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Local student on winning Virginia Tech robotics team

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Members of the Virginia Tech Collegiate Aerial Robotics Demonstration team include, from left, Kevin Hetzer, Brad Edelin, Josh Eddy, Bryan Yanchulis, Tyler Clark, Brian Wright, Wesley Edge, Billy Greer, Wes Holland of Middlesex, and Tim Kurtiak. All are sophomores within the College of Engineering. (Photo courtesy Collegiate Aerial Robotics Exhibition.)

A team of Virginia Tech College of Engineering students won first place at the April 2013 Collegiate Aerial Robotics Exhibition held in Milwaukee, Wis., dominating a sporting-like competition where unmanned model-sized quad copters and ground-based robots collected and launched tennis balls at set targets.

The team fielded both a ground robot and an aerial robot, with each match requiring the robots to pick tennis balls off the ground and then fire them into five towers of varying height with holes cut into the sides and tops. The ground robot fired balls into the side openings, and the aerial robot scored by dropping balls into the towers from above.

The team won six of their nine matches with the robots, both designed and self-built by the students.

The 14-member Hokie team is comprised of sophomore engineers, several of whom earlier competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition, an international high-school design challenge. The Collegiate Aerial Robotics competition was launched in 2010, and this year hosted by Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Virginia Tech was the only team in competition to design robots that could successfully reload tennis balls during the match. The team also was the first to break 100 points in a match, going on to repeat that performance during three more matches and setting the high score for the day.

posted 05.08.2013

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