Thu. Mar 23rd, 2023

Ars was invited to the year-end sumo competition, where the winner was “Taetay”. Shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn.

NEW YORK — For the past decade, Professor Brian Cusack has taught robot design and construction to Cooper Union science and engineering students. The mechatronics class is an intense 14 week immersion in robot design, programming, building, testing process and competition.

This week, the class kicked off the Cooper Union’s end of year show with a robot “sumo” competition. The object of the competition consists of two autonomous robots (no remote controls) that can sense the edge of a square “ring” using infrared sensors and use programmed motors to push the other robot out of the ring. The lighting is important for the sensors to pick up the white outline of a black ring.

The students start by studying ones and zeros, moving from assembly language to C++ and on to circuits, infrared and CAD design, eventually building autonomous robots from scratch in teams of three. The class does not use Arduino or other kits and designs everything from scratch for less than $200.

Professor Cusack’s goal is to give the students a solid foundation to enter the tech world and be ready to work with the masters of the industry. He proudly listed the mechatronics graduates of the past decade who have gone on to JPL, NASA, the NSA, and the FBI, as well as MIT PHDs and Fulbright scientists.

The winning robot was “Taetay”, a solid, fast, blue-toothed robot that not only had the most accurate infrared sensor, but also the most powerful motors to force its opponents out of the ring. We also visited a team that was going to build another robot (an autonomous snow clearing robot) in a later semester, but most of the students in the mechatronics class were looking forward to summer after an exhausting 14-week challenge.

Frame image by Jennifer Hahn

By akfire1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.