A group of students from a Grand Valley product innovation and manufacturing class traveled to Hartford, Conn. to participate in the Trinity College International RoboWaiter competition. The team — comprised of first-year students — won first place against students of all levels by successfully completing all three trials much faster than the nearest competitor.
The competition was aimed at demonstrating the use of a robot in an assistive technology application. The robot navigated a miniature kitchen with two tables, a sink, a chair, and two people — one in a wheelchair sitting by a table, and another standing in a random location in the kitchen. The robot had to autonomously navigate to a plate of food on one table and carry it to the table near the person in the wheelchair.
The six students who traveled to the competition were Tyler Dickinson of White Cloud, Troy Roersma of Byron Center, Kyler Kamyszek of Grand Rapids, Lauren Leemhuis of Rochester Hills, Jacob Braun of Ionia, and Matthew Steffes of Hopkins. The students who helped build the robot but who did not travel to Connecticut were Kurt O'Hearn of Grand Rapids, Brad Diekema of Zeeland, Josh Stevenson of Byron Center and Sam Kreuze of Rockford. The course was taught by professors Andrew Sterian and Chris Pung.
The team also showed off its technical communication skills by winning first place in the poster competition for the RoboWaiter division.
Grand Valley's engineering students have been on something of a roll lately. Another group of undergraduate students recently participated in the annual student meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and won third place in the student design competition over the district that includes all universities in Michigan, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and Ontario. That team included: Jordon Walsworth, Jonathan Maust, James Stokes, and Igor Popovic.
Also, graduate student Alber Puzzuoli won the award for best student paper in the American Society for Engineering Education's North Central Section conference hosted at Grand Valley for presenting a paper he wrote for one of his courses.
"All of these honors underscore the quality of the work our students do day in and day out," said Padnos College of Engineering and Computing Dean Paul Plotkowski. "These students are the ones whose innovations will help drive our economy forward in the future."