Industrial Design Senior Collaborates on Design for Experimental Tick-Fighting Robot

Cole Smith, a senior in the Industrial Design program, used a combination of School’s 3D printing facilities and plastics workshop to create a body for an automated robot that attracts and kills ticks. An interdisciplinary team of students and professors from three Virginia universities designed and built the robot, that in trials in Virginia and Massachusetts was able to clear 75-100% of ticks from yards. Cole collaborated with eight engineering students and one professor from the Virginia Military Institute and two biology professors at Old Dominion University on the project.

Cole designed the body of the robot using Autodesk Fusion 360. Under the guidance of his advisor, Prof. Ed Dorsa, Cole developed the shape and user experience for the robot. 3D printing allowed mechanisms to be strong yet compact. The shell was thermoformed in the plastics workshop using a CNC-milled mold.

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