Eastern’s robotic team places second in national competition


Submitted Photo

Eastern’s Robotic Team #2 won second place in the Sumo Robot Contest at the National Robotics Competitions on April 7 to April 9 in Marion, Ohio. Pictured from left to right, is Wutthigrai Boonsuk, an advisor of the robotics teams and associate professor in the School of Technology, Jason Duhamell, Team #1’s team captain and a management information systems major, Ian Centers, Team #2’s team captain and a engineering technology major, Aleigh Crowder, member of Team #2 and a biological sciences major, Srilekha Poli, member of Team #2 and a technology major, Sri Sai Balu Rocharla, a member of Team #1 and a technology major, and Toqueer Israr, an advisor of the robotics teams and an associate professor in the School of Technology.

Cam'ron Hardy, Campus Reporter

Eastern’s robotics team participated in the National Robotics Competition in Marion, Ohio, where they placed second overall in one of two competitions from April 7 to April 9. 

The team competed in a Micromouse Contest and a Sumo Robot Contest. 

It was in the Sumo Robot Contest where Eastern’s Robotic Team #2 placed second.

The Sumo Robot competition consists of two robots; each built by an individual team, in a square area, attempting to push the other robot outside of the area.  

The robots are autonomous and have to use sensors to push the other robot outside of the area.  

The Micromouse Contest was competed in by Eastern’s Robotic Team #1.

The Micromouse Contest consists of a 10 feet by 10 feet maze where robots that each team builds start in a corner of the maze. 

The robot must move to the middle of the maze, with minor knowledge of the architecture of the maze.  

The robot was also autonomous, and it must complete the maze within 10 minutes.  

The team did not place in this competition. 

Toqeer Israr, an associate professor in Eastern’s school of technology, and Wutthigrai Boonsuk, an associate professor in the school of technology, are the advisors of the robotics team. 

Preparing the robots took about two months, according to Israr. The students started working on the robots in the latter half of January and competed in the first week of April.

“There are some challenges [throughout the building process], especially the time that we have and to schedule the time with the students,” Boonsuk said.  

The last time the robotics team won a competition was in 2018, in another maze-type competition.  

Due to the pandemic, a lot of establishments have been shut down, but now with the decrease in rates, places are starting to open back up. 

This is the first year for this competition since the pandemic started.  

“It was a wonderful experience,” Israr said, referring to coming back to compete. “We get to mentor a new set of students, and it’s amazing.”  

“[To be able to come back and compete] It felt exhilarating,” Israr said. “It felt that we are doing something right. It was a beautiful moment of pride that our students are able to accomplish so much.” 

This was the team’s first year participating in the Sumo-Robot Contest. 

Israr and Boonsuk acknowledged the help and support that they had throughout the process.  

“Administration supports us, there’s a big thanks to them; the [Lumpkin College of Business and Technology] and our deans,” Israr said. 

“For the building part, we have to say thank you to the production lab in the School of Technology because the [graduate assistant] in there; he also helped with the building of the robot,” Boonsuk said.   

The team is already preparing for next year’s competition.  

As of right now, Israr and Ian Centers, Team #2 captain and an engineer technology major, are planning on working over the summer, but do not want to get too far into it since it is a team effort.  

Israr said he and Boonsuk like to allow the students to work amongst each other.  

“At the end of the day, it’s a student-led project, so we do not like to micromanage, and we like to empower the student,” Israr said.

Student members of Team #1 in the Micromouse Contest: Jason Duhamell (the team captain and a management information systems major), Sri Sai Balu Rocharla, a technology major, and Breydon Brennan, a computer and information technology major. 

Student members of Team #2 in the Sumo-Robot Contest: Centers, Aleigh Crowder (a biological sciences major), Caden Miller, a technology major, and Srilekha Poli, a technology major.  


Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].