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“TURTLLE” and Mobile Robotics Team Win at Competition

Millersville’s Mobile Robotics Team captured first place for Manufacturing Design.

The Millersville University Mobile Robotics team took home awards in multiple categories at the annual Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering Student Division Robotics Competition this fall. The ATMAE conference, held in Orlando, hosted student robotic teams from across the country to participate in student competitions, interactive workshops and learning from speakers. The MU Mobile Robotic team, lead by Justin Vipperman, club president and Ryan Martin, team captain/project manager earned 1st Place Manufacturing Design, 2nd Place Electrical/Controls Design, 2nd Place Technical Poster Design, 3rd Place Overall and the People’s Choice Award.

The team has won 40 awards in the past 20 years and is primarily advised by Drs. John Haughery and John Wright. Other advisors include Dr. Alex Johnson and Donna Painter. Haughery says, “Our team was the only one to design and develop a 100% autonomous system…a serious feat of engineering! This was a total team effort, those that traveled and those that didn’t. So proud to be part of MU Robotics.”

The competition required team members to build a robot capable of delivering various sized and weighted objects to specific locations on an 8’x8’ course. The team’s robot was named Transport Utilizing Robotic Technology to Locate and Lift Entities, better known as T.U.R.T.L.L.E. It was designed and tested in only two months. T.U.R.T.L.L.E is able to navigate a course autonomously and identify objects using shape and color recognition algorithms. The team is happy to say that their project was the only completely autonomous robot submitted despite a short amount of time allotted to design it and in-person meeting restrictions due to COVID-19.

You can watch a video of the project here –

Teams were awarded points based on four categories and their criteria. The task challenge category was assessed on the robot’s ability to traverse the course and ability to pick up and place objects. The electrical/control and manufacturing design categories were measured for things like the sophistication of parts, innovation of design and craftsmanship. The technical poster category was judged on how well the robot was communicated to the audience as well as visual and technical design.

In addition to competing, Millersville students also gave presentations at the conference. Their topics ranged from manufacturing jobs in the U.S. to automation via human-machine interfaces.

Team meetings take place weekly. They begin with an overview of goals and outstanding items presented by the team captain and club president. Decisions are discussed as a team before they are made. After the introduction, members split up into sub-teams assigned to one or more specific aspects of creating a robot. From there, they design, build and test repeatedly to ensure a fully functioning project.

MU Mobile Robotics team members:
Joseph Alessandro
Benjamin Ambler
Cameron Buia
Joshua Greineder
Robert Kiesel
Peter Marinelli
Ryan Martin
Elizabeth Maschke
Kenny Miller
Dennis Nguyen
Elias Peluso
Ian Smith
Justin Vipperman
Benjamin Wright

For more information about the MU Mobile Robotics team, contact Dr. John Haughery


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