BCTC students create robot



By Colleen Kochensparger

[email protected]

It may not exactly be WALL-E or a storm trooper, but the mere two and a half months that went into the creation of Rover, a four-wheeled robot designed and created by Bluegrass Community and Technical College students, paid off.

The BCTC Computer and Technology Club presented their self-designed, self-created, four-wheeled robot Rover in the lobby of the Oswald Building on Cooper Campus on Oct. 25.

“(Rover) is a four-wheeled motorized vehicle that has a self-leveling platform,” said Mark Simonds, club president and BCTC sophomore. “If he goes up and down a hill, the object (he’s carrying) stays still.”

The Computer and Technology Club, said Public Relations Specialist Courtney Daniel, is a new part of the BCTC list of extracurriculars, working with students of varying majors to apply what they’ve learned in textbooks to real-life situations.

Robert Chirwa helped the club through its rocky origins, establishing officer positions, helping draft a mission statement and testing Rover by posting the initial invitations to meetings, writing the constitution and helping students with the actual programming.

“He is pretty much (steered) like a remote control car,” said Lincoln Hays, BCTC sophomore and software engineering major.

Rover is “controlled by a joystick that we built ourselves (with an) LCD display screen (and) parts from a Wii remote,” Hays said. This allows Rover to be controlled by tilting the control itself or from the joystick for various functions.

The LCD screen informs controllers what mode the wheels are in — parallel, slightly angled to turn Rover in a circle or turned at a 90-degree angle.

Despite the eight-person club membership, students with a wide variety of degrees lent their expertise to the first project of the semester-old group; networking experts, hardware students, software undergrads and electrical engineering students all came together in the creation of Rover.

The Computer and Technology Club’s main purpose “is to further the knowledge of the students and help apply that knowledge to projects,” Simonds said.