Tag Archives: Midwest Robotics League

Dunwoody’s Midwest Robotics League Team Takes 1st in Regionals, 5th in Nationals

Dunwoody College of Technology students and faculty are celebrating the recent victories of the College’s Midwest Robotics League Team. The Dunwoody team participated in both a regional competition in late April, and a national competition in May, bringing home a consecutive first and two fifth place prizes.

Group shot of Dunwoody's Midwest Robotics Team League

The 2015 team (pictured above) is advised by former Dunwoody student and league participant–now Instructor and League Executive Director–Alex Wong and coaches Beth Spicer; Al Jaedike (Engineering Drafting & Design Adjunct Instructor); and James Jorgenson (Workforce Training & Continuing Education Adjunct Instructor).

The team includes students Chris Spicer (Electrical Construction & Maintenance); Andy Haug (Electronics Engineering Technology); Ken Weis (Machine Tool Technology); Tony Laylon (Engineering Drafting & Design); Kyle Dumas; and 2007 Dunwoody graduate Mike Rhode (Engineering Drafting & Design).

This year’s regional competition was held at the Mall of America and featured twelve competing teams and hundreds of spectators. The national competition followed just a few weeks later in Cleveland, Ohio, where 64 teams participated.

Crowd at Mall of America watching robot battles

Midwest Robotics League’s regional competition at Mall of America

Both the regional and national competitions are held annually and are open to middle school, high school and collegiate teams. Each year, the competing teams are able to enter as many robots as they want under the condition that the robots have been designed and assembled by students. Teams can also use a robot for multiple years until the group decides to retire it or until that robot wins the regional or national competition two times.

This year, Dunwoody entered two robots into both competitions— “Wedgey” the wedge robot and “Reburn,” a robot that deploys a horizontal spinner.

Robot Wedgey

“Wedgey” the wedge robot

Both Wedgey and Reburn were designed and built by the Dunwoody team and have already competed and placed in several regional and national competitions.

“Wedgey has been running for about 3 years, competing in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 events,” said League Executive Director Alex Wong. “Reburn has also been running for about 3 years, but we have been running variations on this design since the start of the League.”

Robot Reburn


The League is open to all Dunwoody students, creating a unique opportunity for students in various programs to work together–each bringing  their own area of expertise to the process. And while the students enjoy the collaboration in designing and creating the robots, perhaps the most fun is had during the combat competitions.

The combat rules are similar for both regionals and nationals—the best robot wins.

“The robots are limited to 15 pounds each, and it is up to the students to design those robots,” said Alex. “A lot of them will have some sort of spinning weapon or use bigger motors so it can drive faster.”

Each robot is then entered into a randomly determined double elimination bracket where they participate in 3-minute rounds.

“The winner,” said Alex “is whichever robot can either “knock out”the other robot by disabling it, or pushes it onto a wall or other position where it can no longer drive. If both robots are still standing after the three-minute match, the winner is determined by whichever robot has the most points. The judges award points based on three categories: aggression—the moves you make when attacking the other robot; damage—the damage caused to the other robot; and control—how well the robot can maneuver.”

Action shot of robots combatting

In addition to combat points, the national judges also evaluate the team’s presentation skills. Prior to the competition, each team must also present their robot to the panel of judges by sharing drawings, describing the design process and explaining why they chose the materials they did.

Regional final award/trophyDunwoody’s students and robots performed well at both competitions ending their season with  several wins and awards. Wedgey scored the team a 1st place prize at the regional competition for the second time in its career. It also tied with Reburn for the fifth overall spot at the national competition. Wedgey was also named one of the “Best Engineered Robots” at the national competition.

The Dunwoody Midwest Robotics League will continue next Fall during the 2015-2016 academic year. Alex says the team has plans to retire Wedgey (as this was its second regional win) and is looking to redesign the current robots as well as build entirely new ones.

If you are interested in joining the Midwest Robotics League for 2015-2016 season, please contact Alex Wong at awong@dunwoody.edu.

Midwest Robotics League regional championship May 19-20 at MOA

WHAT: Teams pit 15lb robots against each other in head-to-head matches in an arena. The match lasts 3 minutes or until one robot is knocked out or taps out. The competition is double elimination. The audience will have opportunities to interact with the robots throughout the weekend.

The competition will include the reigning NRL National Champion: the robotics team from North St. Paul High School and their robot UC3, which went undefeated in the national competition held May 5-6, 2012, in Indianapolis, IN.

WHO: Teams of at least 3 students (middle school, high school or college) and 1 technical adviser. Local and national teams from across the country will be competing.


1 – 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19, (Competition Rounds 1-5)

1 – 3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 20, (Competition Rounds 6-9)

4 – 5 p.m. Sunday May 20, (Championship Rounds 10-11 & awards ceremony)

WHERE: Rotunda in the Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn.

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public.

The Midwest Robotics League is sponsored and managed by Dunwoody College of Technology.

Dunwoody offers free robotics seminars for high school students

Calling all Twin Cities high school students interested in robotics:

Dunwoody College is offering free Saturday training sessions to any high school student actively participating in robotics. This can include the Midwest Robotics League, FIRST Robotics at any level or just a general interest in engineering, design, electronics or robotics. Mentors and parents are welcome to attend, but the hands-on portion of all activities are reserved for the students.

Topics include: basic electricity, Solidworks design, shop skills, industrial robotics and an introduction to LabVIEW.

Courses take place from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and the dates for the seminars are: Oct. 15, 22 and 29; Nov. 5, 12 and 19; Dec. 3, 10 and 17.

For details and to RSVP, email E.J. Daigle, director of Manufacturing & Robotics, at edaigle@dunwoody.edu.

Dunwoody robot places 2nd in Midwest Robotics League Competition

Dunwoody College’s robot, Rugburn, placedDSC03729 second out of eleven local robotics teams that competed Saturday, May 15 at the Mall of America in the Midwest Robotics League (MRL) Regional Competition. Rugburn advances to the nationals which will be held in conjunction with the SkillsUSA Nationals in Kansas City, Missouri on June 21 through 23.

For photos of the event, view the Flickr photoset. Also view the KARE11 video  featuring two Dunwoody students.

The Midwest Robotics League (MRL), sponsored by Dunwoody College, is one of six educational robotics leagues in the country. The league is for students at the middle school, high school and college levels. The National Tooling and Machining Association oversees the National Robotics League (NRL). Monthly competitions are held each year from November through April with a regional competition in May.


Great visuals: Robots created by middle school, high school and college students battling each other; Free to the public. Sponsored by Dunwoody College of Technology.

WHAT:  Teams pit 15lb robots against each other in head-to-head matches in an arena. The match lasts 3 minutes or until one robot is knocked out or taps out. The competition is double elimination and the winner will go on to the national competition held June 21-23 in Kansas City, Mo. For more details, see: http://www.midwestroboticsleague.org/

WHO: Teams comprised of at least 3 students (middle school, high school or college) and 1 technical adviser from across the Upper Midwest. Teams this year include entries from Waseca, Ramsey, Maplewood and even one coming all the way from Burlington, Ill.

WHEN: 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Saturday, May 15 (championship match and awards ceremony starts at 4:30 p.m.)

WHERE: Sears Court in the Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn.

ADMISSION: Free and open to the public.


Al Jaedike, Principal Instructor of Engineering Drafting & Design
612-381-3087; jaedike@dunwoody.edu

William Morris, Marketing Communications Specialist
612-381-3367; wmorris@dunwoody.edu

About Dunwoody:  Dunwoody College of Technology is the only private, not-for-profit, technical college in the Upper Midwest. For more, see www.dunwoody.edu or @dunwoodycollege on Twitter.

Dunwoody robots to compete for national title May 2-3 at Mall of America

Dunwoody College of Technology’s robots Rugburn and Billet will compete for the top prize at the North America Robotics National Competition May 2-3, 2009, at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. Dunwoody’s robots will engage in what organizers call a “destructive testing process” against 38 robots created by teams of middle school, high school or college students from across the United States.

The competition will be held from 12:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 2, and from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, May 3, in the Best Buy Rotunda of the Mall of America. The general public is welcome to stop by and watch the competition.

Rugburn (pictured) earned the title 2008-2009 Midwest Robotics League Champion after overcoming Uppercut’s 9 point lead at the Midwest Robotics League (MRL) Championship held April 12. The MRL season runs from October to April and consists of one competition per month. The Rugburn team is composed of Dunwoody College students Kris Branstetter, Mike Rhode, Casey Combs, Steve Lunseth, Josh Bartlett and Ben Kirchner with advisor Al Jaedike. Dunwoody’s other robot, Billet, came in fourth overall at the league competition. The Billet team includes students Tom Wagar, Mark Walstron, Jake Hawthorne, Josh Hervey and Andrew Karst.

The Midwest Robotics League was formed by the MPMA (Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association) to give students a chance to put their technology skills to use building robots that compete against other students’ robots. The league is for educational programs from middle school through college. The robots, which must be 15 pounds or less, are designed, built and fight each other in a destructive testing process. Trouble shooting is a key to advancement in the competition. Students need to identify failed parts and fix them for the next round.

The national competition is sponsored by the National Tooling and Machining Association.

Click here to see Dunwoody’s Flickr set from the regional competition.