Students’ robotics work catches industry’s eye

February 2, 2010

Industry is keeping an eye on robotics research and development by Arizona State University engineering students.

Marcos Garcia-Acosta, an Intel Corp. technology marketing manager, recently visited a lab where students are completing senior-year computer science and engineering design projects in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering, a part of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Download Full Image

This semester they’re developing easy-to-use hardware and software to enable students in local high schools to program robots for use in an autonomous robotics competition.

Garcia-Acosta said work by the ASU engineering students’ Intel Robotics Team could potentially have more far-reaching impacts.

Robotics is an area expected to grow significantly, he said, “and we are always looking for innovation. We find a lot of creativity coming out of university students. That’s why Intel is interested in encouraging them.”

For the past four years, Garcia-Acosta has been an industry mentor for the student robotics team. Fellow Intel marketing manager John Oliver also is a mentor.

“They give our students exposure to real-world technological challenges and potential job opportunities,” said Yinong Chen, an engineering faculty member who directs the team.

Intel provided funding in 2007 and 2008 to establish the team, and contributes components for students’ projects each semester. More than 75 students have participated.

“There is a lot of demand for advances in robotics, to make them commercially viable and more versatile,” Garcia-Acosta said. With more robotic devices in use, demand would increase for one of Intel’s primary products, high-performance computer processors. 

Encouraging the students’ research, he said, gives Intel an opportunity to nurture the future experts whose discoveries might improve the company’s products or expand the industry’s horizons.

Students “are good at putting ideas to the test,” Garcia-Acosta said, and his colleagues at Intel “see enough promising things happening” to convince them to continue providing students the tools they need to keep progressing.

See video">">video about the ASU Intel Robotics Team's project.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Coaches: ASU to win 2010 Pac-10 Baseball Crown

February 2, 2010

Arizona State baseball has been chosen to win the Pac-10 Conference in a vote of the Pac-10 head baseball coaches. This is the second straight season and third time in the past four years the Sun Devils have been tabbed to win the conference by the coaches.

"A true statement about our program is that it is being recognized by the other Pac-10 schools," said head coach Tim">">Tim Esmay. "With that said, preseason rankings are great, but when that first pitch is made during a very tough Pac-10 Conference schedule, it becomes about playing good baseball day in and day out. Download Full Image

The Sun Devils are coming off their third straight Pac-10 title and 21st all-time trip to the College World Series. Last season, Arizona State went 51-14, including a 21-6 record in the Pac-10, and made its 11th straight appearance in the NCAA Baseball Tournament. This is the thrid time in school history ASU has been picked by the coaches to win the Pac-10.

Arizona State received seven of the nine first place votes, earning 78 points overall. Oregon State received two first place votes and was picked to finish second with 67 overall points. UCLA, Stanford, Arizona, Washington State, Cal, USC, Washington and Oregon rounded out the poll. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.

ASU is ranked as high as 5th in the preseason polls and features one of the top recruiting classes in the nation. All-American LHP Josh">">Josh Spence, College World Series standout Kole">">Kole Calhoun and Freshman All-American LHP Mitchell"> Lambson headline the returning Sun Devils. The Devils open the 2010 season on February 19, when they host Northern Illinois at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark.