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Team Red Blade wins $10,000 and second place in ION Robotic Lawn Mower Competition
The purpose of the competition is to design and operate a robotic unmanned lawn mower using the art and science of navigation to rapidly and accurately mow a field of grass.
The team's "Red Blade" mower is an autonomous robot guided by differential GPS, built with a platform that can plow snow or mow grass.
The winning team is based on the team with the highest total score. Miami’s team had the highest report and presentation composite score, and placed second in the overall competition in the advanced category, according to the team’s mentor, Jade Morton, professor of electrical and computer engineering.
In the advanced category, the robot had to mow an odd-shaped field with static obstacles such as a fenced corner and a flowerbed, and a dynamic obstacle, which was a robot dog that ran into the field at unknown times and locations.
Team Red Blade
Team Red Blade includes fifth-year senior Chad Sobota, electrical and computer engineering major and computer science minor; May graduates Mark Carroll and Bob Cole, both computer engineering majors, computer science minors; and Mark Stratis, computer engineering major, computer science and entrepreneurship minors.
“These four extraordinary young men have worked tirelessly during the past academic year to completely redesign and rebuild Red Blade,” said Morton. “Our new Red Blade is a multi-functional robot which can plow snow in the winter and mow grass in the summer.”
Also supporting team Red Blade are electrical and computer engineering graduate students Steve Taylor and Ryan Wolfarth and senior Harrison Bourne, electrical engineering and computer science minor.
Red Blade support and outreach
Team Red Blade was also the winner of Miami’s 2011-2012 Interdisciplinary Technology Development Challenge (MUITDC). They placed second in the ION Autonomous Snow Plow Competition held in January in Minneapolis, Minn.
The team was supported by the office for the advancement of research and scholarship (OARS), the departments of computer science and software engineering and electrical and computer engineering, and through outreach funds from a National Science Foundation grant (through Janet Burge, assistant professor of computer science and software engineering).
The Red Blade team members also supported Burge's computer science outreach effort. They worked with local high school girls and presented their design and robot at multiple events. They also conducted an all-day workshop for high school girls to learn to construct and program Lego NXT robots.