ADA - Ohio Northern Engineering micromouse team captured third place at the Region 2 IEEE-Student Activities Conference hosted by University of West Virginia in Morgantown on April 20. Region 2 covers Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, southern New Jersey, Ohio (except Toledo), Pennsylvania, northern Virginia, and West Virginia.
In a micromouse robotics competition, teams construct an autonomous robotic "mouse" that navigates to the center of a random maze from a specified corner in the shortest amount of time possible.

The ONU team consisted of Kiel Wood, a senior computer engineering from Oak Harbor, Ohio, and Spencer Cupp, a senior electrical engineering major from Arlington, Ohio. The faculty adviser for the team is Dr. Khalid Al-Olimat, professor of electrical and computer engineering and chair of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science.

"Competing in the micromouse competition was a huge learning experience for me," said Cupp. "Being able to design the robot from scratch and actually implement it was very satisfying. When it got to the programming phase, the project was frustrating but rewarding. Finding out how difficult it was to simply move in a straight line gave me a greater appreciation for how complex that task actually is. However difficult the project may have been, I was very happy to see things fall in place and the design function well in the end."

Wood added, "As a computer engineering major, I have studied and learned a lot about different types of algorithms. While working on the micromouse project, I was able to actually implement, test, and see the results of an algorithm working alongside other software to produce clear and visible results. Seeing hardware and software integrated together in the way a micromouse design requires was a great experience for me as an engineer. Designing a micromouse was a worthwhile challenge that taught me valuable lessons about teamwork and the engineering design process."

Al-Olimat pointed out that it is in the best interest of the College of Engineering to seize every available opportunity for its students to participate in real-life engineering experiences and to be exposed to system nature of engineering. "Such exposure to and participation in this type of competition provide students the opportunity to expand their college experience beyond the classroom instructions," he said. "We are always proud of the abilities of our engineering students."