By SARAH HARTSFIELD
An animated robot of Brigham Young was presented Thursday by a group of five engineering students, who were sponsored by Tom Erekson in the school of technology.
The robot was designed complete with moving parts to make it look realistic. As he speaks, the eyes and mouth move, as well as its arm, elbow and head.
The robot uses a computer program that was already designed. It was programmed by mechanical engineering student Jon Bosley, 25, from Orange County, Calif.
Paul Hansen a 25-year-old manufacturing major from Dayton, Ohio, who worked on the project, was recorded and his deep voice was used for the robot.
The group of engineering students assigned to the project spent eight months on it for at least two hours a day.
At first, the team tried to generate a concept. The school of technology asked the students to design any animatronic device that would draw attention and look realistic so that the school could use it for recruiting, said Spencer Knudson, 24, a manufacturing major from Kent, Wash.
The group came up with many ideas for the robot, including aliens and even a talking cougar.
The group decided to use Brigham Young after doing surveys of freshmen to find out what would capture their interest, since freshmen will be the target of recruiting for the school of technology, Hansen said.
“One of the biggest challenges was the time constraints, especially this week,” Knudson said.
The group also agreed that one of the hardest things about this project was to integrate the separate things they worked on into the one robot. Each member worked on a moving part and how to make it work separately, and then they put it all together.
They had to do a lot of reworking because some things came that were not expected, said the team advisor, graduate student Greg Weaver, 27, from Provo.
Despite the challenges, the members had a good experience with their project.
Hansen said it was a great learning experience and helped the students apply their skills.
“It increased our confidence,” he said.
Bosely said it was good experience to design something that works, and to actually make it.
The group said skills gained and applied during this project will help members of the group get jobs after they graduate.
Sam Christenson, 25, a mechanical engineering major from Provo, said he hopes to work with animatronics after he graduates because it blends art and science together.
“I think the entertainment industry is exciting,” he said.