Building a Winning Team – ATMAE Competition -By Lincoln Kinley

In the LDP we spend a large part of our time putting what we learn into action within our RSOs. However, one of the goals of the LDP is to put what we learn into practice within our RSOs. The SIU ATMAE Robotics team recently attended the Association of Technology Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) National Robotics Competition and we returned with a first-place trophy. Our design team consisted of five members: Paul Schumacher ( Project Manager), Nate Johnson (Engineering Manager), Nick Sjoberg (Hardware Manager), Ryan Guss (Engineering Lead), and myself (Software Manager)

Being the Software Manager for the team was a unique experience for me as I wanted to design the best program I’ve ever designed for a robot. I spent many hours outside of group meetings working on the program. In the end, I was proud of what I had created because not only was the program fast, but it was also incredibly easy to edit and calibrate.

Our robot, Winston, was inspired by the design of a police bomb robot. In spring of 2017, The Carbondale Police Force asked us if we could repair one of their bomb robots. They dropped it off and within about 15 minutes we had figured out their solution and ordered the parts to fix it. While we waited on the parts, the rules for the ATMAE Competition were released. We began our initial design decisions based upon the rules. We wanted a simple yet powerful manipulator that could do whatever we needed. Lucky for us, the solution was right in front of us.

Last year at the ATMAE Competition, our team took 1st place in every single category with Dusty 2.0. This year we won first place overall, we had the best presentation, and we won the robotic tag. Attending the ATMAE Competition was a rewarding experience. We got to represent SIU at a competition where schools with well-funded robotics teams participated. Seeing how all the other teams went about solving the same problems was very interesting.

I am very proud of my team; everyone spent a large number of hours working on the project. Paul, the Project Manager, spent many long hours documenting all of our progress and coming up with a roadmap for the development of Winston. Nate, the Engineering Manager, taught himself how to TIG weld aluminum, to put together Winston. Nick put in a lot of time machining out parts for us, as he is perhaps the best machinist we have on the team. Ryan worked on testing so we would know our robot was going to be able to get a perfect score a week before we went to the competition.

I’d like to thank all of our team members that worked on the ATMAE Robot, and every member of SIU ATMAE Robotics. I’d also like to thank our faculty advisor, Dr. DeRuntz for supporting our team.

L to R: Nick S., Nate J., Ryan G., Paul S., and Lincoln K.