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Student Team Places Third in Regional Robotics Competition

May 5, 2006

A three-student team from The University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Engineering successfully competed with more than 30 larger teams in a challenge sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Electrical Engineering seniors Brian Hendryx and Reginald Golightly and Computer Science & Engineering junior Chris McMurrough built a robot that navigated a virtual warehouse, identifying and gathering containers of different colors and placing the containers in appropriate locations.

The competition involved teams from universities in the IEEE’s Region 5, which encompasses states in the central U.S. Teams from more than 20 universities participated in the competition held at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

“We were certainly the underdog,” said Hendryx. “This was the first year a team from UT Arlington entered the competition. There were three of us, going against teams that had been there before and had as many as 12 members on their teams.”

The UT Arlington team members spent about $1,000 out of their own pockets for parts for the robot and are receiving no course credit for their efforts. But they aren’t complaining. “This is a good mix of engineering disciplines,” said Golightly. “For instance, we’ve run into a bunch of mechanical engineering problems to solve and we’re developing time management skills. It also shows potential employers that we have a lot of initiative.”

Though Hendryx and Golightly will be graduating and leaving the team this semester, McMurrough has high hopes for developing another winning team next year. “We learned from our mistakes this year and will have a better robot,” said McMurrough. “We’ll also have a faculty advisor next year and, hopefully, some sponsors. I’m looking forward to competing again.”

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