UNI Physics Department Camp Teaches Driverless Vehicle Technologies: 2014 Camp Completed

UNI mini-sumo robotics camp photo

The 2014 (June 23-27) MiniSumo Robotics Camp is now complete. Lot's of excitement. Photos are at: http://tinyurl.com/unicamp8   

Instructions for how to register for the 2015 camp will appear here when available. Registration information will be posted at the following link:

http://www.uni.edu/camps/minisumo-robotics-camp

The above link will be reactivated when planning for the 2015 MiniSumo Camp is done, and the UNI summer camps adminsitrator is ready to receive applications.

So that you may anticipate the general nature of the 2015 camp registration procedures, the information about the 2014 camp is presented below.

The on-line registration form will contain a link to a scholarship application form.

The 2015 MiniSumo Robotics camp may have a residential option.  During previous years campers have attended the mini-sumo robotics camp from all over Iowa, and from Minnesota, Ohio, and from as far away as California. However, a decision has not yet been made. If you wish this option to be available, please contact Dale Olson at dale.olson@uni.edu ASAP.

New in 2014:

The 2014 camp had 'a first' in that Arduino UNO microcontrollers were used on the sumo robots.

Sumos Fight Box

Description of recent progress in autonomous vehicles for practical use:

In 2013, the New York Times reported: “Cars that can park, brake at a sign of danger and navigate in traffic are on their way to dealers’ showrooms, turning science-fiction fantasies of consumer-owned self-driving vehicles into a new reality.” On May 27, 2014 Google announced that they have produced a fully self-driving electric car, with no steering wheel, brakes, or accelerator. Google’s website states: “We’re planning to build about a hundred prototype vehicles, and later this summer, our safety drivers will start testing early versions of these vehicles that have manual controls. If all goes well, we’d like to run a small pilot program here in California in the next couple of years.“  2012 was the year when autonomous vehicles emerged from research and development tests to farmers’ fields. Case IH, John Deere and Kinze released commercialized guidance systems that support precision agriculture. And the U.S. Military continues to make steady progress with a ‘legged squad-support vehicle’.

Want to be in on the ground floor with these exciting technologies? This robotics camp will help you get there.

Detailed camp information:

MiniSumo Robotics is intended for rising 9th through 12th graders. Thje 2014 camp ran from June 23 – 27, 2014.  The goal is to complete a robot that will not drive off of a black circular arena (stay on the road, like a driverless car), and also which can seek out an opponent and push the opponent off of the arena (the opposite of what a driverless car should do).

Students build a chassis, attach motors, attach line sensors, opponent sensors, connect sensors to an on-board computer, and as time and interest permit, devise strategies, such as modifying computer code, or adding extra sensors, to further improve their basic ‘fighting sumo robot.’ These are all skills needed in advanced manufacturing and high-technology industries within Iowa and the U.S.  

Though students are not required to develop programming capabilities (all necessary code will be provided) some students become very interested in computer code and will be encouraged to provide their robots with extra capabilities. Students will be encouraged to demonstrate creativity by adding unique features to their robot such as a more effective scoop, or extra sensors looking to the rear or side, like the new Google vehicles. 

Students will also visit UNI research labs, and meet college students involved in summer research programs. Some students elect to continue on with project work facilitated by the Physics Department, to return in successive years, as did one camper from 2013, and have in this way become connected with scholarship opportunities at UNI.Two campers are proud of their completed robots.

The camp will end with a presentation to parents and the public, in which student-built min-sumo robots compete in a tournament. 

Additional information, including scholarship eligibility and registration is available at:  www.uni.edu/camps.   A contact person for these camps is Dr. Dale Olson, Physics Department, University of Northern Iowa, dale.olson@uni.edu, cell:  319-215-5501.

 

 Highlights of past camps:

2013: http://www.narobotics.org/news/2013-minisumo-robotics-camp

2012:  http://www.narobotics.org/3rd-annual-minisumo-robotics-camp-scheduled 

2011:  http://www.narobotics.org/2011-sumo-robot-summer-camp-june-20-july1

2010: http://www.narobotics.org/2010-summer-camp

 

For a quick introduction to mini-sumo robotics, you may view video of the April 26, 2013 "Live-on-the-internet" broadcast of our annual spring ShipIn competition.  Go to: http://www.narobotics.org/orthos-wins-2013-minisumo-robot-competition DOZER pushes MAGNUS on the edge (2013)