University of Vermont

UVM students create robots

Release Date: 01-18-2010

Author: Dawn Densmore

Students in CS195 are anything but bored! Taught by Senior Lecturer Jackie Horton in the UVM CEMS Department of Computer Science, the students were very successful this fall in designing, building and programming robots — even creating action videos that are both entertaining and educational.

  • Mindstorms Strikeout Baseball Mindstorms Strikeout Baseball
    Mark Cooper, Shawn Bonneau and Mike Wheeler had fun implementing a baseball game that uses two independent Lego Mindstorm bricks — one for the pitcher, one for the batter.
  • Egg-Sorting Robot Egg-Sorting Robot
    Chris Swanson, Wiliam Purcell and Jorge Logan Arias explored factory automation with their egg sorter.
  • NXJ Piano Player NXJ Piano Player
    Bernadette Gill, Noah White-Hammerslough and Al Harnisch taught their Lego Mindstorm to play the keyboard.
  • RecycleBot RecycleBot
    Austin Emmons, Borja Garcia Sanchez and Naomi Pollica created a robot that sorts recyclables.
  • Rover Rover
    Ron Magnuson, Phil Plourde and Evan Selleck created a robot that is controlled using a Wii remote and wireless internet signals; both the robot and the controlling computer have webcams.

Supplies for the robot projects were provided in part by Dr Josh Bongard, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. Known nationally and internationally for his cutting-edge research in self-healing robotics, Bongard has received several prestigious and highly competitive awards for his work.

Bongard believes evolutionary algorithms and robotics show great promise as integrated design and modeling tools, and that conducting integrated design and modeling is useful in other domains such as Complex Systems. "My accolades to Horton and these students," says Bongard. "Evolutionary algorithms and robotics are just in their infancy."

For more information about CS195, contact Jackie Horton at