University of Minnesota Robot Show mixes machines and imagination

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With more than 200 robots on display, the University of Minnesota Robot Show shed light on where imagination meets machine.

Students in the Introduction to Engineering course spent seven weeks designing a computer-controlled robot with one goal: to do something interesting. 

"So right here we got the Baller Bot 3000. You know, being in college, it's like a ping pong ball and cups and it just seems to be a common theme around here on the weekends," said Joe Pfaffinger, a U of M sophomore. 

The machines had to have one moving part and perform for up to one minute.

"What they’re learning most importantly is how to think about creating a machine,” said Will Durfee, Director of Design Education Department of Mechanical Engineering. “So the ones you see here may not be used, but the process that they’re going through is exactly the same as when you are designing a robot to do a daily task for something that is out on the market."

Among the machines were a Jello slicer, can crusher and a page-turner.

"We were all just given this loose idea to just build a robot and, you know, 200 different engineers, we all came up with some really different ideas on that," said Nicole Reber, a U of M sophomore.