ENGINEERING NEWS

Autonomous Robot ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better!’ Wins 2017 Design Competition

‘Subsequentis’ received the Myke Minbiole Elegant Engineering Award

A student gets his robot ready, which includes placing the plastic cup target on its top.A student gets his robot ready, which includes placing the plastic cup target on its top.
A student team laughs and cheers while watching the competition perform in the arena.A student team laughs and cheers while watching the competition perform in the arena.
Set up in the Ford Shop, the competition arena included plastic pylons for the robots to hide behind.Set up in the Ford Shop, the competition arena included plastic pylons for the robots to hide behind.
A student participant laughs as he watches the competition.A student participant laughs as he watches the competition.
Winning team (left to right): Colton Colwell, Blake Strebel, Bailey Kuhn, and Matthew LiWinning team (left to right): Colton Colwell, Blake Strebel, Bailey Kuhn, and Matthew Li
A small visitor watches a student get his robot ready for the competition.A small visitor watches a student get his robot ready for the competition.

In a feat of stealth and strategy, a student-designed, autonomous robot named “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better!” outmaneuvered the competition to win Northwestern’s 26th annual Design Competition and capture the $1,000 award.

“Robot Hide-and-Seek” took place Saturday, May 13 at the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center. The winning robot triumphed by hiding for the longest amount of time.

Teams of undergraduates from a variety of engineering fields spent five months designing, building, and programming their robots. Some teams fielded classic robot designs with bump and ultrasonic sensors; others deployed GPS-like position tracking and state-of-the-art mecanum wheels, which can move in any direction.

In each head-to-head round, one team commanded a remote-controlled vehicle to find the opposing team’s robot. The human driving the remote-controlled vehicle donned a virtual reality mask to hunt the hiding robot. When the human jousted a cup off the opposing robot, the time was recorded, indicating the length of that robot’s ability to hide.

The top-scoring teams were:

  • First place: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better!, with team members Colton Colwell, Bailey Kuhn, Mathew Li, and Blake Strebel
  • Second place: The Police, with team members Can Aygen, Kelly Logacho, Efe Saatci, and Cameron Tehranchi
  • Third place: Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, with team member Alex Friedman

Subsequentis, which won last year’s competition, received the $500 Myke Minbiole Elegant Engineering Award. The award is named for Northwestern Engineering alumnus and 2001 Design Competition winner Minbiole, who worked as an engineer before being killed in a hit-and-run collision in 2007. Members of Subsequentis are Graham Bullmore, Eric Lutzen, Heath Reineke, and Stephen Shull.