Carnegie Mellon team wins prize at Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge


August 4, 2016

Do you find pulling weeds to be agonizing and frustrating? Electrical and computer engineering student Nishant Pol and Robotics Institute students Hannah Lyness and Sam Zeng created a robot that can help out. Their project, titled “CLEANUP” (Careful, Logical Elimination And Negation of Unwanted Plants), recently took home the prize for the “Most innovative home application” from the Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge Design contest, beating out 180 other teams.

The robot uses a learning algorithm, sensors, a cordless drill, and an on-board computer to find and extract weeds. Once centered over the weed, it uses a drill to remove the weed with minimal damage to lawn. The weed eliminator can power up a 30-degree incline and maneuver over two-inch-high obstacles. The project was originally designed for the System Engineering and Capstone classes for the Carnegie Mellon Robotics additional major.

The TI Innovation Design Challenge is a competition that tasks engineering students with using TI technology to create solutions to challenges that currently face the world. The projects are judged based on industry-ready standards, like quality of design, written documentation, and effective use of TI technology. Cash prizes were awarded to the top three teams as well as categorical prizewinners, with the Carnegie Mellon team taking home $1000 in winnings.