2012 Robot Challenge
In the previous nine years, our Robot Competitions have involved a group of faculty members from Cognitive Science, Biology and Computer Science devising a task for teams of students to accomplish. All students had a semester in which to achieve this task by designing and programming an autonomous robot that would attempt to execute the task, be it foraging, racing along a track, or what have you.This year, for the first time, we left it to the students to come up with an idea for a project they wanted to take on. Sixteen students assigned themselves into teams of four and then, in the same spirit as a small start up company, pitched that idea to a small group of faculty members. After hearing each pitch, faculty gave feedback, and granted budgets to each team for building a prototype of their idea. After a month of prototyping, each team demonstrated the product as it was to date, received a second round of feedback, and was given a budget to finish out the project. At the end of the semster, open demonstrations of each project were made in the IRRL.