“May the torque be with you”

Tata Center faculty Amos Winter embraces the dark side of the force in Star Wars-themed undergraduate robotics competition.

Every year, MIT’s undergraduate robotics course (2.007) holds a final competition in which student-built robots compete to perform tasks around a certain theme. This year it was Star Wars, and the robots had to navigate a life-size X-wing fighter.

“Students could earn points by pulling up a sliding frame to rescue prisoners trapped in carbonite; by dumping Imperial stormtroopers into a trash trench; by activating a cantina band; or by spinning up one or both of two large cylindrical thrusters on the wings. Students could choose which tasks to have their robot try to accomplish, and had just one semester to design, test, and operate their bot,” wrote David Chandler for MIT News.

The class is co-taught by Tata Center faculty member Amos Winter and his MechE colleague Sangbae Kim. Kim came dressed as everyone’s favorite walking carpet, Chewbacca, while Winter MC’d the event in an impressively detailed Darth Vader costume:

In accordance with tradition, they carried the winning student off. Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.

MIT Mechanical Engineering: a wretched hive of scum and villainy? You decide.

All photos by Tony Pulsone