Recently, 16 students from the UK Engineering Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) student chapter traveled to Orlando, Florida, for IEEE’s SoutheastCon, its annual IEEE Region 3 technical, professional, and student conference.
The students participated as a volunteer team for the main hardware competition, a senior design team for the open hardware competition, a circuit competition team, an ethics competition team and in the promotional t-shirt competition. Many students also participated in the networking competition and all past and present officers from the UK chapter participated in a leadership training.
The UK team returned with wins in the following categories:
- First place in the main hardware competition (volunteer team)
- Third place in the open hardware competition (senior design team)
Each student chapter in IEEE Region 3 can enter—at most—one robot. Those robots are considered for participation in the main hardware competition. Additional robots from the chapter, robots built by chapters outside the region, or by middle and high schoolers, professionals and others are allowed to compete in the open hardware category.
The teams were tasked with cleaning up the imaginary amusement park “Duck Gardens” after being hit by a hurricane. On the playing field, the 12”x12”x12” maximum-sized robots needed to drive to two corners of the field to “feed” the manatees and alligators with playing chips in different colors and then they need to clean up statue pieces and ducks from the field. The final goal was to build up three statues and put ducks atop of each, in addition to putting seven ducks into a designated pond area.
A total of 30 teams competed in the hardware competitions. Teams from both the main and open competitions participate in the first three rounds equally. Points from these rounds were added up to a total score for ranking. After the first three rounds, the volunteer team competing in the main competition went into a final round of eight. The volunteer team scored high enough to compete in the final against Virginia Tech, where they walked away the winners! The open completion went into a final four, where our senior design team ended up ranking third out of the four teams in the final.