Utah Student Robotics is building a robot for NASA’s yearly robot mining competition. The team originated as a group of students in the mining department who wanted to try their luck in the competition. Now, the team is multi-disciplinary, with students from electrical engineering, computer science, mechanical engineering, mining engineering and more.
The team is working on a robot that can navigate the Mars landscape for the robotics competition. NASA rewards many aspects of robot design, such as how much the robot can mine, how much it weighs and robot autonomy.
The ability to work with the same tools NASA or Jet Propulsion Laboratory use is a great experience in real-world design. For instance, recent NASA robots have implemented the rocker-bogie system in their robots, so the team is looking to best implement that into their own design. The skills they develop in the team opens many opportunities in the future, especially if they are comfortable with the tools professionals in the field already use. “Everyone on the team would take a job if NASA offered it; NASA is the best of the best,” said Dave Purcell, student president of club.
There is a wide range of engineering that goes into building the robot. To begin, the team designed a diagram to illustrate which parts interact with each other and where processing is handled. They also designed a scale prototype, a smaller, more basic version of the full robot, to see if the robot will work.
Find this article and a lot more in the 2019 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers and entrepreneurs.