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Freshman Engineering Students Take to the Annual Bot-Battlefield

MONDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2017 - 2:02 PM Engineering , All News
  • FIRST PLACE Team: Kyle Marin, Nathan Blain, John Sasso, Paul Santandrea

On Friday, December 8, the much anticipated Western New England University annual freshmen robotics competition was moved to Rivers Memorial Hall, to accommodate additional audience and more elaborate robot challenges. Nearly 300 students, family members, and faculty advisors were inspired as they watched the often boisterous competition. Forty-three student teams had a goal to design and build multiple, autonomous, multitasking robots to compete against other teams.

The Minesweeper challenge required the students to build and  pre-program a robot to carry out set tasks, which could not be manually operated through a radio-linked controller. Another challenge, the Bot-Battle Court, required their robot to be remotely operated by a student with a radio-linked controller. The robot operator's skill was key to their success. Senior engineering students served as judges, timekeepers, competition coordinators, and evaluated the design quality. They also assisted the freshman students when needed.

As in past years, the open-ended nature of the design assignments, and the variety of different ways to score points, led to a wide range of strategies and designs spanning from snow-plow apparatus, large brushes, shovel scoops, expandable blockade accessories and more.

“The robot competition was an intense experience. It helped us to understand and prepare for the pressures we’ll encounter after we graduate with an engineering degree,” said John Sasso from the First Place team. “Our team was a great combination of student with different skills and the best knowledge in different subjects, so it all combined really well. By the end of the semester we were like a family,” added Sasso.

Each team also presented their robot design schematics and explained the process they employed to create the robot prototype, to a panel of senior student judges. The winning teams in each category and the overall competition, were presented with certificates during an awards ceremony at the end of the competition.

"Intro to Engineering was the highlight of my first semester. I made great new friends that I’ll keep for the rest of my time here at Western New England,” remarked Paul Santandrea from the First Place team. The competition challenges were a fun and exciting way to end the semester, and get ready for final exams."

Awards were presented in three categories of competition that each team was required to participate in; Minesweeper, Bot-Ball, and Design Aesthetics. An awards was also presented for for the overall highest combined team score.

View more photos of the competition and the teams.

Overall Highest Combined Score
1st Place - Team 55: Kyle Marin, Nathan Blain, John Sasso, Paul Santandrea
2nd Place - Team 135: Ryan Borges, Aaron Lamar, Adam Razza, Eduard Usatyy
3rd Place - Team  71: Nicholas Hoffmann, Rockland Puzo, Emmanuella Brempong, Maya Wilk

Minesweeper Challenge
1st Place - Team 112:  Gabriel Fletcher, Joe Wetzel, Wojciech Kochanczyk, Alayna Colbert
2nd Place - Team 15:  Tyler LaFreniere, Jacob Eberli, Noah Palmer, Rebekah
3rd Place - Team  55:  Kyle Marin, Nathan Blain, John Sasso, Paul Santandrea

Bot-Ball Challenge
1st Place – Team 55:  Kyle Marin, Nathan Blain, John Sasso, Paul Santandrea
2nd Place – Team 13: Jarrod Coletta, Andrew Masullo, Hailey McDonnell, Kevin Lysak
3rd Place - Team 96: Nigel Baldwin, Christopher Conicelli, Phil Tobin

Design Aesthetics
1st Place – Team 14: Austen Metsack,  Rebecca Shannon, Emily Cooney, Winston Hendricks
2nd Place – Team 11: Megan James, Emilie Decker, Matt Gaboriault, Chris Soto Feliciano, Matt Grozier
3rd Place - Team  33: Austin Gona, Brendan Meyers, Austin Carman, Brett Autrey

View more information about the freshman engineering program.