TAMIU Robotics Team Heads to NASA Competition in Florida

TAMIU DustyTRON Robotics Team Heads to
NASA’s Robotics Competition May 18-22

Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) engineering students will travel to a highly selective robotics competition in Florida this May.

TAMIU engineering students

Meet the ‘DustyTRON’ Robotics Team
A total of 17 students in TAMIU’s Systems Engineering classes will participate in the 2015 NASA Robotic Mining Competition at the Kennedy Space Center May 18-22. The team has created ‘DustyTRON’ (at center) as their Martian mining robot entry. Pictured are (back from left to right) Salvador Melendez, Daniel Alfaro, Tomas Duarte, Dagoberto Melero and Brandon P. Charlton. (Middle row from left to right) TAMIU’s Dr. Tariq Tashtoush, visiting assistant professor of engineering, Jesus A. Vazquez, Homero A. De La Cruz, Alejandro Torres, Otero Esteban, Gustavo Perez, Edgar Garza, Javier Delgado and Jose Guajardo. (Bottom from left to right) Gabriel Flores and Andres Arangueren. Not pictured is Roberto Torres.

A total of 17 students in TAMIU’s Systems Engineering classes will participate in the 2015 NASA Robotic Mining Competition at the Kennedy Space Center May 18-22.

TAMIU, represented by its ‘DustyTRON Robotics Team,’ will be one of only three universities in Texas participating in this competition, said Dr. Tariq Tashtoush, TAMIU visiting assistant professor of engineering.

“The competition’s goal is to encourage university-level students, especially engineering students, to design and build a mining robot that can navigate a simulated Martian chaotic terrain, excavate Martian regolith, a layer of unconsolidated rocky material, and deposit it into a collector bin within 10 minutes,” explained Dr. Tashtoush, “It will expose TAMIU engineering students to the real-life engineering field they will encounter in their careers and set off a wave of inspiration towards future generations of engineering students who wish to participate in similar competitions.”

DustyTRON Robotics Team members include Daniel Alfaro, Andres Aranguren, Brandon Charlton, Homero De La Cruz, Javier Delgado, Tomas Duarte, Gabriel Flores, Edgar Garza, José Guajardo, Dagoberto Melero, Salvador Mendez, Esteban Otero, Gustavo Pérez, Patricio Rodríguez, Alejandro Torres, Roberto Torres and Jesús Vázquez.

The DustyTRON Robotics Team will be divided into two sub-teams, with one team responsible for the software, programming and controllers while the other works on hardware, chassis and mechanical structure design for the final robot, Tashtoush said.

“This experience provides our engineering students with great hands-on skills, teamwork skills, team management, and communication skills, both written and presentational,” he said, “Also, this experience will enhance the ‘Powered by TAMIU’ spirit within the students.”

The Competition includes multiple criteria such as robot design and operation, system engineering paper, outreach project report, slide presentation and demonstration and team spirit, which will show that TAMIU is in tune with the project and has lots of support, Tashtoush said.

Generous support for the Team’s participation in the Competition has come from the City of Laredo, the A. R. “Tony” and Maria J. Sanchez Family Foundation, American Campus Communities, Modine Manufacturing, AEP, BTS Group, Continuum Transportation Services LTD, Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company of Texas, Global Tooling Specialties, Inc., Terracon and others.

For further information about the competition or to assist the Team, please contact Tashtoush at 326.2600, e-mail tariq.tashtoush@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center, room 323.

University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For more information about the Competition, please visit http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/centers/kennedy/technology/nasarmc.html#.VG4RDfmILGI

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu