EE students play ‘cat and mouse’ for senior project

UTD electrical engineering students played a high-tech game of “cat-and-mouse” in the third annual CatNMouse robotics competition in the Electrical Engineering & Computer Science South building.

The May 4 competition featured faux felines – robots constructed as senior design projects in a mobile communications class – chasing mechanical mice in a timed challenge.

As in nature, the chase relied on each “cat’s” built-in navigational and sensing abilities to successfully “catch” or touch the mouse robot, according to senior electrical engineering major Tim Mueller.

Each cat was allowed three, one-minute runs at its prey.

“There are two different challenges, first to avoid the wall and then to catch the mouse,” Mueller said.

Beyond the two main goals, each cat also had to qualify by running the track and testing its sensing ability and speed control.

A cat couldn’t be too fast or it might damage the mouse-bot, Mueller said.

“The robot that (caught) the mouse the quickest (got) the fewest penalties,” said Andrew Cilia, the professor for the class and coordinator of the event.

Prashant Nicodemus, senior electrical engineering major, needed just 23 seconds to catch the “mouse” — the fastest time.

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