Robotics Exhibition returns to campus

Whitney Allen

The 15th annual Kentucky Bluegrass Robotics Competition hosted by the WKU engineering department will take place this weekend in the Engineering and Biological Sciences building on campus. 

Approximately 15 teams of high school students will compete with robots they’ve prepared over the past two months. 

The engineering department provides basic parts for the robot in early September. The students have until the competition to complete the robot.

Engineering professor Kevin Schmaltz is one of the coordinators of the competition. Schmaltz said this competition is an affordable way for local students to experience engineering first hand.

“What I like about this is we can provide a pretty economical experience,” Schmaltz said. 

Schmaltz said this provides a great local opportunity for students who wouldn’t have access to larger robotics competitions.

This year’s theme is natural disasters. The teams will build a robot that could provide relief aid during a natural disaster.

The robot has to ascend a ramp, go through a pit of gravel and climb three steps, all while carrying rice. The robot that is the most cost efficient and can complete the task at hand the most efficiently wins.

Engineering student and Muhlenberg County senior Ben Arnold helped organize this year’s competition. Arnold hopes this competition will help people to understand this aspect of engineering. 

“I think engineering is kind of a misunderstood field,” he said. “This gives a little insight into one little fraction of what we can achieve.”

This weekend, students will gain a concrete insight into the engineering field. Schmaltz and Arnold both hope this will encourage students to pursue engineering.

“Maybe it will inspire some kids to seek out engineering,” Arnold said.