Bay Area Circuits is proud to support many awesome student organizations with their printed circuit board projects, one of which is the IRIS Robotics Team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  They recently competed in the NASA Robotic Mining Competition and we thought it would be interesting to share more about the group and their recent accomplishments.


IMG_20160525_160614Tell us a little about your club:  How long have you been around, how many members, etc.?

Illinois Robotics in Space (IRIS) is a multidisciplinary student organization at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that competes in the annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition. For six years, IRIS has provided an opportunity for University of Illinois students to experience the development of innovative robotic systems in a peer-based learning environment, fostering systems thinking and collaboration though development, manufacturing, and operation of complex, space-oriented robots in a Systems Engineering framework.


What was the project you built?

For the 2016 Robotic Mining Competition, we build our sixth robot, IRIS-6. IRIS-6 combined the experience we’ve gained from our previous five robots.


IMG_20160525_162138Tell us how you used the PCBs provided by BAC.

Bay Area Circuits helped our electrical team greatly by enabling us to create custom motor controllers, power distribution modules, as well as various logic interface boards. These boards enabled the IRIS-6 electrical system to be simpler, lighter, and more power efficient than previous robots. Additionally, designing PCBs provides students with experience in hardware design and board layout, topics that are not covered heavily in classes but are valuable.


Tell us about your recent competition.

The 2016 NASA Robotic Mining Competition took place at Kennedy Space Center in May, with around 50 university robotics teams present. IRIS was among the teams there, and had a successful year, winning first place in the Systems Engineering Paper portion of the competition.


What was the benefit of working with Bay Area Circuits on this project?

The greatest part about working with Bay Area Circuits is that they care about their customers, and are willing to work hard to meet the needs of their customers, even in the face of unexpected events.


Thanks to Byron Hopps and the entire IRIS-6 team for sharing with us.  We look forward to continuing to support their team in future competitions!


Working with engineering students is something we really enjoy here at Bay Area Circuits.  We work with a limited number of teams every year.  If you would like to learn more please contact us at [email protected].