Royal Oak students build landmine robot, file for patent

What started as just another high school robotics project could turn into a career-molding discovery for three Royal Oak High School students.

Freshmen Gordon Stein, Max Schultz, and Julia Stavale built an autonomous robot that detects and locates landmines. It won the top award at the 10th annual World Robofest Championship at Lawrence Technological University this spring, and a $1,000 development grant from the Joint Center for Robotics at the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in Warren.

The students are filing for a patent for the robot called "Seeker" and are working in the rent-free office space of one parent's firm, Clawson-based Art/Design Group.

"They will be refining it over the next several months," says Joel Stein, father of Gordon Stein, who helped guide the team.

Stein challenged the Homemade Titanium Expos team to work on a project that not only exhibited their robotic expertise but tackled a humanitarian problem. They chose to focus on defusing landmines, (70 people are injured or killed every day by landmines) and researched patents to see what was out there.

The Homemade Titanium Expos came up with an inexpensive vehicle robot that can be used to find some of the 100 million landmines buried in 70 different countries. Seeker cost $148 to build and weighs five pounds, light enough not to set off most landmines. It uses a metal detector sensor to find the mines and marks the spot with a fluorescent dye.

Source: Joel Stein, parental supervisor of Homemade Titanium Expos and Lawrence Technological University
Writer: Jon Zemke
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