Dunwoody rewards innovation at FIRST Robotics MN state championship

Three high school teams receive $500 and the Dunwoody Unique Engineering & Design Award for their FIRST Robotics competition design solutions

The Greenbush-Middle River, Eden Valley-Watkins, and Frazee-Vergas high school teams formed the winning alliance at this year’s Minnesota State High School League FIRST Robotics championship held May 19, at Mariucci Arena. But thanks to Dunwoody’s Unique Engineering & Design Award, teams that didn’t place still had a chance to win.

For the fourth consecutive year, Dunwoody presented a Unique Engineering & Design Award, which recognizes high school robotics teams that exhibit unique engineering design solutions.

Because each year’s FIRST Robotics competition provides several different challenges and multiple ways to score points, teams have to make tough decisions about how they design their robots. No matter whether those decisions lead to a first place win or not, they provide team members with an opportunity to experiment, problem-solve, and learn.

Winners use unique materials methods

The 2018 Unique Engineering & Design Award winners are:

  • Becker, Team 4607 (Becker, MN)
  • Henry Sibley, Team 3100 (Mendota Heights, MN)
  • Farmington, Team 2987 (Farmington, MN)

Dean of Robotics & Manufacturing E.J. Daigle was this year’s judge.

“The winning teams this year designed and built robots using an array of design and custom-manufacturing parts for their robots,” he said. “Machining, welding, 3D-printing, and hand-laid carbon fiber were all on display. By far my favorite was seeing a Banner photoelectric sensor and reflector applied to a robot wheel to be utilized as an encoder.”

Several Dunwoody Robotics & Manufacturing students also attended the event. They talked about their experiences at Dunwoody, made sure the Dunwoody keychain-dispensing FANUC robot—an event favorite—kept running properly, and showcased the College’s “Snow Devil” robotic snow plow by driving it around the concourse.

Scholarships and seminars for FIRST Robotics participants

Dunwoody hopes to give out the award again next year.

The College is offering $1,000 scholarships to FIRST Robotics grads who enroll at Dunwoody for the fall 2018 semester. For details, download the scholarship application or contact Dunwoody Admissions at or 612-381-3041.

The Robotics & Manufacturing department will hold Saturday seminars this fall to help teams prepare for the 2019 FIRST Robotics competition: “Destination: Deep Space.” Topics covered include, basic electricity, Solidworks design, shop skills, industrial robotics, and more.

For details, contact Dean Daigle at