One Robot, Five Events: Robot Pentathlon Challenges Student Competitors at IMECE 2017

Dec. 8, 2017

The team from India Institute of Technology Bombay was the winner of the first prize at the 2017 ASME Student Design Competition Finals in Tampa, Fla., on Nov. 5.

Hitting golf balls, scaling a set of sharp stair steps, and sprinting to the finish line — the 2017 ASME Student Design Competition Finals held Nov. 5 at the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE) in Tampa, Fla., had robots figuratively sweating through their paces. Teams of finalists who had competed earlier in the year at ASME E-Fest regional Student Design Competition (SDC) events held in India and the United States were invited to compete in the SDC Finals, a robotic pentathlon that featured five events.

One highlight of the competition’s final round was the performance of the team from India Institute of Technology Bombay during the sprint event, in which the team’s robot finished the 10-meter race in an amazing 4 seconds — far and away the fastest sprint performance of the day. The team, who also performed impressively in the competition’s other events, was named the overall winner of the SDC finals, receiving the $3,000 first prize. The pentathlon also encompassed activities in which robots had to lift a weight as high as possible, propel a tennis ball across a room, climb a set of three steps, and hit a golf ball as far they could.

Two teams from the University of Mississippi —Ole Miss Red (left) and Ole Miss Blue — placed second and third, respectively, at the Student Design Competition Finals.

Two teams from the University of Mississippi, who had previously placed first and second at the competition at E-Fest East at Tennessee Tech University in April, rounded out the top three at the SDC finals when the scores were tallied. One of the teams, called Ole Miss Red, took home the $1,000 second-place prize at the finals at IMECE, while the other team, Ole Miss Blue, received the $500 third prize.

“As we look forward in planning Student Design Competition challenges, we want to fully maximize the opportunity presented by holding these competitions at ASME E-Fest events,” said Kevin Schmaltz, chair of the ASME Student Design Competition Committee. The 2017 Robotic Pentathlon and recently announced 2018 SDC challenge, “Robot Football,” aim to celebrate student design, creativity, and innovation. Read more about the 2018 “Robot Football” challenge here.

Teammates Eli Shuette (left) and Jonathan Brown from Ole Miss Blue ready their entry for the Student Design Competition Finals. The team placed third overall.

In other student competition news from IMECE 2017, four ASME student members were named prize winners at the ASME Old Guard 61st Annual Oral Competition Finals, which was held on Nov. 4. The competition is designed to emphasize the value the ability to deliver clear, concise and effective verbal presentations, particularly pertaining to some sphere in which an engineer is or should be involved. Students who participated at the finals at IMECE advanced from the regional Old Guard Competitions, which were held at the three E-Fests in March and April.

Kyle Hunter of the University of South Florida won first prize in the competition and earned an Innovation Recognition award for his presentation, “Future of Gradient Materials.” He received $2,000 for placing first at the finals and $250 for winning the Innovation Recognition award.

The participants at the Old Guard 61st Annual Oral Competition Finals at IMECE 2017: (Left to right) Vibhu Baibhav, a contestant from India Institute of Technology Roorkee; fourth-prize winner Aliva Dash of the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela; second-prize winner James Caputo of Virginia Tech; first-prize winner Kyle Hunter from the University of South Florida; third-prize winner Kyle Smith from San Jose State University; and Dennis A. Armstrong, chair of the Old Guard Committee.

James Caputo of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University won the second-place prize and $1,500 for his presentation “High Powered Ankle-Knee Prosthetic Leg for Transfermoral Amputees.”  Kyle Smith of San Jose State University placed third in the competition, and took home $1,000, for his presentation “Consumer Oriented Robotics.” Aliva Dash of the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, in India, came in fourth at the finals and received $500 for the presentation “Additive Manufacturing — A Herald of Modern Fabrication.

Details on the 2018 Student Design Competition, the Old Guard Competition and future ASME E-Fest dates can be found at