News • April 27, 2021

Engineering students demonstrate their robotic creations

Riverside, Calif. (April 26, 2021) – Teams of freshmen at California Baptist University spent the semester constructing robots that raced against each other in the Engineering Design Competition held on April 22.

The participants, who were enrolled in Introduction to Engineering Design (EGR102), cheered as their robots moved across the table in an attempt to collect and deposit orbs.

“We went into this competition wanting to win,” said Gavin Boone, a biomedical engineering freshman. “We had a lot of testing time. We thought we had a good chance.”

His team, EZ Money, succeeded in its effort, winning the event hosted by the Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering. Teammates were Emanuel Ahumada, Chris Althausen, Tyler Bagwill, Elijah Brown, Gianna Gonzales, Syedah Khawar, Ryan Miller, Angela Rodriguez, Mariam Samir, Bernice Sanchez, Eric Schmidt, Jared Shea and Hayden Zielinski.

The annual competition, held in the Dennis and Carol Troesh Engineering Building, was limited to the participating students and faculty. The livestreamed event was part of the college’s 2021 Design Showcase, which also included junior design projects and senior capstone projects.

Dr. Mark Gordon, associate professor of biomedical engineering, said the experience teaches students the design process.

“We try to teach them that they need to brainstorm a lot,” Gordon said. “Brainstorm from a big picture all the way down to the small components they need to use. Then they need to test and do a lot of iterations on it.”

Designing included a cardboard mockup, then laser-cut foam and 3D printing, and finally acrylic and more 3D printing, Gordon said. Students built robots that collected data remotely via sensors. Teams then used that data to collect orbs of varying values while minimizing energy, cost and time.

Boone said the biggest challenge was the gearbox, which his team had to build several times. The team also learned complicated bots are not always better.

“Simple is the way to go,” Boone said. “I have some friends who have some complicated bots and put in way more time than we did. Our bot worked and it worked well.”

Teammate Syedah Khawar, a chemical engineering freshman, said she learned how to collaborate with her team members.

“I also learned to share crazy ideas,” Khawar said. “We all contributed equally, so I feel that the one thing I learned is that you should share every idea that you have because you never know how beneficial it’s going to be to your group.”