Jerry Sanders 2002 Competition Video Compilation

March 10, 2002

Engineering Design Team's Robot Advances To The Final Four!

The Engineering Design Team (EDT), composed of engineering students from
the University of Illinois at Chicago, placed 4th at the 2002 AMD Jerry
Sanders Creative Design Competition held at Urbana on March 8-9, 2002.  A
total of 16 teams from Urbana-Champaign, Wisconsin-Madison, Illinois
State, and UIC entered the competition in November 2001.  UIC's
Engineering Design Team beat eight Urbana teams and both
Wisconsin-Madison, and Illinois State teams.

The objective of the 2002 competition was to gain points by capturing
bocce balls and/or a bowling ball from the playing field and then
returning it to the team's home area. The playing field consisted of ten
bocce balls, each worth one point, and one 16-pound bowling ball, worth
ten points.  If a team were able to bring back a bocce ball to their home
area they would score a point.  However if there were capable of placing
that bocce ball on one of three pedestals in their home area, they would
earn four points.  If the bowling ball was retrieved successfully and then
placed on one of the pedestals in the team's home area, the team would
earn twenty points.   Up to three robots competed simultaneously which
created a battle for the only bowling ball available on the playing
field.  Each match would last ten minutes and contact was allowed. More
details can be found at the official competition website located at

The team, led by Max Magnelli (EE), designed and built a 145-pound robot
named Bocce Bob.  It was quickly able to travel over obstacles and up a
ramp to retrieve a sixteen-pound bowling ball and then convert on the fly
to also pick up bocce balls.  The design also allowed the team to increase
points by having the capability of placing the balls back onto pvc
pedestals in their home area.

The robot's design consisted of two parts, a tank-style drive system and a
lifter.  Zappy II motors powered the robot's drive system.  The motors
were effectively geared down to allow for maximum torque and acceleration
without neglecting top speed.  The geared down motors propelled tank-tread
drive system.  This setup allowed the robot to easily travel over
obstacles and made it possible to steer the robot by changing the speeds
and direction of the left and right motors accordingly.  All of the other
teams avoided the tank-tread design due to the fact that it is difficult
to implement, however EDT was able to get the tank drive system working
pretty well.  

The lifter was responsible for retrieving and securing the balls from the
playing field.  Its main concept was to use threaded ACME rods, propelled
by a high torque motor, to raise and lower the capturing mechanism.  The
lifter was designed to align itself around the bowling ball and its
pedestal.  This design allowed the driver (and Secretary of EDT), David
Gleason (ME), to drive up to the bowling ball and capture it without
stopping the robot.  Many of the competitors were not able to capture the
bowling ball in a continuous motion without stopping their robot.  Once
the bowling ball is captured (ten points) a team could double points by
placing the bowling ball back onto a PVC pedestal.  Sure enough, UIC's
team was able to do so!

Andrew Lock, the Vice President EDT added: "It took a lot of work by our
UIC team to get where we are at today.  We spent the entire fall semester
working on strategies and design ideas before we selected our final design
in January.  That prepared us for the building process which only took us
about a month thanks to our custom machining sponsor Stride Tool /

"Finding and securing sponsors was difficult with the current economic
conditions.  However, just when our team was about to loose hope,
Dr. Sabri Cetinkunt and UIC's Manufacturing Research Center awarded us
with funding that allowed us to purchase most of our vital components.  At
that point there was no turning around.  Our team was determined to build
a competitive robot, and did just that in only about a month."  says
William Billich, President of EDT.

Max Magnelli, Senior Advisor and Team Leader of EDT commented: "Managing
the team was like a full time job everyday even on weekends!   There was a
lot of work to do, so I tried to push the team to follow a strict
schedule.  However, our team was determined to do well at the competition
this year, so none of the members had a problem with working late or
meeting on weekends.  The difficult part was when we started building the
robot-so much to do with so little time.

We actually had the robot working pretty well about two weeks before the
competition.  At the time, our advisor, Dr. Cetinkunt, was impressed by
the robot's performance and encouraged us not to modify
anything.   However engineers like to fix things that are not broken so
sure enough, we made modifications to the robot!   We increased its speed
about 33% and added some extra functionality to our lifter.  That extra
functionality allowed us to pick up both bowling balls and bocce balls
with the same lifter and actually worked pretty well."
Engineering Design Team (EDT) was established at UIC to encourage students
of all majors to team up and gain invaluable hands on experience by
working on technical projects.  EDT's primary annual technical project is
a robotics entry in the AMD Jerry Sanders Creative Design
Competition.  This past year, EDT also sponsored an entry-level sumo-bot
competition at UIC and also mentored high school students from Roosevelt
High School on their F.I.R.S.T. robotics entry. For more information on
the Engineering Design Team, please visit their website located at  For more information on F.I.R.S.T. please visit
their website located at

Engineering Design Team members include: Arek Wdowiak (CE), Andrew Lock
(ME, EDT Vice President), Calvin Lu (CivilE, EDT Sumo Bot Co-Chair),
Cosmin Stroe (CE), David Gleason (ME, EDT Secretary), George Balaban (EE),
James Lee (EE) James Vahey (BioE, Sumo Bot Co-Chair), Jon Holmes (CE), Liz
Edwards (EE, EDT Treasurer), Max Magnelli (EE, EDT Senior Advisor,
Robotics Team Leader), Rick Esposito (ME), Shalin Gandhi (CE), Warren
Freidl III (EE), William Billich  (EE, EDT President).  Faculty advisors
include Dr. Sabri Cetinkunt, Dr. Roland Priemer, and Dr. Milos Zefran.

The achievements of EDT would not be possible without the support of their
sponsors. Many thanks to Dr. Sabri Cetinkunt and the Manufacturing
Research Center for funding a significant portion of the expenses to build
Bocce Bob. Special thanks to Guido Magnelli and Stride Tool / Imperial for
the time they spent with EDT working on the designs and modifications and
also for sourcing many parts from their industrial suppliers. They truly
turned EDT's ideas into reality.  International Truck & Engine provided
funding that allowed EDT to optimize the robot's performance.  Dean
Lawrence Kennedy and the College of Engineering funded the team's
traveling expenses.  UIC's IEEE student branch provided initial funding to
begin the research and development stage of the design.

Other contributors that EDT owe big thanks to are Zap, Battery Mart, UIC
ECE Dept., UIC Machine Shop, Texas Instruments, Sport Mart of Mount
Prospect, Revolutions of Tinley Park, D&M Electronics, Braun Consulting,
Hobby Town, Dean Kamen & F.I.R.S.T. and Roosevelt H.S.

If you have any products to donate or are interested in becoming a future
sponsor of the Engineering Design Team at UIC, please contact Max Magnelli
( or William Billich (