When: Dec - Feb 2014
Where: Evanston, IL

The Robot Design Competition is an annual event at North­western University where students form teams and build small autono­mous robots that compete in some kind of game. I participated in this event in 2015 along with one other friend. We designed and built a robot that could sense and then pick up reflective blocks from a table and then automatically stack them in a stack up to 3 blocks high (stacking scored extra points).

The robot was constructed primarily out of laser cut wood and glued together. Laser/light sensor combos allowed it to find the retroreflective blocks. A articulating scoop with spinning wheels picked up these blocks and then dumped them into a "stacking box" at the back of the robot. This box was sized to force the blocks to stack on top of one another as they were added. The entire unit was controlled by an Arduino microprocessor.

My team did not score enough points to win the competition but we were awarded the $500 Myke Minbiole Elegant Engineer­ing Award for having a unique design and being the only team with a robot that could properly stack blocks.