The Loyola Robotics club has started a VEX U team to build a design a robot to compete against other college teams from across the United States. Students develop problem solving, communication, teamwork, and leadership skills while also having fun in designing and building their robot.
Students also develop important coding skills as they program an ARM Cortex processor, the electronic brains of the robot. They are using a programming language called RobotC, which is similar in structure and syntax to the language C used by professional software and computer engineers.
First year engineering student Emily Dexter-Thornton was instrumental in bringing a vision for a VEX U team to Loyola. She credits her involvement for three years with VEX Robotics in high school with creating an interest in studying for a STEAM-based (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) career. She notes:
“By working with students with many different backgrounds and interests, VEX gave me a great appreciation for all the different talents and skills needed. The mission of our robotics club is to bring as many students with varying majors together to recognize that there is unity in diversity. We need engineering majors, computer science majors, business majors, and people from many more disciplines for our team and club to flourish. Robotics encourages innovation and creativity needed to overcome the challenges at hand, and eventually to look beyond what is in front of us to become proactive and thrive in the real world.”
The team plans to enter their first competition, a state-wide tournament at the beginning of the Spring 2017 semester, which provides an opportunity to qualify for the VEX U World Championships in April.
The mission of the Robotics Club is to encourage students and faculty to discuss, prototype, and test robots that they choose to create on their own or with others. The club is mentored by Dr. David Hoe in the Engineering department and Dr. Roger Eastman in the Computer Science department. All are welcome to take part in the club and no experience in robotics is necessary.