Students start the Dartmouth Robotics Team

Students start the Dartmouth Robotics Team

The team includes students with diverse areas of interest beyond the focus on standard technology, such as psychology and marketing.

by Audrey O’Brien | 9/29/22 5:00 AM

The Dartmouth Student Robotics Team, which was founded last summer, held its first club meeting on September 12. The team plans to compete in robotics competitions and work to develop robotic solutions to problems such as self-planning, time management and waste sorting.

The robotics team, which meets every Monday evening, consists of 21 members divided into two teams: the competitive group, with 11 members, and the problem-solving group, which has 10 members. The members were able to decide which group they would prefer to be in when they applied to the team.

The competitive group, led by Team Robotics co-founder Sonia Bendre ’25 and Mehmet Eren Aldemir ’24, plans to compete early next year in the Robotics Education Foundation’s VEX U competitions and competitions – robotics engineering competitions for students from elementary through college – and will focus on designing and building a robot It meets certain pre-defined criteria and goals. According to Aldemir, this year the competition team will build two robots: one less than 18 inches wide or tall and one less than 15 inches wide or tall. The robots will be able to complete tasks such as shooting frisbees at targets.

“Competitions usually decide these goals based on real things that are needed in the industry or other applications, so it’s like a small version of real challenges,” Aldemir said.

In turn, the problem-solving team will focus on solving creative problems from a curriculum curated by team co-founder Edwin Onyango Jr. 25 and Julie Nielsen 25, based on the book “101 Design Methods,” Onyango said. He added that the team hopes to bring in guest speakers who work in the robotics industry to help members gain an idea of ​​the process behind how an idea becomes a robotic product.

“Hopefully [that] through time [the team] Problems solved, if they don’t come up with something they can show, like a tangible product, they have a good understanding of the process it actually takes [do so]Onyango said.

Onyango said he began planning to set up the robotics team in the winter of 2022 and reached out to Bendre for help. By March, Onyango said, the Student Organizations Committee had approved the club, and by July he had invited Onyango, Bender Aldemir and Nielsen to join the club’s executive board.

Computer science professor Alberto Quatreini Lee, the club’s academic advisor, said he was happy to contribute to the founding of the club because he is passionate about robotics and believes that the process of applying it from a holistic perspective of society “enriches”.

“I’m here to support them,” he told me, “and this really came as a student-driven effort.” “I am very excited about the growth of this club and look forward to what the club will be able to achieve, and I will be there to help them along the way.”

According to Onyango, adding a robotics club to Dartmouth has provided a new outlet for those interested in robotics to work among a group that shares those sentiments.

“As a club, we work with a common mission: to try to innovate, but at least enjoy the process,” said Onyango. “There are a lot of really ambitious people out there who would like to solve some problems, and the advantage we have is that we have the resources [and support]. “

The robotics team members bring a variety of experiences and academic backgrounds to the group, according to Onyango. He said this diversity is useful in tackling problem-solving challenges because people bring expertise from different fields ranging from mathematics to marketing to psychology.

He told me that an interdisciplinary group is necessary if you really want to apply and develop technology that will be usable in other contexts.

“Dartmouth is a great home to the Robotics Club because we are in a liberal arts environment where we have students who are interested in different fields,” he told me. “It’s a beautiful experience [to have] A group of people from different and diverse backgrounds that really talk to each other and learn [together.]”

According to Bender, many of the team members also led robotic clubs in their high schools, so they could build on previous experience.

“It’s really amazing how much they contribute to the meetings,” Bender said. “I am very excited to learn from them, and I want them to know that the club is theirs as much as it is [the executives’]. “

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