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New organization gives engineering students opportunity to work, compete with robotics

September 13, 2012

NIU Robotics ClubNIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology soon will have a new robotics club.

The first meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, in Room 253 (the Acoustics and Vibrations Lab) of the Engineering Building.

Junior electrical engineering major Ryan Riddel hatched the concept for the club when he noticed that NIU did not have another club that catered to students interested in robotics. The idea came to him during his freshman year.

“I got the idea in my Intro to Engineering course. I realized there was a need, so this past summer I raised money from local businesses,” Riddel said.

Riddel plans to incorporate STEM Outreach into his plan for the new club. He plans to have a booth at STEMfest, where high school robotics clubs can learn more about collegiate competition in robotics.

NIU’s robotics team also will be in competition with other Midwest colleges such as Valparaiso and University of Illinois.

The club is open to all majors, as robotics incorporates a variety of skills. Those skills include making circuits, calculating paths, orientation, friction and force, as well as the actual creation of the frame and appendages of the robots themselves.

“I’m interested in robotics because I think that the field is reaching a critical point where all kinds of new opportunities are arising,” Riddel said. “I want NIU to be on the cutting edge of robotics technology.”

Mechanical engineering professor Abhijit Gupta is serving as faculty adviser.

For more information, email [email protected].