University of Rochester

EVENT: Mine Madness: Students' Robots Sweep for Mines in Competition

TIME, DATE, AND PLACE: Noon, February 25, May Room, Wilson Commons at the University of Rochester

February 25, 2004

Engineering students will compete during National Engineering Week to design the best robots to sweep away "mines" from a simulated minefield. Senior mechanical engineers at the University of Rochester have formed into six teams to build the robots that will navigate the minefield and clear it of mines in less than three minutes.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers describes the competition this way: "Of major concern to most nations is the plethora of anti-personnel mines that remain in place around the globe, remnants of past wars and conflicts. Given that these devices are armed and can cause great physical harm and possibly death, humanitarian efforts are under way to locate and disarm these mines. The purpose of this year's contest is to generate novel devices that facilitate the execution of this noble task."

The robots must be battery powered and will run on a short-napped, outdoor-style carpet complete with wooden obstacles to simulate real-world working conditions. Six mines-hockey puck-like cylinders-must be found, picked up, carried, and carefully placed in a receiving area without bumping into any obstacles.

Past Engineering Week competitions have included hovercraft races and designs of magnetic-levitation cars.