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Leier goes to robot competition in Chicago

By Staff | Mar 16, 2018

Submitted photo Kade Leier (left) and teammate Randy Peterson helped design a remote-controlled robot for the 13th annual ACM/ICEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction, held last week in Chicago.

Rugby’s very own Kade Leier, went to Chicago, Ill., on March 6, where he presented a team project in a competition to design the next generation of eco-friendly robots. It was at the 13th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction held at McCormick Place.

Leier commented, “Overall, it was an awesome, eye opening conference. I learned a great deal about some of the upcoming robotics technology that we can expect to see in the near future and also had the opportunity to network with students, professors and advisers from prestigious universities around the world.”

Leier is a sophomore at NDSU and pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering, as did his two older brothers. He and his classmates have designed a robot that can help clean litter and garbage from beaches. The robot they built is controlled remotely. This allows users to access the robot for doing cleanup through their web site. Beach litter removal is critical to prevent water contamination, which in turn saves fish and their habitat and keeps water areas clean and disease free.

“Kade is the 7th of our kids, a graduate of Rugby High School, and holds a state title in Track,” his mother Rebecca Leier said. “He has always been mechanically-minded just like his brothers.”

“Kade’s big project was putting up a zipline on our ranch. He worked with his siblings on doing a budget for the zipline, testing the ziplines, figuring out weights and cables, and pulleys, all aspects of what it took to to accomplish the zipline,” she proudly said.

For the student competitors, the challenge is more than just about the robot, its also a chance to further develop and demonstrate their skills. Prospective employers were on hand to view and speak to attendees.

Kade has designed parts of the robot with CAD software and has been responsible for 3-D printing and assembling them.

“Student involvement in robotics competitions help them learn critical real-world skills. It also gives them an opportunity to show employers what they can do,” noted NDSU Computer Science Assistant Professor Jeremy Straub, who mentors the team. “Team projects are closer to the workplace environment than coursework and allows students to learn the skills they need for workplace success.”

For his part, Kade has been interested in engineering and robotics for some time. While growing up on Heartland Bison Ranch south of Rugby, his parents Lee and Rebecca Leier said he has always been inventive.

Kade plans to have a career in renewable energy, mainly developing solar panel technology. He soon may be one step closer to his dream job and attracting recruiters’ attention through his contest participation.

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