Club Spotlight: Robotics Club – The Vector
If you like to learn hands-on how to design, build, program, and operate robots using raw materials and kits, the NJIT Robotics Club is the organization to join on campus!
The club was first organized in 2010 and aims to allow students to gain real-world engineering experience by building their own robotics-related projects. After forming competitive teams, the organization participates in various international competitions.
Students do not have to consider the costs of materials, kits, or other aspects of their ability to contribute to the club; it provides the necessary funding and tools for students to create and work on the projects of their choice. Plus, Robotics members can use NJIT’s Makerspace to make their own parts and parts!
Some of the club’s current projects include a fully posable, Arduino-controlled robot hand made of 3D printed parts and a Biped, a beginner-friendly robot that teaches and uses basic programming skills, electronics, computer-aided design and 3D printing.
The quad dog project aims to have a fully functional quadruped using sensors so humans don’t have to control it. There is also a 3D printed car that should have basic user-controlled movement, but it can also have complex autonomous control using custom sensors.
The Tennis Ball Robot is a small project in which leftover VEX parts are put together to create a robot that can throw tennis balls a controllable distance. Rubik’s Cube solver project includes electronic and mechanical components, 3D printed parts, plywood box and handles.
Finally, VEX is a project to compete with other colleges around the world in a two-minute robotics game. It’s a dynamic environment, with several hours of work per week and a team of more than thirty people.
Any member is always encouraged to propose new project ideas. The club is able to provide funding and members interested in joining the project!
Michael Tuma, a senior computer science major, serves as the club’s vice president. He joined as soon as he started attending NJIT in September 2019.
“My expectations for the club were that it would be a place where I could make new friends who share a passion for engineering, programming and related fields, and be able to participate in fun and engaging events and projects,” said he declared. “The club have surpassed them with flying colors; we have over 300 members, so I was able to find many people who I now consider to be some of my closest friends.
Tuma’s favorite part of the club is how students can gain valuable knowledge that isn’t just about robotics. “Besides the obvious learning opportunities such as building hands-on experiments and programming robots, members can also get involved in the administrative side of the club, which provides experience with leading medium to large groups of staff. skills, technical writing through writing procedures, documentation, engineering reports, etc. — and project management skills — such as budgeting, task allocation, progress tracking, among others,” said “In addition, we also run a variety of professional development workshops and trainings that educate members on relevant technical and managerial skills.”
Aidan Dadiz is a freshman computer science student who joined the NJIT Robotics Club a few weeks after last fall semester. He slowly learned to use computer-aided design software as well as Arduino. With all the collaboration between the members, he said, “participating in the robotics club also taught me how to work in teams and collaborate on large engineering projects.”
He also pointed out how helpful all the members are. “There are so many people at the club with all kinds of backgrounds and experiences,” he said. “If you have a question about anything related to projects or STEM in general, there is always someone who can answer you.”
Dadiz recalled a moment he enjoyed to date. “I spent about 14 hours in the club closet, building and taking note of the whole design process, all with the help of many people coming and going all afternoon, the evening and night.
“It lasted until about 2 a.m. when we finished everything I wanted to build that night. I even stayed a little longer to hang out with the couple of guys who were left in the room at the time. Truly spectacular use of my time that day; I have no regrets.”
Umair Khan, Director of Mentoring and Volunteering, is a first-year mechanical engineering student. In addition to the competitive nature of the club, he appreciates how sociable the community is. “We have a quotes channel on the club’s Discord server, where we basically put all the funny things we hear from people at the club,” he said. “I think there was a time when I quoted my friend three times in 15 minutes.”
A freshman computer science student, Sai Vedagiri is the programming captain of the VEX Robotics team. When he first joined the organization he was “surprised at the level of leadership at the club”.
There are Eboard members, directors, project managers, committees and more to help run the organization. “When we started developing bots for competition, I liked that the team had separate sub-teams and communicated very well to meet everyone’s needs,” Vedagiri said.
He also added that “the club has provided me with many learning opportunities and access to technological equipment that is not usually always available to students”.
William Kuo, senior major in biomedical engineering, is the project manager of the walking biped project. Within the club centered on robotics, he always finds diversity in the interest of the members.
“Everyone has such a strong common passion for robotics. Talk to anyone; you can probably come up with an imaginative reason why they want to do robotics, and everyone’s response would be different,” he explained. “For me, I wanted to build something related to my research, namely designing exoskeletons and making futuristic sci-fi machines.”
Adira Samaroo, a third-year computer science major and Director of Membership and Attendance, explained that her entry level in robotics is relatively low, but that the support offered by members, as well as their knowledge and skills, l helped them fit into the group really well.
After applying for the managerial position she currently holds, she said, “My confidence has soared past my shy attitude. Being a voice to reach out to members and help them feel welcome has been great.
One of Tuma’s most cherished memories includes the VEX competitions the team participated in during the 2019-20 season. “We were bringing eight members each, and we were all driving to where the competition was in one of the NJIT vans; after spending the night in a hotel, we headed towards the competition. There would be teams from all over the country.
“We would go to the qualifying rounds and we would always get to the knockout rounds. We didn’t always win, but we always at least made it to the finals and won prizes. It was incredibly fun in the way that only a real, stressful and challenging situation can be. After each competition, we always had a nice dinner together at a restaurant near the competition venue,” he shared. “The experience is unlike any other.”
The NJIT Robotics Club is excited to welcome new members; if you want to be part of this organization, feel free to join its Discord server at https://njit.gg/robotics!