Blinn engineering students use robots in stimulated disaster areas

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX)- On Wednesday morning, seventy-five Blinn College engineering students constructed remote-controlled robots attached with cameras. The students were separated into fifteen teams as they tried to master an obstacle course set up like a disaster zone.

"We are acting like there has been a chemical spill, and the place is not safe for humans. The students are constructing their robots, collecting data inside the room, and bringing their data and robots back to safety," says Jeremy Coffelt, engineering professor at Blinn.

Coffelt says the competition is similar to a real-life scenario where robots are used in areas of disaster, not safe for people.

"They are collecting all sorts of data and sending it to the 'cloud' just like people do in real disasters," says Coffelt.

The students were asked to make their robot accomplish three tasks in a timely manner.

"Once they've isolated the problem, they return their robots back to safety and then who ever is collecting this information and can then make an informed decision to try to deal with the problem," said

Building the robots, collecting temperature data, and performing live video feeds, are just a few examples of the advanced technical that the students worked on throughout the morning and throughout the semester.

"I am very proud of these students--they have done everything correctly and continue to amaze me, especially since, at this level of difficulty, it takes a lot of knowledge and quick thinking to figure out the problems, and then go and fix them," said Coffelt.

The project was part of the student's grade for their engineering course.