SAMSON and Robotics Team Win Big at National Robotics Competition
On Nov. 20-23, Millersville University’s Robotics Team traveled to New Orleans, where they attended the 2013 Association of Technology, Management & Applied Engineering (ATMAE) Conference. The Millersville ATMAE student chapter, aka the Millersville Robotics Team, competed against seven other teams and won first place for “Performance, Technical Poster and Technical Report” with their robot SAMSON, which is an acronym for “Semi-autonomous Marauder with Sensor Optimized Navigation.” The team also won the Overall Robotics Competition and brought home their second Robotics Cup, the first was won in 2010.
“We rejoiced,” said Joel Wells, a senior who is an applied engineering major with a concentration in robotics and control systems. “Our hard work really paid off in the end.”
With the theme of the competition being “Robo-Hoops,” the ATMAE students built a robot that would be able to pick up 36 ping-pong balls of various colors, sort the balls by color and then shoot the balls into the appropriate hoops within five minutes. The competition was semi-autonomous—part of the tasks requirement was autonomous control, and the other part allowed tele-operation via remote control. The teams were given an overall score based on the technical report, technical poster, performance, electronics/controls and manufacturing/design of the robot.
“We have a very well-rounded team with the right chemistry of talent and team dynamics,” said Dr. John Wright, professor of automation and electronics technologies and advisor of Millersville’s ATMAE chapter. “We also need to have good resources. Our robot cost about $8,000 to build.”
With these three recent wins, the chapter has won 28 awards since they first started competing in 2001.
In addition, Wright received the Charles W. Keith Award for the contributions he has made to the field of technology and engineering. He was honored for the development and implementation of the student division’s popular Robotics Contest, the co-development of the journal’s electronic submission process, his recent selection to join ATMAE’s Board of Certification and his leadership in the strategic planning and reinvention of ATMAE.
“I was really surprised to earn this prestigious award,” Wright said. “It is the highest honor that ATMAE awards. It was created in 1986 and only eight recipients have earned this award since then. I am very excited and proud to be on this short list.”