When the Rocky Point Middle School Radical Robotix team came to Stony Brook to thank the University for its sponsorship, it got something in return — an inside look at the Rockwell Automation Anorad Mechatronics and Manufacturing Automation Laboratory in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
With Stony Brook’s support, the Radical Robotix team was able to participate in the Lego League World competition held in St. Louis, Missouri, last spring. The team finished in first place in a field of roughly 80 competitors in the Long Island Regionals for its project “MediWatch,” a wrist monitor that uses wireless technology to communicate with a countertop appliance to dispense medications automatically and track vital signs in patients. That victory earned it an invitation to the world competition.
To show its appreciation, the team, along with its head coach Mark Moorman, a Stony Brook Mechanical Engineering alum, presented a plaque to the University, which was accepted by Vice President for External Relations Elaine Crosson. Then the group of 15 middle schoolers, coaches and six parents were treated to a tour of the Rockwell Automation Anorad Mechatronics and Manufacturing Automation Laboratory by Noah Machtay, PhD, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and manager of the lab.
The first stop on the tour was to see the Stony Brook Motorsports car, parked just outside the lab. The group had the opportunity to sit in the driver’s seat, while Machtay explained that students in his class build and compete with these cars every semester. He answered questions about how the car functions, including whether the students had built the pistons and if the cars ever crashed.
Afterward, the group then proceeded to the lab for some hands-on learning. The students were asked to assess and critique 10 Lego robots built by Machtay’s class expressly for them. Machtay challenged the students to find the best design based on what they knew about how robots should work. Next they looked at how sensors in robots and a rotor in a helicopter are used. “Engineering makes everything work together. An engineer solves problems,” Machtay told the students.
Machtay encouraged the team to continue building as future engineers and to learn the language of engineering, adding that “mathematics is the language for engineering.”
“Being in the lab was an awesome experience. We got to do and see a lot of cool things. This is the field of engineering I want to study one day,” said eighth-grader Kyle Markland.
— Joan Dickinson