Pewaukee, WI,
14:57 PM

Students create tic-tac-toe playing robot for exhibit at Discovery World

Discovery World and Rockwell Automation Inc. recently unveiled an enhanced Rockwell Automation Dream Machine exhibit created by WCTC Automation Systems Technology (AST) students as part of their senior project.

The exhibit features Gladys – a tic-tac-toe playing Fanuc M-430iA sorting robot programmed and prepped for integration by students. In addition, WCTC Metal Fabrication/Welding and CNC and Machine Tool students manufactured the tic-tac-toe boards and ball return chutes.

The exhibit is designed to inspire children to explore careers in engineering and automation. While the majority of M-430iA sorting robots are designed to work in factories on assembly lines, Gladys has been chosen for a life of fun and games at Discovery World. Powered by a Rockwell Automation Programmable Controller (PAC), Gladys can see, recognize, and track objects while playing two games of tic-tac-toe simultaneously.

Along with Gladys, the second-phase of the project will showcase Gary – an M1iA high speed sorting robot capable of sorting 64 balls into user selected patterns with the push of a button. All programming was completed by WCTC students and the interactive display will be integrated into the Dream Machine exhibit in cooperation with students, Rockwell Automation engineers, and Discovery World exhibit staff.

For aspiring engineers such as Dan Parry, this program allowed WCTC students to hone important skillsets that will bolster their resumes and ultimately bridge the skills gap for local companies like Rockwell Automation.

“This project has given me a look into how projects like this are handled in the real world,” said Parry, an Automation Systems Technology student from Menomonee Falls. “Working with Discovery World has given me a taste of how to work with a customer and handle situations such as design changes on the fly. Working with Rockwell has given all the students the opportunity to work with a leader in automation and work hand-in-hand on coding and troubleshooting, and allowed us to get guidance from the experts in the field we are hoping to break into.”