Lego robots find victim in simulated rescue mission for Adams State final

(12-18-2009)

No leg-work was involved just Legos, for the Adams State College introduction to engineering final exam. The challenge was a robotic mine rescue simulation. Students were required to design, construct and program a Lego robot to cross a rope, navigate through a tunnel, find and communicate with potential victims and exit the passageway.

Dr. Matthew Nehring, chair of the Department of Chemistry, Computer Science, and Mathematics, divided his 12 students into teams of two or three and gave them six weeks to program their Lego robot. He said each team had two trials for their robot to successfully complete the mission.

The robots crossed a rope, dropped to a table and entered a tunnel. Once inside, the robot navigated three turns and stopped at two dead-end outlets. At the first outlet, the robot stopped and "talked" to a computer planted inside. The robot asked if the computer was "hurt" and, at a negative answer, would continue. At the second outlet, a computer said it was "injured." The Lego robot exited the tunnel and displayed the "name" of the victim.

Zac Smith, freshman, and his teammate, Jordan Tiona, freshman, said they spent approximately 100 hours designing the program and building the robot. Although the class was divided into teams many of the students collaborated. "This was my favorite class this semester," Smith said.