The invention of mechanical robots revolutionized the market in 1954. Now, robots are shaping the mechanical engineering program here at Snow College.
The first mechanical robot ever built, named the Unimate, was engineered by a man named George Devol. It was designed to lift pieces of hot metal from die casting machines for General Motors in 1961. It was a big breakthrough at the time, but technology has advanced a long way since then.
Now, college students can build their own robots by simply taking certain engineering courses, like the Engineering 1000 course that is provided by Snow. Students aren’t required to buy their own equipment for this class—Snow College provides kits for making robots, which students return at the end of the semester.
Ryan Richens and Hunter Fowles are partaking in the Engineering 1000 course this semester. They have built and programmed their own robot, which can move across floor tiles and sense the assorted colors it’s driving over. It can follow a path, go around a colored tube, and come back to the engineers. It can also drop a ball out of a basket it has attached to it. They have been working on this robot as part of their lab for at least a month.
“It’s just really cool to see how you can program a robot to do something, and it will do all that you tell it to do on its own,” said Fowles, a sophomore.
“Programming is easy, and it’s fun to watch the robot go,” said Richens, a freshman, “It’s fun to learn about different aspects of engineering. I wish we could do different stuff in the class.”
There are many competitions that go on for those who are building robots outside of class, too. One of them, hosted by Snow, is the Vex Robotics Competition, which will take place at the Greenwood Student Center on December 2nd.
There are many other subdivisions of engineering besides mechanical. Go to snow.edu/academics/science_math/engineering and explore the vast variety that the college provides.