Robotic “Basketball” Game Earns Miami Dade College’s Robotics Team First Place among Florida Public Universities
Miami, April 9, 2014 -
Miami Dade College’s (MDC) engineering students continue to bring innovative ideas to life, and out-perform major universities at regional and national competitions. At this year’s Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 2014 SoutheastCon, recently held at the University of Kentucky, the nine-member MDC Robotics Club developed an autonomous robot that can navigate shooting lines and score points, in a game similar to basketball. The project earned the team first place in the state among public universities and eighth among more than 40 colleges that competed from the southern United States region.
This is the second year that MDC has competed at the prestigious competition and ranked higher than major universities, such as the University of Miami, Duke University, the University of South Florida and Clemson University, among others. Additionally, the team’s robotics project was recognized as the second overall fastest. The students achieved this feat with no funding, which speaks volumes about their ingenuity, level of commitment and training provided at MDC.
“I could not be happier with the outcome of the competition, where MDC students beat top universities in Florida, including the University of Florida, Florida International University and the University of Central Florida. This just shows how amazing our students are and how great our engineering program is,” said Dr. Miguel Alonso, chair of the School of Engineering and Technology.
To prepare for the competition, MDC Robotics Club members, advised by Dr. James Poe, met weekly and pooled their knowledge and skills to perfect the mechanics of the completely autonomous basketball game, in which robots maneuver through the court and shoot Nerf darts at their targets.
“My level of contentment was heightened when a high ranking official from IEEE announced that MDC finished eighth against schools that received major funding and that our robot was the second fastest in the competition,“ said electronics engineering major Robert Glazebrook, who started MDC’s Robotics Club at the Kendall Campus upon competing at last year’s IEEE SoutheastCon competition.
Engineering students regularly attend regional and national conferences, where they are already well-known for their ideas, and are able to network with their peers and industry professionals offering internship opportunities.
“There are several reasons why these competitions are vital for students studying in our program. First, it gives them co-curricular experiences that challenge them to be creative as engineers, well beyond what can be done in the classroom. It also serves as a soft-skill building experience,” added Dr. Alonso. “Additionally, when we have success like the one at SoutheastCon, it raises the profile of MDC’s engineering program and demonstrates the quality of our program to the greater community and more importantly, to companies looking to hire.”
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