Star-Spangled Defender

The objective of the 2023 ASEE Robotics Competition, held in Baltimore, Maryland, was to design and build an autonomous robot that would defend a model of Fort McHenry from the attack of British War ships and landing parties. This was accomplished by shooting 3 Nerf Rival Balls into 5 containers representing British War Ships and knocking over 4 shore assault boats made of thin acrylic sheets. Teams to raise an American flag earned bonus points.

A team of 19 committed students designed Cedarville's Star-Spangled Defender. Unlike most other years, it was not a mobile robot but only needed to pivot and rotate to accomplish its goal of hitting the various targets.

This year, we really wanted to work on speeding up the robot from previous years. In 2011 our team earned 4th place with a track time of 25 seconds. That year, first place team only took 9.5 seconds, so we knew if we were going to win we would have to speed up.

One major improvement our team made was designing a custom-printed circuit board to house the needed electronics and provide the connections, sensors, logic, and a socket for the motor controllers. This compact design kept things neat, light and reliable.

Because the overall team score was the sum of four independent runs, reliability was a high priority. In the competition, we were the only team to have a complete run, knocking down all four boats and launching at least three balls into each bin; overall we took first place in the 2023 competition.