Robot Show highlights more than 200 unique machines designed by U of M engineering students

The Robot Show is the largest of event of its kind in the Twin Cities

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (12/08/2022)—A shoe cleaner, a t-shirt folder, and a Rubik’s Cube scrambler will be among more than 200 machines on display at the University of Minnesota Robot Show Monday, Dec. 12, 2:30-4:30 p.m., McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak St. S.E., Minneapolis.

The walk-through show is the largest collection of robots assembled in one place in the Twin Cities. The event is free and open to the public and suitable for all ages.

The show is the culmination of six weeks of work by University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering students in the Introduction to Engineering class. Their objective—to create a computer-controlled machine that “does something interesting and useful.” 

“Students learn by doing. It is one thing to design a product on a computer, but engineers also need to build and test prototypes to see if their design actually works,” said William Durfee, University of Minnesota mechanical engineering professor and director of engineering design education. “This project prepares students to be better designers, ready to find solutions to complex problems that require multiple types of engineering in their solutions.”

The robots must act for no more than 60 seconds and have at least one moving part, but it is up to the students to determine what their unique machine does, whether that be shuffling a deck of cards, screwing in a light bulb, or crushing a can. Students received a small kit of parts (a small computer, motor, battery, and some electronics) and could add no more than $60 worth of their own materials.

For more information on the event, visit the Robot Show webpage.