Dean Touts Robotics Projects for Student Engineers

Dean Mark W. Spong discusses his lecture on robotic air hockey.


Robotics makes a particularly good topic for student projects, according to UT Dallas engineering and computer science Dean Mark W. Spong, and he cites two examples: robotic air hockey and robotic chess.

Such projects are opportunities for students to use much of what they’ve learned in the classroom, applying knowledge and theory in the same ways they will on the job after graduation, he said.

“They have to do design, they have to do systems integration, sensing, control, programming, all of the components that go into real engineered systems like automobiles, aircraft and telecommunications systems,” he added.

As part of this year’s Engineers Week events at UT Dallas, Spong discussed the air hockey project in a special lecture that he reprised last month at Texas A&M.

The ultimate goal of the project was to use air hockey as a means to investigate important topics in robotics, he said. The chess project, in which students will automate 3-to-4-foot-tall chess pieces, will have a similar goal – while also tying in nicely to the University’s stature as a chess powerhouse.

Just recently launched, the chess project is expected to take about a year to complete.

Students check out the latest eye-catching Mercedes during Engineers Week.


Tough Questions, Cool Cars and a Lookat the Future for Engineering Week

Other Engineers Week activities this year at the University’s Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science included:

A lecture by Texas Instruments futurist Gene Frantz (click for video).Displays of the latest automotive technology courtesy of Park Place Motorcars.A spirited attempt by students to stump a faculty panel with difficult engineering and computer science questions.Visits by dozens of students from the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School in Dallas as part of Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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