northern University captures two gold, one bronze award in National Robotic Challenge

Apr 22, 2013

Teams from Ohio Northern University’s Department of Technological Studies garnered two gold awards and one bronze during the National Robotics Challenge at the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum in Marion, Ohio, from April 11-13.  

The first gold award was captured by an ONU team that designed, fabricated, programmed and fully documented a robotic work-cell that utilized a raw materials parts feeder, conveyor, CNC turning center, KUKA robot, and Allen Bradley PLC to autonomously control and manufacture finished chess pieces. The team consisted of manufacturing technology majors Nathan Albritton, a senior from New Carlisle, Ohio; Abrim Mueller, a senior from Uniontown, Ohio; Katy Newman, a senior from Gross Pointe Farms, Mich.; Kyle Raber, a senior from Wooster, Ohio; and Robert Sellers, a senior from Waynesville, Ohio.

ONU’s second gold award was won in the 50-pound sumo robot contest by manufacturing technology majors Joshua Cox, a senior from Napoleon, Ohio; Ethan Frey, a senior from Upper Sandusky, Ohio; and Michael Hamlin, a senior from Dola, Ohio. The trio designed, built and programmed a fully autonomous robot that autonomously detected and removed another robot from the ring. The team’s robot utilized four sensors to locate the enemy robot and four additional sensors on all four corners of the robot to find a painted white outline of the ring. The information gained from the sensors provided input data to the controller of the robot so that it would not “walk” out of the ring. The complex programming of this robot enabled the team to avoid a much quicker robot from the University of Akron to win the best-of-three championship by a score of 2-1.

The team of Eddie Day, a senior manufacturing technology major from South Charleston, Ohio, and Kenneth Schlatter, a senior manufacturing technology major from Dunkirk, Ohio, won a bronze award in the highly competitive VEX Robotics “sack attack” competition. The ONU duo went head-to-head against other teams in collecting beanbags and depositing them in a trough between the two sides of a 16-square-foot playing area. ONU’s team lost a close match in the semifinals when the opposing team strategically “stole” a beanbag from the ONU scoring area to their own side; this proved to be the difference in the match.

This marks the 19th out of the last 20 years in which ONU’s Department of Technological Studies has had at least one team win a gold award in this particular competition sponsored by Honda and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

Advisers of ONU’s robotics teams are Steve Fisher, lecturer in technology, Paul Nutter, associate professor of technology, and David Rouch, chair and professor of technological studies.