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ONU Technological Studies Teams Garner Two Gold, Two Silver Awards

Mar 12, 2008
Ohio Northern University Department of Technological Studies teams garnered two gold awards and two silver awards at the National Robotics Challenge in Marion, Ohio, on March 7-8.

A non-tactile maze robot designed by Trevor Robinson, a junior technology education major from Caledonia, Ohio, won a gold award. The duo of Brian Lynch, a senior technology major from Delaware, Ohio, and Jack Fensler, a senior technology major from Ada, Ohio, collected a silver award. The non-tactile maze robot was required to autonomously find its way through a bi-level maze without coming in contact with the walls.

The ONU team of Scott Nemeth, a senior technology major from Westlake, Ohio; Cody Kloeppel, a senior technology major from Ada, Ohio; and Justin Hollon, a senior technology major from Alger, Ohio, collected a gold award for their 125-pound sumo robot that detected and removed another robot from the ring.

Steve Francis, a junior technology major from Mogadore, Ohio, and Brett Kuhn, a senior technology major from Tiffin, Ohio, took home a silver award in the sumo robot competition.

Dr. Adam Stienecker, assistant professor of technology and who served as the teams' advisor, said, "The students really have something to be proud of. Last fall they had nothing but a blank sheet of paper and now, from scratch, they have developed four high-quality, award-winning systems."

In addition to competing at and sponsoring the event, ONU unveiled an air hockey-playing robot developed by a team of seven technology students. The seven-member team had been working on the project since September.

Competition attendees could try their hand at playing the game against the KUKA robot (part of the "Robotics Center of Excellence," powered by KUKA Robotics), which was controlled by a machine-vision system consisting VisionPro software written in Visual Basic and a Point Grey Research camera.

The seven students who designed, built and programmed the air hockey interactive cell were Jonathon Rankin, a senior technology major from Marysville, Ohio; Robert Wambo, a senior technology major from Eaton, Ohio; Jason Kinney, a junior technology major from Mendon, Ohio; Chris Miller, a freshman technology major from Fort Jennings, Ohio; Douglas Voorhees, a junior technology major from Celina, Ohio; Haley Frank, a sophomore technology major from Archbold, Ohio; and Robinson.

The team will present a student paper on their project at an American Society of Engineering Education conference on March 29 in Dayton, Ohio.

"The air hockey project is an impressive display of robotics and machine-vision and is something any university would be proud of," Stienecker said.

Also assisting the students with their projects and attending the event were technology faculty members Dr. David Rouch, chairman, professor Paul Nutter and department technician Michael Zembower.

The ONU Robotics Center of Excellence is part of its department of technological studies. The center has seven KUKA KR3 robots, including KUKA controllers and software. Five of the robots are being interfaced to PLCs and CNC machines in a simulated manufacturing environment performing loading, unloading and parts transfer functions.
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