WCU robotics team wins award at regional conference

A student robotic team from Western Carolina University’s Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology recently participated in a competition at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) Southeastern Conference and won a third place award.       

Nine WCU students worked together to build a solar powered robot in the competition. The robot had to collect energy from four bright lights on the competition course, and could not have any stored energy at the start of the competition. The shoebox-sized robot was judged on its effectiveness in crossing the starting line, traveling a series of ramps and completing a trip around the obstacle course.

“We got third, but it still felt great,” said Kristen Rivers, a member of the team. “We were up against a lot of great schools and a lot of great robots, but we managed to pull it out into third place. It was a lot of strategy.”

The WCU robotics team competed against schools such as North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.

Western Carolina began competing last year.

“We started last year entering our first competition for robotics,” said Rivers. “And since we placed first in the smaller division we decided to try our hand at the bigger division.”

Besides taking part in competitions, the robotics team is also active on WCU’s campus. They invite technology speakers to speak to students or anyone who is interested in different technologies. The team also devotes time to attend conferences on leadership and organization and hold resume and tutoring workshops to help students.

The WCU robotics team is currently discussing the possibility of taking part in competitions next year. They will be hosting at least one speaker and are urging for those interested in technology to contact the team.

“We are not only for Electrical or Computer Engineers, we are also for CS, and CIS majors, really anyone with a technological aspect can join,” said Rivers.

For more information on joining the WCU robotics team, contact Casey Icenhour, the Chairman of IEEE at cticenhour1@catamount.wcu.edu.