Students create robots, prepare for competition



Tess Cottom

Students in a robotics course at Kent State are collaborating with the university’s Robotics Team in preparation for upcoming competitions.

Graduate computer science student Mehdi Ghayoumi teaches the course where he guides students in building their robots

“In the class, I try to give ideas to the students, and then I try to encourage them to achieve their dream,” Ghayoumi said. “All of these robots can be programmed by the students, but a new idea is important.”

The students have three competitions they are competing in this school year, including the NASA Robotic Mining Competition taking place in May.

Students in the course work on different projects depending on their interests. Maryam Pourebadi, a computer science graduate student, is working on making the robots in the competitions function by themselves.

“We’ve implemented different algorithms and analyzed them in terms of how long the robot takes to get to its goal,” Pourebadi said. “We are trying to get as many autonomous points as we can to win the competition.”

Another group of students, including freshman computer science major Kelvin Mendes Itaboray, are working on making the robots move in a certain direction autonomously.

In addition to working on robots for competition, students in the course also develop robots based on their own ideas that will display in the Mathematics and Computer Science Building Dec. 3.

“I’m working on a robot that has emotion,” Ghayoumi said. “Going to emotion is very complicated, I understand, but there is a big difference between human emotions and robot emotions.”

The robot will be able to recognize people it has seen before, as well as interact and recognize human emotions, Ghayoumi said.

Pourebadi is working on implementing emotions into robots as well.

“First, we have to understand how humans think, and then we teach robots how to think like them,” Pourebadi said. “We are the ones who create it, and then we teach it how to behave.”

Ghayoumi encourages his students to think of their own unique ideas and develop them as they wish.

“We want to win, and we will try to achieve it the best we can, but our experience in the class is already worth it,” Itaboray said.

Tess Cottom is the technology reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].