Posted in | Automotive Robotics

Northwestern University to Host "Robot Hide-and-Seek" Competition

In the 26th annual Design Competition at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering, eleven autonomous robots designed by students will attempt to outmaneuver the others to win at “Robot Hide-and-Seek” on May 13th.

Northwestern Engineering’s annual Design Competition draws hundreds of spectators to watch students and their robots compete for glory and cash prizes. (credit: Northwestern University)

This competition is free and open to the public. “Robot Hide-and-Seek” will start at noon at the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center, 2133 Sheridan Road, on the Evanston campus. This event draws hundreds of spectators yearly to cheer on the competitors.

This year, victory will go to the autonomous robot that can hide the longest.

The head-to-head round will require one team commanding a remote-controlled vehicle to try and locate the opposing team’s robot. The human driving the remote-controlled vehicle will wear a virtual reality mask to detect the hiding robot. When the human jousts a cup off the opposing robot, the time will be noted, which will signify the length of that robot’s ability to hide.

The robot hunt can be watched by spectators too. The human driver’s view will be projected onto a large screen and relayed onto the mobile devices of spectators.

Teams of undergraduates from a range of engineering fields have spent five months designing, constructing and programming their robots. Some teams are using classic robot designs with bump and ultrasonic sensors; others are employing sophisticated mecanum wheels and GPS-like position tracking.

The duration of the event is likely to last three hours, concluding with an awards ceremony. Cash awards await the top three teams, with first place receiving $1,000.

One team also will be honored with the annual Myke Minbiole Elegant Engineering Award, which is named after McCormick alumnus Minbiole, who had worked as an engineer until being killed in a hit-and-run accident in 2007. The Minbiole family will present the $500 award.

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