The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

June 11, 2013

Mercer students’ robot 1st in division


MERCER — Mercer Area High School students competed in the Trinity College Firefighting Home Robot competition April 6-7 in Hartford, Conn.

Students participating were Ryan Hamilton, Adam Hoge, Benjamin Shaffer and Rebecca Shaffer. Dr. David Shaffer, Westminster College associate professor of computer science, served as adviser.

The group members programmed their robot, Mildred, to autonomously navigate through a mock home, find a candle, put it out, and return to her starting location.

Their robot was the top U.S. robot in the high school “unique robot” division, placing second among robots from other high schools from the U.S., China, Portugal, Israel and Indonesia.

To view the video of the team’s presentation visit:!

The project was funded by Westminster’s math and computer science department and the Drinko Center for Experiential Learning, which was created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster.

The Undergraduate Research Initiative provides funding for students to conduct research and to present it at regional and national conferences.

A 2012 alumnus, Tim Matyas, traveled with the group and participated in the competition with his own robot.

Shaffer, who has been with the college since 2000, earned an undergraduate degree from Stevens Institute of Technology and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.