On April 26th, 2016, students in Dr. Alexander Ferworn’s robotics course took their final exam in the lobby of the Student Learning Center. Their final exam was not a written exam, but rather a showcase and examination of the students’ innovative robots and its ability to traverse through a tunnel maze.
Prof. Jean Li provided the impetus for the venture. Because she presented the problem, Ryerson is now the only place in the world to have prototypes capable of addressing the problem of looter tunnel inspection at the dig site in Egypt. No two robots bore any resemblance to another — being made of all manner of “stuff” including coffee cups, custom machined gear trains, Popsicle sticks, Lego, string, Arduino boards, raspberry pie, laser range finders, sonar, random computation and many many feet of duct tape. Average construction cost were $150/robot and the Busa Dig test environment expending $200 covered by MDM and Computer Science. Media coverage was provided by Discovery, and CTV. The “Tech Correspondent” from Daily Planet, Lucas Cochran, actually stopped pretending to assist the students and actually started assisting them by repairing damage to the Busa Dig so that the teams could continue. Their crew provided 4 additional GoPro cameras for the event.