The RamsBot.

Photo courtesy: Michael Marmeto

Ryerson’s RamsBot shoots hoops, promotes engineering

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By Jaclyn Tansil

RamsBot is a robot designed to play basketball and shoot three-pointers, but it’s accomplished more than providing post-game entertainment.

The RamsBot is a mobile wheeled robot with a large trunk-like container and a built-in elevator system that brings the basketballs up to a flywheel shooter, which is set to a specific angle.

“It is similar to a tennis ball launcher, where you have a rapidly spinning wheel set at a specific angle in which the ball enters the shooter and is then launched at a constant angle, [in this case] 45 degrees,” said Michael Marmeto, team captain of the Ryerson Rams Robotics Team, R3, and a fourth-year electrical engineering student. The RamsBot is controlled by a human operator wirelessly through a remote control.

“RamsBot started out as a centerpiece for the celebration of National Engineering Month, promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to the public. It was designed to try and foster public interest in engineering,” said Feroz Balsara, co-captain of R3 and fourth-year mechanical engineering student specializing in mechatronics.

After the RamsBot was showcased at the Air Canada Centre on Feb. 27, 2015, during a basketball game between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors, it gained a huge amount of media attention.

“The first year we [started the Robotics Team, we] were just building robots, and it was more like a hobbyist club, and this opportunity showed us how putting our skills to a certain task can help promote engineering to people who may not normally be accustomed to it,” said Marmeto. “[For example] RamsBot, is a sports related robot … helping us promote engineering to places that normally many people would not have thought of engineering.”

In January 2015, R3 was approached by the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science Dean’s office with the project proposal. Michael Marmeto, Jahiz Ahmed, Feroz Barlsara and Eric Furtado designed and built RamsBot over the course of six weeks.

The R3 team originally started off with only three members and over the course of three years has grown to over 40 active members. Approximately 100 students are applying every year to join.

One of the latest opportunities for the Rams Robotics Team is the Mars Rover Project. The University Rover Competition (URC) is an annual event that requires teams to design and build a rover that can travel over Martian terrain while completing various tasks.

“The competition is set for June 2017 in Utah and we are currently in the early design and prototype stages of the project,” said Eric Furtado, the team lead of the project, URC drive lead and fourth-year mechanical engineering student, specializing in mechatronics.

RamsBot currently lives in the Engineering Design Zone, located in the basement of Kerr Hall North and is brought out to events like frosh and class demonstrations.

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