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October 10, 2013

Fenn College’s IEEE robots bring home awards

By Robert Bray

The Cleveland State Universtiy branch of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in the Fenn College of Engineering has won many awards for their work on miniature robots.

“There were 12 first place awards from this past year in Morgantown, West Virginia,” said Taylor Barto, chair for IEEE and an electrical engineering major. “Since there were multiple people on each team, some awards are for the same event, but different team members,” said Barto.

The awards were for their participation in the Micro-Mouse competitions. The event is an engineering design competition created by IEEE in the late 1970s. Small robots solve a randomized maze.

“The robot must find the center of the maze on its own,” he said.
The mouse learns about the maze as it moves, and eventually, with enough information, it’ll be able to map a route to the center. The robot has sensors which send information to a microprocessor programmed by the team.

It is a basic level Artificial Intelligence (AI) in which the robot has to learn in order to perform its function. They built two robots for this event. One was assembled from a kit and the other from scratch.

“Kit is the short mouse whereas the Scratch mouse is taller,” said Luke Lauder, an electrical engineering major and president of the Cleveland State chapter of IEEE.
Lauder and his team designed the circuit board and got a sponsorship from Advanced Circuits for the board.

“We ordered the parts from digikey.com. We then soldered the parts onto the circuit board,” said Barto.
There was prize money for each category in the competition. The first place winner for the scratch robot was $800. The first place prize for the kit was $400, and the first place brownbag was $500.

As an organization, IEEE was founded in 1963 as a merger of the AIEE, a power and wire communications organization, and the IRE radio organization. The Cleveland State chapter was then founded in 1964.

IEEE is responsible for creating nearly every standard pertaining to electronic devices. The Cleveland State chapter of the IEEE is heavily involved in local volunteering activities that relate to engineering.

“We plan to host a high school robotics competition in February, in the hopes of spreading our passion for electronics to younger students,” said Steve.
Their next event will be on Oct. 26. IEEE will be hosting its annual Xtreme Programming competition. The competition lasts a full 24 hours.

They also plan to work on a design for a maze-solving Micro-Mouse for the Student Activities Conference (SAC) coming up this spring.
They are also considering building an autonomous quadcopter for another event at this competition.

“If we do build this ‘quadcopter,’ then we would most likely implement a camera on it,” said Barto. They are still in the process of considering if they have enough people interested in working on this project.

“IEEE brings people together,” said Emily Nemeth, an electrical engineering major.
Anyone interested in programming or electronics is encouraged to stop by their office in SH 346 to sign up. IEEE is interested in people from all majors.

“There are many jobs with building a robot that would be nice to have many people from all areas to help with,” said Barto.