News • December 08, 2021

Engineering students display their robots’ talent

Engineering students display their robots’ talent

Riverside, Calif. (Dec. 8, 2021) – The Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering at California Baptist University held its annual Robots Got Talent event on Dec. 6. During the event, engineering students shared their robotic designs and skills.

The event is the finale of a five-week project for freshmen and transfer students enrolled in Engineering from a Christian Worldview (EGR 101 or EGR 301). At the beginning of the project, 48 teams of about five students received a design kit, which included remote controls, motors, sensors and Lego pieces. The teams used the kit to create a create a robot that would solve a problem.

Each team consisted of students pursuing different specialties within engineering, making it a multidisciplinary experience, said Dr. Matthew Rickard, professor of bioengineering.

“It is really a taste of what it is to be on an engineering team. They are working on a team with multiple disciplines,” Rickard said. “These engineers are forced to come up with something creatively out of nothing and create a problem to solve, and then go forward and follow a design procedure where they are arranging things to solve it rather than just studying the physical world.”

The teams first competed in their class, during which the professor chose a winner. The nine finalists showcased their creation at the Robots Got Talent event, where the audience voted on its favorite robot.

Engineering students display their robots’ talent

This year’s winner was the Lancer Eats robot, which navigated a board modeled after the CBU campus. Using color sensors and colored tiles, the robot carried a Coca-Cola can from one side of the board to a model of the engineering building on the other side, dodging other buildings along the way.

The winning team consisted of Jonah Brawley, a computer science sophomore; Zoe Barbee, an electrical and computer engineering freshman; Riley Spence, a software engineering freshman; Jose Cortez, a construction management freshman; and Carlos Moran, a construction management junior. The team received 3D-printed trophies.

“We wanted to do something with a maze of some sort and color reading, so that is where we got the idea to use the color sensor at the bottom to determine whether it turns right or left,” Spence said.

The team said the process included plenty of testing to ensure the sensors worked correctly. Overall, the team most enjoyed programming and working together throughout the project.

“Programming was a lot of fun,” Spence said. “We all got together and worked on it for a good three hours straight and it was a lot of fun. We were testing and there was a lot of communication.”

Last year, the event consisted of recordings due to the pandemic. Rickard said he was excited to be back to an in-person setting for the event and to watch the participants launch themselves down the path of engineering.

“Because these are finalists, [the robots] are always good,” Rickard said. “They are always entertaining. It is fun to see what was in the [students'] minds. This is the finale of 101, and now they got a taste of engineering. For the ones at the event, I think they are probably confirming their academic and life career choice.”

Contact CBU Marketing and Communication

Vice President for Marketing and Communication:
Angela Meluski

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504