By Keith Uhlig
“Actually, though,” said Ethan Klein, 17, a senior, “we do want to address safety.” The idea would be to install some kind of sensors around the machine that would shut it down if it got near, say, a car, dog or young child.
Klein is one of 13 Wausau West students working on the robot snowblower project. They don’t call it a robot snowblower, at least not when a reporter is nearby. They call it an autonomous snow removal device. It’s not really autonomous right now, because it’s run by someone via radio control. One of the next steps is to install computer equipment that will allow the machine to run on its own using global positioning satellite signals.
The Wausau West team is one of 15 high school teams around the country developing projects of their own under a program called Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams. Each of the teams was awarded a $10,000 grant to help make each team’s future machine dreams a reality, Daily Herald Media reported.
The program was designed to be more than a class project. The machines that are created are meant to be practical and marketable, and capable of being produced in the real world. Imagine sitting at a window, warm, dry and drinking a cup of coffee, while watching a snowblower hard at work, especially given this winter.1 2 next >>
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