See all NewsEngineering News

Student-Designed Autonomous Robot ‘Veggie Bot’ Wins 2015 Design Competition

‘Improv Robotics’ received the Myke Minbiole Elegant Engineering Award

Students watch as Veggie Bot competes in Robot Checkers.Students watch as Veggie Bot competes in Robot Checkers.

A student-designed, autonomous robot named Veggie Bot won the ultimate game of checkers during Northwestern’s 24th annual Design Competition. In a feat of dexterity and strategy, Veggie Bot outmaneuvered second-place team Snuggly Bunnies for the $1,000 award.

“Robot Checkers” took place Saturday, May 23 at the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center. During the competition, each robot attempted to pick up two-inch cubes and place them on their team’s color in the checkerboard arena. Robots could steal dropped cubes from opponents and earn extra points for stacking cubes.

Members of Team Veggie Bot hold their winning robot. Left to right: Sean Ye, Simon Zhao, and Eric Hao.Teams of undergraduates, representing a variety of engineering fields, spent five months designing, building, and programming their robots to operate autonomously. Some teams fielded classic robot designs with rotating brushes to pick up cubes; others deployed multiple, smaller robots in an attempt to get to the cubes faster.

The top-scoring teams were:

  • 1st place: Team Veggie Bot (pictured), with team members Eric Hao, Adam He, Sean Ye, and Simon Zhao
  • 2nd place: Team Snuggly Bunnies, with team members Craig Herdle, Vince Martinez, Sam Schlesinger, and Curtis Weise
  • 3rd place: Team nScope, with team members Georgiy Mazin, Seth McCammon, Daniel Thirman, and Kevin Ye

Team Improv Robotics received the $500 Myke Minbiole Elegant Engineering Award. The award is named for McCormick 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 Improv Robotics were Alexander Martin and Jonathan Sammon.