Real-world experience with robotics

September 8, 2017 By eastern247
Photo: Student working with a yellow mechanical arm

Learning the ins and outs of robotics, students in EWU’s Engineering Department worked for four weeks to program industry-level robots, instructing the bots to make pancakes, burn landscapes into wood or sort bottles and cans into recycling.

Students demonstrated their projects last week in MENG 385. Senior mechanical engineering student Nick Beeler and his team created a breakfast dispenser.

“We wanted to pick a project that had real-life value to it, so we picked something that we all do, which is eat breakfast,” he said. “We made bagels and coffee because everyone here loves bagels and coffee.”

The teams had to find solutions based on the type of robot they were assigned. Beeler’s team had to program its breakfast dispenser robot around a radial workspace, similar to a semi-circle.

“It was challenging to try and get your robot to act in a way in which you expect,” Beeler said. “Many times we’ve had situations where it was jumping from one point to another across the workspace.”

The teamwork and time spent together were Beeler’s favorite part.

“It’s interesting to actually work with three other engineering students to combine our minds and use what we’ve been learning to create something we can see and use tangibly,” Beeler said.