(April 14, 2011)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Centenary mathematics major takes part in Trinity College Fire Fighting Home Robot Contest

SHREVEPORT, La. (Centenary News Service) — Ever wonder how hard it is to build a robot? Centenary College mathematics major Kathryn Hardey had the opportunity to find out when she took part in the 2011 Trinity College Fire Fighting Home Robot Contest, held April 9 in Hartford, Conn.

photo of Hardey and Mattis
Kathryn Hardey, left, with Molly Mattis

One of the world's best known international robotics competitions, the Robot Contest brought enthusiasts and engineers of all ages from as far away as Indonesia, China and Israel to the campus, with more than 120 teams taking part in the two-day competition.

The objective of the Fire Fighting Robot Contest is to build an autonomous computer-controlled robot that can navigate through a maze resembling the floor plan of a house, locate a burning candle, and extinguish the flame in the shortest time. The contest is unique because the robots must be autonomous - contestants may not use joysticks or remote controls or have manual assistance.

click to watch video

Hardey was a member of Team Centegheny, a collaborative effort between her and Allegheny College student, Molly Mattis. Although they attend school in different parts of the country, their professors roomed together years ago at Kenyon College in Ohio, and each persuaded his student to participate.

The two collaborated by e-mail and Skype for nearly a year, and met for the first time on the day before the competition. Sporting yellow T-shirts that said, "This is what a computer scientist looks like," the two entered the competition with high hopes. Although their robot, Centegheny, did not win, Hardey and Mattis and were thrilled that they made it through to the third run - and that they had finally met.

When the scores were tallied, Team Centegheny placed 15th out of 41 teams in their division... not bad for a first effort or a first meeting!

Find out more about the Centeghany project.