Last fall semester the Honors College and the Office of the Provost AVP for Research and Federal Relations held open submissions for the Student Undergraduate Research Fund or SURF. The grant aims to create opportunities for students to further their education through faculty supervised on and off campus research. Out of the many that applied only six were awarded the grant. The maximum award provides up to one thousand dollars. An electrical engineering senior interested in designing a robot for entry to the IEEE division five Robotics Contest held in Denver, Daniel Sharp, was one of the recipients of the grant.
“Basically we needed some extra funding to build our robot and we heard about the SURF grant and thought that would be a good opportunity…. What our robot is supposed to do is to enter a scenario or an enter a playfield that is supposed to simulate an area after forest fire where it collects soil samples. There is no outside communication so the robot makes all of it’s own decision and how to transverse the different obstacles that they put in front of it.”
Sharp relates the project as an improvement on a concept already developed by Google; the self driving google car. Taking this idea one step further away from suburban roads. He and his team are using innovative ideas towards expanding the ability of unmanned vehicles to enter unknown conditions in disaster areas. Being able to enter and win this competition has the ability to bring many positive things to Texas State.
“It’s a good way for Texas State to get out there has a developing research institute. Also it’s a good way to put a positive face on our new electric engineering program here at Texas State.”
Texas State undergraduates show great insight and keen interest to know more about the world around them. Undergraduates who are interested in applying for the grant can find more information by searching SURF on the Texas State University website.
Virginia Brown, KTSW News.