“It really is a dumpster dive project,” he added. “I give them the hardware. They have to come up with how to meet the process on their own.”
The students, many of whom will become teachers, can make the bot project part of their future curriculums.
Technology education major Trevin Nelson, a senior from Tomah, and Brent Heilman, a senior engineering technology major from West Salem, created the Ripper, a bot with a 7 ½-inch handheld skill saw blade as its weapon.
The team focused on offense, thinking their competitors would be focusing on defensive measures.
Nelson said the class has been one of his favorites at UW-Stout. “I’m applying what I have learned using my skills and building a project,” he noted.
Heilman agreed. “I like how creative it is. We are designing, building and modifying it and you get to create a look you really want.”
At the competition, a bot named Rolling Stone took on Gary, a bot with big plastic eyes and a duct tape smile.
The bots seemed fairly matched until Gary moved to attack the other bot and suddenly shot out of the competition ring.
Creators Trisha Haugen, a junior technology education major from Roseville, Minn., and Ross Wegner, a senior technology education major from Kimberly, quickly started adjusting the weights on Gary to make it more stable.
Wegner said he named the robot Gary because it was the first name that he thought of.
Haugen said she enjoys the class because it mixes mechanical and electronic systems. “It’s fun. It’s definitely challenging,” she said. “It is competitive, but we are being collaborative and learning teamwork.”
Wegner agreed. “It is learning but it doesn’t feel like learning, in a positive way.”
During the competition, wheels fell off, bits of bots flew behind a plastic protective screening and some robots just stopped moving as their batteries died or they lost communication with the controls. At breaks to prepare for the next battle, students grabbed duct tape and glue guns to make repairs.