Robotics Innovations Competition and Conference (RICC): Building community between academia and industry through a university-level student competition

Richard Beach, Michael Gennert, William Michalson, James Van De Ven, Taskin Padir, Gretar Tryggvason, Gregory Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

While robotics competitions exist at the K-12 and university levels, these are notably based on games with a fixed set of rules. We believe that existing competitive games do not suffice, and what is needed is a competition that emphasizes the engineering of solutions to open-ended real-world problems inviting creativity and innovation. Therefore, we developed a Robotics Innovations Competition and Conference (RICC) to build an intercollegiate and multidisciplinary community of students, faculty, and industry promoting the education of entrepreneurially-oriented robotics engineering students. The first regional competition and conference was held at Worcester Polytechnic Institute November 7-8, 2009. The competition challenged students to design and build robots to perform useful and novel tasks through a university-level competition, with the theme of "improving the quality of life" chosen for the 2009 event. Entrants were judged primarily on the extent to which they innovated and met existing needs or created new markets with regard to the theme, and secondarily with respect to design and analysis, implementation skill, and business plans. RICC accomplishments included: a) an RICC website which had over 139500 accesses, b) a social networking site which added a significant number of competing team member participants, c) 14 university teams registered to compete from as far away as Egypt and Mexico, highlighting the international aspect of the community building effort, d) Steering Committee formation involving robotics industry members and university faculty, e) several student projects on social aspects of the RICC, f) setting the format and schedule for the conference, g) refining the competition format and scoring rubric, h) holding the First Annual 2009 RICC, i) conducting a survey of RICC attendees and assessing the results. We report on the extent to which the competition and conference achieved four major goals: (1) stimulating students to imagine new robotics applications and encourage them to develop their ideas into working prototypes; (2) bringing student work to the attention of industry leaders who may see opportunities to further develop the students' ideas and providing a forum where the students can meet with industry representatives to learn about needs and new problems; (3) generating increased support for science and engineering nationwide by raising awareness of the roles of science and engineering in technical progress; (4) creating a new forum for educators from many institutions to share their successful ideas for curricular and project content related to innovative robotics applications, thus speeding the growth of this new and important field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Event2010 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Louisville, KY, United States
Duration: Jun 20 2010Jun 23 2010

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