Thomasville engineering students mastering robotics

By Carolyn Drinkard
Special to The Watchman 
 Senior Minh Chau Nguyen (left) and Junior Breck Combs (right) designed, built, and programmed a remote controlled vehicle/robot with a working claw and a mount for a phone/iPod/camera. Using Skype, the engineering students were able to communicate with students in two other classes.

Senior Minh Chau Nguyen (left) and Junior Breck Combs (right) designed, built, and programmed a remote controlled vehicle/robot with a working claw and a mount for a phone/iPod/camera. Using Skype, the engineering students were able to communicate with students in two other classes.

Students in Coach Ellisor’s Principles of Engineering class have been designing their own Machine Control Systems for the last week. Junior Breck Combs and Senior Minh Chau Nguyen designed, built, and programmed a remote controlled vehicle/robot with a working claw and a mount for an iPod/phone camera. The students programmed the vehicle to travel next door to. Lucia Coleman’s classroom and across the sidewalk to Kay Larrimore’s room. The  iPod was connected to Skype, so the engineering students could visit and communicate with students and teachers in the other two classrooms without ever leaving their own room.

The students worked in teams and had options for the design. Nguyen joked that she had originally wanted to build a “pancake” robot, but she soon changed to a more traditional model. The team said that they played around to think of the best design.
“The robots are fairly easy to build, but the programming is much harder,” explained Combs. “It’s such a fun process, and it’s very rewarding. This class inspires others to learn.”
Both students plan to become engineers. Said Nguyen, “We will be using robots to do everything in the future. Technology will help us in so many ways.”
Ellisor’s classroom is filled with robots and excited students. He explained that this particular bot was one used only in the machine control class. It also performed in Open House activities for parents.