Engineers Code and Build Robots in Mechatronics

Teams of Engineering students spent the fall semester building robots to complete more and more complicated tasks.

Engineering student repairs robot with help from Professor
By Justin Wilder

BRISTOL, R.I. - The idea of building a robot is equally exciting and overwhelming. Complex circuitry and wiring, layered commands and objectives. But robots are awesome, so how do we start?

Students in engineering Professor Matthew Stien’s Mechatronics class began with small steps. “We started out milestone by milestone, first making a sensor beep,” said Brett Leonard, an RWU senior studying mechanical engineering. Through gradual learning exercises, Leonard and his partner, senior mechanical engineering student Abdulmalik Khayyat, built a foundation in coding before assembling their robot.

“We laser cut all the acrylic, coded everything and did all the electrical wiring with the help of our professor,” said Leonard.

When it came time to run the final task, a layered collection and delivery of different objects to different locations, Olivia Ryan and Cole Foster’s bot performed best.

“For the last milestone, two weeks ago, we already had everything we needed and it worked, so it was just about improving little things,” said Foster, an RWU senior double majoring in electrical engineering and applied mathematics.

During their final run, the solder on one of Leonard and Khayyat’s robot's sensors came undone. Through diagnostics and problem solving, the team was able to take their robot apart and correct the error with enough time left in class to complete their final run.